March 5, 1938

% C. M. & S. Co. Ltd.,

Yellowknife, N.W.T.

March 5th, 1938.

 Dear Mother:

I believe that the winter is just about over here as we have been having a spell of very mild weather.  One day it was over 70 in the sun at noon and even long after supper when I went to bed it was still 40 above.  However, perhaps I am being over-optimistic as there is bound to be ice on the bay until early June.  I am hoping to try my skis again soon as there is a crust on the snow.

I was over town last Sunday when the tractor train from Gordon Lake came in.  It was composed of four sleighs – two oil tankers, an ordinary sleigh and the caboose.  This is rather a small train compared to the one that is just making its second trip from Waterways to Goldfields.  This one towed six sleighs but at present most of them are reposing in the river just out of Waterways where the train broke through a foot of ice.  The water is only three feet deep at this point but the combined efforts of three tractors have so far not been able to remove the sleighs.

There was a small fire here yesterday which destroyed a pump house which heats and pumps the water for the Rycon shaft.  No one knows how it happened yet but it is particularly odd as yesterday was the first occasion when it has been considered warm enough to allow the fires to go out.  The chief loss was the pump itself and a small Fairbanks Morse engine.

All the waste rock from the Rycon shaft is being used now to build a road over the muskeg from the shaft to the camp ready for summer.  Later the road will be used to take the ore to the mill, I imagine.  By that time we should have ordinary trucks in here, as they have in Goldfields.

The Con shaft is now down over 400 feet.  Shaft sinking will be over when we reach the 500 foot level.  One of these days I hope to go down the shaft.  It would be a strange experience.  Perhaps you heard the broadcast “Night Shift” from the Kimberley mine which gave an idea of what the mines are like underground.  The second broadcast, this time from Trail smelter, was too faint for us to hear very well.

Mar 10th 

I am afraid I got sidetracked when I originally commenced this letter, chiefly because of lack of material.  However the mail will be going over town tomorrow ready for the plane on Saturday and I want to be sure and catch it.  The mail comes in regularly now every Thursday, coming right thru from Edmonton in a day.  The reason why you don’t see any Yellowknife postmarks on my mail is that I usually send them out with Page, so they never see the post office here.

We had a sort of progressive bridge tournament here not long ago.  There were five tables, two teams from each bunkhouse and the rest from the staff.  The match was not really finished as some of the miners had to go on shift at twelve; but as far as it went Eric and I won, although I don’t think this is generally recognised.  However as the 25¢ entry fee was not collected before we started it does not matter much.

Howard Carruthers may not get his regular holidays for some time but he certainly manages to get to Edmonton often enough.  He is still in Edmonton and it is a little over a month since he was in before.  Mr. and Mrs. Howe left yesterday on their holidays.  Page gave them a thrill by swooping down on the power house as a farewell gesture to us.  Probably they thought they wouldn’t get away after all, for a second.

The Indian Village is absolutely deserted.  Everyone from the youngest baby to the oldest squaw has left on a hunting expedition.  They must go a long way as they have been away for a month now.  The diesel salesman who was here flew up to Bear Lake and on his return said he saw literally thousands of caribou between here and Bear Lake so perhaps the Indians have headed in that direction.

With love from


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