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Title: John Houston, New Orleans to Matilda Houston, Larne.
CollectionIrish Emigration Database
FileHouston, J N/60
SenderHouston, John N.
Sender Gendermale
Sender Occupationunknown
Sender Religionunknown
OriginNew Orleans, Louisiana, USA
DestinationLarne, Co. Antrim, N.Ireland
RecipientHouston, Matilda
Recipient Genderfemale
SourceT 2581/8: Copied by Permission of J. Robson Esq., 150 Gilnahirk Road, Belfast.
ArchiveThe Public Record Office, Northern Ireland.
Doc. No.9007113
Partial Date
Doc. TypeEMG
LogDocument added by JM 07:02:1994
Word Count1206
TranscriptNew Orleans 3rd April 1836

Dear Matilda
The "VENTURE" being all
ready for sea I cannot think of leaving
this without writing more than a single
business letter to Sam.
I have taken my passage
in a Steam Boat for "INDIANA" about
1300 miles up the MISSISIPI [Mississippi?] and will
stop there till the 1st May or probably stay
8 days in "INDIANA" and go 3 or 400 miles
further up & stop 4 or 5 days in "KENTUCKY"
I then cross the State of OHIO and about
the beginning of May; but not earlier STEAMBOATS
commence plying on LAKE ERIE
When on the LAKES a few days will
take me down to Quebec, but I dont want
to be there before the 18 to 20 May; by looking
at the map you will see at once the long
Route I am going. At this season of the year
such a tour will be most delightful as
Spring commences in "LOUISIANA" here, the
1st March, is 8 or 10 days later in every
STATE going up the River & for the "TWO" months
to come I anticipate just such weather
and the season about as far advanced
as June Weather in IRELAND being very
like it here at the present moment, tho [though?]
as cold as mid Winter now in Quebec.
I have been away from home near
3 Months and though I have enquired often for
Letters have received none nor can any find
me now until I reach Quebec. I fear
that you have written & some mistake about
the adress [address?]; but I have still the comfort of
Every one of my acquaintances tell
me I am just leaving NEW ORLEANS in
good time as in another Month the HEAT
would be truly insufferable, which I can well
believe. The MOSQUITOES have not bit me
except one day I was in the Woods & then not
much, Captain Wilson cannot go up Town but
he comes back with his hands tan, face all
Blistered & I [-----ed?] with them. I dont think they
would annoy me much even in Summer.
I have been several times in the Country
but from the swampy nature of the ground it
is almost impossible to penetrate into the Woods
very far. Many of the WILD FLOWERS here are
the most choice and cultivated at home. The
TREES are MAGNIFICENT; some of them more than
100 feet high & covered with foliage others looking
as if they had stood for Centuries, their Trunks
bare & only for the Wild Vines with Leaves & Fruit
which cover their Tops would look more like
Winter than Spring. Of Small Shrubs & Trees
the variety is innumerable, among them are
Wild Orange, Lemon, Bay, Myrtle, Laurel &c &c
Many of the Large Trees fall every
year & Thousands are lying on the ground; of
some the Timber is good & sound others again
so far gone & rotton [rotten?], that it is just apparent to
the enquiring mind; they have been standing in
Beauty & strength 4 or 500 years ago. I measd [measured?]
some of the latter near 5 feet across
I saw many beautiful Butterflies
double the size of any in Ireland. also Birds
of splendid Plumage in the Woods of the
former I could not catch a single one but
have shot & stuffed 3 or 4 kinds & will get
more as I go up the Country & bring them
home with me. The River Missisipi [Mississippi?]
is about 3 feet higher just now than the City
& will yet be 1 1/2 feet higher when the snows
melt & spring Rains set in about its source
NEW ORLEANS & the cultivated Country below it
is only kept from being Inundated every spring
by a raised Bank of Clay about 150 feet
wide thrown up on each side of the River
The Water from the River is let by
sluices through the Bank & runs in streams
down the sides of streets & out of the City
into a Lake communicating with the SEA
about 5 miles behind it. Only for this lucky
circumstance by which they can keep the
place clean & wash off all Nuisances "NEW
ORLEANS" would be uninhabitable.
Many of the Streets are Broad, indeed
most of them & the Houses much better than
in Belfast, several of the best streets have
3 or 4 Rows of Trees down the middles [middle?] of
them giving an agreeable shade & from the
upper windows on the one side, when in
leaf; you can scarce see the Houses on the
the other side of the street
I have been at the BURYING GROUNDS HERE
; they are queer places enough & am sorry I
have not room to describe them. so soon
as you dig down "ONE FOOT" here or in vicinity
of the City; from the River being as high as the
ground the Water rises in the Grave to wi[torn] [within?]
a few Inches of the surface. Other pl[torn] [places?]
have to be resorted to & none are buried in the
"EARTH" now about "NEW ORLEANS"
Dear Matilda Though this Country
has all the advantages of Commerce, Riches,
Plenty & Peace still I dont see that any
of the Inhabitants live more Comfortably than
"WE" do at home in Larne. They may have
more money & splendour but less REAL COMFORT
nothing about. The House Servants are
all Slaves, some of them Black but many
Mulattoes & Creoles. I have seen Young Women
Slaves sold like other Cattle in the Streets &
the Owners sometime before they sell them
take care not to overwork them, that they may
look fresh & in good Condition & they put good
good Clothes & Ribbons on them as a further
offset. I wish to be remembred [remembered?] to
all the McCullochs. The Miss Linns
Mrs & Mr Leatham etc etc.
I trust my Mother and Mary
are well and have no doubt but that
you & they often hope & talk of my return
home again.
"Oft in the Still Night"
"Ere slumbers Chain has bound me"
"Fond memory brings the light"
"of other days around me"
and I wish I could see you all and know
what you were about. This Happiness I hope
to Enjoy in September. until then believe me
Dear Matilda Yours affectionately
Jno [John?] Houston

I send home a parcel of Newspapers & Play
Bills to Sam. Also some to the McCambridges
& 2 to Robert Nelson. John White was aboard
here the other day. He has been so fortunate
as to fall in with a Brother of Jack Ballantines
of the Head Wood, A VERY WEALTHY MAN who had
lately bought a cotton Factory at 16,000 Dollars
& wanted a person to manage it. John White
has got the situation. I am intimate with
Mr B [Ballantine?] he is residing here at present & has
been often on Board the VENTURE J:H: [John Houston?]

with some Flowering Peas 1/2 to be
sown this Season & 1/2 to remain till next

[addressed to:]
Miss Matilda Houston
Co Antrim