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Title: O'Brien, Joseph Sinton to O'Brien (n. Kelley), Prudence, 1851
CollectionThe Transatlantic Letters of an Irish Quaker Family_1818-1877 [B. Jackson]
SenderO'Brien, Joseph Sinton
Sender Gendermale
Sender Occupationfarmer
Sender ReligionQuaker
OriginMarshfield, North Collins, Lake Erie, NY, USA
DestinationCollins, Lake Erie, NY, USA
RecipientO'Brien (n. Kelley), Prudence
Recipient Genderfemale
Doc. No.
Partial Date
Doc. Type
Word Count2796
Genremisses his wife, talks about his feelings, news of family, friends and neighbours, weather
TranscriptSunday evening, Oct 12th, 1851
Dear Prudence,
I have not had a visit with you for two evenings past. I received your fourth letter on Friday, of which I
acknowledged the receipt in a little slip of paper that I put into my letter at the post office. I felt very sad on
reading it and wanted very much to be with you and help to cheer you up. I know it would do you good if I could
be with you, and I talked seriously about coming to you. If I could have found any one to give an encouraging
word I would have gone. I tried to get Daniel to let me go with J. Mabbit instead of him, but he had got his mind
made up to go so could not think of giving up. Besides he could not see the use in my going. Mother would have
consented but thought that you would not allow me to come if you could speak. But it did seem as though it would
have been worth more to you than it would cost and I could hardly give it up. I went to bed feeling very bad and
very lonesome and thought about you a great while and finally went to sleep. I awoke again at four o'clock and
thought it all over again and wished that some guardian angel would tell me what my duty was. Then I thought
of what bad weather it was when you were poorly and what fine days we had had since, and it was a source of a
great deal of consolation to me and hope returned again. And it does seem to me now that you ate better again -
but it seems as though your next letter would never get here. I don't know but some folks would think that I had
done wrong in writing to you as I do, lest I should make you feel bad. But you know that I can not feel different
in regard to your sufferings or your welfare, and to appear so would seem to show a want of confidence; and I
always felt as though I did not want to know any thing nor have any future but what I might tell you. I hope you
will continue to tell me how you feel, for it will not cause me so much of a pang to know the worst as it would to
think that you had not confidence. You see that I love you still and lay open my whole heart to yours. Yes I love
you more than all earthly things - and one sweet kiss from your lips now would give me more joy than anything
else that I can think of.
I do not want you to feel bad because I have told you how lonely and sad I felt, because I am well and can bear
it; and besides, by the time you get this, the time will be almost come when I shall clasp you to my bosom again
and call you my own dearest companion. It was only during one afternoon and evening that I felt so sad: since
then I have had much to take my attention and I shall endivour to keep my mind occupied with what I have seen
and heard, and try to enjoy life as well as I can without you, trusting that you are doing the same.
Joseph Mabbitt was here most of the day yesterday and he was with me in the cornfield when I was husking,
so I visited with him most of the time. At night he and Daniel left here and went to Joseph Griffins and staid all
night, intending to start this morning for Rochester. Last evening Ferdinand Taylor came here and wanted me to go with him down to Mr. Southwicks to hear
the "rappings". As I had been intending to go over to your father's and stay all night, I was very glad of the
chance. We rook supper before we started, which made it so late that it was 8 o'clock by the time we got to father's.
We concluded to stay all night there. Before we got there we met Harman and Almka944 going up to Rices.
Elizabeth was there already. Harman said he would write to you and send it tomorrow. He said he would see me
in the morning again hut I did not see him. Elizabeth had been quite sick but was as smart as ever. They were going
to send for you to doctor her if you had been at home. I am thinking you will find employment as a physician
after this.
