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Bruce Peel Special Collections Life, Events, and Players in the North-West Canadian Pacific Railway Company
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T. A. Patrick Letters & Correspondence

An archive of 52 interesting and significant letters by Thomas β€œAlf” 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

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