|Nancy Wightman, [Florence, Alabama?] to her sister, Ireland.
|Irish Emigration Database
|Oakland, Alabama, USA
|T 1475/1 p50-51: Copied by Permission of Miss A. McKisack, 9 Mount Pleasant, Belfast.
|The Public Record Office, Northern Ireland.
|Document added by LT, 09:05:1994.
November 4th 1845
My dearest Sister,
Our hearts should be more closely united in love
when we reflect, that we are now the only remaining members upon
earth of our dear Father's family. I felt most sensibly on hearing
of the death of our dear Brother James - He was associated with my
earliest recollections. I fear he was a great sufferer for many
years previous to his death. I wrote to him when John McAlister went
to the North last Summer and requested Harriet would send me a few
lines. I wrote a few months ago to her, but I have not much hope
that she will answer it. I should like to know if they are in comfortable
circumstances. The death of one so nearly allied to us
My dear sister is a solemn admonitions for us to be ready and I trust
all your hope of salvation rests on Jesus Christ. The more frequently
you read in the Word of God and meditate on it, with prayer, for
the teachings of the Holy Ghost, you will be led to see the utter
depravity of our hearts by Nature, and that we must be born again "ere
we can enter into the Kingdom of Heaven". You have many sources of
happiness from which I am excluded, but the consolations which flow
from religion are such as "the world can neither give nor take away".
I am thankful to learn from time to time that your health and spirits
continue good. I was glad you had so pleasant an opportunity of
going to Bangor with Caroline Telfair, I hope you took the benefit of
the Baths. You are much in my thoughts, and I often think how you
would be amused with the Society and poping vanities of this neighbourhood.
Your son John's health appears to be much improved. It
would be quite wrong in me to pretend to give any special report of
him, as I very seldom meet with him, except in a transient way. He
seems to possess a large share of the public confidence, and I hope
the time is not far distant when he will become a more valuable member
of Society. I sit in his Pew at Church, but I am sorry to say that
he does not yet acknowledge by his acts the claims our Heavenly Father
has to his love and obedience. I should be more punctual in writing
to you, if you did not hear of me through so many sources. I feel
grieved that I never get any tidings of you from Margaret's pen. It
ought surely to be a privilege to write to an absent Brother, the dear
companion of childhood and youth. You will be quite proud of all
your little Grandchildren. I should like to see Bessey for the sake
of the name. I often tell John he will be quite delighted with his
little Nieces, and you must still cherish the hope that the Lord will
permit you to see each others faces in this world. Madelina is
greatly blessed in living in the midst of her family - her health is
more improved than I ever expected, it would be - still - she is very
far from being strong. Ann is an amiable girl. She has not much
in her power at present, but I think she is kindhearted, and William
is truly his Father's Son, and I am thankful that John is moral and
honourable in all his business transactions, and if it should please
the Lord to change his heart he will make an excellent Christian. I
see Mrs Simpson occasionally, her temporal blessings are numerous.
Mary is returned from School, a pretty modest girl - much admired and no
doubt will have many to seek her favour. Mrs. S is very attentive
to Madelina. The first time you visit Mrs. Patton give my love to
her and Mrs. [Aerott?]. I cannot expect you to send a letter past
John, but I would be obliged to the first person who writes to let
me know how Mr. Glasgow and Mary enjoy their health in India and if
the Mission has a prospect of doing good to the souls of the poor
Heathen. Please to give my love to Eliza and Margaret and Ann and
their good men. I have more questions to ask than you would like
to answer. You must also remember me to Mrs. Telfair and the
girls. I am glad Mr. Rossoborough and Margaret have got their
wish accomplished and I hope they will enjoy much of the peace that
passeth all understanding in their country home. I sent a letter
into Florence yesterday to have forwarded to Mr. McNeilly and I
calculate you will receive them about Christmas. You will please
give my love to Mrs. Wightman my Aunt. Tell her John does not
forget his relationship. He wrote to me from New York after my
arrival and we interchange a letter or notes occasionally, which
stirs up kindly feeling. I am happy to hear that he proposes going
over to visit his Mother and friends next Spring. My friend Mrs.
