A letter from Nicholas Winters to his brother, Silas (1880)
Linda Winters Vallee of British Columbia was kind enough to think of us and send the following letter. She is a great-niece of the writer, Nicholas James Winters, who was a land holder in the Port Hope area. Nicholas' uncle, also named Nicholas, was running a hotel in Port Hope at the time. Linda writes:

     This is a letter that was sent to me by Allison Hough, a great-granddaughter of Silas Winters. Silas was a brother of John Wesley and William Winters. It was sent to him in 1880 from their oldest brother Nicholas who died on September 26, 1880 at the age of 33. He was buried in Lakeview Protesant Cemetery, Madoc Township. His wife, Maggie McRay, who he married in 1871, passed away 18 November 1926. Having never re-married, she was buried beside her husband.

     I have not corrected the spelling and where I have had to make a guess about what Nicholas was trying to say I used (brackets). The Abraham and Elizabeth mentioned in the letter are the brother-in-law and sister of our John Wesley, William and Silas. The Frank and Kate referred to are the uncle(in-law) and aunt of the three. Kate (Catharine Winters Wannamaker, d/o our Irish John and Elizabeth, died 24 December 1887 in Port Hope. "Bessy" is, in all probability, Elizabeth Sacret (also an aunt), daughter of our Irish John and Elizabeth. It was just recently that I discovered our Irish John went to live with Elizabeth and her family in Lakefield where he passed away. I hope you all enjoy this window into our Winters' past and I thank Allison very much for sharing this with us.


Port Hope
February 2nd., 1880

Dear brother,

I received your letter this morning and was glad to heare that you was well. I wish I could say the same. I have been very bad all winter and don't feel any better yet. Well Silas I have got bad news for you. Abraham and Elizabeth has lost Johnny. He was buried on Saturday at three oc and he died on Friday moring about 2 oc. He died with the same desease that Tommy died with watter on the brain they feel fully bad about it well he was a good boy. He is not to good for the place he had gon to we have had it pretty sickly time heare this winter.

Well I suppose that you would like to know what the times is like out frunt well they are pretty bad the only place that I heare of much going on is Madoc times. Seames to be lively their. I am going to live in Madoc if I can get sold out heare and sell I must I am not able to do any work and I want my money to make a living at --- and to get a way from the lake. Are mother is pretty well old White gets on the spree as usual and things in general goes about the same frank and kate is growling about the hard times as usual Kate has not been well this winter She looks bad bessy she has been out from Lakefield. She stoped out for three weaks.

There has ben no (e)?slaighing heare this winter yet and it has ben verry damp and foggy it has ben verry bad for me I am not able to do anything I cant cut my one wood and the doctoers have gave me up I have tried foure of thems and they have ordered me to take no more medison or drug of any kind only good holesome food and some good liquer or good rum Milk and some raw egg. So that is all that they can do for me and if I get well I wont have it to say that the docters cured me for they have only ben (deiving) me (aningury) but I trust that provindence will fetch me back a gain to health and restore me to my family again but if not well I must go. We were glad to heaer that you was coming out to see us when you get through in the shanty deare brother be very careful and keepe out of danger for I have been (oneday) about you this winter.

I don't know of any more to say at present so I shall close by biding you good buy we remain your affectionat brother and sister

NJ Winters

(Nicholas James Winters was the eldest son of John Winters Junior and Sarah Downard Winters White.)

Peter and Barbara Bolton - Port Hope, Ontario
www.alivingpast.ca