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Bruce Peel Special Collections Patrick, Marion Griffith Indians of North America--Canada
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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