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Title: J A Smyth, Ontario, to Eliza C Smyth, Castledamph
CollectionIrish Emigration Database
FileSmyth, James Alexander/75
SenderSmyth, James Alexander
Sender Gendermale
Sender Occupationstudent
Sender ReligionProtestant (Methodist)
OriginEssex Co., Ontario, Canada
DestinationCo. Tyrone, N.Ireland
RecipientSmyth, Eliza C.
Recipient Genderfemale
SourceCopyright Retained by Mr & Mrs J Smyth, Castledamph, Plumbridge, Co Tyrone, Castledamph@btinternet.com
ArchiveMr & Mrs J Smyth
Doc. No.0506066
Partial Date
Doc. TypeEMG
LogDocument added by LT, 30:06:2005.
Word Count1191
Transcript[Front of Envelope]
Miss Eliza C. Smyth
Co Tyrone

[Stamp torn off]

[Written on Front]
Miss Eliza

[Stamped on Back]
DEC 28

10 0
JA 7

[Written on Envelope]
Arrived January 9th 99
Monday evg [evening?]

[Page 1]
South Woodslee
Dec 27th ‘98

Dear Sister
Now that I have
xmas over and all the
entertainments I have a
little time to write you
a letter, I sent a scribble
last time as I was busy on a
debate, Well the debate was all
right [alright?] but my side
lost, my supporter did not do
very well, he got nervous.
However everyone said it was
the best debate we ever had in
school. There was a [sic] extra
large number of people from

[Page 2]
town the school room was
packed. We had Rev. Saunders,
Mr Tayler [Taylor?] and
Mr Forsythe as Judges,
and after the debate
was ended. Rev Dr Gifford
(Methodist minister) made
a short speech complimenting
us on our speeches and
preparation and moved
a vote of thanks which was
seconded by English Church
Minister Rev Murphy.
The other part of the
programe [programme?] was
also good, it being the last
for the term Then our High
school entertainment
occupied our attention as
we were, nearly all of us,
taking some part in it.

[Page 3]
I sent you one of the
programmes so you will see
the nature of it Those
pyramids perhaps may
require an explanation
Four boys stood on the bottom
(I was one) and these four
put four more on their
shoulders and three more
went on top of that, waving
a union Jack. so now you
see what is ment [meant?] but
it would require too much
writing to tell you how easy
it is too [to?] build them.
These exercises were all new
to the Essex audience and they
took [sic] well, We made $75
out of it at fifteen to 25c

[Page 4]
The other exercises were all
good, it would be a treat if
you had one such at home
I suppose you are acquainted
with [sic] Merchant of Venice.
We had all our costumes for
it from Detroit and paid
£4 for the rest of them, and
these flashy costumes made
us all look will [well?] and
also give a fine appearance
to the play. All these
entertainments more or less
interferred [interfered?] with
our school work of course this
High School commencement is
an annual affair,

[Page 5]
Last week there was an
entertainment in Essex every
night except Saturday
and I attended three of
them. You see the New
Town Hall was just opened
on this week. and concerts
& etc were held back for it
We would [sic] had our School
concert long ago only waiting
until the Hall was finished
Your last letter of Dec 8
was something unusual as
there was a great deal of
news in it. You say to look
on the bright side of the picture
well I must say to a large

[Page 6]
extent I do except when one
hears of such rows etc in
this age of civilization. I'll
bet, when you folks notice
my expensis [expenses?] etc,
you think I look on the bright
side of things, although I
spend little talking [taking?]
girls to concerts and such like.
At the opening concerts and
the New Hall Essex. four or
five of the High School
boys tooks [sic] girls but
I did not do that as it cost
70c for two reserved seats,
so I took a back seat and
went alone and only paid
a quarter, 25c
However I enjoy the
bright side pretty much and I

[Page 7]
must study much harder
from this out as we have
lost a great deal of time
lately. What is that new [ditch?]
you mention? I hope you have
many changes when I go
back to see the place again,
You talk about John staying
in practising some song and
fiddle, it is a very good
idea there is nothing that
introduces one into society
like being a musician of some
instrument or a good singer.
When John is in Gortin he should
get some one [someone?] and take
lesson [lessons?] on [sic] piano
I wish I had the time and
money If I had this
opportunity I would take
vocal lessons, we have

[Page 8]
in Essex a number of teachers
of piano & vocal. That
Miss Laing in the picture
is both a singer & player of
piano although only a
girl of eighteen, I hope
John keeps at his practise
of music, but it is not much
good without a teacher,
Now I do not play very
much on the fiddle, those
tunes I learned at home
are not classical enough
for here, I have learned
a few nice waltzes, which
I play sometimes but in all
I dont play the 19th part
of what I did at home,
I see you say you are,
going to start dancing
its a good thing you

[Page 9]
have none like my Aunt and a few
other Methodists around here,
or you would not dance much.
Of course Methodists object every
where [everywhere?]. All the
prespyterians [presbyterians?]
dance at Essex and every time
[everytime?] I'm asked to a
party. I go and dance of course
I do’nt come down here and
tell it, I am not good on
dancing simply because I
have no practise, I am
always asked to the parties
at Richardson's & Laings
Essex and I may say these
are the Aristocratic people
of the town.

[Page 10]
You mention as not loosing
nothing [sic] & standing the
times well, I may say I am
also [sic] I am getting
broader every day [everyday?]
but no higher. I am just
about like a Duncan J.P.
You say Mary is getting very
tall, what does she intend
to do? There are many over
there whom I would not know.
I suppose I shall be a
stranger in a few more
Now I have been writing
quite a while but I did not
tell you how I spent Xmas
Well I must say I did not
have much fun we were
all invited to Cassie [sic]
husband [sic] father's
Mr Burnetts for

[Page 11]
Dinner and we spent the
most of the day looking at
each other, They sang a hymn
in the afternoon and I played
a few old Irish tunes afterwards,
to liven up the proceedings
Now religion is all right
[alright?] in its place but
when it comes to singing Hymns
etc on such occasions I'm
not in it, And this is the
ruling event at parties etc
around this part unless
the people happen to be of a
non - methodists disposition
I need not describe my Xmas
fun any farther. I had a
splendid time Now I send
this letter for two cents
today so I shall write
more frequent [sic] in the

[Page 12]
perhaps one a week, as
postage is so cheap, I shall
also increase my correspondence
so that you people shall be
kept in touch with Canadian
topics and with things Irish.
I must answer every ones letter
this week, as I have been
putting it off for quite a while.
I must also study most everyday this
week as I am behind with my work.
The people hear [here?]
are all will [well?], Sara Duncan
is here, Tillie McIlwaine’s
I hear is married,
Your Brother
James A [Alexander?], Smyth

Transcribed by Greg Floyd