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Title: Greeves, John Sr to O'Brien, William, 1831
CollectionThe Transatlantic Letters of an Irish Quaker Family_1818-1877 [B. Jackson]
SenderGreeves, John Sr
Sender Gendermale
Sender Occupationlinen trader
Sender ReligionQuaker
OriginLisburn, N.Ireland
DestinationLake Erie, NY, USA
RecipientO'Brien, William
Recipient Gendermale
Relationshipfather-in-law - son-in-law
Doc. No.
Partial Date
Doc. Type
Word Count953
Genrepotato crops, news of family and friends
TranscriptLisburn 1 mo 29th 1831

Dear William
I receivd a letter from thee about 3 or 4 months ago: it was forwarded to Dungannon and from thence to Carlow;
also one from thee & Ann dated on 11 mo last: it was adressed to Carlow. I think thy former letter expressed a
wish to know how we managed our drill peotatoes. Altho I am not now m the farming line, shall endevor to give
thee what information I can, but am afraid that I cant do it to thy satisfaction.
The land is first plowd in ridges. If it can be done before the frost we think it good for mellowing the ground
and in Spring to harrow and plough it across the ridges, and have it well harowed after to make it level and make
it fine. Next make the drills about 2½ feet asunder. If the land inclines to wet they should be made shallow, if dry
the deeper; then put in the manure in the drills, the quantity thou W think sufficient and lay the peotatoes about
4 inches asunder. Then take the plough with one horse and cover them lightly; a French muzell is generally
made use of here - by shifting a pin in it can make the plow to go nearer or farther off the peotoes at pleasure.
About a week after the peotoes are covered take the plow and 2 horses and put a good high covering on them;
shortly after have them rolled, keeping the horse in one drill that the rowler may do two drills at one nme and so
on untill the field is finished. Let the drills be in that state untill the peotatoes is about 2 inches above the ground.
If it is the common Irish plow, take off the reest & mawlboard, or the part of the plow that throws up the
furrow, take one horse and strip the earth off in each side of the peotatoes that it may fall in the middle to have it
exposed to the sun so that the weeds may be destroyed. With us some have small harows with handles to it like a
plow, drawn by one horse to go between the drills to make the ground fine & harow up the weeds so that they
may be completely destroyed before it is moulded up again. Our wet climate produces a deal of weeds. After 2 or
3 days the earth should be put up again, taking care that the peotoes done he lowered. During the rime the earth
is from the peotoes, the weeds if any should be pulled out of the drills - and when the peotos is pretty full grown
take 2 horses and give them a final molding and they are finished. Your climate and outs is so diferent that
experience is the only thing that will make perfect. The drills should be so proportioned that a horse should walk
in one drill and the cart wheels should run one in each side of the horse so that the drills may not be much
disturbed by putting in the manure.
In our damp climate the peotatoes is kept as near the surface as may be. I have endeavoured to give thee an
outline of the way I used to manage my farm in the peotatoe crop, perhaps there is better methods found out now.
This last summer hath been exceeding wet and cold, the crops much injured; peotatoes is selling @ 2/6 p. hundred,
wheat about 15 or 16 shillings, the poor are verry badly off for want of work, the linen and muslin business being
greatly disturbed and our Nation and England being in an agitated state.
I am sorry to tell thee that Christy and Dawson of Moyallon hath failed; most of their property was sold a few
days ago. It is thought they wont be able to pay 15/- in the pound; what they will do I dont know. The Christy's house had been respectable for this last century. In thy next please let me know what quantity of land thou
purchased, as also how much cleared &c &c what it cost, as I dont remember to have heard the particulars.
I am nearly got to the age of man, say 70 winters old, and through Infinite Mercy enjoy a tolerable share of
health. I am Sony to hear that Ann gets so poor health latterly, but hope at the return of season she may be better.
We had a long spell of fever in this town this winter, several hath died, so far my family hath been preserved which
is great favour.
Perhaps thou will be surprised to hear that my son Thos was married about the 12th inst to Rachel Malcomson
of Lurgan, daughter of Thos Malcomson. Perhaps Ann knows the family, they are distant relations of ours.
There dont seem to be much difference in their ages, it seems a prudent connection. I now enclose thee Malcomson
& Bells first Bill of Exchange value 88 Dollars & 88 cents which I hope will go safe, and as Ann and the family
seems to want cloathing hope you will purchase what will make you comfortable. Dan & Mary thinking of sending
you some flanell &c which wd be atended with considerable risk & expence, we concluded to send you the money,
that you could lay it out as you thought proper. With Dr love to Ann & the children, I remain

thy afft Father
John Greeves

I forgot to mention that thou should be carefull when taking the earth from the peotoes not to go too near the
stalk least they should be injured.