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LETTER: Anastasia’s Journey

This watercolour painting by Clayton Hann was inspired by a telegram sent to the provincial government after a typhoid outbreak in Isle aux Morts during the Great Depression. - Clayton Hann
This watercolour painting by Clayton Hann was inspired by a telegram sent to the provincial government after a typhoid outbreak in Isle aux Morts during the Great Depression. - Clayton Hann - Contributed

I enjoyed your recent article on Sadie Organ, “Isle aux Morts senior appreciates how things have changed’”.

I was particularly interested in her recollection of the typhoid outbreak during the Depression in Isle aux Morts. My mother, Anastasia Hann (nee Cook) also a descendant of Ann Harvey, lived in Isle aux Morts at that time.

Sadie Organ would have been around 12 years old in 1932 when my mother sent a telegram to Prime Minister Frederick Alderdice and MHA J.A. Winter in St. John’s.

She wrote the message out on Newfoundland Railway stationery prior to sending the message. It was a family keepsake which gives a glimpse of life from a more difficult time exactly as Sadie Organ describes. It read:

"Typhoid and destitution fifty percent homes here no medical assistance available. Stop. Unless something done quick to check fever entire settlement likely be wiped out. Stop. On behalf of residents demand in name humanity that Government immediately send qualified nurse with necessary remedies to combat fever and sufficient suitable supplies to feed at least thirty families of sick destitute."

I do watercolour paintings mostly of a Newfoundland historic nature and I painted the message.

My sister, Mary Galuga, wrote a book entitled ‘Anastasia’s Journey’ about our mother which as yet goes unpublished. Most of the book is centered around the difficult life in Isle aux Morts during the early 1930s, very much like the sentiment expressed in your article.

Clayton Hann

Gander

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