Main content

Title: Patrick Murphy to Martin Murphy, 12 September 1878
CollectionArgentina - Murphy
SenderMurphy, Patrick
Sender Gendermale
Sender Occupationcattle breeder
Sender Religionunknown
OriginEstancia Caldera, Rojas, Argentina
DestinationHaysland, Co. Wexford, Ireland
RecipientMurphy, Martin
Recipient Gendermale
Doc. No.
Partial Date
Doc. Type
Word Count892
Genrefamily, state of the fields, plagues, cattle business
TranscriptEstancia de la Caldera, Rojas

Dear Brother Martin,
I wrote you a few hurried lines about 20th April, having barely time to do so previous to starting of the Mail for England. Being rather confused and hurried at the time, I cannot conveniently remember scarcely one iota of its contents. I received last month a few lines from Johnny. He said he had seen you the day before, and desired kind remembrance, and that ye were all well, a blessing thanks to God we all here enjoy. He says he is improving very much. One thing is evident in his writing that he has improved in that branch at least, for he writes a pretty fair hand. I had a letter from Nicky last week, who is in College since April. He is getting on well also, and requested if I would be writing to give ye all his kindest love. You have I hope long ere this had the pleasure of welcoming once more to the Old house at home Brother John & family, which I hope arrived safely, though leaving here on 15th June. Strange to say, up to the present I have no account of their arrival home. In consequence of his departure and information he can give you, must in a great measure naturally curtail that expected of me. However, since he left here, though a short three months, there have been changes and very serious ones, and I might say unprecedented, at least in the principal districts that are now suffering, namely (John knows them), the south, Lobos, Lujan, Mercedes, Giles, Fortín de Areco, Arrecifes & Salto. Some of the aforesaid partidos (or parishes), are at the present moment in plain speaking without sheep or cattle. There are exceptions, but on a small scale, in most of the partidos mentioned, that is small portions have escaped the plague, where the occupants have not suffered so much, but to view the thing as it stands, there are many at the present moment who were well to do six months ago, who are now on the border of pauperism. We are all at a loss to know the reason of this, but the more intelligent seem to say that it's in consequence of the extraordinary amount of rain fallen in the months of April & May, a conjecture I consider quite applicable to the occasion, as at present in many of the aforesaid partidos, by digging one spit the water will invariable rise to the surface. Consequently, up to the present, and for some time to come, will remain in a barren state. Although we have been fortunate in this district in having good pasture and plenty of it, yet we are at a loss to account for the losses we have sustained up to the present time. We are not the only ones that have suffered, but the whole partido in general. Many are of opinion that it's from the effects of Locusts, which visited us the last four years, and it's my firm opinion also, that they left on their last visit a specia of poison, which up to the present is operating on some of the flocks. We have not seen up to the present (which is late compared to previous years), any Locusts, and I sincerely hope I may be spared the opportunity of seeing them again. In consequence of the aforesaid our increase on the Estancia will, I am sure, be limited, and the amount of Wool compound to the former years will also be deficient. Even so, in part to counteract the effects of same, we have every and very good prospects of receiving up to the present very good prices for our produce, such as sheep skins, Wool and fat sheep, which are all on the advance, the former if good at 300 paper dollars per dozen. Wool, some contracts made at from 10 to 100 per arroba. And fat sheep from 55 to 70 each. I could have contracted for the Wool ere this, but my custom heretofore in not selling until shorn, prevented me from doing so. As I consider I have been pretty lucky in my future bargains, I hope this one will not be an exception. I have not sold as yet any fat sheep, chiefly in consequence of the flocks being uneven and not in very good condition. But I may do so yet but not at less than 60 dollars each. In my last letter, that of April, I enclosed three cards or likenesses of all the family excepting Nicholas & Katie. The former I enclose with this, the other on some future occasion. We would be very glad to get a picture of ye all in return, as those we possess are very old, and not in any way flattered (particularly yourself), which I consider has not the faintest resemblance. Tell Johnny when you see him that we are all well, with ever kindest love. And perhaps when he writes again I may answer him personally. His sister Katie encloses a few lines for him, which you can deliver at your leisure.
Without more to say at present, the family all join me in kind and affectionate regards to all, and I remain your dear Brother,