24 February 1902
Scott St., Ft. Rouge, Winnipeg
My dear Mother,
Just a line to inform you that I am sending the photo of the boys by this or next mail. I am afraid it is too large to get mounted & sent thro' the mail, so I will send it just as it is. I also write to inform you that by accident I have discovered that a few pieces of land have been thrown open for homesteading in the Balmoral district, about 30 miles from here. A branch railway was extended right through the country last fall, and these pieces are all within 6 miles of the station of Balmoral.
Now, in my opinion, a homestead there would be very valuable & I thought if Jack intended to homestead, he could not do better than take up one, even though he did not work it for a hear or tow. You sometimes spoke of throwing up the place you are now on at present & going further away - now if you carry this out, why not come to a place where you are near a good market & railway?
From enquiries made, I find that north of these pieces of land about 5 miles, there is a heavy bush much larger than the one near our place, & untouched. There is also hay land to the west, so that it is an ideal place for mixed farming. Water is also good. If Charlie & Bert had been here, I am sure they would have jumped at the offer, as Charlie spoke about starting ranching again.
I have written them telling them of this chance & asking them to send me authority to homestead in their name, but I am afraid the places will all be taken up before I hear from them. You see, either Jack or any of them couldn't lose anything as they needn't go on the place, but, if they intended to farm, there, in my opinion, is the best they could strike.
I have such faith in its being a snap that I have purchased a quarter section myself as near to the homestead lands as I could get, not with the intention of farming it myself, but in order to have a place should you decide at any time to move. I would like you to be somewhere near where I can see you oftener & as the train runs out in 1 ½ hours, it would be fine if I could induce you to come there. What do you think of Jack taking a run down here as soon as possible? Weather is fine now, snow is all gone. He could see the district & form his opinion as to whether it would be a suitable one. I would take a run out with him.
I think this is a chance not to be thrown away as land so near Winnipeg, soil every bit as good as Rothbury, lots of bluffs and a lake within six miles one side & railway on the other is bound to be more valuable than up in the territories. Waiting to hear from you. Love to all.