|Title:||Mary Gibson, Allegheny, To My dear Long Lost Brother|
|Collection||Irish Emigration Database|
|Sender Occupation||still keeps her husband's office (steam fitting business)|
|Origin||Pittsburgh, Penn., USA|
|Source||Mary Gibson letters from America. Donated by Mr Gordon Douglas, 59 Lisnavar Court, Altnagelvin, Londonderry, BT47 QNE???, N Ireland.|
|Archive||The Ulster American Folk Park|
|Log||Document Added by JoeMullan, 29/11/2007|
APRIL, 4TH, 1898
My dear long lost brother,
No words of mine can tell you the joy I feel at being able to write you.
For years I have been under the impression you did not want any news of
your sister. May God forgive the woman that has caused us all those years
of misery, for I never can. When my dear husband wrote ten years ago and
enclosed a letter to be sent to you we got no reply to it and the letter
was delivered or else in would have returned to us. In it we said for you
to send us your address and we would send you the money for your journey here
to us. We waited 6 months and got no word, then I wrote to fathers sister
Aunt Sarah Mc Daid of Burt and enclosed a letter to be sent to you.
I sent her at the same time three pounds to be used by her in finding
you or my father. Well in about a month I got a letter from her telling me
her telling me her daughter would like to come here and stating you were living
somewhere about Derry. She has sent a letter to our Father enclosing yours also.
Who sent the reply I know not, but of all the insulting missions ever penned it
was the worst. My husband swore when he read it and flung it in the fire.
It nearly broke my heart. It said neither you nor my father wanted
anything to do with me as you had told them I was out on the streets in Derry
and a lot more to the same effect. Rather a colourless story, dear, as I left
Derry before I was sixteen. But enough of the batter part, we can look back on it
as a bad dream and try to forget it.
Now I will tell you all about myself. After I seen you last I went with a lady
to Lisburn, seven miles from Belfast. She was an old maiden lady a friend of
Mrs.Waller of Troy. You may know of them. I lived with her two years as a parlour
maid. Then I went to Hillsborough Castle, the residence of the Marquis of Downshire
in the Co. Down. While there I met my husband. He has been in this country six years
and was home on a short visit to his parents who lived on the estate there.
I met him the evening he came home on the second of June 84. Well, he was to go back
in three months, but it was 9 before he went. I went to England with the family in
July and did not get back to October. We kept steady company after that, but I
did not want to get married then. Finally we agreed he was to came back here
and I would come to him in a year, but I am sorry to say it was over two
years before I did come. He sent for me twice and I still put it off. Then his
mother died and before her death she sent for me and told me she would die
happier if she knew her younger son was married. I left in a hurry then,
you may be sure. He met me at New York and we were married that evening in
Pittsburg. His Aunts and Uncles were all so good to the little stranger. I love
them dearly and in all these long sad years since my darling left
me have been my true friends indeed. My husband and two babes sleep in the
cemetery here. I have one darling child left, my second, Bessie, 8 years old.
Edwin is gone now 6 years. Both of us knew it was inevitable as he had
consumption. Out of 10 brothers only 4 remains now. My little Bessie will,
I fear, go too. She gets more like her father every day, but I am resigned
to give her up. If God wants her, I give her willingly as I had to give the
others. If I go home this summer I will take her with me. Her fathers people
(at home) in the old country are crazy to get her over there. We would have
gone last year but the Dr.[Doctor?] would not let me take her and I would not
go over without her. My brother, I am in pretty fair circumstances enough
to live well and still a little left. I look after things in general in
the office. My husband was in the steam fitting business and I still keep it up,
with help, of course. This is only a temporary home I am living in at present.
On the 7th of Jan, [January] my own home was burned to the ground and all
my furniture. Nothing saved not even our clothes. Some ammonia and whisky
exploded in the bonded warehouse across the street and burned
the whole square. 32 lives were lost, among them my cousin by marriage,
Police Lieutenant John Berry. The insurance people are giving us a good deal
of the trouble, but my lawyer looks after all that. Now about ourselves.
Dont think I am forgetting my dear new sister. God bless her for making your
life a happy one, and my little nieces, oh how glad I will be to see
them dear ones. My darling brother, if we had only our mother to be with us
when we meet, that dear patient mother. Oh how I envy anyone has their mother
to go to in all their joys and sorrows. James can you remember anything about
her? I can, and I can also remember the insulting words used about her by the
woman our father ( what a mockery that
words seems) put in her place, but all the sorrow and misery she has
caused us will be to her own loss. I could quite understand her speaking
of my sister in nasty terms as I think she never spoke a good word of any
one in her life. When I read your description of the scene when you told
them of your intended marriage I laughed tho [though?] the tears was blinding
me at the time. I could picture it all for my myself. What a time you must
have had. May heaven help poor father. My brother, never use an unkind word
to the dear wife you have won. Oh, how glad I am your home is such a happy one.
We never had an unkind word between us while my husband lived. I shed some of
the bitterest tears today I ever shed when I read of the unhappy life you led,
and me not knowing even knowing if you were alive. I will keep your dear
letter and show it you. I dont think you could read it now yourself. It is
blotted with tears, so you can scarcely see the lines, but there were some
glad ones too. But I felt bad to see father had forgotten even where our mother
rests. When I go home, dear, I want a stone put up to her memory. I will
pay all expenses of course. This will always be my home here,
but I will feel as if I had another one in Ireland now. And I must tell
you that if God spares me to go over it will be late in August before I
can leave, for a reason I will tell you of another time. I am so glad you
are in a good position, but I guess you deserved it. I will
write to Capt. [Captain?] McConnell this week. I owe him a great deal
for the trouble he took. I will send him some money also, to do as he pleases
with. I was going to write to Derry to try and get your address often, but I
did not know who to write too. When Bessie brought your letter to me a
short time ago she called. Mama heres another letter from Uncle Jim How
true it was, tho [though?] not form the one she meant. I turned sick before
I seen it, for I had one from him the day before and I was sure it was to tell
me his ship was ordered into action. He is in the American Marines and we are
expecting every day the President will declare war with Spain. He was in the
Brazilian war and would be home soon now. I will send you his letter
to read. He is my nephew by marriage, my husbands eldest brothers son,
and he too had a daisy of a stepmother. He often told me he never had a home
to I came. He is 2 years younger than me. but Bessie calls him Uncle Jim.
She cant [cant] see why she has two Uncle Jims. I have not seen him for five
years but you may see him sometime. How glad he will be to know I have
found you. It was so hard to not know whether I had a brother or not.
Your letter was not half long enough to content me, Be sure and write soon
again, but when I see you I will tell you lots more. By the way, let me know
if Duke Corscadden that was James, Willie or Robert is still around Derry.
I knew them all when I was in Hamiltons on Market St, and I think my brother
that when I go home I will see our Father and that, without
much trouble if any of them is still around Derry. I know it will take you all
week to read this. I could tell you more still, only shame makes me stop now
for this is a volume not a letter.
From your loving sister,
MARY GIBSON, 140 Sheffield St.
Document transcribed by PaulaTracey