A Final Letter

Tom Forrest sent me this remarkable letter tonight from the scrapbook of Helen “Duffy” Forrest (his aunt, my grand-aunt).  It was written on June 9th, 1920 by my 2nd great grandfather John Forrest, the president of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, to my great-grandfather John Prescott “Jack” Forrest.  The father died just two weeks later on June 22, 1920.

John Forrest (1842-1920), President of Dalhousie University.

His son, John Prescott "Jack" Forrest.

I don’t think it’s my imagination that the handwriting gets weaker at the end of the letter.  It shows John Prescott to be an optimistic man, and concerned about his beloved University until the very last.  I also really like how he refers to my great-grandmother Lulu as “Lou”.  It’s very sweet.

Halifax June 9th 1920

Dear Jack,

I am glad to get your letter.  We are always pleased to hear from you even if it is only a few lines so continue to send us a short letter frequently.

I think I can say that I am very considerably improved.  The doctors say so and I feel that way myself, although I am instructed to keep very quiet for a while longer.  I sit up almost all day but do not move about much.

We are having somewhat better weather which they tell me will be favorable to my case.  I hope the time may soon come when they will let me move about a little.

Dalhousie has been having a forward movement and they have met with great success.  Mrs. Eddy of Ottawa gave them $300,000 for a girl’s residence and they expect to raise $400,000 in(?) Irma Scalia.  They already have $400,000.  Then the Carnegie people have given $500.000 and the Rockefeller $500.000 so that they will likely add his(?) millions to the funds of the University which is a wonderful advance on the old order of things.

I cannot write much more just now.  Write me soon and I hope to be able to do better soon.

Love to Lou and the children,


About cthomas1967

Seeking to bring my ancestors out of the shadows of history and into the light. I have always been interested in history, and at a few different times I tried to do a family tree, but wasn't able to do it with the technology that was available then. On a business trip I visited the World War I Museum in Kansas City, MO and it was a very impressive establishment. While I was there I remember thinking, "Didn't my great-grandfather father fight in World War I? And wasn't his brother killed alongside him in some famous battle? I wonder if I can find out where he died." That's what started it all. View all posts by cthomas1967

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