|From John & Ann Jane Nightingale, New York, America to their Brother.
|Irish Emigration Database
|Nightingale, John and Ann J/5
|Nightingale, John (and Jane)
|New York, USA
|Mr. Peter McGaffin, Director of Tidy Northern Ireland, 123 YorkStreet, Belfast BT1 1AB. Tel. (0232) 328105.
|Ulster American Folk Park.
|Action By Date Document added by C.McK., 23:11:199
224 West 32nd Street,
February 8th, 1875
Dear Brother George,
It is a long time since any letters have passed between us,
I wrote three letters since I received one from you, one by
mail and two by men who were going to Glasgow. The last one
when he returned, informed me that you had gone to Belfast
and were keeping a tanyard. He said that they told him so at
the old place in Cawcadins. I still expected to hear from you
before I would write as I did not know your address,
till Mrs. Abbott brought us a card and she said that you were
going to write soon. We heard since that you had written a long
letter but did not send it, we did not learn the reason why you
As I do not remember what you have been informed about our family,
I will give a general sketch up to the present time and I will
expect from you something of the same kind about all our friends
at home who are now living, and also about those who have died
since we had a letter from you.
We have had a family of twelve children, four sons and eight
daughters. One son and three daughters died in infancy. Three
sons and five daughters grew up to be men and women, and all
married young. We have only one son and four daughters now living.
But I will speak of each in particular.
You will remember William, the oldest. He learned the carpenters'
trade, he died about eighteen years ago, and left a wife and one
son, his widow died about two years after him. The boy was brought
up with his grandfather by the mother's side, William Hodge was
his name. He died about six years ago, and left Joseph Nightingale,
William's son, considerable property in houses, in the town of
Bellville, New Jersey, about fifteen miles from New York. Joseph
will now get possession of that property as he is in the twentyfirst
year of his age. He is well educated and has been in a wholeseale dry
goods house for the last three years in Broadway, New York. He is
a respectable young man.
Our second son, John, enlisted among the first volunteers in the late
war, and was in some of the hardest of the battles. He came home when
his time of enlistment was up, without a wound, but so broken down
with the hardships and exposure that he died a year or two after,
leaving a wife but no living children.
James is living and well. He is the youngest son. He is a Presbyterian
minister. He is placed about 36 miles (about an hours ride), from New
York, on Long Island, in a town called Babylon, situated on the sea
shore. It is a very beautiful place, a great many business men of
New York live there, and in summer it is to New York very much like
what Holywood is to Belfast. James is doing well there and is highly
esteemed. They had three children but they are all dead.
Our oldest daughter, Margaret, died on the 9th of August, last, from
the effects of a severe cold which settled on her lungs. She had nine
children 5 boys and 4 girls, three of the boys died young, four girls
and two boys are living. Her husband's name is Henry Barclay, he is a
sales man in one of the oldest dry goods houses in this city (Lord T.
Taylor). He learned his business with them. He went to the war as a
Captain and was then taken prisoner and sent home on parole. He
enlisted again in a horse regiment and continued till the war was ended
and returned uninjured. The next is Eliza, she is married to Robert
Abbott, son of the women which you saw. They were married about a year
before the war and were in Petersburg, Virginia, when it broke out.
Robert was pressed into the rebel service, and Eliza nearly lost her
life as she came through Baltimore in the heat of the battle that was
raging between the rebels and some volunteer regiments from Boston.
Robert escaped some months after that and got home to New York safe, but
they lost everything they had exept what clothes they had on. He went
back to the war but now in the right side, with the 22nd Regiment National
Guards, New York State Militia, of which he was and is still a
first sergeant and might have been captain if he had not refused
to accept it. After Robert's return they continued to live with us for
more than a year before they were able to go to house keeping. He
went to work for what is called an American News Company, at
small wages, but he has been promoted from time to time till he
has got to be head book-keeper at very good wages and also owns
a good deal of stock in the concern. When they got able to keep house
they hired a part of the house from us of which I had a lease.
They still remain with us although they could afford to live in
a better house, because they say we must always live together while
we are spared, and to live where we are suits me to carry on my
business. They have had 7 children, 5 boys and 2 girls. There are
3 boys and 2 girls now living, the other two died in infancy.
The next is Ann Jane, she is married to Wm. [William?] Brown. He
was with his father in his wholesale grocery business, but that
did not prosper, and William and the family, one boy and two girls
(they have one dead), are there at present, about 40 miles from
New York in New Jersey. The next is Bella, she is married to John
McLean. He is from Belfast and his father and some of the family
live now in Sandy Row. He is a machinist and is in business and
partnership with another man and doing well. They have had 3 boys
and one girl, one boy is dead. The youngest is Emma. She is married
to William H. Black, he has been a book-keeper till lately, his
employer broke up the business, and went to the country. He is
trying to start the locksmith and bell [bill?] hanging business and
keep an assortment of hardware. They have had 2 boys and one girl;
the girl is dead. And now to sum up, we have had in our family
connexion [connection?] since we came to America, 44 births, 10
children and 44 grandchildren; 8 marriages, 3 sons and 5 daughters;
22 deaths, 3 sons and four daughters, 14 grandchildren, 10 boys and
four girls, 1 daughter-in-law. We have now living one son and four
daughters, five sons-in-law and two daughters-in-law, 20 grandchildren,
11 boys and 9 girls. So you see we have had our full share of the
normal events of life and still Ann Jane and I are enjoying pretty
good health, neither of us have any disease, but we begin to feel
some of the infirmities of age, still we are able to attend to our
own affairs and get a living for ourselves without any help from any
one. I attend to a custom boot trade and I always have a good share
of work that pays well. I can make as good a boot yet as ever I did
in my life, and I like to work every day, so that we are not
dependant on any of the children.
We have not seen Bill Agnew's widow or daughter for some years, the
last time I saw them in Philadelphia, they were well, the girl, Ann
Jane, was a young woman.
A strange woman sat in the seat with us in the church every Sabbath
for some time and last summer, when we got into conversation with her
we found that she was from Belfast and said that she knew you well,
and had a pair of boots on her that you made. Her name is Mrs. Todd.
She said that her son, William, served his time to be a tailor across
the street from you. She went away west last September.
Ann Jane wants you to send your likeness when you write. She also wants
George Nightingale, or some of the family to write back and not let
the correspondence die out. She would like to know if Margaret Boyd is
living. After I get a letter from you I intend to write to my
brother Alick, I heard from him by James McBride, who was home on a
visit, but I would like to have a letter from him. It was by James
McBride that we heard of Thomas's death, but no particulars.
Hard times is the general complaint here among all classes, it is
estimated that there are seventy thousand working people in this
city out of employment, and have to be supplemented by charity.
Give our love to all the friends, I do not know their names. Write
soon to your brother and sister, John and Ann Jane Nightingale.
Mr. Peter McGaffin, Director of Tidy Northern Ireland, 123 York
Street, Belfast BT1 1AB. Tel. (0232) 328105.