Location: Ontario, Canada
Surnames/tags: Loghrin Monteith
Letter #1 to Jane Monteith
Eramosa (Township) June 28th 7 (1876?)
Dear Jane (Monteith, sister-in-law),
Knowing how anxious your Father & Mother will be to hear how Fannie & her care (Sam) got home I have pleasure in telling them that she is at present in good health & what is nearly as good - in good Humour. She got home quite safe. How could it be otherwise under such a handsome & gallant escort. I was in at the station with the buggy & the waggon [sic] partly expecting you along. Jas. Wilson drove the waggon home & her, Sam & I got home at 1:30.
Baby (Sam) is well but seems to me he requires & gets more nursing than any other baby ever got. I notice that he sees a difference in people. He did not know me for a day or two after he came (home).
He will be more interesting & not so much trouble when he goes up (to Stratford) again. “So much talk about the baby as if it was worth while. Alex was greatly disappointed that Jane did not come down with us but was consoled when I told him of the trip the girls were going to have soon. I would like you all to come as soon as you can.” I would like to hear of you going a week or two some where from home but more particularly going to Eramosa.
We will be very hurried until haying to get the rest of the rape in and the thistles cut which I think are worse than usual with us this year. We have been clearing a piece about 3 acres of new land for rape & I can tell you that I feel very glad that I did not live some 30 years ago. It is such disagreeable work burning & picking & ploughing & dragging. I wish I could describe to you my experience ploughing new land. I feel like smiling now when I think what a fury I was in this fore noon. What a miserable time for a few years after our ancestors came out to this country they must have had (;) nearly all of them (were) unaccustomed to labour of any kind more particularly of new land labour. Young farmers now are indeed reaping the harvest that the old chaps sowed.
I find it very difficult to write anything that will either interest or edify you & as I have little time now & you know that Fannie is not an attentive correspondent, you will not be surprised if we do not write quite as often as previously. You may be sure that Fannie & Samuel are going to be in good health for some time & that Fannie will be glad to hear from you as often as convenient. Excuse this hurried scrawl & let us hear from you soon.
With respects I am Yours Sincerely
Letter #2 to Nelson Monteith
Eramosa March 13th 1877
Dear Nelson (Monteith, brother-in-law, 14 yrs old),
I was indeed pleased to receive a note from you & hope that now that you have got the ice broke (and) that you have made a start you will continue to write regularly. You may be sure that anything you write will interest both Fannie & I. I would repeat to you what was so incessantly held up to me when at school(;) try in writing a sociable letter (to) “write as you would speak.” What a good time of it you must have at school. I remember when I was your age I wished I was a grown man & now how sincerely do I wish I were back to boyhood for I tell you that this manhood with its cares, duties & responsibilities is not what I thought it was(;) it is like the harvest time when we hurry & work to gather all we can before the winter of age while boyhood seems like the season that we wait in joyful anticipation while harvest ripens - but I am beginning to preach to you.
You won’t have had much skating this winter(;) those big skates will be well kept for another year.
I was pleased to hear your new horse is doing well(;) give more particulars of her next time. I offered Mrs. Chambers that horse I spoke to Jane about for $90 but they did not take him but bought another horse, a 7 year old, for $80. I would not take $20 & trade(;) I did not want to sell him but I thought he would suit them(;) I could get another. You will find selling hay a poor affair (as) there is so much labour in teaming it & it brings such a poor price (-) in Guelph it is only worth 9 to 10$. We have more than we will want but it is unusual for it to be that low price in Guelph that I do not think I will sell it this year. We are done with all our teaming & are chopping wood for another year. Mrs. Chambers is going to work the farm for another year & Jas. Wilson is going about the first of April to live with her as we have got our work well forward last fall. I think I can do with one man until haying. Jas. Wilson’s absence will make but little difference as he has got so stiff he is really very little use.
