Transcribed by Sue Neikirk, [email protected]
Letter from LaBert St.Clair to home, Nov 30 1929
Nov 30 1929
I have been putting off telling you about my trip to Prince Edward Island because I thought I was going to get out home soon and I wanted to tell you in person. Now, however, my plans have been switched and it is doubtful if I get home before sometime in Jan. so I will tell you a little about it now. I am going to the Pacific Coast around Christmas time, but is necessary to get my ticket via Chicago in order to get the rates. Mae probably will go with me as far as Chicago, with the children, and double back via Veedersburg. I shall not be back until probably the middle of January.
The trip to the island was very nice and certainly cheap. I got a magazine story to write, and picked up free transportation, and about broke even on it.
After several days effort, I found Uncle James. His name is Sinclair, as is the family, and he was hard to locate. I finally got him through a Dr. Sinclair. He had seen a piece in a paper about a James Sinclair, veteran schoolmaster, falling from a wagon in a remote part of the island. As he was 80 years old, I hurried out there.
The old boy was picking up potatoes out at the barn. He was not hard to identify. He looked exactly like Dad did in his later life. James lives in a small town on a four acre place. He gardens and loafs. He has some money and three boys in the states. He has three or four other children. I did not look them up. I spent about an hour with him and as there seemed to be nothing more to say I left.
He told me that Grandpap had died over at a place called Kincardine, New Brunswick where he went with a colony of Scotchmen to establish a new Scotland. I went over there, found two old boys who knew the grandpap and found his grave. It is marked with a wooden slab. Competing tombstone men tried to sell me a stone. Kincardine is a great place. Only a Scot would try to make a living there. The hills are high and rocky. It is beautiful, but I had soon try to grub a living out of a slate. Two hundred families went up there. They created history, but that is about all. The grandpap met them when he was down at St. John's. He sent word back home to come on and join him. Nobody joined. He was a fat, short, jolly fellow they told me. He died, apparently of apoplexy, one night while alone in the cabin. He came to PEI in 1841, with his wife and three children from County Caithness, Scotland.
The name Sinclair is a good one on the island. One of the family now is in Parliament 17 years.
I never have see a more beautiful spot than the island. New farming methods and fox raising has made it prosperous. The people are reserved, but kindly. There are no roads except dirt and, therefore, few motor cars. Much of the country still is wild. The coloring in the woods in the fall is magnificent. The country rolls beautifully and the whole island is crossed with rivers and dotted with lakes. Living is marvelously cheap. The best board is about $8 a week. Much land, is deserted. The best land sells for $100 per acre, and some can be bought for $10. I like it so well that I hope to go down there in the summer some time.
There are many interesting details I will tell you when I get home.
Love to all
Sprint (LaBert St.Clair)
Note: The name Sinclair was changed to St. Clair when Laberts father Robert and uncle John Sinclair moved down to Veedersburg Indiana - The "Dear Folks" he writes to are basically all the family...brothers, sisters, and all the rest of the family. All the letters basically went like a round robin. One person would send a letter and then it would go to the next and so on. He wrote this letter and it was expected to be either have copies made or sent on to the next. At time some of the family letters would get rather confusing because a note would be made at the side or (because they were all artists) a picture would be drawn. Fun and crazy family. Sue Neikirk