Throughout his letter writing Earl made many references to life in King Township. It was a way of him feeling connected to his family and King including references to Col. Pellatt's and Walter Rolling.
Quotes and Letters
Oct 24, 1916, p5
"Has Arch finished ploughing yet. It will be busy shining his traps up getting them in good working order. There is a large deer farm about half a mile from Camp, just like the deer Col Pellatt has.
Nov 19, 1916 Earl writes from Witley Camp, Surrey, England to his 14 year old sister Floss:
"I was glad to hear from you. It is the first letter you wrote to me since I came over. I was just thinking of going over and see how you were. I will keep the Honour Roll you sent me in my picket all the time. I think it is great. I guess you are not laying behind the stove after all. Kinghorn School should be proud for what it has done."
Jan 4, 1917, p. 4 Earl writes:
"You must have had a wild time that night of anniversary at Laskay. That Crooks is some guy allright. I wonder who he is after you or Annie. Vic and Ike are a good team for Pauline and Floss. They will soon be as bad as you are for getting fellows. I hear Chubby has bought Al Wells farm. I wonder who he is going to get as a chicken"
Jan 14, 1917, p.3 from Somewhere in France Earl ponders on what is happening at home:
"I suppose Dad and Arch will be hunting these days. Or are they to busy feeding the cattle. Some of these days I am going to load the rifle and take a walk up the line looking for game."
Apr 13, 1917, p.2 Somewhere in France:
"So the Bakers are moving away, by gosh it will be lonesome for me when I get back. I'll have no place to go at nights, ha-ha. And I am darn sure I will not to near Old Blake's. I hope that shell shocked old house of Burn's is there when I get back. I'll get Jean to help me to make a new one of it. I could love it quite well because I am use to them kind here."
Jun 16, 1917, p.2
"So conscription is in Canada now. Well we need men allright. But I think it will be soon be won, which we are all looking for".
p.3 "Are you real sure that Burns are building a new house."
Jul 2, 1917, Belgium, letter to Mother
"I am feeling fine working on the track every day. We are having great weather. Suppose Dad & Arch will be at the haying now. Is it a good crop this year. I wish I was home to help to draw it in. Supose you heard of Harold Boys being wounded in the arm. It is not bad. He is with us here so you see he did not have to go to the Hospital."
Jul 24, 1917, No. 6. C.C. France
"How is Harold getting along. Has he been out home lately. He knows the place well where I was wounded" "How is Dad & Arch getting along with the harvest. How many load of hay had we this year."
Jul 26, 1917, Can. Base, France
"How are you and Dad getting along harvesting? Are the crops good. Did you have much fall wheat? How are things down around Finch's way. You have started to take a short cut home from League that way so I hear. I don't know tho. Did L.Scott chase you away from his place. And I guess Tom Lawson has a fierce dog, eh. When you and Harold get out together I guess you make things fly. The French girls are tre-bon over here. But them Belgies are no bon."
Jul 28, 1917, No.7, Canadian Gen. Hospital, France
p.2 " I wrote Arch the other day. Did he get it. I wonder if he will be ready to go hunting with me when I get back. Supose you will be behind the trip rope again by now. Floss will be watching the hens from going in the barn from up that Black Cherry tree behind the barn. Is Buster very big now, He was only the size of a kitten when I saw him last week. You & Floss better keep away from Aurora when you don't know how to behave yourselves. News flys through the wind over here."
Aug 1, 1917, No.7, Canadian Gen Hospital, France
How is Harold feeling now. He told me he was going to join Caromga Army or Uncle Sams But I guess he is a wise head now. Arch is the wise one, hope he keeps that way. How is Colin's little baby. I forget if it is a boy or girl. I must write to him some of these days. I owe Ella a souviner also. Did Merle get hers. I sent a bunch of them home some time ago. And told you to send one on to Merle. Did you get the, one for Merelda, Pauline & Floss & Merle. Has Ruth come home yet. The Sisters here are nearly all from Winnipeg and Brandon.
Aug 15, 1917, Canadian Base, France
"Dear Arch, you all will be getting lots of mail from me now. I write home quite often I know. Jim Gillis will be cursing I bet. I am still at the Base. There are quite a number of the 2nd C.R.T. here waiting to be sent up the line again. Talk was going around here last night that we were to go into a Infantry draft. But I think it is all Bull. They won't get this lad into it. Anyway I am not fit couldn't carry a pack ha-ha. I hear that No. 1 Construction is down where we are. So I will see Old Wallie & Paddy, Sid and them when I get back. It seems like two years since I left them Kelly is still here. He is going up the line next week. He said yesterday whenever I write home again to tell Dad he wish he was back at King playing cards in Armstrong's Hotel. He is Corp now. But never wears the stripes. He says he has'nt time to put the stripes up. Supose you will be done with the harvest. There are great crops around here. But the heavy rain has ruined al lot of it. p.3 "Carney is in England yet. Best place for him to. Well Arch, how is the Finch family or did Hiram buy you back again."
Aug 25, 1917, Belgium
"Dear Pauline …How are you getting along with the potato bugs. No bon of a job, eh. Floss will be busy with the apples to help you. So she pass the exam allright, well done for her. She must had got down to business this last year. I was'nt there to do her work for her I see. Homework I mean. How is Arch getting along haying does he make hay while the sunshines or does he set down in the shad and smoke while it shines. Dad will be wishing the bees would swarm oftener while it is haying time. We have had it awful windy these last two days. Sometimes the wind will take your steel helmet off. Have you been down to the Exhibition this year: I thot I would be home to go to it this year. But I'll make it next year anyway. Well Pauline I will close for this time. I wrote to Merelda not long ago. Write soon. With love to all. Your Bro Earl"
Aug 27, 1917, Belgium, B.Coy, 2nd C.R.T. B.E.F written from a dugout.
"Dear Merelda ...
p.2 Have you been to the Exhibition yet? I guess it will not amount to much this year. I wrote to Miss Nelson And also wrote to Harold addressing his to Nelson's place. I have not written to May yet. I have forgotten her address. I have not heard from her since I 've been sounded. I should write to Bertha Ireland, But by gosh I have so many to write to of more importants. She will have to waite for a day or two. Tell Mother that chewing baccy was jake. Only thing it did not last very long. And that camphor is the stuff to knock them head over heels. I got rid of the brutes while in Hospital. But have plenty now tho. I think I'll make a desert some of these nights with them, ha-ha. Call it Pork & Beans. I am glad that the King football team is Champions again. I hear Arch is a whirl wind at it now. Guess Susie Kerr learns him a few good pointers at it. Well I will close now. Wishing all the best of healty. Your loving Bro. Earl." "p.s. What time did you make the 100 yds in . at Walton's picnic. Did Mother get the Cushion I sent he from the Base."
Sep 15, 1917
This is a letter that Earl received from Merelda – Earl would have had carry the letter with him until he returned home in 1919.
Just a few lines this a.m as Harold has a letter for you. So thought I write some more before he posts his. I rec'd your welcome letter last week dated Aug. 15 am glad you are well & behind the firing line & hope the weather keeps fine. We have had horrid weather here. It has rained every day for two weeks & has been very cold for Sept, but this morning looks as though it may clear up. The trees are beginning to turn their colour & everything looks like Fall . The Ex is over now. It was not so successful an affair this year as the weather was so nasty. I went down after all, did not expect to get, but Merle Hamilton wanted me to go with her - & stay at Rev. Mr. McKenzie's overnight. So went Friday a.m. missed the train Sat. night so went to
Ash's at 78 Coldman Ave off Danforth you know Pearl Ash they are living in Toronto now. So we had a good time there and Mr. Ash brought us home Sunday pm in his car. Smeltzer's two boys – the goslings – were there also. Pauline & Floss were down also. They were with Merle –Henry, Hazel & Bud – but they wrote you last week, so guess you will know how they enjoyed it.
