Main content

Title: Ernest Cochrane, Calgary to Katie Finlay, Ireland
CollectionIrish Emigration Database
FileCochrane, Ernest/13
SenderCochrane, Ernest
Sender Gendermale
Sender Occupationprovost sergeant
Sender Religionunknown
OriginCalgary, Canada
DestinationCo. Down, N.Ireland
RecipientFinlay, Kate
Recipient Genderfemale
SourceD 3504/1/15: Copied by Courtesy of Mr. A. D. Finlay.
ArchivePublic Record Office, Northern Ireland.
Doc. No.9103161
Partial Date
Doc. TypeEMG
LogAction By Date Document added by B.W. 20:12:1993
Word Count1237
TranscriptFrom: Ernest Cochrane
The Barracks
N. W. T. [North West Territories?]

To: Katie [Finlay?]
[County Down?],

My darling Katie
I have just got your letter
of the 5th: and it has put me in
good spirits, for I see by it that
you are getting better & thats [that is?] as good
as a years pay to me. For I have
been hoping so much & wondering
how you were. You are just a dear
to promise me the photos (I am
answering the enclosure first).
And wont I have many a look
at it. You give me credit for a
warm heart. There are a lot of
people think just the reverse
The heart you refer to can just
be as cold & stern to some as it is
possible to be. It has often struck
me that with reference to any qualities
you can be an exceedingly foolish
little body! Put me out of the way
and there is no true, loveable,
womanly, quality, that I would not,
witha all my heart, praise you for.
But when you come down to
think of Reg. [Regulation?] No. [Number?]
1641 Provost Sergt. [Sergeant?]
E. [Ernest?] Cochrane, you begin to imagine
things that dont exist. Little woman
if you only knew how very far short
of your ideal, I am, I would feel
easier. What people here think
of me, does not concern me one
little bit. I go my way & I have
not met the man yet who will put
me out of it. But then I don’t

care for them, & I do care for you
& value your thoughts of me. When
you praise me, & its very often, I
feel uncomfortable & know I dont
deserve it. Yet I might as well
say nothing, for when a girl gets
a thing into her head its not one
of my kind can get it out.
I wrote you a letter telling you
how I spent Xmas [Christmas?] & I hope you
have got it by this time. May your
next be spent under far happier
surroundings than being ill in bed
I am glad the change of quarters
is to your liking & most sincerely
trust it may be beneficial. The
Card & letter I sent you were not
up to much, so you wont lose
any thing [anything?] if they dont turn up
And so Bob is engaged? Well from
what you say he deserves, & I trust
will get a good wife. The verse
is nice, but in the name of all
what image of me has got into
that little head of yours? If you
could follow my daily life; hear
me talk to prisoners; know the
amount of sin and misery I am, in
my duty, surrounded with, you could
not pick out anything nice in the
whole lot. Only one thing that I do
& am perhaps just a wee bit proud
of is, that I treat all the "nasty
people" just the same. Let them be
friends outside, whites, niggers or
Indians, they all alike obey the
Prison rules & obey me. I have had
my own officers locked up; big
ranchers of the country; the lowest
of the low, both male and female,
guilty of all the crimes under the
canopy of heaven & I never showed
by word or look that I thought one
better than the other. The Indians
go home to their Reserves and tell
"Iron Face", thats me, hard but "hitchie
good as whiteman!" Now the

next time you start thinking nice
of me, pause and say to yourself, "they
call him "Iron Face." I think that
will take the varnish from the
picture. What a nice room you
must have & it seems to be [a?]
lovely place. I would like to be
with you for just a little. Just to have
a good look at you, & then I would
clear out before you found out I
was a very ordinary hum drum
sort of person. Do know you [you know?] little
woman that you are a very
comical "outfit" as they say here.
Your sage remarks on love &
marriage made me laugh. Of
knowing what it is to have
people falling in love with you
I give you full credit. But as
to the troubles etc of the after act,
you have only hear say [hearsay?] evidence
But when you soar into the
realms of social institutions
& rail against a wife only having
one husband, I had to smile
considerably. If my mind does
not play me false, there is a
tribe in Asia, where a woman
when she marries, takes all her
husbands brothers as well. How
the interior economy of the
household is arranged, history does
not record, but I imagine, as
Arteius word says, "things must
be a little mixed!" I know of your
powers of old, of handling many
admirers at a time: but I also
know if you loved and married a
man, there would not be a truer or more
loving wife found anywhere.
So you can keep your remarks
on such subjects, for I wont [will not?]
have any one [anyone?], not even yourself
try & make me believe that
you could not, if you had wished
been a blessing to the man
you gave your hand to.

You dont know dearest how I
value your letters & the happiness
they give me. Its very sweet
to me to think that there is a someone
who cares for me & one that I can
look up to & say, she's very good
& she has always been tender
& kind to me. Oh dear it helps
a man such a lot. Its not
likely dear that you & I will
ever meet, save in that place
where I hope I will some day
qualify for. But I want you
to know you have been a help
to me & I want you to Know
that in your sweet loveable way
you have made a better man of
me. I hope that I will never do
anything that you would be ashamed
of, for I do value your friendship
I have none other & this I think
makes it precious. I am glad
there are nice people at where you
are staying & I hope you have lots
of friends. It helps one when they
are ill. I am going to be extra
good so you will feel justified
in writing again. We are
having a cold snap just now
55 [55 degrees?] below freezing & plenty of snow
One night the furnace under my
room went out & I was regularly
stiffened up in the morning, so
much so that I could not turn
my head for a couple of days.
My thumb is nearly all right now
but the cold makes it sting.
Now darling I trust & pray
this may find you very much
improved & that you soon
will be all right again. If wishing
will do you any good, then you
will be your old self very soon.
Remember me to your father &
mother, I hope the place will do
them good as well.
I am not going to try & thank

you for your letter, for I cant [cannot?]
say enough: but dear I am
And now with love to you
believe me dearest Katie
Ever your friend
Ernest Cochrane

The Pig is well, but strongly
objects to the cold.