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Title: [John Taylor?] Cumberland Co., to "Dear Mother Brother and Sister"
CollectionIrish Emigration Database
FileTaylor, John/111
SenderTaylor, John
Sender Gendermale
Sender Occupationschool teacher
Sender ReligionPresbyterian
OriginCumberland, Penn., USA
DestinationShanrod, Co. Down, N.Ireland
Recipient Gendermale-female
Relationshipwrites to his family
SourceCopyright retained by Heather Taylor, 46, Coolshinney Rd., Magherafelt, BT45 5JF, rookvale@hotmail.co.uk
ArchiveThe Centre For Migration Studies
Doc. No.0702002
Partial Date
Doc. TypeEMG
LogDocument added by JM, 19/02/2007
Word Count1897
Transcript[C.M.S. Database Project Note All additional information
added to the letters by Robin and Heather Taylor will be enclosed
in square brackets at the start of the relevant letter.
The Database Project staff have followed the usual procedures for correcting grammatical errors. Spelling, punctuation, upper and lower case letters are copied exactly as they appear in the document text. However a corrected version of the spelling mistake is placed in brackets after the error. American spellings are left unaltered.]

[The Taylors of Shanrod, Co Down
Letters from America
1820 - 1847

[These letters were initially transcribed in 1999 by Robert
(Robin) W Taylor.
Introduction by M Heather Taylor added 2006.
Transcription of more recently discovered letters begun 2006

[This series of letters from America were sent by two brothers
Nathaniel and John Taylor and Nathaniels wife Jean to their
brother Robert Taylor in Ireland. Nathaniel was born in 1791,
Robert in 1794 and John in 1803. Their father died in 1811,
aged 55 years. Their Mother Elizabeth lived until 1857 and
was aged 87 years when she died.

The Taylor family first came to live in the townland of Shanrod,
near Katesbridge, County Down around 1690. They were tenant
farmers and members of Magherally Presbyterian Church. The home
which they built, Rookvale, is a stone farmhouse with a yard and
farm buildings. Until 2006, another farmhouse, which had been
derelict for a number of years, stood beside it. This house,
together with adjoining farmland belonged to the Simpson family
until the early 20th century. The 1820 will of Hugh Taylor, a
cousin of the brothers who wrote the letters, shows that he left
his home and farm to his sisters son Hugh Taylor Simpson. This
helps to confirm that the Taylor farm had already been divided in
a previous generation. The Taylors recorded the births and deaths
which took place at Rookvale in the Family Bible. The births of
both of Nathaniel and Jeans oldest children, Jean and John are
recorded there. This indicates that Nathaniels family was resident
in the home together with Nathaniels mother, sister, and brothers
Robert and John. In his letters Nathaniel expresses concern about
Roberts ability to pay the farm rent. It is possible that
Nathaniels decision to emigrate may have been because that he
felt the farm would not be able to support his family, together
with the other members of the household.

Nathaniel emigrated in advance of his wife, who followed with the
two children and Nathaniels seventeen year old brother John in 1820.
Johns first letter describes the journey from Ireland to St Andrews,
Canada and from there to Baltimore on board the Schooner Dorcas Ann.
The names of all four Taylor passengers are recorded on the list compiled
by the Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild.

The letters tell their own story.

The first is from John. It is in poor condition, and several fragments
are missing. Campobello is in New Brunswick right on the US-Canadian
border. Following the 1812 war it may have been common practice to
transfer there from a British to a US ship.

[Front of Letter]

[Address unreadable]

[Stamped top left]


