Note from the past

Kens­ing­ton res­i­dent tells story of how she found a piece of his­tory

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FEATURES - BY MILLICENT MCKAY millicent.mckay@jour­nalpioneer.com

“There were all kinds of dif­fer­ent things in it. Notes that said this per­son owed that per­son so and so amount of money. I didn’t think they were im­por­tant so I threw them in the fire­place.” Kay Tay­lor

Forty years ago Kay Tay­lor gen­tly opened a worn sea chest.

In­side was a trea­sure she was never ex­pect­ing.

“I was go­ing through the trunk af­ter my hus­band told his grand­fa­ther that we would take it.

“There were all kinds of dif­fer­ent things in it. Notes that said this per­son owed that per­son so and so amount of money. I didn’t think they were im­por­tant so I threw them in the fire­place.”

But when she picked up the next item, she stopped.

“Bill who’s Joseph Howe?” she called to her hus­band?

“You know who Joseph Howe is,” he replied.

“Well here’s a let­ter from Joseph Howe to your great­grand­fa­ther,” she as­serted.

Howe was known as a politi­cian and jour­nal­ist. Ar­rang­ing rail­road projects in­clud­ing the Nova Sco­tia Rail­way in 1854.

Even­tu­ally Tay­lor took the let­ter to Mount Al­li­son Univer­sity in Sackville, N.B., when they were host­ing a sym­po­sium on Howe.

“They told me there was no doubt that it was his sig­na­ture. And that it was the proper date when he was in Prince Ed­ward Is­land.”

Now with Canada’s 150th an­niver­sary, Tay­lor thought it was time to look at the let­ter again.

The let­ter, dated July 2, 1867, and writ­ten at Rothe­say House in Saint John, N.B., reads, “My Dear Dav­i­son, I would have an­swered your note be­fore. But was in hopes to have gone home be­fore this. I am de­tained here on the busi­ness of Prince Ed­ward Is­land. But hope to be re­leased in an­other week. You can if you like, ex­pect £15 and put in the moun­tain ridges and the roads in or­der. I will see you paid when I get back. Yours Truly, Joseph Howe.”

Tay­lor says the let­ter was quite a find.

“It should prob­a­bly be kept in an archives in Hal­i­fax. It’s very neat to have. It seems to make him real. I know it’s 150 years ago, but the con­nec­tion you feel when you see his hand­writ­ing and what he wrote per­son­ally…

“He’s such a fa­mous Nova Sco­tian, and I’m sure he wrote lots of let­ters, but this wasn’t a ‘how are the wife and kids’ let­ter, it was a busi­ness let­ter.”

BRAD WORKS/JOUR­NAL PI­O­NEER

Kay Tay­lor dis­plays the let­ter Joseph Howe wrote to her hus­band’s great grand­fa­ther dated July 2, 1867.

BRAD WORKS/JOUR­NAL PI­O­NEER

A let­ter Joseph Howe wrote on July 2, 1867.

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