Arch did not get down this year or Mother or Dad. Pellats party is coming up this week on the 18th So Arch is training for the races there. I'll bet you know how he makes out next time. If the weather keeps like it is –it will not be very nice. I guess I will write on both sides to make room. Harold & Kate are here now. They intend going to Cleveland for the winter & coming back next spring. Well, Earlie, you wanted some snaps of home will I asked Mary T to come over & take some of us while H & K are here & will send you them. I am sending you one taken the last Sun. Ed. Y was home. I guess you will know all of them. It was taken down by the old bridge below Hamilton's. That was washed away with the hailstorm last summer, they never built it up again, just have a little bridge farther up the creek. They intend building a cement bridge someday, when they get time. Say Earl, I don't look quite so old as the picture – ha,ha
We sent away 15 boxes last week – Kate & I packed yours. Mother will be sending you one this week & King people will be packing soon the proceeds of Pellat field day goes to the King boys about 80 of them to send to…. I guess you will have heard that C. Williams is wounded – gunshot wound in leg – not serious. He was only in France about two weeks & Sam Armstrong is wounded again, too. The war looks good these days surly old Fritz will soon give up. The Yanks are sure doing some fighting now, eh? The Fritzies can't stand out against the millions of Yankees much longer. Well Earl, I can't think of much more to say just now, so will write again this week, when we send the box and will tell you about Field day. Bert Ireland rang up Sat eve to tell us she had a letter from you – was tickled to death & Clara had one also. They wure love to hear from you. Well I am going to wash this morning so I must get at it & Harold is ready to go to King to post this – so take Best care of yourself. With love from all at home – your old Sis. Merelda. Excuse lead pencil his time…Au Revoir"
Sep 22, 1917 letter to Merelda
"Dear Merelda was very glad to hear you again. And glad Mother received her Handkerchief holder. Yes I get all your letters. Yours last night was written the 22nd of Aug. I wrote to May this morning after I got her address from you. I wrote to Harold the other day. I address it to King. Maybe he will be home to get it. How does he like harvesting again. So his back bother him yet. You must had had a awful storm around home would it kill the mangles and turnips. It is a good job the flood took Allan's bridge away. It will keep you away from Laskay for a while. And to go through Blake's is to long of away. … p.2 Clara sent me a slip of paper with poor Edith's wedding in. I did'nt seem to mind it tho. ha-ha."
Sep 25, 1917, Belgium letter from Earl to Pauline
"Mon Cher Pauline received your letter also Flossie's. I am glad you are getting all the Souviners I send home. That word Lucy Allan uses is a certainly long one. She will feel bad about poor Wallie being killed. Well suppose you had a high old time at Pellatt's. Did you do any running or are you getting to old to run. That was a very nice guy you had for the best one. McKennin is his name I think. I think I know him I met him 3 (?) years ago. Bill Wellman of my Coy is related to him someway. It is a shame about poor Edith getting married. What will I do now you will have to hunt me up one. The mail call just went so I ran like a son of a gun to see if there were any for me. I was glad to get two. One from May & one from Merelda. Merelda wrote it the 7th of Aug. It had went to the Hospital I was in and then to the Conv. Camp and then to another Hospital and then to the Base then up here to me. It was pretty well marked up. What did she put two cent stamps in it for? I got the slip about me being wounded in it. I get every thing that is sent from home. I will be looking for that box with the jar of Cherries and Berries in. Also the Black chewing gum. I had a letter from Abe Hollingshed last week. He is well He has been buried twice tho. I should write to Floss tonight. But it is getting so dark and late I guess I'll have to put it off for another time. I wish Mother would send me my sweater the Duch Belter one. That is if the war keep on for this winter. There won't be many Fritzies left next spring."
Oct 2, 1917, Belgium
"Dear Old Sis, … Suppose Dad & Arch has the wheat in. It will grow pretty good in that field because I did some good ploughing on them hills beside Harm's fence. I got the slip Pauline sent me Edie's wedding. Sorry to hear what she has done. But as you say there are two girls of the John Giplin tripe living on their place. Maybe I'll have a look in with them. So they can sing like nightingales eh. Well they will be nice to be out at nights with. I guess they will be tre-bon girls, tell them the next time you see them that I still love them yet. Did Harold and Arch run at Pellatts the 14th Sept. I am in pretty good shape for running now. Fritizies shell has me trained jake. Suppose you all were down at the Ex. How is Pauline getting along without Floss at home. I hear that both of them have fellows tell them I said they had to cut that kind of work out or I'll have to look into the matter. Have not received the box with the fruit in it yet. Tell Mother I want some money 10 dollars would do. She can take it out of my payment. Could she get it changed into English money in Toronto or in the Bank at King. It would be far easier for me to get it changed into French money over here if she could. Yes I got the 1 dollar you sent me. I tried to save it, but when I was at the Base I had to part with it. I still have the shin plaster yet tho. All my mail that was sent to me in the Hospital just arrived to me last week, nine letters. All were written in July tho. I wrote to May not long ago, also to Henry. I have not heard from Harold for a long time. Did you get the photo I sent you 5 of us chaps taken together. I will be sening you one of myself alone soon, I sent old Bert Ireland one, just so she would quit jogging my memory about it. Well Merelda I guess I wrote you enough this time, be sure and write soon. And tell the rest to. With love to all at home, Your loving Brother Earl.
How does Charlie Williams like working at Blake's. Do the girls feed him well. Tell him not to fall in love with Bert or Maggie and marry them. They would sure starve the poor fellow. That's all I am keeping shy of, ha-ha."
Oct 9, 1917
"Dear Merelda. I receive your letter of Sept 13th last night. I only got eleven pretty good eh. I had one from Annie & Clara and they were telling me about the time you & they had at the Exhibition. Clara sent me a bill of Pellatts big day. How did it come off. You all would be wishing it would be a fine day I suppose. Did Dad win the fat man's race or did he take tossing the caber. I suppose Mother, you & Pauline were in the Ladies tug-of-war team. Floss would win the girls race under 12 years of age. Did Arch and Harold do any running? If Arch would stay in at nights maybe he would win a few races. I hear from Toronto saying that he goes up the sixth quite often. That is the nights he does'nt go to Aurora.
