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Emma Crosby Letters

[Letter, Emma Crosby to Eliza Douse, September 26, 1876] Crosby, Emma, 1849-1926 1876-09-26

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 Rec'd in Cobourg, Nov 7th.  Remailed to L. same day  First reading at Lefroy, Nov 8  Second dv. Nov 10  Sent to Barrie Nov 11    Fort Simpson, B.C.  Sept. 26th 1876    My dear Mother,   It seems a long time since I wrote to you and now I have a great deal to tell you.  The steamer   has been undergoing repairs in Victoria and we have had no mail since July but she will likely be here   again in the course of a week or so.  So I must begin in time to unfold my budget.  Well, event No. 1 is   the recent arrival of another little daughter. This occurred on the 10th of this month - another wee   mortal, weighing, with her clothes, five pounds.  She has quite a lot of hair, dark blue eyes, well   developed features for her size, and although so small seems to be doing very well indeed.  Jessie is   very fond of her, always wanting to kiss her, but she thinks it very funny that baby cannot shake hands,   that being one of Jessie  s strong points.  You must know that my baby is dressed somewhat after the   fashion of the place - that is, her blanket is rolled round her and pinned as tight as is comfortable so   she cannot get her hands out.  I do not mean to continue this long in the day time but while she is so   very small it is much easier and safer I think to handle her rolled up this way.  She likes very much   though to get a chance to stretch out her arms and quite often I let her have them free for a while.  If   she only gets on as well as Jessie has done we shall be very thankful.  A healthier, merrier little girl   you would scarcely find anywhere than Jessie is.  She has been walking alone quite a long time now and   her little feet never seem to tire of pattering about.  She tries to talk too - she can say several   Indian words plainly and about as many English.   Now that I have two little ones to care for I feel that my work must be almost wholly at home -   this little baby will need great care all winter, if it is spared to us, and it is better for Jessie to   be with me than with the girls.  I was not expecting baby for a month or six weeks longer - perhaps that   accounts for her being so small - or it may be I was wrong in my calculations.  I do not know of   anything I did that would be likely to hasten her coming.  My sickness began about nine in the morning   (this was Sunday) but was not severe till afternoon and baby's voice was heard about nine at night.  It   seemed pretty bad while it lasted but now it is over I think more lightly about it.  I had the same   attendance as upon Jessie's arrival and have got on very well indeed.  At the end of a week, that is on   the Sunday morning following, I was up and out in the sitting room.  Last Sunday, that was when baby was   two weeks old, I walked out a little and now I feel about as well as usual.  My nurse only stayed two   days with me as her son is lying very ill but she comes every morning to wash baby - and that is all I   want.  I would rather manage things myself in the house.  I felt very much when I was lying in bed the   need of some reliable person to take charge of the house.  Mr. Crosby was so busy with the church that   he could not be in the house much and though we have four girls - we took a new one lately - they had so   little to do that two might have done far better than four.  I have constantly to study to arrange work   for them and keep them all employed when I am well.  I have been teaching them lately some kinds of   fancy knitting and crochet work and they do very well at it.  Then Jessie had to be left almost entirely   to their care and though, I believe, they did all they could for her still they cannot manage her   properly.  However I do not wish to complain - we have so very much to be thankful for I must not do   that.  Mr. Crosby has been also altering and enlarging the house somewhat, so as to give us another   bedroom downstairs - but this is not yet finished.  I think I must send you a plan of our premises &   house.  They have been so improved lately.  The church has been a great burden to Thomas but I am glad   to say that now the most difficult part of the work is very nearly completed, that is, the ceiling.  It   is so lofty and the scaffolding is so high I dreaded its being begun.  However a few days now will   likely see it finished including varnishing and only the seats and the walls to be stained sometime will   remain which will be but light work. This church has really been such a labor and difficulty as but few   men would have borne.  Several times Thomas has almost broken down under it and now he is far from being   well.  Every little detail of the work has to be under his direction - of course, these Indians know   almost nothing of such work.  However the Chairman in the first place made great promises to the people   while he far under-estimated the cost of such a church as this - and, though at the expense of his own   strength and comfort, Thomas felt that to maintain our influence over these ignorant people these promises   must be made good - and so he has labored on using every means to keep down the expense possible.  But   now that it is so near completion I do not want to grumble, only I wish the Chairman might have such an   undertaking saddled to his back that he might know what it is.  Thomas has been expending his own money   on this too as well as time and strength.  But enough of that.  We have much to encourage us.  Every   summer numbers of the younger men go off to find work.  This summer ten of our Tsimpsheans went to a   place called Fort Wrangle in Alaska.  It is on the route to the Cassiar mines and the most northerly   point the "Otter" calls at.  