Pope saw him when she was on a visit at her Plantation in the
neighbourhood, Pickensville - he spent part of a day with her and she
says he looks much better than he did when she saw him last year.
You will be so king [kind?] as to remember me to Margaret and Mr. Gunning.
Miss Grey (now Mrs. Pope) is very happily married. Her husband
has lately joined the Church and gives satisfactory evidence of
having experienced a change of heart. Mrs. P is a truly Christian
woman, an excellent step Mother and Mistress, and is devoted to
the advancement of our Saviors Kingdom. To me she has been most
kind and affectionate, and I owe more to her friendship than I can
express. She resides at Cedar Grove, a sweet spot just out of the
precincts of Town and commanding a pleasing prospect of it. The
house was built by Mr. John Jackson, whose wife was a Philadelphia
lady. She wanted me to live with her after my brother William's
death and overwhelmed me with kindnesses when friends were valuable.
If you will be so kind as to send even a few lines in your own
fashion immediately on receiving this letter I will promise to write
to you the first leisure I enjoy. Give my kindest regards to my
friends at Holywood, Charles and Rachel, and the little folks - Mary
Elizabeth and Catherine. Tell them the children here are busy
gathering Walnuts and Hickory nuts, and cracking and eating them.
I hope you will let me know where you are lodging, and give my very
kind regards to Mrs. Musgrave and family, and consider me ever,
Your affectionate Sister
(signed) N. [Nancy?] Wightman
I was sorry to hear of the failure in the Potato crop and I understand
you are to import Indian Corn. It is excellent bread when
properly baked. It is generally cooked in a Skillet, about the size
of a Dutch oven but not so keep [deep?]. It is mostly mixed with milk and
water - not nearly so stiff as flour or oatmeal, and may be done with
a spoon - have the oven and lid hot and bake on the hearth.
My Dear Sister. I have reserved a corner for your own eye. I was
so much hurried in consequence of my visit to Rathyviland [Rathfriland?] and other friends my clothes and other articles were badly arranged. You
will find a Ponjee Petticoat which will suit the [mud?] - in one of the
drawers and I think a black silk one which with anything that you can
make useful you can take and I should have left out the Cruet for
you to use, but you can get it. I think I valued too much everything
that belonged to my Mother. Take care of the little Table. If
Teresa McGolden is still living send her the Green Calico dress and if
you can spare a dollar I would give it to John Mc or John Wightman.
I shall send money by him to get the Linen Miss W gave me made up. I
left the key with Miss. Henry.
I was prevented writing for some time past, and as I have
written the greater part of this by Candle light you must excuse
mistakes and repetitions. I enjoy good health, and never felt more
contented. The children are very good, and improve. Mr & Mrs.
Collier are exceedingly kind. The oldest daughter Clara is eleven -
Mary eight, Martha (my pet) your Jannette is a lovely child, and Alice
was born since I came and is an object of much anxiety to her Parents,
one of her feet is completely turned in. It is said such cases are
now most successfully operated on, and Mrs. Collier intends (if the
baby lives) to take her to the North, where there is a Surgeon who has
acquired a great reputation in similar defects. Please give my love
to Miss. Henry and Miss Margaret. Tell her I am still busy, but have
not yet seen much fruit.
If you only knew my dear sister how glad I would be to hear
even concerning your own health, I know you would gratify me. Remember
me to James Ward's family. Is Miss Wightman married and does poor
Robert still live a sufferer. Our Minister Dr Witherspoon observed
that we are immortal until it is God's will that we should die. I
trust the Lord will prepare us all for his heavenly Kingdom, for
Christ's sake, is my constant prayer. When you visit Holywood do not
forget my friends in whose kind remembrance I wish to retain a place,
Mrs. Neilson and Mary Ann Marten. I was delighted to hear she had
gone to live at Mount and hope it will be a mutual benefit, and also
Mr and Mrs. Archer. I have not got one line from N. Burnside since I
came. When you see Mary tell her I am longing to hear from her, for
she particularizes all my kindred and friends.