Kamloops, B.C. 9 Aug 1885 8-pg Marcus Smith letter to his wife
Lot 96 in our auction Saturday 17th December 2022
Augst 9th 1885
My dear Nannie
I have received your letter of the 27th inst. and the newspapers you mention I am glad the boys have got home at last I did not know what had become of them – I had a letter from William a fortnight ago said he expected the boys home on sunday the 19th July, but last week I saw the “Mail” and “Globe (weekly) of the 23rd. The Midland and some Quebec Volunteers had arrived but nothing was said about the Toronto boys who were expected home first but I suppose they went on to Winnipeg to the review.
As regards the land granted them. I see that the time for taking it up is extended to the first of August 1886 – so there is time to think about it. The reason I spoke about the North side of the Saskatchewan is that between the Moose hills and the Beaver River (northwestward) there is splendid grass – as good as English Meadow grass – very suitable for cattle ranches which would suit amateur farmers much better than wheat growing they could do just as much agricultural- line to supply their own wants and besides their own land would have miles of Govt. Land – to run the cattle on. It is not colder – or so cold as at Winnipeg because plenty of groves and belts of timber for shelter- with good water, and if the cattle had to be fed during 4 or 5 months in winter – hay could be made so cheaply – by a machine mower, that the cost would not be more than the annual loss of cattle in the winter on the bare plains southward – I have just had a letter from Mr. Bayles’s Derby England, who says his son like Tom is tired of Commercial life – and wants to come to America – to try cattle ranching he can give him £2000 sterling after he has learnt the business – and ready to start for himself – This is what I wanted Tom to go into as engineering is so uncertain and never a home – There is also so much competition in Commercial life and so many young men wanting to go into Towns – that every year – such occupations will be more & more crowded – and a farm life if rough at least affords a home. I don’t suppose Jeffrey knows much about the country except on the railway belt, where the land is all taken up but I expect to come home in October or November (over the C.P.Ry – if possible) and shall stay a day at Winnipeg – and discuss the matter – If they don’t take land they will get scripts for 80 acres – I see this scrip is selling at 76 cents an acre – so they would only get about $60 for it –
I had a letter from Dan O’Connor about the mortgage for $700 on which no interest has been paid for a year and a half – so I had to make an affidavit before a notary public – which I have done and sent back – as O’Connor is going to take legal proceedings – in fact foreclose the mortgage and the property will be sold unless the owners can get another mortgage on it for a larger sum to pay off owed – New land sold under such circumstances often sells for one fourth its value as people will not bid for it against their neighbours and it is often bought in for the owners – You will have to see to this and have somebody there to bid it up to cover
our mortgage and interest – even if it should fall into our hands it is surely worth more than $900 as there are 140 acres in one piece and I forget how much in the smaller and there must be buildings of some sort on one or both pieces – They will probably sell the smaller piece first and if that brings enough hold on to the other – I suppose you will see your friend Brophy who is always willing to make himself useful – but you must have somebody there to bid if property is sold. I think Tom will be through with his present employment some time in September
He will probably go to Burrard inlet to see if he can sell his property there and perhaps get a month or two surveying Town lots – then come home with me.
I think property will rise there as the surveys for the extension of the C.P.Ry are going to commence immediately and Construction will follow – I have not heard anything from Beatty. I don’t see – that he has got any subsidy for his line – but I see the Gatineau Railway – 62 miles has got a subsidy of $320,000
C Macintosh M.P used to have something to do with that are you friendly with Mrs Mac –
I should like to get something for Tom near home – Mr Mathews from whom I have just had a letter can tell you all about it and other railways – of course Tom could come home at once after the end of this month if necessary
It is weary work this begging for employment – perhaps it would be better for him to go back to his old business. If William should – commence a business in Montreal as he thought of doing or if Wyld should go out of the Toronto business – as he talked of doing within a year perhaps he might give Tom a limited partnership – as his own – one son will not be enough to help him —
As for myself my health has improved so lately that I might hold on working for a couple of years if the Govt. should give me anything – I should like to be consulting engineer – or to look after the railways to whom the Govt. has given subsidies – even if the salary were not so much it is easy work only sufficient to keep the mind from resting –
But Sir John is the only one I look to and Langevin would back anything I wanted but there is nothing in his Department. He ought to have the Railways instead of Pope – he is the only honest man among them – Will do all he can for his own countrymen – and Catholics but won’t take bribes in money for himself – weather has been very hot – but in the next fortnight the nights at least will be cool.