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Title: N. Shanks, Illinois, U.S.A., to James Shanks, Co. Down.
CollectionIrish Emigration Database
FileShanks, Nicholas/5
SenderShanks, Nicholas
Sender Gendermale
Sender Occupationsailor
Sender Religionunknown
OriginChicago, Illinois, USA
DestinationCo. Down, N.Ireland
RecipientShanks, James
Recipient Gendermale
SourceD 2709/1/57: Presented by Miss Shanks, Ballyfounder, Portaferry, Co.Down.
ArchiveThe Public Record Office, N.Ireland.
Doc. No.9601199
Partial Date
Doc. TypeEMG
LogDocument added by LT, 18:01:96.
Word Count936
Transcript3028 Main St, Chicago,
Feb 8, 1890.

Dear James,
I have received your long looked for letter and am glad
to learn that you are all in good health. I had given up
hope of hearing from you and had wondered what had befallen
you. Mother was also thinking about you and thought you had
sickness in the Family. We are all in good health. This has
been a very mild winter, almost no snow, and resembles your
Irish winter."La Grippe" was very common here.
They are rebuilding the Ada Medora this winter Uncle
Wm [William?] is quite well and so is Uncle Sam. Aunt and
family are in good health. Wm [William?] and Mrs Shanks &
family are also well.
Yankee John is out seeing his Uncles & is having a good
time so you can tell his father that he is doing well &
saving money when he left here he made his will leaving all
to our Wm [William?] in case an accident should happen to
him on the way. I am doing nothing but having a good time,
I work only 7 months in the year & live for the rest of the
year on my money.
I am not saving much money but then I have no one to
keep but myself.
Mother was over here and asked me to write to you, she
would like to know how you are progressing now that you have
full scope and she no longer keeps you back.
She was much surprised to hear that the barn was not
roofed, she says she will give you one more chance if you
get the barn roofed and can show that you really have made
up your mind to get along in a proper business - like manner
she will forego whatever money has become due to her by you
for the past two years and will send you a receipt. She
desires also that Robert Shanks be at the work to
superintend if it can be of any service to you. You are
talking about getting a loan. I am not in favour of loans
but if you are certain that such a loan will enable you
to succeed in future, then I say get it by all means but
if you cannot live on your farm after you have obtained
the loan then you have made a mistake and the value of the
farm will be depreciated and your family left in a ruinous
condition. I would not advise you to sell out and come to
America to farm, farmers here are no better off than in
Ireland, if you should come here you would have to begin
the world anew at some other occupation.
You know McGifford who sold his farm in Lecale, he is
out here in Chicago and has held good positions if he were
steady enough to keep them. I have no doubt at all that if
you became a master mason and came out here you would most
assuredly obtain permanent employment and your family would
be better off.
Schooling is free and boys have numerous chances here
which are never within their reach in Ireland.
But if you cannot live in Ballyfounder you can live
nowhere in America by farming.
There are no fortunes here for the mere finding no more
than in any other country but a man who does honest work can
obtain an honest livelihood.
You should consider now before you bind yourself by
this contract. You need not expect prices to rise so long
as this country is at your very doors so if you have taken
any account of your business in the past year or so, you
ought to know if you can afford to pay rent taxes, expenses
and interest, etc. and live upon your farm.
If you can do all this go ahead and get the loan, if
you can't do all this you have no business to try it, you are not bound to try it.
Don't assume that times will change for the better, the
times may change but we can change the circumstances.
You are working for yourself to the best end & I would
be sorry to make you lay aside your plans for your own
You have served Mick Magee with a notice to quit and
put up a notice that the house is to rent. You will do all
to the best of your ability.
I have no idea as yet, where I shall settle down, but I
guess if I ever go home it will be to sell out and clear
off. I do not know how property rates but I suppose it is
not high but that can not be helped. Money is valuable here
6% is the legal rate of interest & 8% may be obtained at the
maximum. So a few thousand dollars here would help a fellow
Your statement is correct and Will & I shall send
you receipts in next letter.
How is Hugh McKibben & Mrs McKibben & the Lennons. I
have lost Wms [William's?] address & you might send it me.
I would like to hear about all the folks.
I saw James McGifford last winter & I must go out to
see him he is doing well & much the same as ever.
Pat McKee works in the Rolling Mills at very good wages
he lives on Parnell Ave. and has two children.
Yankee John will be home I guess & mother will go also.
I am going to look out for a Yankee blade but I hate
Home Rule & the women here are all Home Rulers.
Hoping to hear from you I shall leave off, with kind
love to all friends and neighbours.
N. Shanks.