p.2 "It will be looking like fall in Canada now. The mornings over here are quite chilly and towards night it starts and get cold. It makes me think of the mornings I use to go hunting at home. I will be glad when I get my Black sweater to war over here. Has Dad his winter cattle yet? It sure pay him to buy from Baker's. $100 dollars for a old cow is pretty good. Well Merelda I will close for this time. I have quite a few letters to answer. I'll let you know if I get the cellar of Berries &Cherries. Hope all are well at home with love to all. Bro Earl"
Oct 25, 1917 letter to Sister on p.2 Earl talks about Pellat's Field Day
'Dear Sister, … So Dad made second in the throwing the caber eh. He must be getting back to his young days again. I guess Elmer Orr is pretty hard to beat in the Sports. Arch did well to get 3rd in the 100 yds. He was up against two good runners. Tell him I said He was'nt to let that Finch beat him tho. What does Arch think of Miss Coonie out at Young St. I suppose she is some nifty eh. Pauline said in her letter that Annie Harman was inquiring about me. Good job I have her to fall back on since Edith left me to the dogs. I had a letter from May Teasdale today. She sent me some snaps of around home. And of herself & Edith. And one of Frank on horseback. He looks tre-bon with khaki on. Has Mother sent me my dutch-belter sweater yet. And the main thing some doe. (money). I expect to get 10 days leave this winter and I will need it up in Scotland & Ireland where I intend to go. I have not received the box you packed me yet. The one with the jar of honey in. And the gum Alex Walker sent me. I might have it by to-morrow night tho. Merelda, I'll have to close now the candle spilt allover my pad. And I am talking backwards. So take care of yourself. Hope all are well will write girls soon. Your Bro. Earl'
Oct 29, 1917 Belgium letter to Mother
'My Dear Mother…I just received a letter from Harold tonight. He was at Brandon When he wrote it. And was then going to Detroit and Chicago. He sent me a dollar which I am glad to get a hold of over her. Have you sent my black sweater yet. It will be a dandy one for this winter. I missed it last winter for it was very cold over here at times. I guess this war will hang on this winter allright. But I don't see how the Germans can stand it. Our bombarding is something awful. I would not want to be on the other side of it. Fritzie side. Had a letter from Jean Burns the other night. She said Jim & Wib were marked A.1. Poor chaps I wonder if they will ever get over this far. Let us hope not any way. I had a bet with Clarence Bowhey about when this war would end. He bet me last Spring that it would be over by the 1st of Nov. this year. I bet him it would'nt. So you see I have only two more days to wait for my fifty Francs. I was wishing all summer that I would lose it tho. Say Mother did you get them awful photo's of me. I may look tuff but I feel allright, ha-ha. If I ever get a leave to England I get a good one of myself. I can sure take a dandy picture because I am a nice looking fellow, allways was. Tell Alex Walker that black chewing gum was allright. It is great company while working under shell fire. I think it helps to steady ones nerves. Well Mother, it is near 8 o'clock time I was to sleep. I am writing this in my little dugout in the candle light. It is a fine home allright only room for us two. The only thing it is short of is a chunk of camphor, ha-ha. They nearly drag a fellow out the doorway. John Hacket . I will look for a letter from you soon. I will write the girls soon. Hope all are well at lhome. I am fine with love and good luck to you all. Your loving son Earl."
Jan 1, 1918
I guess Henry & Merle will be home now. Did Henry bring any cattle down to Dad. I guess they would be all of the goat breed. I wonder what you all are doing now at home. It is New Years morning over here. I guess it is the same in Canada. How many skins has Arch got? I guess Pauline & Floss get a share out of them.
Apr 1, 1918, C.C.H.
"Dear Merelda, I received your dandy fat letter of Feb 25th last-night. I am sorry you are laid up with the Grippe. How did you come to get it? Going out to much at night, I guess. I hope it is all over by now. It is a bad time of year in Canada for sickness just now. So much damp weather. I wonder what you all are doing to-day eating eggs I suppose. We here had 1 egg for our breakfast. I bet if I was home I would have you frying them all day long for me. Did Arch and the gang go out sap drinking Easter Sunday. The gang will be two missing this year Sid Williams and myself. I told Mother in my last letter I receive the box from Charlie. I still have remains of it yet. Did Mother get any more letters from Nurse Waring. She was a wonderful fine Nurse. Gosh I was sure sorry when I had to leave that Hospital. Who ever told Colin I was wounded again. I am sure I did'nt tell him. I am sure some of my letters have went astray. Because I sent Pauline a photo of a Jane mine in Toronto dressed in a Nurse's uniform. Yes Merelda that 6 penny piece I got in the Christmas pudding sure brought me some good luck. Now don't any of you believe this until you hear for sure that it is the truth"
Apr 1, 1918, C.C.H., Monks Horton, Kent
p.4 How did the surprise party come off at Richard's. Arch would make a pull that night I guess. It will help to buy himself a pair of waders to go fishing up to the Lakes. He will be a swell with his new teeth. I know I thot I was when I first had mine in. I had 3 taken out not long ago. Am getting some more in. The hardtack was awful hard on my teeth. The back ones were all cracked and they would certainly give me jip when ackeing. So I decided I would put a stop to em. Has Henry got a farm yet. He will have to hurry up. Skunks will soon be holeing up for the summer. I suppose it will soon be spearing fish time now. Gosh I wish I could only get home in time for that. I bet I would be spearing now. Four eyes are better than two, ha-ha. Has Charlie Williams left for England yet? If he has gone will you let me know his address of what Camp he is at. I will go and see him. Will tell him what to do. I wish Smupe Sinclair not bad luck but I wish he is sent right over to the line. He could be sure of frightened a hundred or two Germans to death. Well Merelda I think I have wrote a big letter this time. I am sending this one without a stamp on, let me know if you received it. Tell Merle I am looking for a letter from her soon. Write soon and tell all to write.
Best Wishes and Love to all
Your Loving Bro.
Sap. E. Campbell
C.C.H. Monks Horton, Kent
I don't know if I will be at this place long. But I will be here for 3 weeks anyway. My mail follows me right along."
Apr 21, 1918, Monk's Horton, Kent, England
P.4 ... Has Dad sold his big cattle yet? You shouldn't squeeze the things out of their backs. They would help to make them weigh heavier. Did you ever get a black eye from doing that. I came very near once, ha-ha. I guess that is how Dad got his blacken this winter.
I can't get on track of the big cow. Boy atall. I wrote to No. 4 General Hospital, Bassingstoke. But have no answer yet. Maybe he is on his way to Old Canada. Well how is Floss and Hazel getting along at school. Floss will sure to spoil Hazel as school You should have had seen the letter she wrote to me about what she does at school when Wab is over at Hollingshead's getting his cup of tea. She is a real Bob Carney. I guess poor Bob is in France by now.
I have found a P.P.C.L.I. lad that knew Aubrey Marshall real well. He was in his Coy. The 14 of Sept at Moque Farm he lost track of Aubrey. This fellows home is in Sutton. He thot a lot of Aubrey. And was surprise when I told him that he was killed the night the P.Pats when over the top at M.F. He thot that Aubrey had got to Canada. This chap will be sailing for Canada soon. All the first Contingent are getting 3 months leave to Canada. Those that are left are very few. Well Pauline I have wrote you a long letter this time. Your eyes will be sore reading it. So had better close. Hope you are all in the best of Health and I hope to see you all soon. Au Revoir, Loving Bro. Earl."
May 30, 1918, letter to Earl from Merelda in King.
We are fortunate that Earl kept and returned home with one of the letters written by his sister. In her letter Merelda writes about the young 19 year old boys being drafted and sent overseas to fight. She mentions by name a number of young men who have been drafted under the Military Service Act. She gives us a first-hand account of life in King Twp and Canada during the war. Merelda also voices her opinion on the Government and on Earl's love life and marrying when he is overseas.
