|Title:||Greeves, Susanna to O'Brien (n. Greeves), Anne, 1850|
|Collection||The Transatlantic Letters of an Irish Quaker Family_1818-1877 [B. Jackson]|
|Sender Occupation||shop keeper|
|Origin||Belfast, N. Ireland|
|Destination||Collins, Lake Erie, NY, USA|
|Recipient||O'Brien (n. Greeves), Anne|
|Genre||news of family, friends and neighbours, investing in railway lines, weather, visit from the Queen, cholera|
|Transcript||Belfast 6 Botanic View 1st Month 20th 50|
My dear Sister
I was under the impression until I received thy very welcome letter dated the 16th of last month, that I had written
thee, acknowledging the recpt of thy very welcome letter giving the particulars of dear brother Wm's illness and
close, and strange to say I cannot remember so as to say that I realy did. Sister Jane says that she gave me her last
letter to forward & that might have given me the impression, but suffice to say it was not for want of thinking of
thee & thine, & had I not reed thy last, I did not intend that this Mail should go off without one from me to thee.
In the first place I may tell thee that we are all much in our usual health with the acception of a little cold which
are often prevalent this season of year. Dear Aunt Molly is still spared amongst us, to the surprise and astonishment
of many, altho we all see an evident change in her looks, and it is surprising that her memory is so good, her sight
is also remarkable at her age: she can read with the same spectacles which she has been in the habit of using for
the last 8 or 10 years & so far she can tack her own Caps & I cannot clean them to please her so well as she can
do them herself. She can still enjoy seeing her own friends when any of them come to see us & loves to talk over
old times, particularly when she meets those that can converse with her of days gone by. Altho I write such a good
account of her, still there are times she is very so-so indeed. I latterly I have made it a rule not to be away from
her at night and particularly since George has left me. I never felt uneasy as long as I had some of our folk in the
house, but if any thing occurred & she left to the care of a servant or stranger, I would always reflect that I did do
right; and unless I have not some one to leave behind me such as Cousin M Greason, I dont intend to leave her
for any length of time.
So, dear Sister, thou may see even if I were ever so dispossed to go see any of my friends, I could, not with
prudence leave home. Besides, I am sorry to say that my means are not so as would warrant me to lay out more
than I can possibly - particularly this last year. I unfortunately (if I may use the term) took some shares in a railway line in England about 18 months ago which was then paying pretty well & which if they had continued to do
would have added to my domestic comforts in many respects & would have made me feel more independent in
many ways; and if it were not that I have at present two boarders I dont think that my income would allow me
to keep a house. But as long as Aunt Molly lives I would not like to go into lodgings, altho I know we would live
much cheaper, not having a servant to keep. I do not tell thee this by the way of complaining for I am one that
never likes to look at the gloomy side of things: I know I have many blessings for which I am unworthy. I live in
hopes that when the affairs of these railway concerns ate at the worst they will mend. I think I would not have
said anything about them now only in reference to thy remarks as regards my going to see you. The two causes
which I have explained would prevent me, even if I was ever so disposed. I need not surely say that I know there
is nothing would give thee more pleasure, but circumstances over which we have no control forbids even the
thought of such happiness being realized by me. We must only hope if we are denied that happiness in this world
that we will meet in a much better, "That which is to come".
I hope, however, that thou will get to see thy friends in Philadelphia & N York. It would doubtless take thy
mind off for a while from scenes which reminds thee of the great loss thou hast sustained. It is a great comfort to
hear that altho deprived of one of the best of husbands that thou art posesed with good children who I trust will
always prove worthy of a mother's love & I have little doubt, if the[e] continues so, that a blessing will attend them.
Give them my deaf love, with my best wishes for their welfare in any sense of the word. Brother Thomas I
understand for the last week or more is pretty much confined to the house and own room. Until the frost and snow
set in, he got out pretty often to meeting & into town occasionally. He is at times a great sufferer from his breathing and has to be very particular about himself in every respect. He happened to be in his best fashion the time of out
Lurgan Q Meeting- 1st of 12 Mo & he and Sister Rachel were at it. They took a private lodging, as it would not
suit him to be in any place that was not quiet & where he could make his own time. Indeed unless thou saw him
thou could scarce have an idea of how he has to move: the least hurry would make his breathing bad, or the least
change in his diet or hours of getting his meals. He did not venture on here but we hope in the spring, if he is
spared, he will get down to see us. Like myself he has been rather unfortunate as regards these same said railways:
he has some shares in the same as I have mine.
With regards to the weather, I believe I may say from what I can hear that so far of this winter it is one of the
severest we have had for the last 10 or 12 years. We had a fine Autumn but we had 11 month & most of 12 month
very wet. The last 3 weeks we have had a good deal of snow with hard frost, so hard was the latter that the ice on
the rivers and canals were fit to skate on. It is thought the latter will be of much use to the land, & some of the
farmers are hoping it will be the means of making the potato crop better next year. Altho there is still a good deal
of disease in them almost everywhere, still on the whole they ate not worse than last year: the price p. stone is from 6[d] to 8 at present but will be much higher after some time, I expect. It is pleasant to hear you have had such a
fine fall & that crops turned out well. I see that the boys are all busily employed: it is well that there is a school
convenient that thou can send the two youngest boys to. When thee parts with the little girl thou has, I hope the
next thou gets will be larger & better able to assist thee. Thou must have agood deal to do between housekeeping
& making and mending - for my own part altho I have a servant I have a good deal to attend to one way or other
between marketing and housekeeping and many other &c &c &c I can get but little needle work done, but stifting
about I find to agree with me much better than sitting, I am sure to get rheumatism in my tight arm particularly
if I sit particularly in cold weather.
