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Title: O'Brien, Joseph Sinton to O'Brien, William, 1843
CollectionThe Transatlantic Letters of an Irish Quaker Family_1818-1877 [B. Jackson]
SenderO'Brien, Joseph Sinton
Sender Gendermale
Sender Occupationclerk
Sender ReligionQuaker
OriginNYC, USA
DestinationCollins, Lake Erie, NY, USA
RecipientO'Brien, William
Recipient Gendermale
Doc. No.
Partial Date
Doc. Type
Word Count1641
Genrenews of friends, family and neighbours, the ship Great Western, weather, news clothes, account of William Bell, religion, politics, enquires about the farm
TranscriptNew York 3rd mo 16 1843

Dear Father
It is a long time since I wrote to thee and Mother but I suppose that you have heard that I am well. The reason
that I have not written sooner was because I was waiting till I would be able to tell thee what my prospects for the
summer were, but am yet unable. But as our friend Jno McKeon was returning from Congress and was so kind
as to give me a frank which will save postage, I thought I would write a short letter as you might be anxious to hear from me. Andrew Varney had been in New York hut staid so short a time I had only time to answer two letters
received by him from Maria & Thomas. Thos. said that you were well but said nothing else and I dont know how
you are getting on this winter. I dont know but I will be home this spring, although I am afraid there is not much
for me to do, and if Abram knew that to be the case I think he would be willing for me to stay. But I had a long
conversation with him a few days ago and from what he said I think that he is under the impression that he is doing
wrong in keeping me from thee, as the prospects for a person in my situation are growing worse instead of better.
He made a great many inquiries about the mill and asked me if I thought that it would be profitable to thee if it
got going, which question I of course answered in the affirmative. He then spoke of James R. Greeves and said
that as he had been the means of thee beginning the mill he should assist in finishing it; and that he [Abraham]
thought that if Mother were to write to him and tell him all about it he would do so. He then of his own accord
spoke of having written to Uncle Sam Sinton and wondered that had never had an answer from him, and then
said there was another person in Ireland he had thought of writing to, but did not mention any name but I think
it must have been Uncle John Owden. He told me to tell Mother to write to Aunt Jane and asked me if I thought
that Grandfather could not afford to assist thee, but I told him that I thought although it might be in his power
to do so I hardly thought that Mother would be willing to ask him or to let him know all our difficulties, now
that he was so very old.
A few days after this conversation William Bell of Belfast dined with us and speaking of the Richardsons with
whom John Owden is in company in business he said that J.O. was the main stay among them. "Yes", said he to
Abram, "Joseph's uncle is about as wealthy a man as there is in Belfast, and he has an uncle an old man without
any family who is worth (£160,000) one hundred and sixty thousand pounds to which John Owden is heir." You
may think that I am mistaken about the amount but I am not and William Bell says that this is a moderate
calculation. Since that time Abram has told me that he thinks that Mother should write to Aunt Jane. Now I was
thinking that if Mother would write to Abram to write to John Owden, as he has done business with him for several
years, it might have a better effect. In case she did write to Abram he would give a copy, as that is his way of doing
business. I want thee and Mother to think it over and if anything is to be done to do it quickly. Abrm once asked
me if there was not enough to be done at home to keep me profitably employed provided I was there. I told him
that as things were, and the farm being as it was without fences, I thought that thee and the boys could do all that
was to be done until it was time to cut the hay, as you were doing very little at farming but depending upon stock
raising and the products of the cows.
I have been well most of the time since writing before. I suppose that you have heard what a long passage the
Great Western made, which caused a great deal of anxiety here she having [been} out 29 days, but she arrived safely
on first day last, having experienced severe westerly gales the whole of the passage. And although it is but fifth day
she is on the way to Liverpool, having sailed today at 3 o'clock, having but four and a half days to discharge and
take on new cargo, besides having to take on 660 tons of coal to replace that burned on her passage over.
3rd month 18th day
When I commenced this letter I thought that I should have a chance to finish it without interruption, but when
I had written that far James came in and said that he had purchased a cargo of cotton to be shipped immediately
for Liverpool and that another cargo had arrived from the south consigned to us, so that I have had no time to
spare since. We had a most tremendous storm here night before last, accompanied with snow which came down
so plentifully as to make the streets almost impassable. Mother asked if I [was] going to make my great coat answer
me this winter. I have made it do so far and do not intend ro get another. I once told you how much I had reed
from A., since which I have had to have some small articles which were necessary and at the end of the year there
was $8 due me, since which I have had to get some thick boots, cost $6 and a pair of pantaloons and a vest - $5
and $3 and am about to get a coat made. I wear my dark colored satinett pantaloons that I brought from home
for every day, and a coat that I got made here and a vest that I got made here as my old ones are worn out.
In my last letter home I told Margaretta that I would write to her in a few days. Well I wrote the letter but
neglected to get a frank until our member went to Congress, but I think that I will write to her in a few days. Thos. Richardson goes to Ireland the middle of
next month and I suppose that I must
write by him co Aunt and I want an
answer to this in time to tell her how you
are getting along.
William Bell, Editor of the Irish Friend,
is in New York and he had a son with
him and intends bringing his family out
this spring. He has failed in business and
has come to seek his fortune. I suppose
you have seen the comet that is to be
seen in the western part of the heavens just
after sunset. It has caused a good deal of
excitment here among the Millerites. Do you have any Millerites in your part of the country? What fanaticisim!!! N.Y. is the
headquarters of Miller and he is making a good many converts and frightening them out of their right minds. It is
a shame that the city authorities do not confine him as an insane man. The converts to the believe [belief] in Animal
Magnetism increase rapidly and all Abram's family are believers and 1 am about half one. Do you have any of it?
Then there is the new science called Neurology which is nothing more than an improvment on Animal Magnetism.
President making is commenced already. Mass meetings are being held and speeches made and John Tyler,
Henry Clay, Martin Van Buren and Calhoun have been severally nominated. What does thee think of Tyler's for
the the last... [years?] and what does thee think of the meeting on board the Somers? Abram thinks that Capt.
McKenzie done right - his trial is not through yet.
Did thee sell any of the stock last fall? and did thee have plenty of hay? What team will you have this spring?
and how much does thee intend to plough? Is Tom going to be home this summer? What wages do persons get
per month? And I would like for thee to tell me the prices of all kinds of stock and all kinds of grain and provisions.
Be particular about the prices of oxen, cows, and the products of the dairy. What is the situation of the fences
around thee? Maria tells me that you are going to milk 7 cows this summer and intend to make a cheese: Abram
says that Mother must keep it till fall and send it to him and he will sell it for [her] to the best advantage. Tell the
boys that I will write some for them when I am writing to Margt. Remember me to all inquiring friends. Dont
forget to write soon. With love to all I remain

thy affectionate son

PS. Since writing the above I have been talking to A. again and I think that I misunderstood him about wanting
me to go home, but he does not [want?] to feel as if he were to blame if it should prove the worse for me for
staying here; so I suppose that it will depend on what thee and Mother thinks. Abram seems willing for me to stay
if it is better for me to be in N.Y. than Collins.