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Bruce Peel Special Collections Life, Events, and Players in the North-West
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1889, May 20 - Letter to Marion

Place: Saltcoats, Assiniboia

From: Alf, T.A.P [Thomas A. Patrick]

To: Miss Marion Grittith, Byron, Ontario, Canada

Delivery: registered Canadian Post, via London, postmarks

Details: 18 pp + envelope

Notes: Alf writes to his fiance about a "cheeky" visiting doctor in Saltcoats who attempted to upstage Alf as he was checking on patients. This annoyed Alf greatly and he writes "I saw the fellow was trying to bluff me and to impress me with his wonderful self so I said - 'Well since you're here and a married man and have means, and a horse and rig, you'd better conclude to stay right here in this great country. There are much better openings here than in crowded Ontario. It will hardly pay you to stay six months in a place as a married man can not flit about very well. Bring your wife and your horse and your means up here and settle down. It will pay you even to leave your paying practice in Ontario." He continues that he is "getting an ad eumdem gradum from the University of Manitoba in June." Then, he writes that he has patients too poor to pay him work on his homestead, ploughing the land to help Alf with his settlement duties. He states "this little discourse enabled my friend to see that I have taken deep root in Saltcoats."

Alf, then, informs Marion that he is "laying a good solid foundation for future success here and if we are only married I would have no fear of any rival M.D. but as it is I feel incomplete." He informs her of his plans on paying off some debts, getting his diploma of the C. P. S. of Ontario, renting a house, and paying her fare down to Saltcoats so that they could be wed. Part of these plans, Alf informs her, is to register following the Medical Act that will come in force in October with his Manitoba degree and his Western University degree. Though he also has to finish his Ontario qualifications.

1889, August 25 - Letter to Alf

Place: Byron, Ontario

From: Miss Marion Griffith

To: Alf/ T.A. Patrick, M. D. Saltcoats, Assiniboia, N. W. T

Delivery: Canada Post, postmarked

Details: 8 pp + envelope, note on envelope "214," red wax seal

Notes: Marion writes to her fiance about her worry regarding her church choir's singing, which she though "did not sound well." She writes, "I really hope it did not sound as badly to the congregation as it did to me." She then tells Alf that she would be happy to pick out clothes for him and she hopes that she will "choose material to suit [him]." Marion encourages Alf in his efforts in Saltcoats, telling him that "do not even think of getting discourage Alf." She continues, "you can keep house almost as cheaply as you can board" but she warns him, "you know I am to assist furnishing our house." She then agrees that Alf must take the exam that he mentioned in his last letter although it "will be quite an expense, but a necessary one."

1889, Nov 22 – Letter to Marion

Place: Saltcoats, Assa. N.W.T.

From: Alf [Thomas A. Patrick]

To: Miss Marion Griffith, Byron, Ontario, Canada – Middlesex Co.

Delivery: Canada Post, via London, postmarks

Details: 6 pp + envelope, note on envelope “No. 250,” red wax seal with stamped initials “TAP”

Notes: In one of his regular letters to Marion, Alf details the purchases, which were largely of second hand items, that he made to furnish his rented house. He also apologizes to Marion and refers to someone who “means well and does not doubt you but feared you might be disappointed” with what Alf can provide as a home. He also tells of a heated argument he had with Mr. Lockhart over the man’s outstanding bill. Alf has waited six months and only received one quarter of the amount due. He also mentions writing a letter to Rick on his announcement of conversion to God.

Patrick, Thomas Alfred

1889, Dec 14 – Letter to Alf

Place: Byron [Ontario]

From: Marion [Griffith]

To: Alf / T.A. Patrick, M.D., Saltcoats, Assiniboia, N.W.T.

Delivery: Canada Post, postmarked

Details: 12 pp + envelope, note on envelope “No. 232,” green wax seal

Notes: Marion writes her weekly letter to her fiance, Alf [Dr. Thomas A. Patrick]. Marion shares the progress she and her sister Annie are making in preparing for Marion's marriage to Alf and both sisters moving to Saltcoats. Marion's family does not know that Annie plans on accompanying her. Annie ran into Alf's brother Rick at the drugstore in London, ON where he works. Financial matters take up a large part of the letter, with Marion sharing Alf's worry over financial security, while also offering him encouragement. Annie and Marion are pleased with their growing herd of sheep, but Marion worries that she will have to sell them soon for the cash. Marion tells of trouble in the church parish, which distresses her especially as her father is one of the causes. She is also dismayed that her father appears to make no effort to repay a loan to her Grandpa. She closes the letter wondering when she should tell her Grandpa that she is leaving, and she wishes Alf a Merry Xmas. In a postscript, she worries about both her and Annie leaving their mother when their Grandpa's health is so poor.