I cannot say that I am believing Jane inclines to it more and has had one or two severe attacks of late years. She
is quite a lusty woman, withall she uses a good deal of energy, particularly in spring: she is very fond of attending
to the flowers and up & out in the garden before Breakfast when she can, and she is often very active through the
house which is very good for her. M. Jane's principal business is little Margaret, but when not teaching her or out
with her, her time is usefully employed for her Aunt. She is a nice steady young woman; her father so far seems
to be giving satisfaction and I hope will continue to do so. We frequently see him as he has business sometimes in
Belfast. I live a good little ways out of town-it takes me at least from 15 or 20 minutes to walk into the business
part of it and although it is out of town I am surrounded by houses & since I removed here there has been a good
many new ones built. The Queen's College as it is called has been lately built nearly opposite where I live, and this has been an inducement to build out in this direction. It is a handsome building and once there are some
houses taken down which intercepts our view, we can see it [to] much more advantage.
Yes, we have had her Majesty to see our poor despised land: she met with a warm reception from her Irish
subjects. I understand she expressed herself as much gratified with her visit and intends to visit us at a future day.
It is hoped that some good may result from her coming, that we will not be forgotten to be visited by travelers
from other parts of the nation. Where ever she has visited it then becoms a fashionable place to go to by those who
have the time & means to do so, at least so I understand. She passed here when going to see the Queen's College
and the Botanic Gardens. I did not get so full a view of her as I would have liked. She was dressed very simply and
seemed a pleasing looking person to me. Her visit here created great stir, the preparation for her reception was
equally as good if not better than in cither or Cork or Dublin.
We hear nothing now I may say of cholera. I cannot remember any but one friend died of it here altho it was very fatal in a great many instances. In Dublin there were several friends, among the rest Jonas Wardle, brother-in- law to Samuel Baker - he left a wife and I think two children. Did Sister Jane in her letter mention Aunt Alices death which took place in 2nd month last? She was not confined to bed very long. I went to Portadown to see her where she had been living latterly with her son and his wife. I thought from all appearance then that
she might have been much longer ill & that her complaint would not have terminated so suddenly, but the very
evening of the day that I went to see her she took a decided change for the worse and only lasted 3 or 4 days. She
had no hopes of recovering but thought from the way she was then that there was nothing sudden. It was pleasant
to see from ... that she seemed aware of not recovering & she seemed reconciled, and spoke of what kind children
she had, she was nor let want for any thing. I followed her remains to Grange & saw her laid among the many
relatives gone before. She was about 82 or 83. Thus terminated the life of one who had passed through years of
anxiety. Aunt now is the only one left of that family & she too has lived to a good old age-91 her next birthday,
which is the last day of 2nd month.
I hope to be able to cell thee before I close this something respecting your relatives in Indiana &c, as I spoke
to Brother Dan m get me or give me what information he could. This wont go off until about the 23rd by which
rime I hope to hear from him. If I mistake not, I mentioned in a former letter Joshua Haughton's death Since then
I think I heard of M, sons, the only child now left by his last wife I believe is Elizabeth, a nice steady young woman. She weas in the North lately on a visit at Charles Wakefield’s. I did not see her but she called to see Mary Jane. No doubt thee remembers James & John Hogg, sons of Jonathan Hogg of Redford: they are no more, John died of consumption some time ago and James lately very suddenly. There is now none of that family now residing in the North: Jane & Sally who are both unmarried live with their sisters in Dublin, or near it Neither
James or John were married. I think I also mentioned Mary Patrick's death.
George O'Brien & his wife now live in town. It is likely when they get their house all furnished that they would
let a part of it, or perhaps if they meet with a boarder that would pay them for their trouble they would take one
Cousin Magt Greson was to see us lately. She looks remarkably well. She has a great charge on her shoulders- 5
childn - there were 6 when her brother came to Lurgan to live, but the youngest died. Since Thoms Walpole
has got married to Charlotte Greets eldest daughter. They are living in Brother Thomas' old house and Cousin
Thomas Sinton has removed to another next door. She is a nice little body about 19 years of age & he about 22
a young couple thought here, but with you I suppose not reckoned so. The business so far has done with them as
well as they would expect [in] such times as we have had, but where there is a partnership concern it requires
twice as much to be done to support two establishments.
Brother Thomas's business of late years had fallen off for want of him not being able to attend to it himself.
I have written thee a long letter and hope we will not be so long without hearing from each other again: even if
we have not much news to communicate, it will be pleasant to know by each that we think of one & other. I may
say thou art not forgotten for we often very often speak & speak of thee & Aunt likes to hear from thee and is
always pleased at my writing . She says she thinks I wrote to thee as she heard me speak about doing so - if I have
not thou must only take the will for the deed. Joined by her in dear love; I am
thy affectionate & sympathising sister
25th of 1 month 50
My Dear Sister
I recd the enclosed this morning from brother Dan, so will just send it as it is. I hope this information will prove satisfactory. Within these few days the frost & snow is quite gone & we have quite mild weather which is pleasant.
Sister Jane was here yesterday. She and John Owden are quite well again of their colds. The latter has generally a
bilious attack when he gets a cold. He was confined to the house for a couple of weeks. Jane desires her dear love
I write now in haste as this must be in the office today.
Thy afft sister