Main content

Title: O'Brien, Maria Wright to O'Brien, Joseph Sinton, 1842
CollectionThe Transatlantic Letters of an Irish Quaker Family_1818-1877 [B. Jackson]
SenderO'Brien, Maria Wright
Sender Genderfemale
Sender Occupationschoolmistress
Sender ReligionQuaker
OriginCollins, Lake Erie, NY, USA
DestinationNYC, USA
RecipientO'Brien, Joseph Sinton
Recipient Gendermale
Doc. No.
Partial Date
Doc. Type
Word Count1632
Genreshe's glad he's doing fine, advice on people, news of family and friends
TranscriptCollins 5th Month 22 1842 First day

My Dear Brother,
We received thy letter of the 3rd i[n]st to Mother and of the 12th to me on 6th day last, the letter being mailed in
Hamburgh, so we suppose the friends are not come on to our reservation. I was truly glad to heat from thee
and to find thee still continues to like thy situation, and though thee says thee almost despairs of being a good
writer, I do not think thee has any reason to, for we all think thee improves very much; and though thy hand is
yet undetermined it looks nice an[d] clean and thy last letter looks much better than the one to mother so do not
feel discouraged but still exert thyself to improve and patience and perseverance will accomplish almost any thing.
I would like dearly to get a peep at thee and see thee bustling about in the office with quite a business-like air
and running along the streets as if thy lire depended on the haste thee made. But it is a satisfaction to get letters
from thee and if I am not as punctual in answering them, thee must not attribute it to carelessness ot a want
affection for thee. But really I have so little time that I can call my own that I have sadly neglected all my friends
of late. I have now several letters in the house to answer and I do not know when I will get time. I suppose thee
will wonder what I am about that confines me so much: well, I am teaching school in out district and have from
37 to 42 scholars nearly all the time. They give me two $ a week however and all seem well pleased.
I hope thee does not feel lonely or give way to be homesick, for every-one here would be so disappointed if thee
comes home tired of thy situation. Every one that 1 hear say any thing about it say it is such a nice thing for thee
and I do hope thee may yet make a good business-man, and it will be a source of more pleasure to me than any
thing else. As thee knows, it was partly through me that thee got thy place and Joseph, my dear brother, may I
never repent the action; may I never have reason to say "I am sorry I ever did any thing about thy going to the
city". Always remember to keep out of bad company: now that thee has had such a warning in Larry, I do hope
thee will profit by it. Never form any acquaintance with any one without consulting James, and by letting him
see that thee place reliance on his judgment on such subjects he will have more confidence in thee. I suppose thee
is very much confined, but It is so with all men in business and when thee does have a leisure moment there are
so many pleasant ways of spending it in the city. Thee can go into some of the free public squares and take a walk
or go over to Brooklyn or Hoboken or to Bayside and thee has a much better relish for the enjoyment of such
pleasures by being in general so much confined. Now thee never would have known the exquisite pleasure there
is in a ramble in the country, had thee lived in it all thy life.
I often think that those who are refined [deprived?] of the privileges that we have in the country of having green
fields and beautiful trees have a much higher sense of enjoyment, and have their minds more expanded and elevated
by an occasional visit to the country to observe and enjoy the works of nature than those who in the common
course of every day life as [are?] "coming constantly in contact with all those things that are interesting to those
who take a pleasure in the works of nature". I think thee will be very much improved and am thinking I will be
very proud of thee when thee comes out to see me. Times ate so dull and money so scarce that none of the
merchants that we heat of are going to N.Y. this spring, so we will have to write by mail and thee must not be
disappointed at not hearing from us very often. We had several letters all ready to send and Thomas took them
down but... [Kerr?] was not going nor Russell either. So we have them still, one from Thomas to thee [and\ mine
to Cousin Anna, and we feel much disappointed.
I have had several letters from Philadelphia since thee went away and one from Henrietta Suydam in New
Brunswick in which she gives thee an invitation to come and see her some time while thee is in N.Y. Those letters
that thee saw in the care of a friend for me were one from Cousin Mary and the other from Maty Kelly. I have
had two from Cousin M, one from aunt, one from Sally Ann Fling have between thine and all the rest had a
great many letters this spring.
Cortes is still in Buffalo: he is now in business for himself in a grocery and provisions store. He has a partner
by the name of Jacobs - his store is on the corner of Main & Chippawa Sts. He was home two weeks ago today and said he intended writing Co thee soon. He talked before he went into business of going as a superintendent to
a large school in Ohio but he thinks perhaps it will be better to try to establish himself in Buffalo. Has thee seen
his cousin yet? I suppose thee does not even think of coming home yet and even if thee did, I suppose thee could
not be spared. Though we would be glad to see thee, still perhaps it will be best not to say anything about it yet
awhile as thee is only an apprentice yet and thy time is not thy own.
The little [boys] have been out fishing a[nd] got a nice mess offish, and they get some pidgeons now and then.
Mother says thee ought to have got as much as ½ a dozen pair of stockings and thee would have got them cheaper
as thee would shirts or any things of that kind. Thee mentioned to Mother something about what kind of a coat
thee ought to get: she says she does not know how to advise thee in that respect but that thee had better get James
or Abram to get it for thee, as thee does not know as well as they do about such things.
Father cannot do anything about the mill till the times are better. There [is] no money in the country and
Uncle Saml Tucker says he never know such times in Collins before; as it is now, even the best farmers cannot
pay their debts. There is nothing talked of but hard times and now and then a wedding. Edmond Sherman is
married to Hariet Benedict; Louisa Stow to Dr. [Jesse] Rose[and] Orange Rose to Rebecca Herd. Young
Jonathan South wick and Addison Smith are soon to be married in meeting. I do not know the girls they are to
be married to.
Mother wrote to Cousin James Greeves a short time ago telling him it was impossible for father to go on with
the mill and the reasons why. George [Southwick] and Mary Ann [his wife, nee Wilcox] are on the farm, George
having hired it. Lydia Me [Mill en, junior] is teaching school... in Hamburgh, meaning Aunt Lydia Me, John and
Moses keep house in Aunt Lydia S[outhwick's] old house. Christina and Phebe6S0 [McMillen] still at school. The
south meeting is still continued. Lewis and Eliza Hussey getting on after the old way: Benny [Bening?] did not stay
with them long. We have heard nothing of Isaac Laing since thee went away. His mother is with her son Thomas.
We expect to have 7 cows this summer. We lost 2 calves this winter, the best heifer one of them laid down and
died and we could not tell what ailed it for it was in good order. Pompey grows a great deal this spring and he is
now such a great fine horse father does not know how much to ask for him. Cows sell for 16 or 17 $. Father
bought 2 tons and a ½ of Hay for 15 dollars — though the common price was 8 dollars.
John D has been at home a while this spring till his health became poor again, and he is now at the Springville
Academy where [be] is to stay about 3 months and is then going to study with Dr. Emerson. He does not go very
often to see Portia [Conger?] now: I suppose he has got enough of her and wants to break off. She is not much
respected of late up east or I do not know as any where else. She is a very different person from what thee thought
she was. I saw her and Harriet a while ago and they wished me to send their respects to thee, as do almost every
one that I see. Alvinia L is teaching this summer in Michigan. Joseph she says give her next, and tell Joseph she
heard he was to have a shilling for going home with her last winter. I told her there must be some mistake about
and she says she expects she did not hear the right of it. Please remember afft to all Abms and Joseph B. familys.

thy sister
Maria W. O'Brien