Alan H. Ross, Letter to Blodwen Davies, June 11, 1930

Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
June 11, 1930

Dear Miss Davies: –


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Tom stayed at home until he came of age in 1898. His grandfather, Mr. Thomson’s father, had left rather a peculiar will by which all of Tom’s brothers and sisters, and Tom himself, came in for a certain amount on their coming of age. I am not very clear on this point, but think Tom’s share when he reached the age of 21 was something like $1800 or $2000. I had started an apprenticeship in the machinist’s trade with the Wm Kennedy and Sons at Owen Sound in 1894. Tom apprenticed himself with the same firm in the winter of 1899. He only lasted about

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eight months at this, however.

He and the foreman, a gentleman named Munro, never got along, and along in August of that year Tom quit. He told me about 3 years later that it was the most regrettable incident in his life until them and that he often thought of going back at the trade. Be that as it may, he returned home for a few months and then went to Chatham, Ont., where he entered the Canada Business College. That was where George and Harry both received their respective educations. […] I don’t think Tom’s stay in Chatham did him much good. He seemed to me at the time to be drifting. He was clever enough at his studies but he lacked the faculty of concentration. […]

Well, in 1901 Tom left home again, went to Winnipeg and a little later landed in Seattle. His brothers George and Harry were already there and Ralph followed the three to the same city in the winter of 1901-02. I went to the Coast myself in April of 1902 and saw considerable of Tom that summer. He was with a firm of engravers

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Maring and Ladd, and seemed to get along well. He made hosts of friends of course; I never knew anyone who made friends more easily. I came East again late in 1902 and Tom returned to Owen Sound, I think, in 1904, with his friend Horace Rutherford. […] I only saw Tom on two occasions after 1902, on each of these two for only a few days. Once was in 1905, when his father had moved to Owen Sound, and again in 1910. So I can tell you to nothing, or next to nothing of the last period of his life, for we got out of touch altogether. […]

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He may have changed in the last fifteen years of his life when, as I have said, I only saw him twice, but prior to that he was one of the most companionable men it has been my fortune to hold friendship with. and there are scores of others, I venture to say, who will tell you the same thing. Knowing him as I did it seems to be the most improbable thing in the world that he even would even contemplate suicide. How he came by his death will perhaps always remain a mystery. What I do know is that he was one of the best swimmers of all the boys around Leith, and some of them were pretty good. A lady friend of mine, who did not know him at all and had never seen him, told me about five years ago that when he was taken from the lake a fishing line was tightly drawn around his arms and body. I do not know what credence to give the story; there are always a lot of reports after a death like his. […]

Alan H. Ross

Source: Library and Archives Canada/Bibliotheque et Archives Canada, MG30 D38 'Blodwen Davies fond', Vol. 11, Alan H. Ross, Letter to Blodwen Davies, June 11, 1930. Notes: Original document withdrawn from circulation. Copy available on microfilm C-4579

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