Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Westward Ho (Again) 1910, 2010

Saskatoon 1910 (Valentine and Son's postcard)

Now that I've completed the first draft of School Marms and Suffragettes,Threshold GirlDiary of a Confirmed Spinster and Biology and Ambition, about Canadian women, Flora, Edith and Marion Nicholson, in 1910 Quebec, I'm wondering what else to do next. Herbert Nicholson's story? He is the Nicholson black sheep, sent out West in 1910 because he stole from the bank. But he wasn't all bad; in a 1915 letter he writes that he feels sorry for the Indians, who have had their land taken away from them. (The Nicholsons are descendants of Isle of Lewis Scots, thrown off their land in the Hebrides and forced to come to Canada.)

It seems as if most everyone was thinking of going out West in 1910. (Marion Nicholson, in a 1905 letter from Mcgill Normal School, says that many graduating teachers are thinking of going out West to work, but probably really are looking for 'a pupil of one.'

And here, 100 years later, we're experiencing another exodus out West, but not because of Wheat, because of oil. My own son was at a wedding in Edmonton on the weekend, a school chum from Quebec. A nephew has just left for there too. LA Plus Ca Change!

Herb wrote some letters home, although not nearly enough to please his parents. (There was no Skype or Facebook back then, or they would have been stalking him for sure.)

 He left out personal details from his letters. He didn't tell his mom and dad that his boarding house in Qu'Appelle Saskatchewan in 1911 harboured a bartender and YIKES! a woman(stenographer)! Things were 'loser' out West. 

That's why our Famous  Canadian Suffragettes came from out there. They didn't like the 'moral dissipation' they witnessed daily, what with all the young men like Herb, newly arrived immigrants who apparently 'partied' hard on their day off, and what not.

I found Herb's situation by  looking at the 1911 census. I guess if I were to write something, it would be around that very boarding house as I know who lives there. The owner is a Baptist school teacher.  It would be interesting.

Prairie Pioneers 1910

The Tighsolas letters give a great deal of insight into life on the Prairies in 1910 because many Richmond citizens went there, including Norman Nicholson's brother, Gilbert and son, Herb. Dr. Moffat, relative and family doctor, moved to Vancouver in 1912, after losing his savings in a stock market swindle. Norman and family kept wondering if they, too, should move out West, but the West was no place for a failed businessman in middle age.

Tales of Saskatchewan, excerpts from a novel

Building a Town a Day (attracting American farmers to Canada).

Using the New Film Medium to attract Americans and Canadians to the West

Immigration Boom 1910

Wheat Boom 1910

"This is young man's country" letter from brother Gilbert

"The streets are wide and clear" Winnipeg

Presbyterians and Methodists strongest, Catholics strong too

"There's much open prairie around Edmonton"

"We have one of the finest cities in the West" Saskatoon

"My pay is 50.00. Not very much around here" Working out West

Invest in the West: Direct mail advertisement from 1911 with populations of Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton and Saskatoon, 1901, 1910