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Title: W K Harshaw, Paterson NJ, to Robert Harshaw, Co Down.
CollectionIrish Emigration Database
FileHarshaw, W. K/11
SenderHarshaw, W.K.
Sender Gendermale
Sender Occupationunknown
Sender Religionunknown
OriginPaterson, New Jersey, USA
DestinationCo. Down, N.Ireland
RecipientHarshaw, Robert
Recipient Gendermale
SourceT 1505/4: Copied by Permission of Ulster Folk Museum, Cultra Manor, County Down. #TYPE EMG W.K.H [Harshaw?], Paterson, New Jersey, to "Master Robert" [Harshaw?], [Ringclare, County Down?], 11 March 1896.
ArchivePublic Record Office, Northern Ireland
Doc. No.9005216
Partial Date
Doc. TypeEMG
Log22:05:1990 JMR created 21:08:1991 SE input 23:08:1
Word Count1393
TranscriptTo: "Master Robert," [Ringclare, County Down?]
From: [W.K. Harshaw?]
Paterson N.J. [New Jersey?]
March 11th 1896

Master Robert
The Saturday's steamers mails
are usually delivered here on Monday mornings.
On Monday morning the 2nd I was nervous and
expectant as yours of the week before had announced that
John was rapidly approaching his end, and then was
evidently very near it. I looked, therefore, for a
black-winged messenger from you on Monday.
I hurried to the door as soon as the bell rang.
The postman had shoved your card under the door,
and it was with a dash of satisfaction that I saw
it was only a card, and not a black-bordered herald,
and I explained to myself: "Not yet, not yet! John
still lives!" I picked up the card and read "John
became unconscious on Sunday and died" - I got no farther,
and have not read any more. Enough to know
that all is over and John Harshaw is no more!
I placed the card on the table before the wife and
retired from sight or sound, or light of day for a time.
John Harshaw no more! And the Milltown fields
and streets and roads, and the pleasant places of
Loughorne, and Donaghmore, Ringclare and the
meetinghouse, with all their familiar associations, will
see and know him no more for ever! No other
personality from that region could take away so
much that was identified with it, that so much
embodied and preserved the memories of the better
times thereabouts, and the characteristics of the better
race that once dwelt there. To-day I cannot
think of John as belonging to his surroundings
of late years. He seems, somehow, as having been
apart and above them, as if belonging to a different
and a higher order. He was hedged and hampered
with unfavorable conditions, but the pure gold of his
character, his qualities and his sentiments, stood
out clear and distinct and pervading, as if his
personality was superior to conditions and circumstances.
He was a strong tower and rock of defence to us all
his relatives and to all that sought his advice; and
all of you seem to be weaker and more helpless and more
defenceless in his departure. A clear mind, a well
regulated judgement, a broad intelligence, a discriminating
wisdom, all have gone out - out into the night,
apparently - with the going of this brother our love -
our own Prince John!
Your letter with the fatal bordering reached
me three days after your card. I have not yet had
the courage to open it, although I would have blamed
you if you had not sent it as you have. I do not
expect to read it before next week. It is enough to
know in the meantime, what its purpose and significance
I read the obituary notice in the Telegraph
three days ago and that has introduced me to some
of the features of the sad reality. My next week I
will likely have become so familiarized with the thought
- the shadow of the great disaster that has come upon
us, that I will be able to read the particulars of its
happenings. And yet I fear to enter on the reading of
these. John as I saw him last and as I think of him,
was so strong and rigorous [vigorous?], the very picture and
embodiment of healthy, manly development, and I would
not like to read the account of the successive steps of
his falling away from this condition, and his gradual
decline from strength to weakness - the strong man
reaching decrepitude, and the golden bowl of his
existence becoming broken. Not this picture of John
do I want to receive or retain, but the other as I saw
him 17 years ago in the flush and energy of health.
Decay is never pleasant to contemplate, and nothing
is so replete with suggestions if ruin and desolation
as the strong man fading into helplessness, and the king-
ly qualities of activity, authority and direction passing
into eclipse. And then when all this is exemplified in
such as John-one so near and dear to us, enabled by
all the graces of head and heart that made him loved
and honored [honoured?] and approved by all who knew him, the loss-
the ruin is intensifed. I do not willingly want to mark
the reality or the inevitable culmination in such a case,
nor do I like to risk the admission of such knowledge
into my thoughts.- But I must read your letter.
How much John's going takes away out of my life!
He was the great connecting link between all my early
days and the friends and associated of these, were all
personified in him. He was of those times and a part
of them, and in his presence and in his memory preserved
a record and a halo of them. And even down to the end
how much of the central figure he was in all the
relations of home life. Guide, philosopher and friend he
was to all of us - to all within the circle of his influence
- and all looked to him and relied on him as if
his knowledge and direction were supreme and unquestioned.
Whatever he sanctioned, there was solid ground:
whatever he disapproved or opposed, there were the
halting places and the danger signals. Always when
thinking of the Milltown and Donaghmore matters and
the difficulties thereabouts the thought has always been
present with me: "Well, all is safe with you there under
the shadow of John's wing". Now this safeguard - this
protecting care is withdrawn and you - all of us are
in the position of "Sheep without a Shepherd when the
clouds shut out the sun". John was our mother in
that he carried the amenities and loving kindnesses of
the old Milltown home-life into all his relations with
the members of that home-life. Tolerant, solicitous, and
attentive as my mother, it was in the same spirit that
all of us could turn to him and rely upon him with the
confidence as of a mother's partiality. On the other hand
John was as our father - the superior intelligence, the
strong and sure and venerated personality that all of
us looked up to, and all regarded as a head and shoulders,
not only above ourselves, but above all other men, in all
the proficiencies of a Christian manhood. Ah, who shall
I look to now for recalling and representing my father to
me, or who among all the relatives can I ever meet again
on the same plane of mental and characteristic
accomplishment? You, Master Robert, will, of course, now be
the first in the line of sucession to the headship of the
family. That position you will, as you largely have already
fill most creditably - most admirably, as far as the
requirements appeal to you. But your sphere in this regard
has been different to John's. His was among the practical
affairs of every day circumstances where business experience
and arithmetic were important requisities. Besides he
was in contact with those who needed his services
and advice most, and he was familiar with every thing
in that relation. Your position towards the same
parties is necessarily less intimate and consequently
will be less effective. But I know you will not
be wanting in anything where prudence and kindness
and attentiveness are needed.
I would like - dearly like - to see all the friends in
and about Donaghmore again and often, but yet my feelings
in that respect have undoubtedly been weakened by John's
departure. It will not be quite with the same intense
desire that I will henceforth long for such a renewed
visit. Nothing there is the same or seems to have the same
attractiveness since this event. John's going seem to
have taken the spirit out of every thing there. I suppose
you experience some of the same feelings yourself.
How bitterly I regret not having seen you all last year,
or recently. It could not have been helped on my part.
I simply could not go, so I have nothing to blame myself
for on that head. Only when it comes to pass, as in this instance
that the opportunity of seeing some of you is taken away
from one forever then I bitterly, bitterly regret the
W.K.H. [Harshaw?]