"My Dear Brother Earl,
Your letters to Mother & myself arrived today. We are all very sorry you have to go back to France – but cheer up, dear boy. We will all be praying for your safe return to Canada before long. Everyone things the war will be over soon. There are so many men leaving Canada now, also U.S.A. all men are called up & in A.1 training. They are calling up B. men the 19 year old boys now. The next class is all men from 19- to 45. There is sure awful times in Canada, now. I have never told you before about it Earl. When you were sick, but I had better tell you now. There will be a rebellion in Canada before long if the ??it does not change, terrible hard times here. People can hardly afford to live. Meat & flour is so high & we are only allowed a little of it & sugar you can hardly get at all. Oh everything is gone up so high & they are taking all the men off the farms even. Archie has to go. He went to Niagara to train yesterday. We are going to do everything to get him off. Have a lawyer employed & are doing everything the poor dear boy does not want to go. It seems so hard to see boys who do not want to go be forced to. Dave Robb is in the same fix as Archie his only brother is in France his Mother & two sisters left to work the farm of 100 acres. They are appealing his case too. The Military Service Act exempted the sole remaining son of military age with a brother overseas, disabled or killed. So Archie & Dave stand a good chance of getting off if the Gov't keep their word, but they are a rotten bunch of liars. Conscription would have been a good thing if they had left it as they promised to before the election, promised to leave one able-bodied man on 100 acres but they are not doing it. I went down with Archie Tues night. We stayed at Harold's all night & all went with him to the boat. There were a lot of boys from around here going over in A.1 class between the ages of 20 & 23. There were Archie, Pick McQuarry, Jack Orr, Fred Judge, George Miller from Pellats, Bert Snider a Kaake boy, a Woods from Nobleton. The two Hillard boys & a Gunn Boy an Ireland from Kleinburg & Wilson from Teston & two or three hundred I did not know. Those are all ?? f. fellows Ralph Gillies, two Wells boys, Art Bovair & Billie Grey got in the artillery & train at Ax. Camp. B. class have all to report next week. Jim & Lucky Burns have to go in that. Art Gillham & lots more. I will be glad to see a lot of that class go especially those that spouted so much for conscription. Norman McMurchy & Burns, etc. Orrs they never though they would have to go but like to see our nice young boys go. The 19 yr. old boys have to report before the 15 June – Ed Lloyd, Jack Hamilton, Jess Richards, Alfred Gillham, Vick Orr, Ike McQuarry, Harold Cain, Dick Williams & lots more. Ed. Teasdale's bunch left for Eng. Y yesterday. I had a letter from C. Williams today. He hates Eng. & all English things – also had a letter & photo of Fred Young to Pauline. Fred is a find looking fellow now. I hope he gets back to Canada safely.
Now dear Earl. I am going to say something you will not like, but it does not matter. You will Thank me for it later. About that girl, you imagine you are in love with, don't you believe it. You have got roped in, the same as so many of our Canadian boys do. Harold says he was roped in the same, but got wise to it in time, before he got married to her. Also, Katie's brother he wrote home telling them off the sweet little girl he was going to marry & first thing he found out she was a married woman & had just wanted his money & succeeded in getting it too. Ask F. Platt what he thinks of the Eng girls, also Harper Wells & lots more – oh yes the Eng. Girls have lively charming ways & are sure looking out for husbands & to get their way paid to Canada, but their ways are not like our ways, they are only laughed at here & looked down on. Harold says they are alright in Eng but no good here & Archie says for you not to bring any Babe over here. The Eng. Girls know there will be nothing for them but old maids after the war is over & are looking out for a soft snap by getting some rich Canadian so they imagine, but Earl, you must think of the future, Canada is on the verge of a rebellion. The returned soldiers can't get work – living is most terribly high – farmers can't get help only 16-18 yr. old college boys & girls – imagine what they can do re the farm. Earl if you brought a wife home to Canada you could not keep her- & she could not do farm work - & Earl, if Arch has to go to the war, our farm will be sold. Dad won't work it himself & can't so Earl think seriously before you marry a wife. Anyway Earl you are so young to marry, only 23. I guess you feel old. Harold got married young & he is not getting on very well. Katie is working out now in a candy store & Harold is off work half the time, the gas is effecting him more now than it did before. So Earl have all the good times you can with the girls over there, but don't marry them or bring them to Canada & think of the nice girls here of your own kind who will be able to take care of you, & will have money too & it is a returned soldier they all want. If that girl really & truly loved you – you would not be spending your hard earned money on her – she would give you her money instead, it is her right to pay for things instead of yours.
Harold if you brought an old country girl here, she would be looked down on their ways are so different from ours. Mother will send you $5.00 this time & will send more soon. It is all she has in the house at present, & we will send you a box too, but Earl be sure & spend your money on yourself. Now Earl I hope you are not angry with me for this, but think twice before you do such a thing as get married. We shall be worrying over you until you ans. This & hoping it is not too late. Harold promised me to write you & tell you not to have any old country girl. You are too good for them. Of course you are your own boss but you can imagine what Daddie says about it. I am afraid to tell you & poor Mother is awfully worried about it. It was noised around that Lorne was married to an Eng. Girl, but is not true – it sure ws the talk of the country. Uncle Aaron was awful mad about it. I am so glad it wan't true. Well dear boy, you will think I am an awful crank, but perhaps some day you will think all the more of me for it. It is for your own self I am thinking. If the girl was an heiress it would be different but quite likely she is a poor working girl, looking out for someone to keep her. After the war it will be hard for anybody to make a living, every body is being ruined by this awful war. Canada is altogether different from what it was when you went away & will be worse soon. There will be a rebellion before another year if you could only see the newspapers, but the Gov't will not allow us to send newspapers to Eng. So the post masters tell us. If my letter was read, I guess I would land in jail for calling the gov't rotten, but it's true, Canada is going like Russia went in govt. The poor class are being kept down & the rich men can get their sons out of the army some way or other, but the poor fellows have to go. This country will run by Jews & other foreigners soon. They are not conscripted.
Now dear boy, I have said enough perhaps too much. Now ans. Soon we shall be praying & thinking of you all the time & hoping the letter is not to late.
Best love & wishes from your loving sister"
May 31, 1918 letter from Earl's sister Merle voicing her opinion on Earl's upcoming marriage and the conditions at home.
"My Dearest Bro,
I have been thinking so much about you lately that I just have to write to you. I have been sick in bed for three days so am pretty shaky yet, but hope you can read this letter. I just heard yesterday that you were thinking about getting married, but my dear brother don't you do it for married life is hard- even if you do get the best girl in the old country she is not good enough for you. You were always such a good hearted kid besides if you come home single we can all help you along for a year or so you know if you are crippled you would have lots of homes to come to and welcome but if you had a wife it would be different then after you are back for a while and get good & strong then take some good Canadian girl. I have lived among so many English, Irish & Scotch girls in the West and there is not one as good as a Canadian. Now my dear brother take your big sisters advise and don't get tied up. Look at Harold he is worried to death trying to make enough to pay for two rooms, if he wasn't married he could often be at home for a rest but you know Daddy never did like strangers around long. We have always tried to pay for our board in some way when we are there.
It is for you own good I am telling you all this for times are so hard in Canada now we haven't made a cent since the war started and you know Henry always was a good rustler. Of course we have had so much expense, doctor bill, moving and everything costs so much to live. Just think we are paying 50 cts a lb for butter, 50 cts a dozen for eggs and 2 dollars for a piece of beef that lasts about too days and they will not sell anyone living within a mile from the store any more than 25 cts worth of sugar that is just four cups full. Just yesterday Henry was in Toronto to the Dr. and he was talking to a returned soldier & he was awful mad. He said he got married in England just a month before he came home to the nicest sweetest girl over there then last week she gave birth to a baby. It belongs to some other man, but the poor soldier cannot do anything it is too late now. SO he will have to dig into the work & support his wife and someone else's kid. It seems too bad for a soldier certainly deserves an easy time – after they come back if- any one does. Harold could have worked with Henry or Colin this spring & had a far easier time than in the city if he hadn't been married. Now my dear good hearted brother don't be vexed with me for I think far too much of you to let you do such a foolish thing without trying to stop it.
I suppose you know that Archie is at Niagara we don't know if we can get him exempt or not yet. I hope so for Mother's sake. It will go hard with her to loose another boy. And Daddy intends selling out if Archie has to go and the girls will have to get positions. Pauline & Floss will be good for office work or anything but Merelda is not very strong. I don't think she could stand a steady job. Pauline has been staying with me since I got sick. I just caught cold & it settled in my side & I couldn't walk but I am getting along fine & I guess Pauline can soon go home for they are milking a lot of cows & Dad needs her to help him since Arch is away. I will close now for you will be tired of reading this. Please write soon. Henry joins in love to you.
