June 10, 1914
Lost in the Empress of Ireland.
Mrs. Tracey H. Archer, of Manna, Saskatchewan, formerly Miss Mary Ruth Congdon, daughter of the late Samuel G. Congdon, of Berwick, with her little son, Alfred Cecil Archer, perished in the wreck of the Empress of Ireland in the St. Lawrence River, on Friday, May 29th.
Mr. and Mrs. Archer had decided upon a visit to Mr. Archers native land and left their home in Saskatchewan some weeks ago for that purpose. Before sailing, they made a brief visit to Mrs. Archers mother, now Mrs. Harvey Allen, who resides at New Cape, Westmoreland County, New Brunswick. Proceeding from that place to Quebec they went on board the ill-fated steamer, which sailed on Thursday afternoon, and sank at an early hour the following morning.
In a brief letter written on Monday, June 1st, Mr. Archer says: "My wife and little boy were drowned and I was saved, almost by a miracle." From the despatches we learn that the bodies of Mrs. Archer and the little boy were recovered and were buried in the Protestant Cemetery at Quebec, the burial service being read by the Rev. Canon Scott. This was the first funeral of victims of the disaster.
The following extract from a Quebec despatch will be of interest.
There is much satisfaction among officials and others who had followed the bodies from Rimouski here and who had observed T. H. Archers pathetic search for his baby when Archer firmly and finally picked out the body in coffin No. 125 as that of his Alfred.
The baby, with blonde curls and round cheeks, had touched the hearts of the workers at Rimouski. Bodies of the victims had been piled one on another in a shed in Rimouski, and the baby was the apex.
"I am happy," said one official, "to know that the little tot will be buried in a plot that will receive loving care."