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Bruce Peel Special Collections Patrick, Marion Griffith Canadian property
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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

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

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

1900, Apr 12 – 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: 4 pp; paper watermarked with crown, crest, and “Antique Parchment Note Paper;” & an envelope

Notes: T.A. Patrick writes to his wife that he is pleased that George [his brother] has sold eight cattle. Patrick thinks that they can afford to keep the rest of the cattle. He asks his wife to apply the money "on notes coming due at the bank." The Brome Grass seed, which Patrick mentioned in his last letter, was profitable for both Patrick and George. This money is to go towards payments on accounts around town.

He writes that he "got the registered letter. It's another homestead affair. I sent it back to Grenfell [to Mr. Fitzgerald from the business letter] for corrections. When it reaches you deal with it as with the others."

He then writes that he has enclosed the key to his drawer within his brother Dick's safe. He asks his wife to "get the certificate of title for block 18 Yorkton. I wish to get the survey or town plot registered. Don't forget this."

Patrick mentions going to Moose Jaw on Saturday to visit friends and that his son George's picture "has many admirers." He asks if the mill is going up and how the girls are getting on in school. He asks if they are forgetting their German.

Patrick, Thomas Alfred

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.

1900, Apr 11 – Business 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: 1 pp on North West Territories lined letterhead, watermarked, & an envelope

Notes: T.A. Patrick writes his wife a business letter, stating that he has enclosed within the letter:
"1. Dominion Express Co.'s order for $12

  1. Authority for Mr. Patrick - that is Jack [T.A. Patrick's brother] - to make entry for Dominion Lands on behalf of Auton Georg Flegel
  2. Auton George Flegel's answers to certain questions and declaration as to their truth
  3. Edward Fitzgerald's letter to me of 3rd instant."

He then instructs his wife to cash the Express order and to give Jack $10 to go to the Land Office with the enclosed documents in order to "make entry for this land as soon as he can." Jack was to send the "interim homestead receipt to Mr. Fitzgerald."

Patrick, Thomas Alfred