You speak of breaking into the water when skating. You should be very careful of colds for it is no trifle to get rid of them sometimes. A day or two after I came home from Stratford the last time I took a severe cold & as you will see from the item enclosed I have not got over it yet(;) during the last two months I have been very hoarse & often that I could not speak above a whisper but I never felt sick or ailing just loss of voice. The night of the debate I spoke first & (for) about an hour ¾ of that time I spoke easily enough but the last 15 minutes it was very hard on me. The house being crowded it became fearfully warm; when I sat down I was sweating freely. The doors were opened. I cooled quickly & when I rose to reply I could not speak at all. Johnston’s men were both teachers (but) mine were farmers with few ideas & still fewer words. I have been urged to repeat it when better but I hear that Innes & Massie M.P.P., if at home, intend to be our opponents &, as I believe that Protectionist is only another name for Conservative & not being prepared to turn my coat yet awhile, I am going to decline. Protection is creating quite a sensation here. ¾ of the farmers are protectionists but they have an especial horror of the leaders of the conservative party & if there was an election next week I believe they would sink their sympathy for protection & vote for reform & free trade rather than be identified with the conservative party.
Sam & Fannie both first rate. Sam was weaned about 10 days ago. I do not see any difference in him only that he sleeps better at night. Fannie is getting fat (and will) soon be as stout as her Ma. Sam sometimes walks if not in a hurry but when hurried goes on all fours yet. (He) has got eight teeth, little hair, (a) good appetite (and he’s) noisy but cheerful. Jane says his native air cured him(;) the air in such a smoky hollow sort of place as Stratford would certainly prevent a speedy recovery. In speaking of J. W.’s children she says that size is considered the great beauty of childhood. We were pleased to learn that she was studying the most favourable types of children. As devoted admirers are scarce here, she had better leave J. Rankin to enjoy hers but, should the devotion of that admirer cool as the weather becomes warm, bring her down (to Eramosa) &, if that priceless individual the devoted admirer cannot be found here, perhaps absence will make hearts fonder. Jane says she is going back in [sic] her writing & proposes to begin again at pothooks. I would recommend that she just resume or continue that manuscript I seen [sic] about a plain girl aged 16 (with) no particular talents, etc.
Remember us to J. C. & wife. Tell Jane I have such a bad memory I brought the envelopes she presented to me but forgot the paper. Write soon & long. How is Tom? How many lambs have you? How many cows are you going to keep, etc., etc.? Some of you will be down pretty soon we hope. Fannie of course will go up once or twice this summer. She tells Jane she will write pretty soon. You will see from this we are in the best of health & spirits(;) hoping this may find you all enjoying the same in spite of your impure atmosphere.
We are yours as ever.
A. Loghrin & wife
Letter #3 to Sam Monteith
S.M. April 10th, (18)77
Dear Sir (Sam Monteith, father-in-law),
I have to apologize for not sending you word of Fannie’s safe arrival sooner knowing that you would be a little anxious but I have been so busy & I expected Fannie to have done it herself.
She got home quite safe about 8 o’clock & was greatly delighted with her visit. She has got over her cold. Sam is doing first rate - a boisterous, self willed & if he were any other person’s I would say a spoiled child. You would be surprised to see Fannie go in so unexpectedly. She only took the notion the day before the event. I am afraid now that she realizes how easy it is to do she will be going up too often. But (I) have resolved that you, if in good health, must visit Eramosa next summer about the 28th of May until the first week of June.
We are going to do a little touch of building & will have masons & framers immediately after the turnips are sown & would like you to come along before the middle of June & bring with you any of the family that can come. Would be glad to have Mrs. Monteith come with you. Mrs. J. C. could stop with Jane. If you wish it, Fannie can go back with you for a few days if you come before the 20th of June. I could not promise after that as we always try to have our buildings finished before haying. If we had this little job done, we have as good barns & stables as I know of (and) as good as I could wish for. The framing will cost $50 besides a sheep house & hog pen which we can do ourselves & the mason work about $20.
Respects to all,
- ↑ These three letters were contributed by Nancy Elizabeth (McKay) Benjamin, granddaughter of Nelson Monteith, Feb. 25, 2013.
- ↑ Note inserted by Fannie.
- ↑ Rape(seed) is now known as canola; the name was changed in 1878.
- ↑ If Alex’s statement is correct, what were our ancestors doing before they emigrated?
- ↑ Alex, Fannie and family farmed in Eramosa Township north of Guelph; the Monteiths lived in or near Stratford.
- ↑ John Charles Monteith was a first cousin of Fannie.
- ↑ Alex refers to trips to Stratford as “in” or “up” and trips to Eramosa as “down”. They were approximately 50 miles apart.