Eastern Townships Casualties at Vimy Ridge clipped by Nicholsons. Ovide Vincent of Coaticook, killed at Vimy Ridge, April 9, 1917. Several Richmond Men, including a Maxwell Pope, wounded.
June 2nd, 1917
Your letter arrived last night. You need not worry, I am managing splendidly and have been so busy hoping to settle my business affairs that the time has not been long.
I gave Mrs. McMorine the money and told her to tell Mrs. Bucher.
Coupland put in the lettuce and cucumbers. Mr.Tayor brought the tomatoes. It was too late for him to put them in, Coupland, I mean, so I have them in crates until Wednesday.
So I don't think there is any need for you to worry.
Yesterday Mrs. Frances asked me to go to tea and yesterday the Harkins had a tennis party. We had a great time at it. It happened to be Dr. Johnston's birthday. Mr. Beiber happened to mention it so the girls went in and fixed up a cake with one big candle in the center. Inside were the usual button and money. It was quite a good deal of fun as the cake was very sweet. He insisted on everyone having a piece.
The Beibers had Avril, Artie and Jean Ellen with them. Dr. McCabe Ross and Mrs. G in a runabout. Mrs. Glasse, Mrs. Bailey and that made up the party.
Enjoyed it very much. It was such a pretty day and that is such a pretty lie by the tennis court.
Norman and Jessie Lyster are staying at Lena Hall's. They came by motor Thursday evening.
Mrs. Farquarson's friends have arrived. She called me over to meet Mrs. Hopkins last night as she was leaving for home. She only spent the day.
Jennie has decided to remain in the bank.
Glad to hear Marion has a little girl to help her.
Love to Marion and Hugh and Margaret, Flo and yourself.
Your loving Edith.
June 8 1917
My dear Edith,
How I would like to start in and tell you about basking in the sun and becoming well tanned already, but I must be truthful even if it does cause you to laugh. Most of the basking so far has been in front of a grate fire and it feels quite comfortable too.
So far the weather has been cloudy and inclined to rain ever so often that although outside the temperature is not to cool, one finds it damp and chilly in the house.
Hence the grate fire.
Matters around the house are quite unsettled for we have had the painters and paper hangers, also some men putting in a new hardwood floor upstairs.
In fact I was wakened this morning at 7 by the men who were putting in the last few strips of wood along the hall. It seemed rather early to be wakened up but since I had gone to bed at 10 pm I had a good sleep. Also, I managed to get down for breakfast by 9, the usual time for bankers and teachers.
I had a very pleasant trip and everything went according to schedule. Going into Montreal there was an old white haired gentleman in the smoker. He is in the employ of the British Government (presumably in the secret service) for he had been all over the world . He told us stories and facts of China, Russia, South America, in fact, any place that was mentioned and he was very interesting.
I waited over for the 11 pm train for Toronto, so called up the Blairs. Flora was over at Mrs.Ellis's but had no special engagement, so she met me downtown about 8 and we went to the Strand. (Willie Eckstein at the piano.)
The pictures were good and the music also. So a good time was had. I expect to go into "Trontah" tomorrow with my brother and Marion. Art is coming for us in his Ford Runabout. I guess it will hold the three of us all right.
That's about all the news for now.
As always, yours very sincerely, Ross.
June 11, 1917 (unmailed as too messy)
My dear Ross,
Just in from the Home Nursing exams. I took mine tonight. You know I can't stand suspense. Ethel has been in Kingsbury for the weekend. It rained all Saturday and a steady downpour for today so they were afraid to travel due to the roads, so I gladly took her place. It goes alphabetically. I am glad to have it in the background. Dr. Johnson said I was not to study for it and as it happened, I did not have time to do any study. Dr. Hayes did not have a very brilliant student, but if I get through I will be well pleased.
I am sorry to hear that you are experiencing weather like we are having in Quebec. I heard Mrs. Sauve explaining the cause tonight. It is due to icebergs along the Maritime Coast. Do you think that could affect such an interior province as Ontario.
Ethel and I had an early tea the other day and went up to Corris. It was beautiful along the river at sunset.
I really don't blame you for spending so much time at the camp. We were both wishing we could see them paddling around in boats, but nothing was in sight. It was so quiet and peaceful. Camp life has always appealed so much to both of us.
I wonder if the Seely's would loan us their cottage and old row boat.
The clock is striking 12 and I am opening the college at 8.40 (Doesn't that sound early?) I shall be wending my way up the hill at half past 8.
Do you think I would allow anyone but an accountant to help me add up my concert report sheets?
The very idea of suggesting anybody else. If the accountant is not here, Edith shall have to do her own work, poor dear.
Give my regards to your sister and tell her I am looking forward to seeing her. I meant telling you that before you left. Some other things also. But as you know, I am troubled with afterthought. It is one of the drawbacks of being of Scotch descent.
The dangerous dam at La Loutre Norman's pic
La Loutre, June 11th, 1917
Your letter of the 8th reached me last evening and I was pleased to hear from you and to learn you were well after your visit to Sherbrooke.
I am also pleased that you enjoyed your trip and to hear of the concert's success. I was patronized well.
I note what you said about bills and am enclosing my checque for 25 dollars and hope we will soon catch up with those bills.
You will have the telephone bill this month.
Did you receive my letter with the one dollar enclosed? What did you have to pay for your bag of flour? I see by the papers it's got to a terrible price.
Had a letter from Brother Gilbert last week saying they were well. I wrote him shortly after I came here saying I couldn't look after his farm and I just received his answer.
He said Mrs. Bill had another daughter about 3 weeks old and that Gordon was working in a munitions factory in Edmonton. Did not say anything about John.
