This letter is dated October 1, 1963 and was written by Althea
(Dickson) Dobie to Annie (Dobie) Sutherland. A photocopy
was sent me by Marilyn Clarke,
First I will answer your questions. When I cleaned out 16 Regent St. I saw no sign of anything like a crest. Ed used to say that Coat was a little crazy on the family tree business. So far as is known the Coatsworths were hardworking successful dairy farmers in Durham county in England. That is something to be proud of. [As far as is known, they were lead miners]. Our dear Coat was constantly looking for cousins and how we would laugh when Ed would wind up the discussion by saying "Why for sure, he is a cousin -- his great-grandfather's dog ran across our great-grandfather's farm one day a hundred years ago."
Referring to the Coatsworth relics in Gore Bay, they consist mainly of large heavy ledgers. I asked Jean this summer if she ever saw these cousins since they left Elliot Lake. It seems she hadn't. Your first cousin Mary Ann Jackson Smith, over 80 when I saw her, had had several strokes and chances are that she has departed by this time. Her daughter Mrs. Claridge who reminded me so of Liz, is very likely dashing around. She appeared a highly competent, busy woman. But I doubt if they would consider lending these ledgers. They will probably be put into a museum there in Gore Bay.
Your father William Currie, had four brothers and two sisters -- Robert [correct name was Russell], Joseph, David and James, Mary and Lizzie. Their father's name was John David. When John David brought his family from Birkenhead in 1849, several of his brothers were already in Canada, but I haven't the foggiest notion their names. [According to W.C. Dobie's account of his trip over, John David Dobie came to Canada with his one brother William Currie Dobie, however some of their cousins had preceeded them by several years].
John David was a stone mason and worked on many government buildings then being built in Ontario, mainly jails and courthouses, before taking up a farm at Owen Sound. All this your father has told me many times. This is really all that I actually know.
I was delighted to hear from you and news of George by way of his letter. I saw them all of course at the time of Dora's death. I don't think I have ever missed anyone so much as Dora -- we had been friends as well as sisters-in-law for more than 50 years with never a disagreement.
Recently I've had a stay in hospital, for X-rays and to the intestinal indigestion which I have had for 20 years, as added gall bladder trouble and right now I'm trying to pamper both and find enough to eat which takes considerable doing.
John who lives in Winnipeg was down for a night last week. He works in the Department of Industry and Commerce, in the Manitoba Gov't.
Jean's children are healthy, happy kids. Martha the middle one does the worrying for the family. John the boy soon eight years old, is a happy child who goes ambling along his own cheerful way. They, like their father, are full of fun and always have a good joke to tell. They were scarcely in the house this summer when they told me their latest, which, prehaps is after all, as funny as some of the stuff we hear on T.V. "What was Snow White's husband's name"? "Egg White" and the punchline: "Pretty good yoke, eh?"
They are a cheerful lot of good travellers, and I hated to see them go.
I had also a two week visit from my youngest sister, another Jean. Her husband after an illness of 6 years, died last February. Her family are from and live in St. Thomas. She is as buxom as I am scrawny. I was nine years old when she was born and from that time she was my baby to bring up. We had a great time. She is a great goer, active in may things, drives his car like a veteran which she is, and plays bridge like a professional. I hated to see her go too - but everything has an end it seems.
I have another sister who has been talking of making me a visit, but it is getting late in the season, and she takes heavy colds, so I shouldn't be surprised if she postponed it. She lives in our old home in St. Thomas which my father build more than 80 years ago - which is still substantial and livable with sound floors and walls.
Well do I remember as a child getting off to bed Christmas Eve very quietly in case I should hear Santa Claus coming down the stove pipe in the upstairs hall, and Santa Claus time is coming up on us again. They seem to bring him out earlier every year. Several Christmases ago I went over with some young friends and their little girl to Simpson Sears to see Santa Claus. He was the most bedraggled and weary Santa and looked as if he would collapse if he didn't soon get a sleep. Two weeks before Christmas would surely be time enough but then I'm not running the business world just sitting in the side lines.
Thank you for your letter. I'm sorry not to be of more help with names. Bill's daughter Dora from Atikokan was in on Saturday - a handsome and agreeable girl of 16 and clever and full of life. You would love her.Affectionately,