A small garrison of American soldiers is stationed here and it is the home   of a large number of Indians and frequently white men stop there some time.  Well, these Tsimpsheans   began religious services which were very largely attended by the Indians and also by white men and the   soldiers, and evidently much good has been done. Every one who comes down from there speaks so highly   of this movement and the officer in charge of the garrison wrote to Mr. Crosby, saying he believed much   good had been effected already and expressing his readiness to help in the continuance of these   services.  All but two of these men have returned now.  They speak of the delight of the white man at   their singing and how heartily they joined in it.  Such a thing as a religious service was unknown in   this place before these Indians started it.  Mr. Crosby feels that something must be done to continue   this.  The Indians are wishing it as well as the whites and likely he will send two of our most   intelligent and reliable men to carry on services and perhaps to begin a school for the Indian children   during the winter -  and we hope that some American church may be induced to undertake the work of a   mission here where the door is so manifestly open for it.  Thomas intends going up there when the   steamer comes that he may know better what to do.  This will take him from home three or four days.     There is a teacher in Victoria, we hear, waiting to come up by the Otter.  We got word of it   by a little sloop that reached here last week.  I hope she will be an agreeable person and fitted to do   good.  We had school - I went to it - up to the Friday before baby came.  There has been none since.  We   are expecting Mr. Russ from Victoria some time this fall, likely by the 2nd trip of the str. and we hope   he may open the church.   An event which caused quite a little excitement amongst us was an unexpected visit from the   Governor General and suite.  It happened - unfortunately as we could but think - on a day when the   village was almost empty.  During the summer the people keep all the time going away after food & &c. so   that a fine day will leave sometimes a mere handful of people at home.  If we had had but a few days   notice we might have sent for many of the Indians but there was no chance of that - and what seemed as   unfortunate as the people's absence, Mr. Crosby and Mr. Morrison were both away too.  They had been   called away to a place about 40 miles distant and there was no white man to receive our distinguished   visitors.  There were two or three in the village but not such men as could do anything of that kind. So there was no one but Mrs. Morrison and myself to do the honors.  Of course there was no time to     arrange anything.  The tide was out and a great raft of logs lay on the beach by the Fort gate which was     the landing place of the vice-regal party and Lady Dufferin had to climb over these logs after walking     across a rough pile of rocks.  We met them on the beach & were duly presented to the Gov. & Countess.      It was very easy to receive them after all and we accompanied them first into Mr. Morrison's house.      Then, as they wished to walk through the village and see the church & school house, I set out with     them.  We went into two or three of the Indian houses also and the Gov. sat down on the church steps to   take a sketch of the view which they admired very much.  Then we went back to the beach.  The Gov.   addressed the Indians - those who were there - briefly, and we sat a while on some benches in the Fort   yard and talked in a pleasant way.  They were both very pleasant and genial and I really enjoyed their   visit as I should meeting any agreeable people.  I had Jessie with me - one of the girls carried her   down - and she sat on the Countess' lap and shook hands with the Gov. while one remarked what pretty   hair she had and the other, what pretty eyes - very gratifying to her mother of course.  After staying   about two hours our visitors re-embarked.  The flags were flying & guns fired but we could do very   little.  I was very sorry it happened thus - of course the Governor's object was to find out the   condition of the Indians.  Mr. Crosby felt very much disappointed when he reached home.  He could have   represented the Indians and given all information desired.  However it could not be helped and I suppose   was all right.      Oct 9th  Our mail came day before yesterday (Saturday).  There were two letters from you.  One from   Lefroy and one from Cobourg. I wish you could come & stay a while with me  as you do with the other   girls.  Thomas left with the str. for Wrangle.  He means to return by canoe so will likely be away ten   days or more.  The teacher arrived.  I am pleased with her so far and trust she may be a great help and   comfort to us.  The children are both well and I am doing finely.  Baby continues to improve.  I have   been washing her myself for about a week.  I received the parcel of stockings and wool for which my   sincerest thanks dear mother.  I received also two letters from Annie, one from Eliza & one from Susie.    I shall try to write the girls, but may not accomplish it.  Please send this letter to them.  A parcel   from Eliza also came with a linen dress and a sash for Jessie, one from Susie with stockings & ribbon,   and one from Annie containing patterns.  The grey flannel came also.  Thanks to Mrs. Brenton.  Dear   Mother I must close now - I am so busy.  The mail is to leave tomorrow A.M.  Write - again this fall,.    I think we shall have two more mails.  Kindest love to my dear father, the girls and Georgie and much   for yourself.  Pray for us.   Yours affectionately,    Emma    Please mail this to Lefroy when read with two stamps on, then it must be sent to Barrie and taken care   of.


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