History Corner - Letter from the Depression years

Here is a letter dated April 6, 1932 from the York Farmers Colonization Company Limited of Toronto, addressed to Yorkton pioneer Levi Beck who had had enough financial successes as a farmer, and as merchant to be known as the “Merchant Prince.” The letter reads as follows: “On account of the bad seasons 1930-1 and the low prices of grain, and other farm products, the Company are willing to cancel all the interest owing up to Oct. 1, 1931 amounting to $640.02 as an encouragement for you to go on and put in your crop for 1932, early and in first class order. The Company will look to you to pay your interest and payment on principal in the fall, and to keep all taxes paid up. Wishing you a good crop and price.” Signed by Manager, John J. Cook.

It is was now obvious that Levi Beck could not keep up with his vast enterprises. While we encounter some stories of mean landlords during the 1930s Depression, this letter shows that the Manager of the York Farmers Colonization Company Limited — the 1882 founders of Yorkton, still in business in Toronto was making a generous offer to help Levi Beck. We do not know the details regarding his crop in the fall of 1932, but we know that he had not overcome his financial problems when he died in March 1936. It is just refreshing to read a story of a Company trying to help out a customer in need. This is not the first story of the good will of the principals of Yorkton’s founding Company.

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Contact Terri Lefebvre Prince,
Heritage Researcher,
City of Yorkton Archives,
Box 400, 37 Third Avenue North
Yorkton, Sask. S3N 2W3

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