Trafalgar Township Historical Society Digital Collections
1842 Letter to Mrs. Thomson From Her Son, James Thomson
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1842 Letter to Mrs. Thomson From Her Son, James Thomson


First shown here is the photograph of the stampless folded letter (SFL) with the broken wax seal. At the time, the postal cost was per "rate", a rate being a single sheet of paper. If the writer had enclosed the 2 page letter in an envelope, they would have paid one rate for the papers and another for the envelope. Click on "Pages" "Select" to read the two page letter. The letter was written from New York City by James, son of Mrs. Thomson. He tells of his journey from the Sixteen Mile Creek area in Trafalgar Township, through Niagara Falls to New York City as he prepares to sail to Scotland. At this time, we are still investigating who "Mrs. Thomson" in the Township of Trafalgar might be. Area land registry records mention a "Catherine Thompson" nearby the Chalmers property at the Sixteen and Dundas. She may have been a widow since she is personally named. The letter may have been sent to the care of Mr. Chalmers as the nearest postmaster, Mr. Proudfoot, would have easily been able to get the letter west to Mr. Chalmers, thereby making its receipt by Mrs. Thomson closer to home. (Chalmers and the postmaster worked together on many governance and business matters in the area.) There are clues which might result in learning more. A letter of two pages in those days indicated that the writer had money. 25 cents and 8 pence represented a half days pay on average. The young man knew the Earl of Dunmore lands which indicates he had emigrated from that estate or area near the estate when he was more than a toddler. Donor David Hobden, a specialist in post offices and postal services, has provided much information, deciphering the stamps and postal charges. He notes that contrary to regulations, the Trafalgar postmaster, Mr. Proudfoot, did not apply a Trafalgar receiving handstamp to the reverse of the letter.