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“Our house by moonlight January 1931.”
“Our house by moonlight January 1931.”
Yukon Archives: #7956
Return to the Wilderness Idyll: Ross River
Unexpected departure

In spite of her frequent declarations of love for her home and life in Ross River, Mary missed her family, and frequently lamented how long it took their letters to reach her. She was the only white woman within several hundred miles and frequently found herself starved for the company of women from the outside world. Despite this, she was apparently pleased when the possibility of a transfer to distant Old Crow was announced in 1930:

Though we are on our fourth year at Ross River now, the outlook this fall is entirely different to any of the others, and the feeling here is changed…It is a curious thing – but we have often said that there is only one place in all the Y.T. to which we would be willing to go – as readily as to stay at Ross River – and that is up on the Porcupine. (91/112 f. 3, MSS 365 Mary to Anna, Sept. 30, 1930)

However, it was finally Claude’s health, rather than a transfer to Old Crow, that brought the Ross River chapter of their lives to an end. An illness that Mary referred to as a "toxic goiter" forced Claude to travel to Dawson and Whitehorse to seek medical help.

Claude’s illness prompted his premature departure from Ross River, and Mary was left to fend without him. Everyone lent her a hand, though: Roy Buttle dug flower beds, the Martin children helped clean and rake, and her sister Elisabeth, called Honey by her family, was just arriving in the Yukon for a visit during this trying time. She, along with Ross River neighbours, helped Mary with the upkeep of the post and, ultimately, with arduous business of packing. Some time in the summer of 1931, Mary and Honey departed for Dawson to be with a recuperating Claude, and the Tidds never returned to their beloved Ross River again.
Mary's big adventure Slideshow