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Title: McIlrath, Hamilton to McIlrath, William, 1868
CollectionThe McIlrath Letters_A family history in letters from New Zealand to Ireland (1860-1915) [Bassett, McKee et al.]
SenderMcIlrath, Hamilton
Sender Gendermale
Sender Occupationfarmer
Sender Religionunknown
OriginLeeston, Canterbury, New Zealand
DestinationKillinchy, Co. Down, Northern Ireland
RecipientMcIlrath, William
Recipient Gendermale
Doc. No.
Partial Date
Doc. Type
Word Count677
Genrefamily, local economy, floods, photographs
TranscriptLeeston October 1st 1868
Dear Brother
I received your letter of the 13th June '68 and I am glad to hear you are all well which I am at present and for being well I have I suppose no reason to complain I am on my own (hook/hock) now James and I have made a division James has bought my share of the farm and I have got another
hundred acres of very good land which I intend to make the best out of I can for about three years and if I don't alter my mind before then I intend if I am well and keep clear of the women to go home and see
are all getting on for I think I might stay here time before any of you would come to see seem to be getting better at home since we left if we had as good prices for our corn here we would do fine as the land only requires ploughing and sowing for the first five or six years and never gets any manure at all. Nor no green crops is ever put in here. Only a
few potatoes without one bit of manure and then they
are the finest I ever have seen any where. But markets
has been a bit higher this last season here. They have
got into the way of sending the wheat to England and
while there is a good price there we should never have
markets so low here again. We got six shillings per
bushel for most of (oats) last season and it is as high
as seven shillings now which is a very good prospect
for next harvest but oats never seem to get above two
shillings a bushel. You seem anxious to know if we
escaped the flood and I am happy to say we had no
rain but at Rangiora where I used to live it was something fearful it swept
away fences and lifted haystacks and carried them for miles. After it went
down you might pick up anything from a tin catel to a dray washed for miles
away. Pigs and fowls nearly all drowned and worse than all any amount of
houses washed down and several lives lost, in fact nobody could account
for it there had been heavy rains many a time before and the Ashley's not a snow river, there was a slight earth quake felt here about two months
ago but it must have been greater at sea at port (Lyttleton) shortly
after the shock was felt a wave came whisking up the harbour and
swept for miles up the bays & then it receded back and left the ships
in the harbour nearly dry and it was days before the tides came and
went in their regular courses. I got your portrait but I don't think that
I should have known you first look I thought it was William it is pretty
much like what he used to be you must be pretty tall and very pale I
might write you about a great many things here but then you would
know nothing about them Wm.J. Alexander is gone to the diggings
there is a great rush to Auckland now. Remember me to father and mother and tell them that its my intention now if I don't alter my
mind to see them before they are many years older. I shall write more
at present but remain truly your Brother, H. McIlrath

Give my best love to William and John and their respective wives and
Pickininys as I expect they will have a good few of the latter by this time. I don't think I ever knew William's Mrs nor any of the family and for John's I think I have seen her I know I have seen some of her sisters and a big brother but I hope to be better acquainted with them all by and by. James is well and likely to do well. Give my respects to all friends