3rd Packet

[Southmiddletownship?] Cumberland Co [USA?]
November 27th 1820

Dear Mother Brother and Sister
I take the opportunity of writing these
few lines to let you know that I am in good health at present
thanks be to God for his mercies to me. hoping these few lines
will [find?] you in the Same I arrived here 11th of July [after?]
a severe passage we set sail May 1st giving three cheers for old
Ireland and the 7th we experienced a severe storm which we [lost?]
a [suit?] of sail and one of our sailors 2 of his fingers. Us
being but young sailors thought every moment we were going to the
bottom 12th spent dancing and I wished I had been in Dromore fair
21 came to the Banks of Newfoundland we have on the 18th passed
Several [mounds?] of ice higher than our masts and I think each 1
mile in circumference. 29th land viewed from the mast head which
was a glad sight to see it being Nova Scotia June 1st landed in a
small Island called Campo Bello chiefly inhabited by Indians (N.B
this answered us better than going [St Andrews?] for it would cost
us one Dollar each to come back here. We agreed with Captain Fisher
for 5 Dollars each to Baltimore on board the Dorcas [Ann?] this is
generally a barren land and the people live by fishing and I could
not advise the emigrant to step here we sailed the 10th 13th we had
a severe storm which we lost one of our sailors who fell from the
yard and was killed we had only 3 sailors one of [which?] had the
Fever and [Ague?] 14th this calm but [Fog?] very thick the evening
arose great gale of wind alarmed with the captain crying she is gone
good God what was our thoughts when we expected every soul to be
lost but the Lord had it otherwise [decided?] we survived it with
loss of our main beam and the top of one our [sic] masts and several
other parts of the riggin [rigging?] 15 tacked [round?] for Portland
and was obliged to raise the Flag of Distress a small vessel came to
rescue 16th got in and got her repaired 19th sailed again for Baltimore
and got there on July 4th where we met with several old country people particulary [particularly?] with James Johnson Joseph Holmes Hugh [Keney?]
who came on board and stayed all night and they were all very kind to
us I also spent a Day with John Rodgers who is got to be very sick and
Mr William [Porter?] wanted me to go out and see Hugh and family but
I had not time [wife?] [of?] [?] Brown was sick he was there I was very
glad to see Hugh [Keney?] and he was well and doing well. it now being
the [throng?] of [harvest?] no wagons [---?] from Cumberland we got one
[to?] Petersburg [Dollar?] I then crossed the mountain to Nathaniel
and he got Samuel Dicksons waggon to go for them

[Page 2]
Times are very hard here now if I knew before I left home what I know
now I never would have left it America dont turn out as well as you get
an account of I think very ill Done for any Person to encourage one to come
here when its for nothing but their own interest the Day after I came here
I had to go to see if I could get work any where and [I?] agreed with a
Farmer for 7 Dollars for one month it being throng in harvest we had to be
in the field (unfit as I was after suffering [so?] much on sea) at 4 oclock
in the Morning although [although?] to Dark at night indeed we got plenty
to eat and enough of whisky to drink and it was so warm that I had to wring
my shirt [a?] doz [dozen?] [times?] in a day and [sometimes?] my trousers
it was nearly six weeks And I got my time up [--? [---?] [----?] and when
the time was expired I was not able to [engage?] [again?] then I travelled
about 3 weeks before I fell into any buisnyss [business?] [---?] as any time
I had been at home at length a young man going to leave his school agreed to give me 15 dollars for teaching the remainder of his [quarter?] which was 6 weeks I was very glad to get it and had to give Nathaniel 1 dollar per week
For my boarding and now I have the school to myself and a man gives me 21 dollars per quarter and boards me for teaching it consisting of 16 dollars
the man I board with lives better and has more [property?] than your
Landlords and sits down contented with all his [servants?] at the table with
him I [could?] give no one any encouragement [to?] [come?] [to?] [this?] country [loaning?] for every day I see Irishmen preparing to work for their
[boarding?] [---?] [yet?] [---?] why will they employ strangers when plenty
[of?] country born [seeking?] work and [cannot?] get it who understands better
[than?] the [unfortunate?] Irishmen for an Irishman knows nothing
about working here for in the place of making turf he has to chop wood and
digging ditches he has to make rails and make fences [Land?] in this country
is selling for [40?] and [80?] Dollars per Acre and about [400?] miles Back
[----?] I am [told?] you will get for 5 but I never saw it and therefore I
cannot [certify?] it and one acre of land is the old country will produce
as much as wd [would?] I may say 3 acres here [stained] [stained] [stained]
[stained] [stained] [stained] [stained] [stained] [stained] [stained]
[stained] [stained] [stained]
It would take 5000 Dollars to [purchase?] any kind of place here
[and?] nearly half as much to commence farming ignorant people will
[not?] [believe?] this but when they come here the [they?] will experience
it and would [advise?] everyone to [content?] themselves at home for many a
[tear?] it has [----?] since I came away but I hope the time will come
when I [can?] [go?] [to?] [---?] he who Does [be?] [so?] [headstrong
[to?] [come?] the way we come was very [bad?] [may?] [but?] if he can pay
his passage to the states is much better a [girl?] in this country can
do very well Betty [Magiveren?] has 3 Doll [Dollars?] per month and Margret
[Margaret?] might do well here.

