Letter mailed from Vulcan, Alta., 94 years ago comes home

It's a case of snail mail indeed. After 94 years, a letter posted by a woman in Vulcan has been returned to the small Alberta town by a man in Australia who found it in an old trunk.

Australian man found the letter in antique trunk 30 years ago

Tim Lacey (left), his daughter and her partner on a visit to the Flinders Ranges in South Australia. (Courtesy of Tim Lacey)

A letter mailed 94 years ago from a small Alberta town has been returned by a man in Australia.

Tim Lacey, of Balaklava in South Australia, found the letter in an antique trunk he purchased some 30 years ago. He read the letter and as a history buff was fascinated by its contents.

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The letter was written by Violet Collier from Vulcan in 1919 to a friend named Miss Scholz.

It recounts a year of drought and poor crops. She also writes of a long car trip to see the visiting Prince of Wales and tells tales of young men who died in the First World War.

"Geoff (her husband) has his four brothers home now (one was killed and one sent to Siberia for a year). It does not seem as though things will ever be the same again since this war."

Lacey tried to contact someone in Vulcan as long as 25 years ago. Recently, an Australian friend with a Canadian connection urged him to make another attempt.

Town thrilled to have it back

Lacey found the Vulcan Business Development Society through an internet search and returned the letter to the town on Jan. 6.

Jonathan Allan of the Vulcan Business Development Society said the town is thrilled to have the letter back.

"The letter itself is in remarkably good shape, and is a fascinating reflection of the era," he said in a release. 

Vulcan is currently putting together a heritage conservation program. While aimed mostly at preserving buildings, the town says the letter is an important piece of local history.

The town is now trying to find the descendants of the letter writer Violet Collier.

The letter is posted below. On mobile? Click here to see it. The transcription is posted below the original letter.

Transcript of letter

From Violet Collier (& Geoff Collier), Box 115, Vulcan, Alberta

To Miss Scholz, of (presumably) South Australia

Dated Nov. 15, 1919, on letterhead of the Vulcan Supply Company

My dear Miss Scholz,

By the time this reaches you I guess Xmas won’t be far away, + I wish you all the good things of the season. Since writing last I guess you have Mr. [or Ms.] Norman [or Norma] Scholz with you, + I can imagine what great times you had welcoming all the boys home. Geoff has his four brothers home now (one was killed, + one sent to Siberia for a year. It does not seem as though things will ever be the same again, since this war, everything here is upside down with strikes, + the United States are in a dreadful state, serves them right though they are always saying “How they won the war,” running down other “Nations”, + thinking they rule the world, you should feel thankful you have not got them as neighbours. We have had a very dry year (the 3rd) again, it’s making things bad, + an early winter has set in since Oct 15 we have had 2 ft of snow on the ground with zero weather cattle are dying for want of feed, hay is an awful price, + can scarcely be got. Govt is talking of helping out more than has been. Geoff has started in business in the Hardware (Ironmongery) with two other fellows one who handles implements, + another, + in the Spring they intend combining the three, Geoffs own business the “Harness”, “Implements”, + the “Hardware” if it’s a good year next year they should do well, + really I don’t see how it possibly can be another dry year. We have had the “Prince of Wales” out here, we drove 95 miles by auto to see him, had a dandy view, he is such a nice open faced boy everybody is in love with him. We had another long ride by auto this summer 104 miles to see a brother of Geoffs, our light’s gave out coming home, a pitch dark night, but we got home alright. How are you all keeping + Mr Scholz? My sister Mabel is well, talks of coming out to see me, she is on easy street, to what I am just now, her husbands people seem to be fairly well connected. Auntie Julia in England does not enjoy very good health she is 85 next birthday. Games on the ice is the order of the day out here now, “Curling”, “Hockey” + Skating. How is Miss Atkinson these days. In cannot think of more news just now. So will close. Hoping all are in the best of health.

Yours sincerely Violet Collier