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T. A. Patrick Letters & Correspondence

An archive of 52 interesting and significant letters by Thomas “Alf” Patrick and his wife Marion (1889-1904). Almost all letters come with their original stamped mailing envelopes (49 envelopes in total). 44 letters are by Thomas and 8 by Marion.
Most of the letters are handwritten and signed, ranging from a single page up to five pages, often closely written. 3 are typed and signed.
In the case of letters by Thomas Patrick, many of the letters to his wife are almost in diary form recording events as they happened [often mailed from Regina]. Some letters are written when Patrick was physically sitting in the Legislative Chambers waiting for events to unfold there. These are usually on embossed North West Territory Legislative stationery.
Three themes run through the archive:

  • Significant political matters and events surrounding the period when Patrick served in the North West Territories Legislature
  • Historical events on the Prairies
  • Issues relating to a lack of infrastructure and a changing societal and political landscape due to heavy immigration into the
    Prairies.
  • Life on the Prairies in the late 19th and early 20th centuries
  • The close personal relationship and related family matters between two early pioneers in Saskatchewan
    Topics covered include: medical, legislative matters, Indians and half-breeds, railway events, life in Saltcoats and Regina, Saskatchewan, land investments, illnesses on the prairies, people (Clifford Sifton and Frederick Haultain) and related topics, immigration, Mennonites, Hungarians, Doukhobors, infrastructure, visiting patients, and much more.

Patrick, Thomas Alfred

1890, Jan 31 – 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, banded in black; note on envelope “No. 240;” obituary newspaper clipping for Mr. John Stephens.

Notes: Marion writes to her fiance, Alf [Dr. T.A. Patrick]. Marion describes the funeral arrangements for her grandfather, John Stephens. She repeatedly mentions how tired she feels and how she is suffering from headaches. Marion and her sister, Annie, continue their preparations for moving to Saltcoats, with the encouragement and support of their family.

She mentions that Annie will purchase the wedding ring for Alf and discusses the different shoes that she purchased. She plans to add the moccasins Alf had bought for her to her supply.

Patrick, Marion Griffith

1897, Nov 3 – Letter to Marion

Place: Regina [N.W.T.]

From: Alf [T.A. Patrick]

To: Mrs. Marion G. Patrick, Yorkton, N.W.T.

Delivery: Canada Post, postmarked

Details: 1 pp of North West Territories letterhead + envelope

Notes: A short letter from Alf to his wife, Marion. He writes that she "acted very sensibly in not adding the M.L.A. to my address" and he "thinks it would be well to avoid doing so always." He then writes of his successful speech in the Legislative Assembly, which the newspapers the Regina Standard and the Regina Leader covered. He finishes his letter stating that he will move a motion that day regarding the Manitoba and North Western Railway.

Patrick, Thomas Alfred

1897, Nov 19 – Letter to Marion

Place: Regina, N.W.T.

From: T.A. Patrick

To: Mrs. T.A. Patrick, Yorkton, N.W.T.

Delivery: Canada Post, postmarked

Details: 9 pp, one sheet of paper is North West Territories letterhead & envelope

Notes: T.A. Patrick writes to his wife, Marion Patrick, while he waits for the House to open as Government is in council. He states that the Railway Committee's report will not be addressed until Monday. Unfortunate as Patrick had taken under his wing a Mr. Ferraro, a Hungarian delegate who had visited Yorkton, and a Mr. Forslund of the C.P.R. Land Department who had come to visit the Assembly. Unhappy with the Hungarians' location near Yorkton, Mr. Forslund gave most of them land grants. Mr. Ferraro decided to move to Edmonton.

Patrick further writes of the Speaker's dinner that night where one of the attendees is supposed to be the Hon. Clifford Sifton, Minister of the Interior. There is also an upcoming "Windsor Assembly Ball" to honour the Assembly members. Patrick finishes his first letter with "Mr. Haultain has arrived. The Speaker takes the chair."