(Let's jump ahead: 1921 letter to Margaret from Sophia Nicholson, Gilbert's daughter: "John is not well. Sick most of the time since coming out of the army. He has a nervous trouble, also a poisoned system so he is in soldier's hospital.
The Drs. don't seem to be able to do much for him. But now a new treatment has come out of California and seems to be helping some of the cases..")
I have written a letter to Marion at her new address. Hadn't written her since I am here.
Now about coming home to vote if there is an election. I cannot say if they will pay my way. I would be pleased to come home and vote and see you. It seems at times as if I have been away 6 months.
Flora will soon be with you for the summer.
I note what you said about Crombie and Minister MacMillan at the Assembly. If I was at home I would like to attend. I hope they will still have a Presbyterian church. I think some of the Ministers are too fresh in trying to have their own way. Presbyterianism has stood the test of time for a very long time now. To be put aside to suit some of the influential ministers. They should stop and think without the people they would have to take up another vocation to earn a living. If they had the choice they would be as bad as the Church of Rome.
You spoke of having it cold at home. If it`s anything like here it`s pretty cool. You might send me some darning yarn. Black and grey for my stockings, black and grey for my underwear. I think we will have to wear woolies all summer.
We are very busy at present, pushing the work for all it`s worth. We work Sunday most of the time, which I do not care for.
We had two bad accidents last week. One drowning body in a river. Another got crushed under a piece of rock, still living but very low.
Will be pleased to hear from you on receipt of this letter. With love to Edith and very much to yourself.
I am as ever your affectionate husband, N. Nicholson.
Marion as a younger woman of 20 or so, Norman's Conscription Registration. He was almost 70 but had to sign up.
39 York Avenue,
June 17th, 1917
Your letter came last Friday and I was glad to hear from you, for though my letters are very few I think very often of you and would be glad if you were not quite so far away. However, we can't always choose just where we would like to be, can we?
And so, I suppose, must make the best of it.
I hope that you will keep well and not meet with any accident. These big undertakings are usually so dangerous.
As you know, I sent Margaret (3 year old daughter) home (to Richmond) for a while during our moving and then went after her and had a little visit there myself.
Everything is so very late this season that everything did not look as nice as they ordinarily do, but it was nice to be out of the city.
About a week after I got back, Margaret took a bad cold which developed into bronchitis and for a while was very sick but is better now only I have to be careful of her in case she takes cold again and the weather is so very miserable that the poor child seldom gets out. She is as lively as a cricket and says that her "Bobby has gone to La Loutre on a very big boat in the big river.)
We have a very nice yard at the back of our "new house" as Margaret says, which is all fenced in so that when we get good weather, if we ever do, I will be able to let her out there to play. We took one corner of it for a small bit of farming, and put in beets, onions, carrots, lettuce and radishes. I do not know that they will be a great success, at any rate we made the trial.
Every vacant lot around the city has been utilized for gardens and I think it is more common to see people out digging and planting in these gardens than in a small town like Richmond.
Surely all these gardens producing it ought to makes some difference in the cost of certain products that is, if they all amount to anything. Some I think are making their first attempt.
You were asking where York Avenue is? Well, it is a short street that runs West of Victoria Avenue and is just below Western ave. In fact you could almost say it is a continuation of St. Catherine as St. Catherine ends at Victoria Ave and York starts just a little bit north of it in the same direction.
We all like the house and location very much, it seems to be so much nearer the city perhaps because of better car service, for the St. Catherine cars and the Windsor Cars go past our corner.
Flora's school closes Thursday and she will be going home then. I am trying to persuade Mother to come in for a visit then and leave Edith and Flora to look after things at home. I don't know that she will for she seems to think that when you are away that she must be right there or things would not get properly looked after.
Last Sunday, Benny Woodburn and his wife and little boy came in to call. I am quite near to the Mead's and Irene Field and Hugh's Aunts live on this street only a few doors away, so I have quite a little company.
There is a lot of talk here about conscription and the French are more than excited about it. I am not well enough versed in the political affairs right now to form an opinion but it seems to me that it is only a scheme of Borden's part to keep the party in power, for a great many will be afraid to oppose it.
Whether it is for the best or not, I do not know, but personally, I hope it will not go through. It seems so different when you know that it will take some of your own people.
Now I have written quite a long letter for me and I do not think there is much news in it but I send it with my love and I hope it will find you feeling well and not having to work so hard.
Edie and little Margaret and unknown woman in Richmond in probably 1917. Margaret grew up to be active in the war effort in WWII, in Yugoslavia. Edie was Red Cross Commandant for Quebec.
June 22, 17
Arrived safely, bag and baggage. Dr. McCabe, Ross and Edith met me at the train and brought me up to the house.
Some style, don`t you think to come sailing home in an auto.
So you phoned Edith, thanks very much for all your trouble. You know there is one thing I am sure of and that is my ``Ma``. Am enclosing a cheque for 10.00. Have a good time out of it and buy yourself something.
Edith has gone to the Order of the Eastern Star and GRW is calling for me and we are going down in time for the "Hun Fight".
I nearly lost half a year`s growth. I heard the kitchen door mysteriously open and close, but it was only Coupland. He is poking around in the barn. I believe he looks as if he is thinking about doing a few strokes of work.
I FORGOT THE GLOVES. They haven`t been asked for yet and take it from me, I won`t be the first to mention the question.
Don't forget my candlesticks etc. I will 'sue' you if you don't bring them.
What about the loaf of bread, or half a loaf to speak correctly, that I was promised. Never mind, I am going to make some today, myself.
Will send the ticket as soon as I get my suitcase.
Love to Marion, Hugh, Margaret and my own dear Matel Vic.
Edith was Secretary of the Richmond Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star in 1917