Saturday, January 29, 2011

Nicholson Family Saga: Letter 6. Car Accident!

Sunday June 25
Dear Norman,

Your letter with enclosed photo of my old chum received was very glad to see you looking so well and comfortable. You seem very stylish with curtains on your windows. I suppose that is for the flies.

Your letters are not long on the way so makes it better for us all. I am glad you are having an easy time.

Marion is not here yet. She wrote that she would be with us Monday at 7 PM.

Miss McCoy's wedding is the 12 of July so I hope she won't think of going to it.

Mr. Beiber had quite a bad accident with the auto on the 22nd. Mrs. Beiber's brother was here about 11 o'clock in the morning. They started for Windsor. Mr. Bieber running the car. John Harkensen sitting in front with him, in the back Mrs. Bieber in the back with little Majory (6).

Mr Henry and the three children (were) coming home, He was running fast as usual, he struck the sand.

There was something wrong with the steering gear they say, however, the car turned over, some were thrown out, but Mrs. Bieber and Marjory (6) were pinned under.

Marjory crawled out when they lifted the car but Mrs. Bieber was unconscious for some time. They brought her back in an express wagon and had the doctor waiting at the house. She has no bones broken, only badly bruised about the chest side and back. She is in bed - I think for a good while. I was in to see her last night . She does not complain. Is so thankful that she or some of the others were not killed. All the others escaped without any injury.

Mr. Henry is still here. The car was sent to Danville by express the next morning, badly wrecked. Mrs. Bieber told me he would not listen to anyone about his fast running, but she think he has had a lesson. He makes light of the accident, says Mrs. Bieber will be out in a couple of days. I have my doubts.

Later 26th, Monday.

Edith went to Lake Avril (Vermont) Saturday afternoon with the Skinners. Took Miss Sparrow, too. They returned this morning at 10 o'clock.

Had the time of their lives. Stayed one night at Lake Avril, which is four miles from Morton Mills.

The Montgomerys took Flora and me for a little run around the town yesterday evening.

Dr. Villard's daughter came this morning to make Edith a visit. Will stay until Saturday. Dr. Skinner met her at the train with the auto. They certainly have been very kind to us.

Edith is with them all the time. I have not heard from Herb since the one I enclosed to you.

We had a call from Mrs Goff of Portland today, that is Jessie McNaughton. I took her over to see Grandma. Then down to McC’s. She is having tea with the Alex McLeary at Keenan's Hotel.

I mailed the Times and Record. Mrs. Moffatt was up. I have not seen the Dr. to speak to. People think he has lost all he invested with White.

I got notice of Flora's school fees.

I am keeping the other things straight, only have not paid McRae's bill (grocer) since you left. It is not much.

Marion has just arrived. With much love

Your wife Margaret.

It was an Age of Anxiety as well as an Age of Excitement. Here, in one letter we have a graphic account of a serious auto accident and also tales of delightful car trips, short and long.
Automobiles in those days of rugged roads had to function more like all terrain vehicles than modern autos. The speed limit in Montreal was 8 miles an hour; in the country it was 15 miles an hour. With the automobile being a brand new invention, a 'fad' in many people's minds, traffic Regulations were in embryo and a topic of much debate.
There's a subtext in these letters with respect to the auto.
All the Nicholson's friends had automobiles, but they, themselves, could not begin to afford one. Indeed, they had once owned a horse, and now only had a fine carriage stowed in the barn. They were trying to sell the carriage, but to no avail. However, the Local MNA, Peter Mackenzie, Quebec Finance Minister and graduate of St. Francis College borrowed the carriage in 1912 to do a little local electioneering. Clearly he knew better than to appear too uppity to the local farmers.

Dr. Moffat's loss may be the talk of the town, but it has negative repercussions on the Nicholsons, too. Moffatt is one of son Herb's many creditors, and although a close family friend, he soon presses the family to pay up.