We found Hannah and father and mother at home. The other girls and John Smith [Bartlett] had gone
to Gilbert Smith's to a circle. They were all very glad to see me and to hear from you. I did not let them read your
letter and only read a few extracts from it (did I do right?). I made them all promise to write to you immediately
and to send it off tomorrow. You will most likely get it before you get this or at the same time. I did not see Aunt
Anna, as she was at Abner’s. They have not heard from Louisa [Wheeler] yet. I arose at 5, went and drove up
the cows for your father and then Ferdinand and I started before sunrise and went off across the fields to Mr.
Southwicks. We took breakfast with them. The medium was not there. He has been gone 3 or 4 weeks. We did
not hear much that was new to me concerning spiritual manifestations, but we enjoyed our visit very much.
Philemon Waldron is confined to his bed with some kind of... fever. He has a Botanic Physician. We got back
to father's about 11 o'clock - found Mother and Aunt Chloe gone to meeting. Hannah preparing to write to
you. We staid and visited an hour with father and the girls and then started for home as Ferdinand wanted to get
home before night.
Emmie Palmerston was married yesterday to the man that she worked for this summer in Leon. She is his
fourth wife. He has seven children. They are gone to Niagara Falls today. Daniel Wilber was married a short time ago to Martha Bennette. A young man by the name of Alber King was married to-day to somebody in Gowanda.
So you see that I have at present many things to occupy my mind until I get your next letter which will be only
two days.
Your father told me that John Smith and Mary had been to make them a visit two days before and had given
them an invitation to come and live with them next summer. And he asked what I thought of it. Of course I was
not prepared to answer his question. He said that he had almost decided to go. We must have Hannah live with
us, must we not?
Mother and Anson went to-day to make a visit to George Lennox's. His wife has been very lame with rhumatism
and is not yet recovered. Can you prescribe for rheumatism. You remember Lindsley's wife and James Goodell, do
you not. Could Doctor Jackson cure them? Esther went to Seth's today. Ruth [Peasley] has not been over to see
them yet. They don't know what to make of it. Esther and Aurilla were going home tomorrow. We have made
two little single curd cheeses in a small hoop for our own use next winter. We have got in two acres of wheat and
intend to get in two more. We have about a quarter of our husking done. I think I have got husks enough saved
for a bed. I have got our room floor covered with them. I will have them in the tick [mattress] before you get home.
Mother says she forgot to say that she wore a wide bandage around her stomach and bowels all the time. She is
much better than when she wrote. Her cough is gone. She is trying a milk diet as recommended by Dr. Miles. She
does not eat any salt meat at all. I sent you 10 dollars in my last letter - I forgot to say that it included the 3
dollars that I promised to send you as a present from me to buy you a new dress. But I must say good night - I am all alone, the rest have all gone to bed. It is half past 9 - you are asleep now, I hope, and warm and
comfortable. A kiss for you and pleasant dreams - I must go to bed alone; good night - good night.

Monday morning
20 minutes past 5. Good morning, my dear. How did you rest last night? Pretty well I guess for I did. Although
I woke pretty early. I am getting to be quite an old bachelor again — very systematic. I rise at 5 precisely every
morning and generally go to work immediately at something. But it is dark and raining this morning and so I sit
down to visit with you. I should feel quite cheerful this morning if it was only a fine morning, so that I know that
you could turn about out of doors and feel the warm sunshine. And I do some as it is, as it is a warm morning and
looks now as though it might be a fine day bye and bye. You must not read any more of this letter now but stop
and rest. It is now more than twice as long as yours generally are. I want to know so many things - and that too
from one that knows what I like to heat, from one that I love above all others. But I am glad you do not write long
letters when I know that it is better that you should not, and I will wait patiently until you get home and then
you can tell me all. Oh! what a visit we will have. How many visits we will have - and how happy we shall be. Did
you stop reading when I told you to?
A little gossip now. Anna Boyce came home yesterday from Marcus's in that covered buggy with Norman.
Thats a match isn't it? So my boils are good for me, according to Dr Jackson - that is healthy, I suppose he means.
Tell him chat I wish him all manner of good and hope he may always be healthy, but I do not wish he may ever
have any boils unless he really wants them.