Patrick, Marion Griffith

1889, Dec 20 – Letter to Alf

Place: Byron, Ontario

From: Marion [Griffith]

To: Alf / T.A. Patrick, M.D., Saltcoats, Assiniboia, N.W.T.

Delivery: Canada Post, postmarked

Details: 8 pp + envelope, note on envelope “No. 233”

Notes: Marion writes to her fiance, Alf [Dr. Thomas A. Patrick]. She has been busy in preparations for Christmas. Alf's parents invited her and her sister Annie to spend Xmas [Christmas] evening with them and a few friends. She is pleased and surprised to be invited, although she worries that they will be an imposition as they are unable to arrange a ride home for themselves. Marion anticipates talking with Alf's brother Rick, as they get along well. Marion tells of how pleased Annie was to receive her own letter from Alf, which also pleases Marion. Writing later, Marion tells of how she stayed at home with her Grandpa rather than attending evening church service. He is very lonely and she is glad to play for him and read aloud to him.

Marion received an early Christmas gift from Annie: a cup and saucer for her and a moustache cup for Alf. Marion "was surprised when I saw the cups as it was decided we would do without presents ourselves in order to have a family photograph during the holidays." Marion wishes Alf a belated birthday, a Merry Xmas, and Happy New Year. In a postscript she writes that she has no objections to Alf's cousin travelling to Birtle [Manitoba] to be a witness at their wedding.

Patrick, Marion Griffith

1890, Jan 8 – Letter to Marion

Place: Saltcoats

From: Alf [Thomas A. Patrick]

To: Marion / Miss Griffith, Byron, Ontario, Canada

Delivery: Canada Post, postmarked

Details: 5 pp + envelope, note on envelope “No. 257”

Notes: In his weekly letter to his fiancé, Marion Griffith, Alf comments that many people in the community are sick with a cold. Twelve “half-breeds” and some “Indians” from Fort Pelly are in Saltcoats to stock up on provisions. Alf made a deal with Chief Cotè to have his two deer hides tanned with the hair on. Alf plans on using the tanned hides for bedroom rugs.

“It’s ‘again the law’ to sell Pain Killer Price’s Extracts and several other things of this kind to Indians or halfbreeds. Those here to-day took advantage of ignorance of that fact. They got a pound of sweet mitre from me and ginger and Price’s Flavoring Extracts from Mr. Hallett clerk at Buchanan & Co.’s. I expect they are having a great old drunk tonight on these delicious beverages. Hallett and I are both liable to a fine if our ignorance of the law does not excuse us.”

Writing later, Alf tells of a busy few days of sick calls. Two people were stricken with convulsions and one with influenza. The shipment of drugs he ordered from Detroit did not arrive and is stuck in Customs at Portage La Prairie. “They have been ordered and paid for since Nov. 11th and so will be a long time coming indeed.”

Again writing later, Alf’s handwriting deteriorates as he is exhausted from a day of travelling between sick patients and now has influenza himself. He tells Marion that her travel plan suggestion, which apparently involves her taking the train to Portage La Prairie, is unwise. He wants to meet her in Birtle and be married on a Tuesday.

He ends the letter “[w]ith headache and weeping, sneezing nose and backache and sickness and just haste, I am. Yourownloving Alf.”

Patrick, Thomas Alfred

1890, Jan 27 – Letter to Alf

Place: Byron [Ontario]

From: Marion [Griffith]

To: Alf / T. A. Patrick, M.D., Saltcoats, Assiniboia, N.W.T.

Delivery: Canada Post, postmarked

Details: 4 pp + envelope; note on envelope “No. 239,” envelope is bordered in black

Notes: Marion writes to her fiance, Alf. Her Grandpa died at 3 p.m. She describes it as a relief as he suffered so much.

As Alf asked to set their wedding date as Saturday, February 22 in his letter, Marion explains that it is too soon for her to be ready to travel to Birtle and Saltcoats. She asks Alf if February 28th would work as a compromise.

Patrick, Marion Griffith

1890, Feb 8 – Letter to Alf

Place: Byron, Ontario

From: Marion [Griffith] and M.J. Griffith

To: Alf / T.A. Patrick M.D., Saltcoats, Assiniboia, N.W.T.

Delivery: Canada Post, postmarked

Details: 8 pp + envelope banded in black; note on envelope “No. 241;” and a page banded in black

Notes: Marion writes to her fiance, Alf [Dr. T.A. Patrick]. She is recovering after being ill for several days. She is otherwise making progress on the packing to move to Saltcoats and marry Alf.

A second item in the envelope is a sheet of lined paper, folded in half, first page banded in black. It is a letter from Marion's mother, Mrs. M.J. Griffith, to her soon-to-be son-in-law. She and her husband, James, give their blessing to the upcoming marriage.

Patrick, Marion Griffith

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