Jul 1, 1918 Letter from Earl's mother
"Dear Son Earl I was so glad to get your letter and the card you sent to Arch and Pauline. I got the mail out of the box today and I opened the letter so I though I would answer for them this afternoon. I am all alone today except for Buster and 4 horses and fifteen pigs and seven cattle and about sixty hens and chickens and three geese and twenty goslings. The rest of the family are gone to Aurora to the Sports. I don't thin they will have a very good time as it is very windy and cold today, rain this morning.
Well Earl I hope you are well. Harold is home with is wife a few days. Harold does not look very well to me. But he says he feels well, I think if you were at home Harold would soon be all right. Harold tell sme to tell you that you better stick to your old Company. He says the Highlanders are very dangerous, they are rough lot of men. They get the roughest to do. Can't you get some office work if they can't let you come home. I wrote to you about two weeks ago and sent five dollars to you I will send you another five soon as I can get it posted. They tell Harold wrote a letter for you yesterday and sent you a snap shot picture of him selft and Kate with his uniform on they are both laughing. Dad and Arch started the hay last Thursday, hay is not very good this year – the other crop looks not to bad. Well Earl you will no before this that conscription is trying to talk our last boy away from us, but we have appealed his cases to the Head Commanding Officer. He says we have a sure case if any one has. Se we are doing all we can to keep Arch at home. Arch don't want to go he nows Dad can't get along without him and Harold is not able yet to do all the work you see. Dad will be sixty three. Now my Dear boy you must take the best of care of your self. I hope you will soon get home to take care of me. I will help you all I can. I am thinking times are going to be tough until our boy soldiers get home. If thye take many more away that is if they take many more of the farmers, the people are going to try to get the eimigrants out of the country and keep our Canadians tht is the famers.
Well Earl Dearest I will have to stop as it is near milking time and I am alone to-day. SO you write me often you can write nicer then I can. So good by from your Mother.
Take care of your self, by, by Love"
Jul 2, 1918 letter to Merelda from Earl – p. 1 is missing
p.3 "Did you capture the den of foxes yet. Floss said she was watching the youing ones one day. She had better watch the young gosslings. No wonder the game is getting plentiful, the best hunter has left the Country. But he will be home again. D.1 is what I am, that is as good as A.2 in Canada."
Jul 7, 1918 letter from Merle to Earl
"p.3 Daddy has quite a lot of his hay cut & in. Henry hasn't started at his yet we haven't very much & it will be a long time before the harvest will be ready. He has been making fence & having the root patch. Today he went to Kleinburg and bought eight hens. Road-Island Reds. Walter said they are just like old yellow skin. I hope they lay well for eggs are 40 cts. a dozen. The center-piece you are sending to Ella will sure be worth having. I am going up to see it if she tells me when it comes. It will certainly be a great souiveneir.
I don't think any of your letters written in England have been censored. Are ours censored when you get them? I guess I will close now for I done a big washing & the bed looks tempting so will write more next time. Hope you are real well & will not have to go back to the Front. From your loving Sis, Merle"
Jul 8, 1918, King from Hazel age 9 years of age is the daughter of Earl's sister Merle.
"Dear Uncle Earl,
I received the hankerchief and the letter. Thanks ever so much it is a beauty. You must have known when my birth was. My holldays have started now. And I passed with honner into the Sr. II. My theacher is leaving. So will have a new teacher. The 1st of July we went to Aurora and I ran 2 races but did not win. I ran in the boat race and came in third but there was just 1st and 2nd prize…. And came in first and got 75 cents. We were picking blackcurrents today when I go back to school I will have a new room. For they are tareing down my room. When we go over to gramma's they want me to stay and I was over and stayed 3 days. Marshal and I are going over to gramma's some day soon. Marshall and Ruth were down Friday. It is getting late so will close. Write soon as you can. By Hazel Hambly, King, Ont."
Aug 19, 1918, King letter from Mary L. to Earl
Received your letter and was very glad to hear from you . I was sorry to hear you went back to France. I was down to your place last Friday (16th) for my music lesson. Pauline was helping with the harvest. She was a good farmerette. She had the overalls on anyway. It is wary day here, but not as warm as we have had. We are drawing in today. We will be through soon. The farmers around here have started threshing and that stops the harvest. It won't be long until exhibition time. I think I am going down for a day. I was glad when holidays came. I was down in the city for two weeks. You should not make fun of our school photos. Flossies and mine are the best of the rest ha-ha. I will get a snap taken of myself sometime and send it to you. There has been a great many of the boys called up. Most of them has until November. Two boys up the sixth has to go the first of September. I never saw Charlie Williams in his uniform. Did you see Ed Teasdale over in England. Well I think I will have to close for now.
Yours truly Mary L."
Aug 25, 1918 postcard sent to Earl from his brother Harold
[2 postcard images]
Aug 28, 1918, King letter to Earl from his half brother Colin. Martha (McMurchy) Campbell was the mother of both Earl and Colin. Colin's father was Alexander who died in 1882. Martha then married his brother Jerome, who was Earl's father.
Your letter dated July 12 from France arrived here in good time, and we were glad to hear that you were well. And I suppose by this time you will be dodging shells of all description. Although by the papers the German gunners are getting shaky, we are glad. Can't say how glad to see the Allies are winning now. First the Americans trounced them, then the French, now the British are hitting them heard. And the Canadians: Biff: The news today is that they have broken the first line of the old and famous Hindenburg line. Well I hope they keep them on the run till they reach the Rhine. When we could "Wind up the watch on the Rhine", etc. I would'nt imagine your work would quite so dangerous in an advance as it would be in a retreat. But then there is no telling I suppose.
Well we have finished the harvest but among the first to do so there is large quantities of grain out yet. The threshers are all busy. Henry H. threshes tomorrow if its fine. He and I changed work this summer got along fine. Of course you know Henry and Merle live in King City now and has bought the Nightingale place as well so his ranch as he calls it adjoins ours on the south, he keep the black polled Angus cattle.
I suppose you will know that Arch has been granted extension of leave until the 1st of Nov and a good number of others as well, so after all their howling the farmers have got off mighty easy I think. There isn't a bunch of men in Canada that can make as big a holler, over a small thing as a bunch of farmers can. I am just as glad as anyone that Arch has practically been released and the other fellows as well as Arch, but it's the darned narrow, selfish spirit that so many have shown. I don't mean Arch is that, so many of the boys in the class called out, but it's the older men owners of farms and employers of help. These are the men that I call narrow & selfish. They are afraid they won't have the chance to make such big money if they loose some of their help of course they say they are producers. Yes for the money there is in it for them. Then there are others that are endeavouring to make political capital out of it. Calling down the Government for forcing men to fight, finding fault with the conscription of food & daylight saving: complaining about the way returned soldiers are treated, etc. I think men that talk and act like that in a time like this, are anything but Patriotic.
Well Earl I hope you still pull through, the men that are overseas are keeping the name of Canada bright whether the ones at home do or not. And it may be that the war will not last many months longer. Of course (It's a long, long way to Berlin) yet I think the Hun will cave in before we reach Berlin. Ella is writing some. So I will close.
Wishing you the best of luck and safe return home. I am … Bro. Colin"
Aug 28, 1918, King letter to Earl from Ella. Ella writes of the drowning in King of Gilpin boy and also mentions the death of Neil McMurchy.