I dont know but the folks at the glen will think that I dont do anything but write letters and that I ought to
make better use of my time. But you may tell them that I can work all day long every day and write such a letter
as this twice a week. I wrote the first four pages of this in about 2 hours last evening and the next one before
daylight this morning. I have been garnering some of the apples, a basketfull at a time whenever 1 could get a few
spare minutes. We had about 7 bushels of pumpkin sweetings. We have pared about 2 bushels of them to dry and
intend to more. We have great times earing baked apples. Only think of a great plate full of the very nicest of baked
apples for breakfast every morning. And as regards potatoes, the women folks have put us upon an allowance. Only
one potatoe for breakfast, sometimes none — two for dinner and none for supper. Perhaps you will say "Three times
as much as I get but ours are not more than one third as large as yours, and inferior at that, while yours are dry
and mealy.

Monday Noon
It has been raining all the forenoon - I am afraid you are lonesome to-day. I have been posting books all the
forenoon and William and Anson husking corn in the barn. Don't you think that it was walking so much made
your feet and ankles swell. Mother seemed to think that it was nothing uncommon, referring to your circumstances
I suppose. Have you ever told the doctor that it was your active brain that is using up your strength? And does he
doctor you with reference to that? Does your treatment differ materially from the treatment of other patients?

Monday evening
I know that you are lonesome this evening. I wish I could be with you and tell you the news instead of writing it
for you. It is a cold raining evening. I have been making fence this afternoon so that we could turn the cows into
the meadow by the barn. After finishing that I went to husking corn in the barn. Ferdinand has taken our school
-so Louisa [Taylor? Wheeler?] can’t have it if she comes.
I suppose Daniel will be in Rochester by tomorrow evening. You must write to him and tell him whether you
are going to stop at Rochester or not - also what day you will be there. I think it will be the best thing you can
do and then you will have a chance to come a part of the way in an express train. The weather will most likely be
colder than it was when you were going down, and you will not want to be so long on the road as you would have
to be if you came in the mail train. You will most likely stay all night in Rochester. Daniel expects to come home
with you.
Have you ever asked the doctor if he would keep you any longer than three weeks for twelve dollars? Will he
charge you just as much whether he helps you or not? I am beginning to be impatient to see you and if your next
letter says that you are going to stay longer I dont know what I shall do. Can't you get the doctor to prescibe for
you and let you come home and doctor yourself. Get him to promise to let you write to him for advice after you
get home. Have him write a letter to me when you are coming away - and tell me how strict I must be with you.
Be sure and dress warm when you are starting to come home. Do you still suffer with colds and do you keep
celling the Doctor that you are not warm yet unless you lie?
Should you leave for home on Friday, which will be three weeks from the time you arrived there, you will not
receive another letter from me. Your next letter most likely will tell: if it does not, it will do no harm for me to
write another. I cannot bear to think that you will stay another week. But if you really think that you ought to I
will try to be patient as I can. I am begining to count the days that you have to stay and every day seems longer -
only four days more. I shall most likely receive two or three letters more. You must have written on Friday and
another yesterday or today that I have not received. I have written almost everything I can think of, but I do not
feel any disposition to visit with any body but you at present. I hope I shall always love you as I do now and Oh!
how I do wish that I was as worthy of being loved as you are. There is not a day passes but my mind dwells with
pleasure on your goodness and many virtues and it endears you to me more than ever. I do believe that there are
joys in store for us yet. That you will be well and we shall be happy. And our child - I trust that the dawn of his
existence will be the source of other and purer joys than we have ever experienced. And Oh! may we be enabled
to guide his steps aright that he may know the path of duty and follow it.
But I have come to the end of my paper and my visit with you must come to an end. Come home come home
- come home. Come thou dear one, come!! Come to the one that loves you best - who is waiting with open arms
to receive; and when your wanderings are o'er, come and lean your wearried head upon the bosom of your fond