W7678 TO [REV.] CALVIN MCQUESTEN from W. McD. Tait
Nov 7 1907
To: Calvin McQuesten Knox College, Toronto, Ontario
From: 'The Manse,' Macleod, Alberta
My dear Mac,
It was a real pleasure to get your letter of Oct. 28. Tonight I am in Macleod. Rev. Mr. Walker and I have just had the Dance "out." Not "sitting out" or anything like that but having a talk on dancing. Mr. Walker is having quite a time with some of his members neglecting church work & spiritual things for the lighter pleasures of the world. We have never (I mean you & I) had a talk on the amusement question. People out our way gone crazy on dancing & has rather soured me against it so that now I am quite prejudiced against the amusement. My mind is full of it now. Excuse this early reference.
It is now 11.15 p.m. & Mr. W. has gone to bed.
It was a little disappointing to me not to get to college this fall. I intended going but Dr. Herdman kept urging me to stay on the field saying that men were scarce & if I left both Standoff & Fishburn would be vacant.1
As regards Marshalls, I am not sure where they are. A few months ago Mrs. Marshall told me that they were going to the ranche [sic] again. They have been living at Pincher Creek. Albert was driving a store waggon delivering goods & latterly worked in Gristmill. They had several cows & sold considerable milk, but I think they are yet in poor shape. I will inquire if they are yet in Pincher Creek. It occurs to me that someone told me they had gone to Nernie [?] where nurse Kelly is doing hospital duty. Will investigate as far as possible & let you know circumstances.
Am quite surprised to hear that Heck McG.2 has never paid you for camera. He has money, nearly all the time & could have paid you long ere this. I'll go after him very first opportunity, for it was on my recommend that you sold the camera, therefore you should hold me in a measure, responsible. Am sorry my finances are in such a condition that I can't help you out of your pecuniary trouble.
Waggett went north near blds [sic] early spring & is now in Alberta College Edmonton. I think he intends finishing up there. Fine fellow. Should like to have him still at Fishburn.
Your successor was a Mr. Cheaswith, now a Mr. Whitmore who was in Macleod South. I see you still have a soft spot in your heart for old Stand Off. I know that several persons there date important events before & after your two regimes on that field.
Wednesday, Nov. 13, 1907. Was interrupted last Friday night & haven't had time to finish. Today I am in the foothills & am just setting down to lunch at Cruikshanks. Am taking advantage of a short pause ere we begin. Now as to people at Stand Off. Alf. McNeil had left "The Meadows" & is staying, for the present, at the store. He expects to go into one of the mountain lumbercamps for winter & Mrs. McN. is going home to Toronto; so you will very possibly see her there. Mrs. Wilson has sold "The Meadows" to the Browne Ranche Co. on St. Mary's. They, I think, will use it for winter feed camp as they have cut all hay on whole business. Alf had some difficulty getting settlement but I think all is ignored now. Tom McN. has homesteaded, bought 1/4 near Matls on the Ridge across Kootenai. In spring he will live there from Alf's horses & cattle. Chas. Butcher is carpentering in Macleod. He is talking of building a house there at some time, says he will take a trip to the country. Put 2 & 2 together & the fact that he has a girl, & the result will possibly be a repetition of the Sporting Episode.
Kitty is dressmaking in Macleod. Frank & Erin living on homestead. Phil, Fred & Mrs. Phil are in charge of Strauthern Ranche near Macleod. Dennis is drinking and gambling himself to death. Austin the horseman & poker players ran off 30 of Dennis' bunch of horses. Jock puts up the bluff that he is exchanging them for mining shares, but friends of his know different. Fred Sparling & Stewart Moore were working for him all summer but have left. Mrs. Hillier, Sr. is at Med. Hat [Medicine Hat] visiting Wilsons. Ed. & Mrs. Ed. H. are very well. O'Brien has threshed 6000 bush. wheat & has contracted 4000 bush. at 92 [72 or 12?] cts. per bush. I drove him from Macleod to Stand Off last Saturday & he says he is going to Old Country with family for winter.
Appointment at Stand Off still good. Webb's expect to have a house built at Stand Off & will live there. The [?] are building a ration house at Bull Horn & Stand O. will be central point for Webb. That means the family for service & also their financial support. Collinson's well & had fair crop this year. Have a new organ. Mrs. C. had a visit to Winnipeg & Pronto near Waterton. Surprising -- 12-16-28-20-3 -- has been attendance since I took charge. Last Sunday was bad day. Rathwell -- we have organ big lamp & night service-attendance 28 to 55. Sp. Rid. same old story -- no good. Not worth the effort but we must stay with them. I work St. O., Wat. & Rath. one Sunday., Sp. Rid. 11 a.m., Fishburn 2 p.m., R. Ker. school 4 p.m., Yarrow 7., doing on this Sunday 44 miles.
Girls are all well. Miss Bodley & Miss Campbell both left last June. Ch. of Eng. Clergyman is teaching at Fishburn. None Utopia, none R. Kerr., none Sp. Ridge, none Yarrow. [?] state of affairs.
Have a real swell girl now, will tell you more of her again. Must close for mailing. Would like to hear from you again. Had mother & sister this summer for 7 weeks. Manse received quite a cleaning & renovation. They are now gone 7 weeks & I have been home only 4 days since. Sense of loneliness there now.
Very sincerely yours, send regards for Mr. Scott.
1 Coleen McNeill, of Macleod Alberta, sent us some information by E-Mail about Fishburn, May, 2005:
"Sending note about Fishburn.
It was about Fishburn and the school (which is now in Pincher Creek Historical site). Fishburn was mentioned in a letter from Tait to Calvin. Just thought you might be interested in a little more history."
Coleen & Al McNeil.
See also Coleen's note about the McNeil family at W7644. They were friends of Rev. Calvin McQuesten when he was a minister in Alberta (1906).
2 Hector McGlenning, see W7683.