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Title: John James Murphy to Martin Murphy, 20 January 1866
CollectionArgentina - Murphy
SenderMurphy, John James
Sender Gendermale
Sender Occupationcattle breeder
Sender Religionunknown
OriginUncalito, Argentina
DestinationHaysland, Co. Wexford, Ireland
RecipientMurphy, Martin & Margaret
Recipient Gendermale
Doc. No.
Partial Date
Doc. Type
Word Count1516
Genrefire, correspondence, family, acquaintances/ dowry
TranscriptFlor del Uncalito

My Dear Friends,
We have passed another Christmas and out of the old year rather dull as is generally the case in this country, and entered into a new one, I hope with becoming dispositions. It's not too late to wish you all a merry and happy one, hoping at the same time we may all see many return of same. Thanks to God on Christmas Day above all days in the year when myself and all the men that could be spared off the place attended Divine Worship in Salto. It was the will of Divine Providence to visit us with a chastisement, as I may call it a misfortune. My camp and also another neighbour of mine took fire, whether by accident or intent we cannot say, but the like generally occurs from people throwing away a cigar with fire on it, from which the long grass and thistles ignite, which is at this season all like tutch paper. Perhaps I may have prided too much on the abundance of pasture we had (which indeed was remarkable) when most people were complaining for want. And consequently the chastisement may have been decidedly merited. My neighbour (Pacheco) do not feel it so much as I do, as he has a large tract of camp and plenty of room to remove his sheep, though having lost about eight hundred in the flames. As it so happened it blow a strong gale all day, which helped to increase the fury of the flames which devoured every thing before it with the speed of a galloping horse, and it was with the greatest exertion that my men succeeded in saving two of my flocks from the devouring element. On my camp the flames was more fearful as it supplied abundance of food to it's devouring impetuosity. The roaring of the flames was fearful and more particularly when it approached the houses. And although the sheep being all in the corrals yet at one time they were not safe, as there were two of them took fire and we had to leave a man at each of them to extinguish them, as they ignited. About 10 o'clock P.M. the wind fell and my neighbour came over with his men to join with me to try to extinguish it, as there being no wind the flames very much abated, his men being all natives and had much experience in the business we embraced the offer. They caught a young mare and killed her, cut her open all along the belly, tied a rope to one hind foot and another to a fore and gathed them to two horses, and dragged the animal along the flames, which extended at that time about a league. The footmen followed with wet sheepskins and by tracking on the fire succeeded in putting out any small patches the animal left, and in about three hours all was extinguished. The next day it ignited again, but the day being calm we succeeded in putting it out before doing much harm. The only part of my camp that escaped is the Rincón with the Cañada (or low camp) surrounding it where I am now keeping three flocks. And I have moved out to the new place at Rojas the other two. Unless we get rain soon we shall have to move also. The new place came in serviceable and handy now were it not for it I should be greatly put about. Dear Brother, your letter of November that came posted all through arrived in due course. I think it's the safest and best way to send them. Papers come safe also so far as I have yet experienced. I post this letter here also let me know if it arrives safe and in due time, and whether you have to pay any postage on it or not. The papers I send also let me know the particulars how you receive them. If papers and letters go and come safe this way it's much more convenient for us out here, as we have to neither trust to the honesty of the people in Bs. As. nor trouble them with our business. All the people out here are in excellent health. Mrs. O'Connor has got another young daughter. William Baggon was with me the other day seeing if I can take him as a medianero (partner) in a flock. I believe he is to go out to the new place at Rojas. Joseph Murphy and Mike Scalan is I believe also going on the same conditions. I happened well to sell my wool though low the price was considered at the time Patt with the wool from outside sold for nine dollars less. William offered the same. Wool now difficult to sell even at reduced prices. The drought is now beginning to cause great alarm in many places. The people is preparing to move their sheep. The Tom Sinnott that Father Parker was speaking to me about that came home from Bs. As. with his son to get a wife for him and the feyured so much in his coach and four about Cooamain is now living in a hut in one of the upper provinces, his son minding a flock of coarse sheep and himself gathering bones and taking them into the town to sell. A bad speak for Miss Parker had she came out with him. From the letter Matt had from Margaret Connor I thought they were hard up for five pounds the old woman swindled from my [torn].

My Dear Sister Margaret,
Though having promised to send you one of my likenesses I forgot doing so by several of my last letters. However indifferent the token is got it will suffice to awaken your recollection of me, and also show you that you are ever uppermost in mine. Margaret Roche told me you looked thin and that you would not like to come to this country unless for to see it. Dear Sister, it affords me happiness in any thing that make you happy, and it would be far from me to cause you, or any other of my friends, to do any thing that might in any way disturb that happiness, as that would cause you a moment regret or sorrow. I am always glad to hear of your happiness and let me know if I can in any way or at any time increase that happiness. But above all let me know if any thing takes place that may in any way disturb that happiness, or if could in any way remove it's cause.
Dear Sister, I hope that me, or anything that ascertain to me has been the cause of you not accepting Philip Keating's proposal. I do not recollect if I spoke of sending out the money before the thing took place, or you being aware that I was in need of it out here, was, or did, in any way ____ to induce you to refuse him. I was not interested in it going on unless it was your own individual wish and for the promotion of your own happiness. But I should never forgive myself if I thought that me sending for the money, and you refusing him for the sake of letting it be sent out to me. I would rather it had been thrown over the quay of Wexford than to be the medium of impeding that circumstance, unless it was your own wish to prefer remaining as you are. You know Dear Sister that I am always at your command, though separated we may be by many clime and people, and though I have sent for the money (which is perhaps now on it's way) yet that, or any other amount is still at your call and convenience. And I entreat you to have no delicacy in making use of those my promise at any time or in whatever manner you choose.
Dear Sister, It's my desire that you should all keep yourselves up both in appearance and circumstances, as I know you will in principal and honour. I shall be also desirous to know your position and always ready to improve them, and I hope you will always let me know when a season of fortune make it's appearance. Dear Sister, I hope you have made this a happy Christmas, and New Year. I wish you all many returns of same Christmas to us. Here is like any other season. I passed New Year's Day at brother William's. The family are all well and I think very happy and contended. He has a sister-in-law and brother-in-law staying with him. They are good people all. Dear Sister, I now wish you and all friends good by. Send me a few lines acaterarily in brother Martin's letters. Hoping that this may find you all in the enjoyment of good health and spirits, in the prayers of your ever sincere and affectionate brother,

John Murphy