15 April 2010

Don't Answer the Door!

Fort Frances Times, 8 February 1917.

The devoted daughter of James McIntyre, Kate Ruttan wrote several poems honouring her father, including at least two titled "To Jas. McIntyre". This, the superior, was written in happy times, before McIntyre's business was lost to Canada's River Thames. Late in life, she described the gothic scene in a letter to William Arthur Deacon:
Foundation of furniture factory fell & sailed down the River Thames. Coffins, caskets, cupboards, card tables, chairs, pianos, pianolas - all commingled in confusion worse confounded. Also he was previously burned out. He wrote me his true townsmen collected Six Hundred Dollars for him that mournful morn. He was the loveliest man on earth.

It seems Mrs Ruttan inherited her father's bad luck. Widowed at a young age, she struggled to support her small family by working as a schoolteacher, postmistress, newspaper columnist and, it seems, door-to-door salesperson for evangelist Billy Sunday. Her only volume of verse, Rhymes, Right or Wrong, of Rainy River, was published in 1926 by the Fort Frances Times. She died two years later.


  1. Wow, some McIntyre verse the family has never seen! Thanks once more for appreciating our ancestor (and now Kate as well) for more than his cheese poetry.

  2. I'm pleased that you're enjoying them. There will be more, including some uncollected McIntyre verse published in the Globe. Cheers!