I am sorry I have been so long in letting you know I got that lovely centerpiece you sent over. It certainly was good of you to work it for sure, I know from looking at it that it must have taken a lot of patience and time to complete it so perfectly, we have it on our parlour table and it looks very pretty; I suppose you do not get time for any such work now, nor would you have the material to work with. I don't get time either for fancy work now either, although I am very fond of it, I was out picking berries early very day for two weeks, of course just a part of each day. I preserved 35 qts of berries besides what we used on the table with was three times a day often, and in pies; so that wasn't so bad was it for being alone and having a baby to take care of. Of course she plays out of doors a lot with the other two, they were greatly dissppointed this morn they were to go to your Mother's today with Hazel and so went to bed early to have a good rest ready for the walk, and Henry rang up after they were asleep and said they would be threshing so they could not go, but anyway it is wet and so they are not threshing and the children are better at home. I guess Baker's lived up the 6th when you went away, didn't they? There is another family there now Gilpins is their name, and a couple of weeks ago one of their boys a lad 16 years old went to Boys lake on Sunday to have a swim, he and the ?? boy of McCallums, and somehow, no one knows what happened, but the Gilpin boy was drowned, the other lad was so frightened he went all the way home before telling anyone to try to get him out. Also Neil McMurchy who has been sick so long, is dead. He is to be buried tomorrow.
Well I guess Colin has told you all the other news, and this letter willlikely be pretty full so I'll close. Yours with love, Ella"
Sept 2, 1918 King letter from Merelda to Earl. Merelda mentions Jimmy Gilpin drowning at Boys Lake and Neil McMurchy dying.
"Dearest Bro Earl
Again I sit down to write to you. We have had no word from you for two weeks but perhaps it will come tomorrow. The Br. Mail has been very unregularly lately for some reason or other. The girls wrote you last week. I was over at Merle's helping with the threshing & then Harold was home all week, so I did not a letter to you last week, but will make up for it this time. There has been lots doing this last week. Exhibition is on again none of us have been down yet too busy to go. Dad & Arch have been seeding. Sowing wheat in the field by Walkers. Scotts were threshing today. So Arch was there nearly everybody is through harvesting now. Only Burn's & ?? Archie & Harvey Folliott. He has no man now. He had two different fellows this summer but both left him did not get enough to eat. Ha-ha. Also had to work too long of hours. Harold was home all last week but Kate was up at her home. Her Mother is very sick so Kate could not leave her. So Harold went up there on Friday. So you see he can't stay away from her a week, ha-ha. They will both be here again the last of the week. Jim want's Harold to go to Cleveland for the winter. He said he could get him a good job in a store if he would go. So I guess they will go for a while. They are going to send all their furniture out to their house at King & will likely come back in the Spring, but Harold had not decided to go to Cleveland yet. I wish he would stay in King. I think I told you in another letter that Arch got off until 1st Oct but expect he will get off for good because Dave Robb did. There will be lots have to go by 1st Oct. All the old the A.1 over 23 yrs. also B men. J & W Burns, N. MacMurachy, Jack Murray, Stanley Watson & Cain, Ab Kerr, Elmer Bryson, & lots more. Art Bovair is in Eng. Now. He & Henry met there somewhere. I guess the girls told you about the sad accident at Boys Lake last Sun. About Jimmy Gilpin being drowned there. There was no one with him but Roy McCallum (dummy). He was in the water two hours before they found him & then there was a boy drowned at Wilcox lake about a month ago. Jones from the 3rd, 18 years old. J. Gilpin was only 16 years but big for his age. Neil McMurchy died last week. He was suffering a long time with a cancer and old Betty McCallum at Kinghorn died last night. She is 93 yrs -& has been sick all summer. Now I have been telling you all about funerals – so will change the subject to weddings. You can't guess who so I'll tell you - & I don't take a fit about it. Old Kate Ross & a Mr. Port of Toronto. Her first cousin & older than herself & she is 49 years some Bridal couple, eh? Also Mr. Herb Ross & Mary Chamberlain of Nobleton – not quite so old, eh. Hopes for me yet, eh? Ha-ha. When K.R. care get a man surly I can don't you think so. Pauline & I went up to Newmarket with Willis last Sat. night. We sent to see the ??? at the ?? House there. We sure had some time too. They are good old sports, ha-ha, but brave old warriors. We are going to have Field Day on the 18 Sept. at Pellats & expect a big time. The sports start at 11.30 and there is to be a supper, concert & dance admission to all $1.25 it will break me alright. I'll send you a Bill as soon as they are printed. The Queens Own Band has to supply the music. Col. Pellat is getting home on furlough & they expect him there. Old Sir Henry is helping this year so expect it will be a success. There is to be all kinds of sports, football, baseball, racing, throwing the caber, climbing the greasy pole & etc. Dad is practicing throwing the caber & Arch is training for the races. He is going in the mile race against E. Orr, D.McMillan, ?? cousins. Bill Trent & Finch. He would have beat Dan at Aurora on the 1st of July if there had been fair play. There is to be a relay race too. Arch, Cuttie & Trent against E. Orr, Dan & Vic. Orr. It will be some race alright. I wish you could be there to beat them all, eh? The proceeds all go to the King boys. We will have a time packing boxes then. There was 78 boxes sent last year after Pellats field day and this year there are more boys to pack for because they send to all that's gone from King community. We had a League social at Laskay last Thurs. We made $23.00 are going to pack boxes next Tues so you'll get another one. I am Presd of the Social Com now so I'll see that there's lot of boxes sent, ha-ha. I wonder if you got our last box with a suit of underwear in it and did you get the $20.00 yet. It was sent from the Bank a quicker way of sending registered. I guess I'll write on both sides so the letter will not be overweight.
I was down to Maple Sunday night with Uncle Fred's. We went to Keys I expect to go up to Downie's next Sun with Dew's. Lillie Patton is teaching up there at Castlederg now. Barbara McCallum has got New Scotland school. Miss Clark from Uxbridge is at Strange and Mrs. Waterdown has the little room at King. Her husband is at the Front. Ethel Brown has the big room again and Miss Logan is down the sixth. You know school starts tomorrow. It will seem queer for us not to have anyone going to school Floss can't go to Kinghorn anymore. She passed her public school graduation so I don't know if Mother & Dad will let her go to Business College or what. They say perhaps she & Pauline can both go for a three month course after Christmas same as Clara Ross did. Clara is working in the city now. She has a good job. Mary Sturdy is still in Bank at King. And intends going back University in Oct. She will be trying for her B.A. there. You know she got sick studying so hard & had to stay home over a year. Dear sweet little Aggie Allen the hat maker has gone to St. Catherine's for the Fall session. The rest of the girls are still around. There is quite a bunch when they are all counted up. All old maids to. I guess Kate & Jean Burns, Annie S., Ruley (?) Holt, Susie Finch & Maizies & we three gawks. Merle & Dollie & Lucy, Gertie, Mary T & Mary & Marjory, Mae, Rita & Ava. Jean Patton, Bert Patton is home now too. All the Strange bunch. Also a big bunch at King Rena Lloyd & Maud are both home now & Lorna & Leddie C. Josie & Blanch & Gladys Egan, Annie Bates is back again & Jean & Edith McDonald & Irene. Mary Curtis& Ralph Burns are to be married soon & oh there are the Watsons girls left too Minnie & Eva & Floss Cain another old maild. Her hubby got married to another girl that's worse than being killed at the war, isn't it. Arch & Roberta had a fight. He goes up to Aurora again & when he doesn't go there he goes to Simmons up the hill at Laskay he get his old boots mended free. Doris Merchant is around again she is an awful pretty girl just looks like Wallace. But is going back to Toronto to work was only home for a month.