[Page 3]
I beg leave to give a few hints to the emigrants if they land in the months
Of June July or August they will find it very warm let them be cautious of drinking water in the Citys [Cities?] without bathing their wrists or
[temples?] or taking a little whisky before it I dont approve of taking much whisky about half a glass at a time let them be cautious of eating green fruit for when I [landed?] with eating two [staples?] that night [Money?] gave me almost killed me we had everything on sea that [wished?] [for?] only [---?]
and a little pepper is very good on sea but nothing better than flower [flour?] [-----?] [----?] sick all persons coming to sea ought to bring medicines fit
for [grip----?] [----?] passengers suffered sore for want of them. I would
[-----?] [---?] [----?] [----?] [were?] [spend?] all here [i?] [summer?] [at?]
Can a man [make?] [more?] when heas [he has?] to give 3 Dolls [Dollars?]
[---?] a coat and if fine 4 for trousers and waistcoat each one Dollar for a pair of [shoes?] 2 [Dollars?] [--?] as good as the old country ones for [washing?] 5 pence per shirt handkerchiefs stockings people coming here need not care for bringing many stockings with them for they [---?] in the summer
Mechanicks [mechanics?] have but a poor chance here one here far superior to [them?] your blacksmiths nor carpenters would know nothing about work [not?] [come?] Dear brother I hope you will [renew?] my part of the [land?] in my name as [I?] [mourn?] content myself in this country and hopes to be [line?] for it if I live and [am?] [fortunate?] for if you were to part with it to come here you never would have the like of it [a?] [-urn?] [few?] I depend you will do what is honourable the first opportunity I can get I will send [out?] to see
a present for you and mother as all the pleasure I have here is to go [to?]
[peads?] and [six?] [Bells?] [Coy?] its [needed?] [---?] to give you an
account of the different religions here as [persons?] [Brought?] Any
for a full account [in?] his [last?] in [October?] I saw [Hugh?] [Martin?]
and family [on?][his?] [way?] [to [Cincinnati?] and I expect a [letter?]
every day from him he was [up?] [---ded?] to Betty [Morgin?] [Morgan?]
Thomas [Brown?] James [Brown?] in Baltimore [last?] week [---?] well and
would have me up with him had he got his money we expect him [in?] [a?]
[few?] Days they [the?] last account I got of John sims [Simms?]
he was lying sick and me being engaged with the school I could not get
to see him samuel Lowery [Lowry?] is well and lives next house to where
Betty lives Robert Magowan is well and family and his children are all at
school with me samuel Dixon and family are well and Nathaniel and his
family and we all live within one mile of each other. Rember [Remember?]
me to Aunt and Hugh Taylor and W saml [Samuel?] Brown [----?] [James?]
[Brown?] his family [W?] William [Brown?] and [family?][---?] [---?]
Particularly [Robert?] [----?] [----?] [----?] to all my old school
masters and school [mates?] to [teachers?] to mind separate [separate?]
[----?] hope I shall see them all again and to all my enquiring friends
and acquaintances [---ce?] [still?] numerous and take my kind love to [W?] Nelson and her family and let her know [that?] when they [the?] Lowerys
[Lowrys?] were in Philadelphia the [they?] saw an Irishmans funeral and
was told afterwards that it was a John Nelson from between Dromore and
Rathfryland [we?] [has?] [been?] [away?] [for?] weeks in the city but whether it was her son or not I cannot say but from the [marks?] [they?] got of him it is to be feared it was therefore [I?] [took?] the liberty of sending this to
her and if she gets they [the?] account of of [sic] not to be offended at me .Hugh Magowan is well and now lives near this and [for?] James [he?] is?] come but I cannot give him any encouragement Dear Brother I hope you write as soon as you receve [receive?] this and send me a particular account of the country as I think great [---?] to hear from it and [dont?] be afraid to fill a sheet [for?] it is [Duty?] worth [subject?] that is not better than white paper and send [word?] if you [serve?] [---?] [---?] may the Lord grant you all things which is the [fervent?] [prayer?] [of?] John Taylor.
John Taylor