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Biography & Autobiography Historical

On the Frontier

Letters from the Canadian West in the 1880s

by (author) William Wallace

edited by Ken S. Coates & Bill Morrison

University of Regina Press
Initial publish date
Oct 2015
Historical, Post-Confederation (1867-)
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Oct 2015
    List Price

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First published more than twenty years ago as My Dear Maggie, this new edition of William Wallace's letters home to England provides rare documentation of the earliest days of settlement in the West. The correspondence conveys a sense of unspoken courage--the courage that was needed to make a fresh start in a strange new land.

"William's letters contains many elements common to settlers' writings: a recounting of the exhausting trip behind slow-moving oxen from the jumping-off point to the homestead, the violence of thunderstorms, the pain of frozen extremities, and the destruction caused by prairie fires. They are also full of the fine details of life not usually found in such abundance in pioneer narratives, details made vivid by William's observant eye and lyrical writing style... He tells of mosquitoes (he even encloses one in a letter)... the fierce weather, nearby bears and howling wolves. William Wallace takes us on his personal journey from immigrant to citizen, a journey awakened by his growing attachment to his new landscape." Prairie Forum  

About the authors

William Wallace's profile page

Ken S. Coates was raised in Whitehorse and has a long-standing interest in northern themes. Titles include Canada’s Colonies, The Sinking of the Princess Sophia, The Modern North, North to Alaska (on the building of the Alaska Highway) and many academic books. He has worked on north-centred television documentaries and served as a consultant to northern governments and organizations. He is currently Professor of History and Dean of Arts, University of Waterloo.

Ken S. Coates' profile page

A graduate of McMaster University and the University of Western Ontario, BILL MORRISON worked from 1969 to 2010 as a university professor and administrator in Ontario, Manitoba, and British Columbia and as a visiting professor in the United States. He has published fourteen books, twelve of them in collaboration with Kenneth Coates.

Bill Morrison's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"A valuable account of everyday life."

Journal of Canadian Materials for Young People

Other titles by Ken S. Coates

Other titles by Bill Morrison