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Title: Greeves, Jane to Greacen, Margaret, 1834
CollectionThe Transatlantic Letters of an Irish Quaker Family_1818-1877 [B. Jackson]
SenderGreeves, Jane
Sender Genderfemale
Sender Occupationshop keeper
Sender ReligionQuaker
OriginLisburn, N.Ireland
DestinationPhiladelphia, Penn., USA
RecipientGreacen, Margaret
Recipient Genderfemale
Doc. No.
Partial Date
Doc. Type
Word Count2332
GenreMary's decease
TranscriptLisburn 3 mo 31st 1834

My dear Margaret
I have been thinking of writing to thee for some time, but still one thing or another occured to prevent me, but
I am now determined not to put it off longer, as I fear thee might begin to think we are growing careless about
thee, which I can assure thee is not the case. Thy last letter dated 11 mo 19th was very acceptable but it did not
contain so much information as we could have wished; thee did not mention how you were getting on or if James
Greacen liked his new employer - also many other particulars which we would like to hear about you.
We would like to have pleasing accounts from thee: it would be pleasant to have something cheering to think
of- for we have met with great affliction since I wrote last: indeed I may say one of the greatest trials we ever
experienced in the removal of our dear sister Mary O'Brien which took place the 2nd of 12 mo last. We were quite
unprepared for it, which made the shock much greater. She took ill in 11 month with a shivering and pain ill her
head which terminated in fever, and after being ill for 8 or 10 days she got decidedly better and able to sit up, which
she did for a few hours for several days and seemed to be getting on nicely. Indeed from the first the Doctor said
she had no alarming symtom, so that though we were anxious about her we did not feel at all alarmed. But after
getting on so well she all of a sudden took ill with inflamation in her bowels which was succeeded by mortification
that carried her off in less than 3 days, although every means was used that could be devised to check its progress.
She was sensible to the last - and was wonderfully supported and enabled to be quite resigned to the will of her
heavenly Father, which is a great consolation. She took leave of brother Dan & the poor children and gave each
suitable advice, which I hope they will long remember, at least the elder ones.
Susanna set off as soon as she possibly could after we got an account of her increased illness, but was not there
in time to see her alive - which perhaps was as well as it would have been very trying on them both. Brother
Thomas went also and was in time for the funeral which took place at the rise of meeting in Carlow on 4th day,
according to her own directions. She was very much beloved & lamented but it is her own family that feel her loss
most and longest. Poor brother Dan, my heart aches for him: he was one of the kindest and most affectionate
husbands that could possibly be - he almost idolised her, so one may have some idea what his feelings must be.
He has one great blessing and comfort: he is possessed of good children. John & Anna are both steady & sensible
beyond their years and the other 5 all very good according to their ages. Poor Anna has a great charge, the care of
the younger ones having devolved on her.
Susanna staid with them for two months & is not very long returned; she had not intended staying so long but
3 of the children took ill of the fever about two weeks after their poor Mothers death and she staid to assist in nursetending chem. They all recovered - poor George has a very hard struggle for his life but he is now quite well
again. He was nor quite well when she left them but she had to hurry home in consequence of my being laid tip
with the Quinsey which confined me to bed for 10 days: during which time I eat or slept very little & had two
Doctors attending me part of the time. I had used every means to try & put it back but without success, which
was one means of keeping me longer in pain & kept it longer gathering. I was afraid I would have had to get it
opened, but fortunately it broke of itself which was a great matter. I never was so ill in my life - when I got up I
could not walk without support. I am now, thank goodness, finely again but it will be some time longer before
I recover my flesh & my looks. It will require me to be very careful of getting cold as I am told I will be always
liable to take it.
My Father and Aunt Molly are pretty well at present and desire their love to thee - the latter often speaks of
thee. She is to pay them a visit in Armagh this summer if she continues well, also to go to Dungannon: she has
not been in either place since she came to Lisburn, which is now about 3 years. She looks much the same as when
thee saw her last - and I think her general health is not worse. Martha is still at Lord Caledons and looks well and
happy. She has her little daughter with her who is a fine nice looking little thing. She has had several offers of
marriage since her husbands death but would not accept of any of them.
John Walpole has been confined to his room for the last 3 months with rehumatism in his limbs: his toes were
broken out and he was in a bad way with them. He is now better & got down to the parlour on 1st day last for
the first time for 3 months. Poor Elizabeth has had a trying time with him. His sister Deb by lives with them & is
uncommonly kind. Indeed I dont know what Elizabeth would do but for her. His brother Samuel died very
suddenly about 6 weeks ago, which gave them all a great shock - he had been ailing a little but had nothing
alarming about him. He went off suddenly but I did not hear exactly what his complaint was: his widow must feel
very desolate. John Joshua is getting on well at school & is a fine boy. He often spends a day with us - he is very
well liked by his master & school fellows.