He begins a new letter in the afternoon while waiting for a sleigh to take him to the House, expressing his worry about his family and his friends the Nelsons and the Christies. He advises that the children avoid Mrs. Head, regardless of the precautions she takes, and that the should be taken out for a walk everyday. He then jokes of his lack of progress in learning to waltz despite having lessons from Mrs. Hayes, the Librarian, Mrs Newlands, wife of the Registrar of Land Titles, and Miss Nimmins of the Normal School. Patrick reports that he finished drafting a report for the Select Committee on Railways and must begin drafting a Village Ordinance.

Patrick writes later that evening that Clifford Sifton will not be in attendance at the ball and again on Saturday morning he writes to inform his wife that the members of the assembly were invited to Commissioner Herchmen's home to meet Mr. Sifton. Later still on Sunday, he continues his letter to comment on the new Government's need to prepare legislation following the election.

Patrick, Thomas Alfred

1902, Mar 22 – Letter to Marion

Place: Winnipeg

From: Alf [T.A. Patrick]

To: Mrs. Marion G. Patrick, Yorkton, Assa.

Delivery: Canada Post, postmarked

Details: 1pp typewritten letter on Hotel Leland, Winnipeg letterhead. Envelope is printed with “Hotel Leland, Winnipeg, proprietor W.D. Douglas.” Address is typed.

Notes: T.A. Patrick writes to his wife, Marion, that he has been busy "loafing" around Winnipeg since his arrival there. He mentions that he had lunch with Sanford Evans, editor of the Telegram, who had wrote "one of the articles on Territorial Autonomy in the last number of the Canadian Magazine." He states that he had to refuse to say anything for publication but that the discussion resulted in Evans agreeing to send a Telegram correspondent to Regina to write up the debates.

Patrick states that "the Nord-Westen (German) is a convert to my views and kindly consented to give reports of my work at Regina at full length without asking anything for doing it. This is unusual in a German newspaper." He then reports that he attended a the Winnipeg medical society "to hear and see a lecture on Neilsen's stomach and liver."

Patrick also had diner with H. A. Robson, late deputy attorney general of the North West Territories, and they chatted about Regina and the North West Government, which Robson thought "worthy of condemnation." Patrick reports that Robson assured him "that the opinions expressed to the Devils Lake school district in respect of the assessment of Doukhobortsi were wrong and that the opinion I expressed to them was right."

He finish his letter stating, "I expect a fighting session and will probably have given and received hard blows before I see you again."

Patrick, Thomas Alfred

1903, Aug 21 – Letter to Marion

Place: Pembroke, Ont[ario]

From: T.A. Patrick

To: Marion [G. Patrick]

Details: 3pp on lined Copeland House, Pembroke Ont. letterhead

Notes: T.A. Patrick writes to his wife while in Ontario. He tells his wife that he arrived in Pembroke and drove to Rankin on the hunt for old Mr. Gulke. Patrick had his "mind made up to offer him $1000.00" but he learned "that Dan Hoffmann of Ebenezer had offered him one hundred dollars, and it was not long until" they "closed a deal for $200.00 for the half section."

Patrick further writes that in buying the land, he "was in doubt as to the liability of the late son's estate to the company which sold him and Galling and Martin Kielow the threshing outfit." He tells his wife that she would remember "Mrs. Kielow's telling [her] that they (Kielows) only finished paying this year." Patrick states, "in any case there is a big thing in it even if I make nothing out of the deceased son's quarter section. I do not know whether the other two daughters are entitled to share in their dead brother's estate and believe they are not." He continues, "the interesting position that I know I have made on the deal something between $1000.00 and $2500.00 bu am not certain how much."

He informs his wife that he will reach Toronto and Hamilton by the next night and states that he is "doing so well that [he] shall push inquiries into the 800 acre estate at Hamilton before returning even if it takes two or three days."

Patrick, Thomas Alfred

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