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Canadiana, Ephemera, Letter, Photograph, Victoria, BC

1892 letter from Cordova Bay to Bella Coola

1892 letter from Dora to Peter (page 1)

1892 letter from Dora to Isa

This letter, dated July 8, 1892, was written by Dora B. Peter from her home in Cordova Bay to her older sister Eliza (Isa) Grant in Bella Coola.  In it she relates the sad news that their mother Marianne had passed away. She also reports on the Smallpox outbreak that had broken out in Victoria.  She writes:

“There are nearly 100 cases of small-pox in town, the Empress of Japan brought it over and 150 Chinese were landed before it was found out. Bill and his family and Jim and John have all been vaccinated and Etta and her squad and the rest are all going to be as soon as possible, it is spreading like wild-fire as night before last there were only 69. I only hope it will not get up your length as you will be in a poor way as you cannot be vaccinated. I have been in town every day this week and have got to go tomorrow yet but after that will not go in more than we possibly can.”

The epidemic, which arrived on board the CPR steamship Empress of Japan, forced the closure of the port of Victoria and was a serious blow to the local economy.  The complete letter is provided here: page 2, page 3, page 4.

This letter is one of several items I have that relate to the Peter family who emigrated from Scotland to the United States in 1880 and then moved to Victoria in 1890.  Eliza (Isa) A Peter married Saumarez L. Grant and lived in Bella Coola for 40 years before moving to Seattle where she lived to the ripe old age of 104.  In a previous post I featured an 1899 photo of members of the Peter family taking tea in Kirkland, Fife.

The first of the two photos shown below is of Dora Peter (holding the parasol) with her sister Bertha and would likely have been taken within a year or two of this letter being written. The second photo is of Eliza (Isa) Grant (nee Peter) with her second son Eddie, likely taken around 1900.  Two of Isa’s three sons died in the First World War.

Bertha & Dora Peter

Dora Peter on right

Isa and Eddie Grant

Isa Grant (nee Peter) and Eddie


3 thoughts on “1892 letter from Cordova Bay to Bella Coola

  1. Great site on WW 1 info !
    We are working on commemorating WW 1 soldiers here from Bella Coola, just about 50 signed up. Many were transient workers etc living here at the time,but a dozen or so were Bella Coola boys.
    The photo from your site enclosed is a great find. camptioned “Two soldiers, one from the Royal Flying Corps, pose outside a country home somewhere in England. Both these men were from Bella Coola in British Columbia.”
    It appears to be Fredrick Grant who faught in France and then joined the Royal Flying Corps late in the war then dissapeared on a flight. His brother Eddie had been killed earlier in France. interesting to know the other fellow. could be his brother.
    The Grants were early settlers here in Bella Coola and loosing both of their sons must have been such a sad thing for them. They were the sons of your photo of Grant family. re 1892 letter from Cardova Bay
    Can you give us any further info on the photo? If it’s Fred it’s the only one we have seen as the family home burned down in the late 1950’s.
    Any thing you could give us would be much appreciated. Names on reverse etc.
    how could we get a good copy in tif ?
    Thank you for your time,
    Peter Solhjell- Bella Coola Valley Museum

    Posted by Peter Solhjell | March 2, 2014, 7:05 pm
  2. The ladies, Dora and Isa were sisters to my Grandmother, Emma Tandy Peter, Leven, Scotland. Emma married
    Richard Hampton in Victoria(Isle of Man) had 8 kids. My Mother, Constance Isabel(Hampton) Allin, Nov 6,1909, was
    The youngest..Dora became a Chrisopher, marrying Dave: Isa a Grant, lost 3 sons WW1 also had 2 girls, Edith and
    Evelyn, both went to Seattle where Evelyn was a nurse. I have photos of all, including Isa’s 104 Birthday party, and
    There is a recording of piano playing at her party. A grandson, Bobby, WW2′ sailor, became Captain of boat in Lake
    Superior(commercial). Blanche(Marianne) 1993 Sigalet became Family Historian, collected an amazing amount of
    Letters, cards, medals, sailor hat bands and much more which I donated to the Royal Victorian Library and Archives
    2005. This is exhibited on 8th Floor and well documented. Blanche left no heirs so I,her niece, Lynn Grimmer of
    Abbotsford, BC have lots of photos taken in studios in Leven, England,Africa, sent to Emma..The extended family
    Names are: Hind, Balfour,Aytoun,Anderson and Laird, many found at Ancestry . Com. The Canadian families have
    Kept in contact: Annie Hampton Married George Stewart, Salt Spring Island, 7 kids, Beaver Point and would be most
    helpful for you to contact. Please know I am able and willing to share any and all info. Bequeathed to me: phone
    604 556 7101. Best Wishes, Lynn (I am Queenie to Great and Grand kids,hence email’quinie’)!

    Posted by Lynn Grimmer, Abbotsford, BC. Tel 604 556-7101 | June 27, 2016, 3:44 pm

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