|William Wightman, Florence, Alabama to Mr McNeilly, [Ireland?].
|Irish Emigration Database
|Wightman, William Jr/25
|Wightman, William Jr.
|Florence, Alabama, USA
|Mr. McNeilly worked in the Wightman household (see
|T 1475/1 p.55: Copied by Permission of Miss A. McKisack, 9, Mount Pleasant, Belfast.
|The Public Record Office, Northern Ireland.
|Document added by JM 01:09:1993.
27th November 1841.
My dear Mr McNeilly,
We arrived here about the beginning of October,
having stopped a week in New York, and one in Philadelphia.
The weather during our travelling was delightful, so that we enjoyed
it very much, except the last two or three days, when we had to
travel in the stage, both day and night which was very fatiguing to my
Mother, as she could not sleep sitting up straight, with so great a
noise and motion, which the rumbling of the wheels produced. The
part of the country through which we passed was interspersed with
beautiful scenery, and was generally well cultivated. The fences
are all made of wood, nothing being seen like a hedge or a ditch, which
would take too much time and trouble for making them. We travelled
principally by land, most of the rivers being too low, there not having
been any rain of consequence for some time previous. The roads are
in general good, particularly the National road, which is about
twelve hundred miles long. Some of the hotels where we stopped are
on a very extensive scale, containing five hundred large apartments.
My brother John is not like what Mother expected to see him, from
hearing of his having always enjoyed good health, she thought he was
Stout, instead of which he is very thin. Flesh meat is very cheap
here, it being sold at three or four cents per pound, but then you
have to take more than you really want, a cent is about the same as a
halfpenny. The weather has continued like summer weather to me, since
we arrived, with the exception of one or two rainy days when we had a
good deal of Thunder and sheet Lightning, which was very Beautiful,
and not at all dangerous. The bridge over the Jennessee at this place
is nearly half a mile long, it is built of wood, and cost $150,000
Persons going over it on horseback or in any kind of vehicle, are not
allowed to go faster than a walk, which is the case in nearly all
the bridges that we passed over in our travelling. We have purchased
a house and Garden with Carriage House, etc., for $2500 or $500 for
as long as water runs and trees grow. We are at present staying at
Uncle Simpsons as we are not to get possession of our own house till
1st January which is the time for moving here. My Uncle's plantation
is about 9 miles from Florence, he has a very good house on it, but
they seldom go to stay any time in it. We all went to it about a
fortnight since, my three cousins and I on horseback and the rest in
the carriage and Buggy, which last is something like a gig holding two
person. During our stay there, which was only two days, my cousins
and I went out in the woods to shoot squirrels, we did not see very
many and those we did were too high to shoot at with any chance of
killing. However, we shot some wild ducks and snips, near this house
on a small pond. There are about one hundred negroes employed on the
plantation. Some fields about Florence contain 500 and some 600
Acres. In Ireland a farm one quarter the size would be considered
large. The Indians about this neighborhood have all sold their
lands, and are gone to the west of the Mississippi. Among the places
where we visited during our stay at Philadelphia, was the Chinese
Museum, which has since been shipped for London, to be exhibited there
It consisted of a large room full of Chinese manufactures, Animals,
Agricultural Tools, models and bridges, and ships, drawings, a great
number of beautiful lamps, wax figures of Mandarins and other public
officers etc., The whole were collected by an American Merchant
who got them smuggled out of the country at great expense during
fifteen years residence on the coast - they are well worth seeing.
We also visited Laurel Green, one of their burying grounds, it is very
tastefully laid out, and there is some very fine sculpture in it, it
seemed like a public walk there were so many people in it. Philadelphia
is a fine city, and is kept a great deal cleaner than New York,
it seems very quiet however after being in the latter city, where there
is so much stir. Cotton is not expected to bring so high a price as
it did last year. The fields of Cotton looked very pretty before
the frost came, which blackens the stalks but does not do any injury
to the Cotton. I did not like the bread made of the Indian Corn at
first, but I have begun to like it very well. The corn is not so
plenty as it was last year, and consequently is selling higher.
I hope your crops and Mr James both turned out very well, and that you
have not been troubled with rheumatism or any other complaint. John
intends soon writing to Mr James. There is no regular market here,
but there are a good many waggons come in nearly every day with Meat
Fowls, Butter, Eggs Vegetables etc. My Mother, Sister and Brother join
me in kind remembrance to you, Mrs McNeilly, Miss Waddell and Mr & Mrs
Murphy and all their family, and also when you are writing to Mr James
Believe me, Dear Sir,
Yours with sincere affection.
P.S. I suppose you received my letter dated from New York.