Mary Lawson was here for her music lesson & she said she had a letter from you & was tickled half to death over it. She answered it, and was looking for another one, so be sure & write to her if you get time. Oh, say Earl I went up to the see that centerpiece you made for Ella. Say, it is just great, however could you make it so good. You'll have to learn me when you come home and wherever did you get the sea-shells. Ella is awful pleased about you sending those things to her. She would'nt take anything for that centerpiece. I wouldn't either if it was mine to think who it was that made it. Did the nurse's learn you how to make it when you were in the hospital.
Tues. morn. Well Earl, I did not get your letter finished last night, so I'll finish it now. I must have it off with the mail today. It is raining this morning the men will not be able to so today. Old Betty's funeral is today to King Cemetery. I guess we will be going, Mother & Dad anyway. That will be three funerals in King cemetery in a week. (Jimmy Gilpin, Neil McMurachy, & Betty). Old Jim Ferguson looks after the graves now. He will be busy. He will be making lots of money. Will be able to marry again. That will be another classy wedding. He & Annie Glass that's right …ha-ha. The young girls can't get married until after the war, so lots of chances for the old ones, ha-ha. Flo McCallum is still single. I guess she'll be next. Well Earl, you'll think I am crazy for sure, but I want to fill up the 14 pages & have told you all the news's, so have to write nonsense. Have you had your leave to cities in France yet is so where did you go & I hope you had a good time. Also hope you get the $20.00 in time to enjoy it. I guess the weather will be cold over there now, is it? I am glad you are working on the wide gauge back of the lines. I see you have a new censorer & I guess he reads every word. I wish he could read my letters to you. I bet he would be sorry, ha-ha. Now ole boy I must close – so write soon & take best care of yourself. Love from all at home. Your old sis Merelda."
Sep 30, 1918, King Letter from Pauline to Earl
Thought I had better get to work and write a few lines to you or you saying I never write to you. How do you like spiking on the rail track. I am a pretty good hand at that for I had all the chicken coops and hen-houses to fix and make warm for winter. I have fifty-three chickens this year. And mind you ma found a hen setting yesterday on nine eggs. So we will have chickens in the winter time, what do you know about that.
We are through with our grain thrashing and had a good turn out. We had pretty nearly 60 bags of goose-wheat off five acres of land. Do you call that good? We had a days of trashing. Harry Ireland thrashed for us. He has Billy Hams other machine. But we will have a days thrashing of Alsax of red clover. I just got through raking up the clover to-day. When I was raking Dad calking up and Arch ploughing. We saw a returned soldier coming toward us. He was lame and wanted to sell a magazine. Well he went to Dad and he never knew him till he got pretty close and then he came across to see if I would buy one and I never knew him till he spoke. And Arch never knew him either. Guess who it was? Floss dressed in Harolds returned clothes. She sure did look like a little boy about sixteen. We are going to get some pictures taken of a returned soldier and a conductor taken to-gether and we will send you one and see if you know who they are. Well the picnic at Sir. Henry's is over. There was a big crowd there. King got up a team of football with Hope and King men and they played Green River but got beat three to one. King beat Pellets 3-0. They would have beat only Dan McMillen & Elmer Orr would not play good as they were saving themselves for the races which of course they got. Arch did not go in the races as he got kicked playing football. There was a mile race and Elmer Orr & Lev & Frank Cull went in that & Dan McMillen too I think. Lev got second anyway. I got first & Floss got second in the Ladies race free for all. There was about a dozen went in it. And Floss & I was eating our supper I think, when the rest got to the handkerchief. Aint I some blow, ha-ha. I got three dollars & Floss got two dollars. We haven't spent it yet. We will save it for Xmas I guess. Harold & Kate has gone to Cleavland to May's for the winter. Jim told Harold he could get him a job for the winter and they could live with them free. We had 3 cats, two old cats- Rory O'Flinn & Tinker Tory and a little yellow kitten, Lony, and Dad took Rory away to King for it was eating rabbits ( the usual cats food) and in a week back comes Rory. We were bound it wouldn't go away again. But there is more little rabbits and its was eating them so Dad took it off to-day in the buggy. And if it comes home again it can stay for goo. For not many cats are so wise as Rory O'Flinn. There are about fifty pigeons yet. But they had to make near all their own nests as Earl wasn't here to do it for them. But he will be hear next yea, if all is well won't you old boy. Well I think this is a great big letter for me have written so will ring off for this time. Hoping you are in the best of health and enjoying life. Love from all at home and write soon to your loving Sister Paul. Annie Harman is a very nice girl."
Sept 30, 1918, King Letter to Earl from Merelda. In her letter Merelda mentions C. Williams, Bert Kelly & Sam Armstrong being wounded. She also mentions Carlton Crossley being in Egypt. Carlton's son Allen ended up marrying Earl's daughter Shirley. Merelda also mentions in her letter about the Government restricting Sunday driving to going to church or the Drs. "But the govt has stopped Sunday car-driving in order to save gasoline. That is one good thing they have done, because it's only the people who have no one at the Front who have cars & nearly every Sunday they would be off joy riding some place or other. So I am glad the govt has done that much good. They can go to church in their car or for the Dr., but no joy riding". Merelda also records the price of eggs, sugar and flour. She mentions as well that Susie & Fred Willis adopted a young boy, age 9 and girl from Alberta. Their Mother had died several years ago and the Father was recently killed at the Front.
"My Dear Brother
Again I write a few lines to you hoping it finds you as well as it leaves us. Pauline & Floss are writing you tonight also so guess you'll get lots of news this time. Dad is out robbing the bees tonight. Mother is sewing & Arch is in bed & we girls are writing to you. Harold & Kate left last Thurs for Cleveland so it is very lonely at home now. They intend staying there until Spring, although Harold has to come back on the 13 Dec for another board & to get his pension also. So will be home for Xmas, but guess Katie will stay there until Spring as it costs so much for both to come & then they have a lot of bother crossing the line now in war time. No one but returned soldiers can go to U.S. now unless it is to enlist in the American Army. Jim had to register last month expect he will be called up any time for the next draft from the States. They take married men & single alike over there. I sincerely hope he does not have to go or May's & the kiddies ?? as well as his own. Well Earl you will be glad to hear that Arch has got off until further called for. But he has to report at Toronto every four months. 1st Jan, April, Aug unless he is called up again. So that is great relief to us. He & Dave Robb got the same. There will be a great many shaking in their boots on Nov. 1st. Nearly all the fellows left around have to report then. I guess you will have heard that Charlie Williams is wounded & back in Eng. He was only in trenches about a week. His leg is broken. I do not know what hospital he is in yet, but will get his address from his home & write to him. Bert Kelly & Sam Armstrong were both wounded again & back in Blighty. Carlton Crossley is in Egypt in the (sea-plane) whatever you call it & Gamie is still in Eng on sick leave. Lorne & McKittrick are still training in Eng. I seen a picture of them taken together in France last week at Uncle Aarons.) But I guess you hear more of the boys over there than we do . So I'll tell you what goes on at home instead. Well, yesterday was Rally Day at S.S. all the S.S. scholars took part in the service. The church was decorated with Flags & leaves & flowers. It looked real nice. All the girls were in white with wreaths of leaves & flowers on their heads, they sang & recited little pieces. Next Sun. in the Presb. Anniversary in Laskay they are getting Aurora choir or else the orchestra to give the music & a Mr. McDonald of Toronto to preach. I guess there will be a crowd as everybody to church now as there is nothing else to go to. But the govt has stopped Sunday car-driving in order to save gasoline. That is one good thing they have done, because its only the people who have no one at the Front who have cars & nearly every Sunday they would be off joy riding some place or other. So I am glad the govt has done that much good. They can go to church in their car or for the Dr., but no joy riding. Well there were two weddings last week. Herb Ross & Mary Chamberlain and Kate Ross & Mr. Park of Toronto, her cousin. Some youthful brides and grooms, eh! Geroge Williams is married. I think I told you before though. Well he is going to work Aunt Barbara's farm next year. What do you think of that, he is going on the farm to keep out of the army is wife is a city girl so you can imagine how they will get along farming. Poor George. I wish him all good luck. Harry & his wife are both working in munitions in Toronto.
