Inside was a treasure she was never expecting.
“I was going through the trunk after my husband told his grandfather that we would take it.
“There were all kinds of different things in it. Notes that said this person owed that person so and so amount of money. I didn’t think they were important so I threw them in the fireplace.”
But when she picked up the next item, she stopped.
“Bill who’s Joseph Howe?” she called to her husband?
“You know who Joseph Howe is,” he replied.
“Well here’s a letter from Joseph Howe to your great-grandfather,” she asserted.
Howe was known as a politician and journalist. Arranging railroad projects including the Nova Scotia Railway in 1854.
Eventually Taylor took the letter to Mount Allison University in Sackville, N.B., when they were hosting a symposium on Howe.
“They told me there was no doubt that it was his signature. And that it was the proper date when he was in Prince Edward Island.”
Now with Canada’s 150th anniversary, Taylor thought it was time to look at the letter again.
The letter, dated July 2, 1867, and written at Rothesay House in Saint John, N.B., reads, “My Dear Davison, I would have answered your note before. But was in hopes to have gone home before this. I am detained here on the business of Prince Edward Island. But hope to be released in another week. You can if you like, expect £15 and put in the mountain ridges and the roads in order. I will see you paid when I get back. Yours Truly, Joseph Howe.”
Taylor says the letter was quite a find.
“It should probably be kept in an archives in Halifax. It’s very neat to have. It seems to make him real. I know it’s 150 years ago, but the connection you feel when you see his handwriting and what he wrote personally…
“He’s such a famous Nova Scotian, and I’m sure he wrote lots of letters, but this wasn’t a ‘how are the wife and kids’ letter, it was a business letter.”