Submitted by D. Clark McIntosh, August, 2019

A letter to William Clark, the son of John Clark and Eleanor Billing who lived in Riviere aux Pins.

Valcartier, PQ

Oct 21, 1898

My Dear William

I was so glad to hear again from you last week, for I was beginning to fear I would never see you again, dear William.

I cannot tell you how glad your letters make me. It gives me such comfort to know you are well.

I am well too, both father and I besides Adam and his wife.  Libby is pretty well now.

But William for you to think of the Klondike mines up in the Yukon river in Alaska, don’t you ever think of going. Now remember you are not to think of going for I am sure that all who go there will perish this winter.  I am so glad to hear that you are well and with John, that John and his family too are well.  That Eliza and baby (Mary Ann ‘Mamie’) is well.

I suppose William you are much taken up with Mamie (not sure of the name) having a fine time with her, I guess?

How is it William that you never be thinking of coming home to see your pour old father and mother.  They are pretty queer looking old fairies now.

Do you know that father and I are married just fifty years in February (23 Feb 1848), and I expect we will have a golden wedding.

Now, you try to be home for that event ‘we will have jolly times’.

Have you heard yet of poor Mary Clark[1] being dead!  She died of heart disease about two months ago, very suddenly.  Everything about Uncle Jimmy’s seems very lonesome since then.

As to Andrew, we have had no letter from him for about three months, he was then, at Madden House, Nelson, British Columbia but we heard a story since, that he had started for the Klondike Mines too in Alaska and got wrecked with Henry and Burnie[2] Billing on the way, but he never wrote to us anything about his going to the Klondike, we only heard it from other people.  So, his address is, as you see Madden House, Nelson, British Columbia.

Tom and his wife with two fine sons are now living on your old place.  The boys are fine little fellows and Tom is so proud of them – Nimrod (1895) and Thomas (1897).

Father and I are living in one end or half of the house, and Adam and his wife in the other end.

When you come home, you will find changes, great ones.

I was so glad to hear too, that Devena’s children are well. I had two letters from Kanary lately telling me that the children are well.

I spent a month at Libby’s lately I am just visiting around, staying a month at Libby’s and a month at Tom’s.

Mr. Arthur Wolff was buried today (he died 18 Oct 1897).  Father and I were to the funeral.

I heard too, that Andrew was building a saloon with Anthony Madden [3] in the Rocky Mountains somewhere, but I don’t know if it true or not, that was before I got his last letter.

I had a picture of my great grandsons in Chicago, and I’ll expect Elinor’s[4] baby’s picture too.

All the Chicago people are well, when I heard from them last.

Now William, I want you to be a good thoughtful boy, not spending your money, and wasting it but save it for later days, because these are your best days now while you are young, besides you know this is not all.

Do what is right, that even if we do not meet here, we may meet in heaven.

William, like poor Devena, when she went away, how little I thought I should never more meet on earth – so you too dear William, look out and do the right thing always – that we may meet above, son if not here.

I should like so much to see you. You know, dear William, two of my dear ones have been taken from me [5]without ever seeing them in death, and I would like to see son, as often as I could in life.

I must close my dear boy for this time, with love to you from father and myself, hoping to see you soon again.

I remain your loving mother,

E.C. (Elinor Clark)

P.S.  Write soon or soon as possible.

“In the sweet bye and bye

We shall meet on that beautiful shore.

In the sweet bye and bye

We shall meet on that beautiful shore.”

(A Christian hymn)

[1] Mary Clark was born in 1870 and died 10 Aug 1897.  She was the daughter of James R Clark and Miriam Berry

[2] Henry was the son of John Abraham Billing and Agnes Janet Neilson.  He was born 28 Mar 1863.  Cannot make out other name.

[3] Anthony Madden was born 21 Sep 1866 in Valcartier West to Thomas Madden and Sarah Connors.

[4] Eleanor or Elinor was born 8 Apr 1876 to Mary Ann Clark (1849-1930) and John Thomas Jones. 

[5] I believe the two she is referring to are Adam Clark (1857-1872) and Devena (1867-1897).  There is a birth certificate for James Joseph Clark being born 4 Oct 1870 and baptized 31 Jan 1872 in the Wesleyan Church.  It is unknown as to what happened to him.  He is not listed in this letter.  There was a James included in the 1881 and 1891 census.  Was he one of the ‘Chicago’ people that Eleanor mentions?