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Title: Patt Murphy to Martin Murphy, 7 October 1880
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 Count1564
Genrestorm destroys cargo, drought, weather, cattle, wedding
TranscriptDear Martin,
At last after nearly three months sojourn I take my pen and really with shame to write you a few lines, though Johnny & Nick wrote immediately after our arrival, when I told them to give account of our good health and safety, yet all that is not sufficient. I consider to atone for my negligence, but pray excuse me for this time, as I expect in future to prove a better boy. Our voyage was anything indeed but a pleasant one, in consequence of the Ship being over leden [sic] it was one continual roal [sic] even in the finest weather. About 400 miles from the mouth of the Plate, opposite the Brazilian coast, but luckily the wind off Shore, we were visited by a terrific storm of at list five hours duration. And I assure you during that interval, our hopes of again seeing B. Ayres were very slight indeed. We lost nearly all our deck Cargo of live stock, & dead stock also, such as life boats and in fact all amidships. Our Bulls & Rams, the latter belonging to Nash, all nearly went, and some of both washed clean over during the night that no one could give account of. We had a quarter master killed about 3 o'clock p.m. by the shipping of a Sea, it stuned and left him insencible [sic]. He only survived about 15 minutes, but it was three days after before we could go forward to enter him in a watery grave. Our Ship was no doubt a good one, the Hevelius. But as the Captain told me, she was never loaded so heavy since she was a ship, at 500 tons, twice more than ever she carried, and then a live cargo but small on deck, which the Captain says was the principal cause of our peril, because the boxes containing Bulls got broken. At the same time the debris coming in contact with our stearing chain, broke it and left us for many hours completely helpless. But enough on this painful subject, only thanks to God for our safe delivery. We arrived in Montevideo on 3rd of July, then to hear of a revolution in Buenos Ayres. But luckily they were in the act of coming to a peaceible [sic] understanding. We remained fours days at the Mount discharging cargo day & night. Then proceeded and arrived in Buenos Ayres on the 7th July to find it a complete topsy-turvy, everything disarranged, mole head torn up, all the Streets dug up to construct a form of barricades at a radius of about a league from the Centre of the City. On our arrival they had just commenced to replace those things, and for my three short months absence, I am really at a loss and feel utterly incompetent to form an opinion as to the contrast one month of revolution can do. It's useless for me to give a detailed account of the revolution, or the past or present political aspect of the country, as you must have already seen or at least heard through Brother John, as he gets N. Papers from here. All I can say and I think with safety, and hope fervently that revolutions in this Country is now a thing of the past. We started for the Camp on the morning of the 8th July, and arrived in Rojas the 9th about midday. By same coach came two letters which I wrote in Ireland, and one of them in Dublin on my first arrival there, so the postal communication you may take it for granted was revolutionized also. We found all our family well, and located in the village as a place of more safety on such occasions, they had very little to complain of during the disturbance, more than the loss of a few old horses. After my departure to Ireland, they experienced here a drought of two months duration, which seriously affected the Camps, and I think the cow cattle also, as immediately after my arrival they commenced dying at an average of two or three daily. The poor conditions of the cattle I assure you made one feel rather nervous, particularly approaching Saint Rose, out patron Saint 30th of August, which invariably gives reason to the annually remembered, but this year it passed over gloriously fine, I suppose for the sole purpose of hoarding up her enmity for 15 days more to descend with greater vengeance on the 14th and 15th ultimo. The former was ushered in by sleet accompanied by a piercing cold and strong wind, about 3 o'clock in the afternoon. Snow commenced to fall and continued heavily for at least three hours, then changed into frozen sleet until after night-fall, when snow commenced again and continued for some hours in the night. The 15th came in about the same and no abatement whatever in the wind, and continued with increasing fury until next morning, which opened without rain but the appearance of the atmosphere any thing but prepossessing. The most sad and melancholy news I have yet to chronicle is my own individual loss by this serious visitation of Providence. In sheep thanks to God our loss is insignificant, but in the horn Cattle to the amount of 800 head have perished as near an estimate as I can at present form, my whole four years gathering or more gone in a moment and calculating from the mortality in Cows, the prospect is doubtful as to having
my principal at the end of next year. The loss I believe has been general, particularly in this province. It is said it extended to the others also, in this none escaped. All suffered nearly equal according to their stock, and a few worse having lost all. The estimated loss in this province alone, but I think under the mark, is the round number of one million head, so much for the 14th and 15th September 1880, which will long be remembered
and quoted in Argentine history, as one of the most severe storms according to the oldest inhabitant, ever visited this Republick. I will now try and finish my letter with more pleasant news, and first I must tell you of Katie E.'s marriage on the 19th of August, her 21st birthday, so she now goes by the name of Kate Kearney. We are now making preparations to commence shearing in about 10 days, hence there is a great deal of Wool already sold, and a great number of buyers all through the Camp offering very good prices. I sold the other day (all through) at 94 dollars delivered on Estancia. I believe I have no more to say. I will annex a P.S. chiefly intended for John as he knows they parties mentioned herein. I hope ye are all well. I conclude, all here joining me in kind remembrance to ye all, and I remain your loving Brother,

P.S. Dear John, You recollect the land of Alvear's we were talking about at your house, that Casey was about buying for some English Company, and as the story goes did so. But after some time they say in consequence of the unsettled state of the Country previous to the Revolution it was put into Casey's hands to dispose of, which he did to the Gahans, and I suppose to advantage (fourteen leagues). I really believe our big friend expected a slice of it, as there was great secrecy practised about Lett going out to see it. Casey offered them the other day six leagues of an Estancia outside Lavalle, about 35 leagues or more from Rojas. They bargained for the whole in case they liked it. Consequently Tom & Dick Lett went see it, and returned dissatisfied with the quality & position of same. Therefore no purchase. There was none of it intended for you Brett said they would have two leagues each, and were in a portion of it immediately. Brett says Casey has them in his pocket. Brett says they lost on Ballesty's place about six hundred head, but others say much more. In sheep I believe their loss was trifling, but not so in some places as whole flocks have perished. Ere yesterday I heard the loss of sheep alone on Duggans place in Chacabuco is estimated at 20,000 head. Brett commenced shearing at Ballesty's on yesterday, finishing there, then proceeds to Mercedes for the same purpose. He told me and a good many Rojeros on Sunday last, that he would occupy nothing but men to shear, and would bring out some from Mercedes to learn those here, and pay them at the rate of 60% per cent, a rise of 10 per cent on the old established price. You may imagine he heard a little more than he relished, of our opinion on the subject of his great aspirations. During my absence, Tom Kearney bought an Estancia in Junín of 1 1/3 or 1 ¼ leagues con poblaciones in the small sum of 300,000 plata contada. It's doubtful if I can fulfil my contract without disturbing out little cousin Peter, as he is going and getting nearly all the men to go, drunkards nearly, and sometimes more than weekly. I hope Ellen is perfectly recovered. Your dear Brother,