|John Henderson, Agnesville to William [Wightman?], Alabama.
|Irish Emigration Database
|T 1475/1 p23: Copied by Permission of Miss A. McKisack, 9 Mount Pleasant, Belfast.
|The Public Record Office, Northern Ireland.
|Document added by LT, 20:04:1994.
10th Novr. 1823
I wrote you last July, and Nancy in the same month. I trust
both letters reached their destination safe, and found you all in the
full enjoyment of good health, one of the great blessings bestowed by a
kind Providence. To the numerous list I gave you of old friends called to
their long home, I lament to add the names of a few more. That of your
old neighbour Sam Hughs in a few hours illness, Revd [Reverend?] Birch
Black, equally as sudden, Mrs Alex Hunter, the Philanthropic John Handcock
has also paid the great debt at nature. The old as well as the young are
cut off and as pious Job says "When a few more days are past and gone, we
shall all go the way whence we shall never return". Yes my Dear William a
few more days or say even years, must remove many of your relatives to
another world, but in this removal the survivors are not to sorrow as those
without hope, the way is brightened in the mercy of God, through a
crucified redeemer, the separation is short, the union eternal. What
glory, adoration and praise is due to our great Creator who has provided
such a rest to his creatures, a Heaven of happiness were [where?] the nearest
and dearest relatives may meet and sing the praises of God and of the
Lamb for ever and ever. Perhaps it was not necessary to enter on a
subject of this nature to you, whose religious principles I know to be
I now hasten to detail what will give you and my poor Dear
Nancy more grief of heart than any occurrence that has come across either
since the death of your lamented Mother.
When I wrote to Florence I always made a point to give every
imformation in my power respecting Henderson - the last advice to you I
recollect was that he was staying for some months in a Gentleman's
family Nr. [near?] Glasgow of the name of McKean. He returned with the
family to town about the 15th of July as he stated in a letter, the last one
he addressed to his Aunt Nancy, it was dated 15th August, in it he complains
of the bad effect the Glasgow air had on him since his return
from the country, and that he must soon leave it to seek a purer air -
Alas! my Dear William how can I write what must rend your breast that
day never will arrive. The best of Sons, brothers, friends is now no
more. A few of the leading particulars prior to this most afflicting
event, must be interesting to you all. About the month of May last
Henderson became ecquainted with a Mr. Brown a Merchant of Glasgow, in
rather as he afterwards expressed to me "a strange sort of way". On
the 20th August this Mr. Brown took Henderson to spend the evening with
the family of Mr. King. On the eve of their taking leave Henderson was
suddenly taken ill and a most violent vomiting of blood ensued, which
continued at intervals through the night, being unable to leave Mr. King's.
In the same bed into which he was put in the same bed he resigned his
soul into the hands of its Almighty Creator on the 26th October at 1/4 past
9 in the morning our dear friend joined the blessed Spirits in Heaven
there to enjoy a reward great as his wishes and lasting as eternity.
During his long confinement everything that the best medical aid could do
was not wanting. The most copious bleedings had no effect a most severe
pain on the side and a cough of that dry kind stuck to him to his
latest moments. Of the attention paid to him by those wonderful
strangers I might take up many a sheet of paper to speak of. It surpasses
anything I ever heard of - suffice to say that had he been in
Florence with his dearest friends, it would not have exceeded the
tender sympathy, the unceasing solicitude the delicate regards shown by
Mr. Brown, Mr and Mrs. King and the amiable family of Mr McKean. In
this we may all see and admire the inscruitable [inscrutable?] ways of a
Merciful God, who raises up friends to his servants, no matter in what
country their lott [lot?] may be cast. Mr. B [Brown?] wrote me about ten
days after Henderson's illness and expressing a wish that some of his
relatives would go over to see him. However much I might have been
gratified to have performed this act of friendship I did not feel quite able
to accomplish it. Bess McAlister took the Jaunt on herself. I gave her
six guineas to pay her expenses but the good creature left the greatest part
behind where it was more needed. She was two weeks away and came back in
pretty good Spirits, Henderson being thought by the Doctor in a way of
recovery. From her I had a greater part of what I have detailed.
After her return, Mr. B's [Brown's?] letters brought worse and worse
accounts until the Melancholy close. Your Uncle Dr. W [Wightman?] was
written to and his reply, Bess told me was most friendly, desiring Mr. B
[Brown?] to draw for any money that was necessary. You may conclude a heavy
expense has been incurred by Drs., Medicine, Nurse tenders, Funeral etc.
which can be paid, but how the debt of gratitude due to the friends I have
enumerated can be paid I know not.
Yours affectly, [affectionately?]
(signed) John Henderson.
P.S. I wrote to Mr. Brown a few days ago requesting to hear how the expenses
had been settled, whether he had drawn on Dr. Wightman for the
entire or if any account remained unpaid, that I would be your Banker
in the meantime, well knowing how it would hurt your feelings should
a single sixpence be due to such worthy people. I shall advice [advise?]
you on this head again as the Edward Downes will be sailing from Belfast
between now and Xmas [Christmas?]. I shall avail myself of that vessel and
Bess McAlister means to write Nancy and so does Ann McAlister. I shall
recommend them to wait till then as I should like that this should reach
you first which I trust it will. There is no vessel at present from
Belfast. I will likely try Liverpool. I shall not seal this with
black to prevent too great surprise. Your communication to Nancy will
require the utmost care. I dread the result. Having now little
to spare I may just say that your friends and relatives in this part
continue much in the same way as when I last wrote to Florence - with
the warmest sentiments of love to you all, believe me
Yours affect. [affectionately?] Uncle.
J.H. [John Henderson?]