Old Mrs. Ferm of King was buried yesterday & old Mr. Wells (Mrs Neil McMurachy's father) was buried on Sat. quite a number of the old people have died this summer. Mrs. Harvey Folliott has a young son. They call it Bruce Henry. Susie & Fred Willis have adopted a boy, he is nine years old & looks quite a bit like Norman. He is from Alberta, his Mother died a long time ago & his father was killed at the Front. There is a little girl too. They are going to take her also. Bolton Fair is today & tomorrow, Woodbridge is on the 12 & 14 of Oct., Thanksgiving Day again. Schomberg is the last of Oct & Newmarket is over it was last Wed, Thur & Fri. It was awful weather for it rained on Wed , snowed Thur & was cold & windy Fri. All Sept has been very cold & wet hope it is warmer in Oct. The ploughing match is 31st Oct down the fifth at Weldricks. I guess we will go there, ha-ha. Paul & Floss will be crazy to go anyway. You know young Ellesworth is ??? them. He got out of the army for a while, was put in C. Category . So you can give them dig about it. Don't tell I told you,ha-ha.
Well Earlie we got the threshing done last week, the grain turned out good, but we have the alsae to thresh yet. Had a good crop of it this year. It is worth $14.00 bu. Now. Daddie was teaming out wheat last week. He got $2.05 bu for it that is govt price. The govt set a price on everything now & just allows us so much flour & sugar & meat. Of course we can eat all the vegetables we like, but we can only buy 25 cts worth of sugar a week & have to use corn and barley flour with the white. Eggs are 50 cts a doz. & butter .48 a lb. It must be hard for city people to live, but I don't care if we have to live on bear-meat if it helps to get the war over & as long as you boys at the Front are getting fed. We cleared over $60.00 at Pellats Field Day. So that is to send boxes to you boys. I don't know when they are going to pack. I hope its soon though. I think I told you in my last letter about the time we had up there. Say Earl did you get the $20.00 yet? & have had your leave yet. Hope you get the money o.k. It was a Bank Order, so ought to have went safe & in time for you to have a good time out of it. You have nearly $600.00 in Bank now, so can have a good time when you get home, eh! Well dear boy, I can't think of anything more tonight. Only wish you the Best of luck & a safe & speedy return to us. With lots of love & good wishes from all at home. Am sorry no snaps yet. Your loving sister, Au Revoir Merelda"
Oct 1, 1918, King Merelda continues here letter dated Sept 30, 1918.
Just a few lines more this a.m. to say we are sending a box consisting of socks, honey, eats & smoks. Hope you get it o.k. Hope the little pies are not mouldy, be sure & tell me if they keep alright. If they do I'll send more. The handkerchief is from Harold it was one of his & the pies are made of his raisins, he gave them to us for you. Daddie has gone over to help Uncle Fred with the corn today. Arch is ploughing the field between us & Ireland north of the lane. The rest of us are packing your box. Aunt Barbara was up on Sun she would like you to write to her if you get time. She is going to knit a pair of mitts for you.
Well I guess this is all for this time. So Au Revoir, Love from All, Yours, Merelda"
Oct 31, 1918, King from Flossie
"Dear old brother,
I must write you another letter or you will be sticking one of those spikes into me that you hammer into the track. Well it will soon be time to start picking roots. It is some awful job. But if we work good we get new coats. Harold and Kate has gone to Cleveland to live there for the winter. Their furniture is packed in the old part upstairs. Kate sure is some chicken, her brother Jack who is in England says he intends bring back a wife from England she will be some wife won't she. Leslie Sturdy's wife is in New York now. She hasn't come to King yet. Arch has got off till he is called for but he has to report January, April, every four months. We will get same snaps taken and mind now don't get scared. I will put one in of the house. I got a great joke on Paul, Dad & Arch to day I dressed in Harold's uniform and they didn't know who I was. So old Bob Carney is wounded. I wonder is he the same as when he went to school. Mike Annings is working at Long Archie's now. We had a big day at Sir Henry's I got a knock down to all your old girls up there. Bertha Mount, Annie Harmon and two or three Miss Terrys. Blanch Robb told Annie Harmon I was Earl's sister and then she was very very glad to meet me. She is some chick. We got home at half-past two in the morning, so you know there was a concert and a dance. We all was there and Buster had to keep house. I have not much more news to tell. I guess Paul has told you all . I have stopped going to school at last don't you think it is time. I am ready to go to college now. If you were home we would both go together, eh! I guess my brain is exhausted for this time, but I will try and gather sufficient for next time. You haven't wrote to me for a long time so I will be looking forward for a good old bouncer. I will close now with the best of love from your old sister, Florence
Write and let us know if the candy was hot. Annie said she knew Paul by seeing you. She ask all questions about you."
Dec 3, 1918 R.R. No. 1 King letter to Earl from Annie Sturdy. Mentions Hazel not sure who Earl married.
I received your letter of Nov. 5 a few days ago. It was written just about a wk before the armistice was signed. My that is surely the greatest news the world has ever had. You seemed to know you had your job nearly finished too, eh? Well, we didn't here. I bet you would hardly be able to control yourself. By the way how did you sleep when the noise had ceased? We have just heard Harry Bovair is expected home anyday now. I wonder if he'd rather be here or over there 'now'. They say that hear and Art met in Eng. Art was drafter you know.
We are getting quite a lot of snow to-night. At least we were, the last time I looked out, haha, & I've been thinking it looks pretty good for sleighing to-morrow. Hurray! We had our first storm last Saturday night & it surely did blow. You say you know I like cold weather My! I though how I do like it. Clara stayed here all night & she could see the window panes coming through the chimney getting afire, etc, before she went to sleep. By the way, Clara has gone back to work this wk. She has had some holiday.
The Flu is taking another visit around here. It is think on the 7th, nearly all the Flannigans having it, & 11 Jews all having in one house & quite a few others. And I'm sorry your once friend?? Jessie has just gotten better of it. Poor little girl, eh? It is really a terrible thing & killing a lot of people. Did you know Nellie Merchant's husband? I guess you would He has died of it. I wonder what Nellie will do now. I think her people have sent for her to come home. You know they lived in the West.
I have not seen Merelda for a long time. I am getting lonesome to see her. There! I should not say that when I live so close to her, should I?
Well, we have not gotten Marjorie married yet. I am sure I don't know when it will be, but I hope it is not till you get home for I'm sure you'd like to chivaree her, wouldn't you? I would. O my, & I nearly forgot some very important news. Push has got an automobile. He has had it nearly 2 wks, & is in possession of his life yet also. Now that the snow is coming. I guess we'll have Push for a neighbour until Spring anyway. And here is still news. They have Hazel Gamble yes, your old Mrs Gamble's daughter, in the choir at King now. Say old boy, now that you've lost Mrs. G I'm sure Hazel would be more attractive, eh? Suse me for hinting it. She is really quite a lady now you will not know her when you see her once more. By the way I wonder if you'll notice many changes & I wonder how long it will be, before they bring you back. One paper said that the Rly Troops would be among the first to leave France, do you think so?
I believe I allways send you about 4 times is much writing ( I don't say about news) as you send me. I is 9 o'clock now, little girls bedtime, eh? So I'll close, with best wishes & hoping to see you back safe in old King before long. Yours ever, Annie S."