Thy brother Thomas is still living in Newtonhamilton & is likely to remain there. I blieve business is doing
pretty well with him. Will thee be surprised to hear he was married about 2 mos ago to a young woman whos name
was Anne Rowan, a native of Newtownhamilton; I understand she is a steady respectable young woman so I hope
she will be the means of making him steady. She has not been in Armagh yet - in consequence of brother Johns
being confined for several weeks by a severe attack of the influenza which was prevalent in Armagh; and now
cholera is there. So it will be some time longer before she pays them a visit. When she does I will hear from Mary
what kind she is: he pleased himself & has no one to blame if she does not make him a good wife. Cholera has
returned to several places where it visited before - but so far it has not lasted so long nor been so virulent. We have
been most mercifully dealt with in Lisburn - it not having visited us yet - except in one or two cases where the
persons brought it from other towns, but it did not spread among us.
Brother Thomas and Rachel with their two children are well. John is an uncommon fine intelligent child of
his age & is great amusement for them. I have not seen the little girl since she was an infant, so cant say much
about her. We have not heard from Anne or William for a long time & are very anxious about them. I do wish
very much they as well as thyself would write oftener. Poor Anne will be greatly shocked when she gets the account
of dear Marys death. The latter had a letter partly written to Anne when she took ill, which she wished brother
Dan to finish & send to her. I question if he has done it yet as I am sure it will be trying on him to do so.
Uncle Sam spent two or 3 days with us a short time ago - he & Aunt Ruth are pretty well. Aunt Debby was
confined to bed lately with a cold but was much better, last account we had of her. We wished her to come & spend
some time with us but we can't prevail on her to come. She does not like to leave home, as Thomas has no one to
mind the house when she is away. He continues to be very kind & attentive to her, but I think it is a pity for her
to confine herself so much. She sometimes spends a few days in Armagh. Charles Harden whom she reared, is living
with brother John now as an apprentice, & offers very well.
I spent a week in Armagh lately very agreeably. Elizabeth is an engaging sensible child and can make herself
useful to her mother in many ways, young as she is. She goes to school every day & can read a little and spell words
of 3 syllables off the book. Wm John is a very handsome child but rather delicate. John had a letter from thy
brother William a few days before, which mentioned they were all well. Business has not been good in Dublin for
the last 2 years: they have given up their horse & car & I blieve has retrenched in other respects also. All the
children are at home & fine children they are, but I fear are too much indulged. Thy Mother [Alice Midkiff] was
well the last account I heard of her, and continues to live more comfortable than she used. Joe is turned a great
methodist again and does not drink whiskey as used to do, but attends to his business which is a great comfort to her. I wish he may continue to conduct himself so well both for his own sake & hers. I have not seen her lately
but I understand she looks very well.
Susanna had a letter from Hannah McLReaney [Mcllreavy?] lately which left her well. She had had a baby
some time before, I dont think said whether it was a son or daughter; Elizabeth Clark had a daughter about a
month before - so you were right in your conjecture about her being in the family way. Her husband was still in
the same employment & they were getting on better than formerly. Hannah's Uncle John died suddenly a few
months ago - he was out playing music at a Gentlemans house near Dungannon & took ill of something of
apoplexy, as he never spoke after it & died in 48 hours. Her Grandmother is desolate now.
Does Cousin Mary Greeves come to see thee often. I hope she is still in the same comfortable situation. Anna
Malcomson told me she went to see [her] & was greatly pleased ... her. Poor Anne enjoy4 the visit she paid them
gready (I mean Cousin Mary paid them). It [h] pleasant thee has her near thee to speak to sometimes. I wish poor
Anne was near either of you: she would think herself happy. I think Cousin James might be more attentive to thee
than he is - but when we consider that he never knew much of his Irish relations & the cold manner of the
Americans, re miss ness is not so much to be wondered at. I heard of the Morris- lately through Joseph Malcomson
who had a letter from Jacob a short time ago. He was anxious to hear particularly about their relations in Ireland
& thinks of paying us another visit a[ a future period. I would like Cousin James to come too, that he might see
a little of what true hospitality is.
There was a letter from Cousin John G. Grooves lately. He speaks of bringing his family to France to reside &
to get them educated there. I wish it was in Ireland that he was going to settle. I do love Cousin John: he is a true
hearted generous Irishman. It is a pity there are so few like him in the world. Cousin William intends leaving the
Isle of Man this summer. I have not heard where he has fixed to reside. I would be glad he would come to live in
Belfast if he found it to answer.
Susanna had a letter from Carlow a short time ago. They were all well & Anna wrote in rather better spirits than
usual. Her cousin Wm O'Brien who lives with them as tutor to the children is going to be married to Mary
Anderson. Lucy Almonts niece, & it has given them something to think about & they required it to cheer them
- poor things, they seem if possible doubly dear to me since they lost their dear mothers affectionate care. I would
like to pay them a visit this summer but I fear I wont get.
If thee has not written before thee receives this I would wish thee to do so as soon after as possible; distance
has not made any alteration in our affection for thee: we Still reel very much interested in thy welfare. When thee
sees Cousin Mary Greeves please give our kind love to her, also Aunt Mollys. With dear love to Cousin James in
which Susanna unites I am, dear Margaret, as ever

thy truly affectionate cousin
Jane Greeves