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Title: Wright, Joseph to Wright, Hannah, 1801
CollectionIrish Immigrants in the Land of Canaan. Letters and memoirs from colonial and revolutionary America (1675-1815) [K.A. Miller et al.]
SenderWright, Joseph
Sender Gendermale
Sender Occupationfarmer, planter
Sender Religionunknown
OriginBaltimore, Maryland, USA
DestinationDublin, Ireland
RecipientWright, Hannah
Recipient Genderfemale
Doc. No.
Partial Date
Doc. Type
Word Count2328
Genrelatest events, account of colonies
TranscriptJoseph Wright, Baltimore, to Hannah Wright, Dublin, 12 November 1801
Baltimore 11 Mo 12th 1801—
My Dearly beloved Hannah
On my arrival here from the western Territory the 3rd Instant I got at J. Roberts’s thy very welcome letter of the 7 Mo 6th which tho: written befor the two I Recd just as I started on my journey; afforded me great satisfaction; which a line from my truly beloved Hannah must at all times give me.— I may now my dear with thankfulness inform thee that I am in perfect Health & have been so since I wrote thee two letters about 9 Mo 17th one went the Sally for Dover & the other to Liverpool; which I hope have reached my dear ‘ere this, to relieve her distressed mind, which I trust will be supported under her tryals.— Ah! my dear I wish these few lines were now in thy possession: the vessell is to sail for Cowes, on first day the 15th Inst she is a Prussian vessell called the Krohn Printz, I wish her a speedy passage & intend writing also by a Vessell that sails for Liverpool in a few days.—On the 10th Inst the ship Ardent from Londonderry arrived with Passengers & was out only 42 days.— There is a vessel expected from Dublin every day which I am anxiously waiting for, as I am almost sure of a letter from thee; my dear Hannah may well know how I must feel myself in this distant land situated as I am & separated from thee & my dear Children but the thoughts of seeing you ere long keeps up my drooping spirits.—My two letters to thee before mentioned contained the sorrowful account of my dear brother Benjms decease, & the particulars of it; I hope Sister Julia has been enabled to bear that vary great tryal & that she & her poor children are well his death & the manner of it, was to me in this strange land very afflicting indeed being left quite alone but I hope he is now in a better place.— My dear I shall now give thee a little sketch of my walk back to the western Territory & my opinion of this country as I am now better able to inform thee & write something for the Government of our near & dear relatives that were speaking of coming over with thee & my dear children.— after making every enquiry & getting from sundry friends, & others the best information I could about this country: I concluded on directing my course from this place in a west direction to that part of the Western Territory which lies over the Ohio River opposite a town on this side of the river called Wheeling.— I set out from this place in company with a young man from near Wales that came over in the same ship: he returned with me for his clothes & went back yesterday to settle there
The land about this place (Baltimore) is very poor & bad not at all like the land in the Western Territory; where altho: its in general hilly,—the roads are bad being rough & stoney in many places—
We travelled through Fredericks town, Williams fort, Cumborland, crossed the Allegany mountains & got to Redstone & Old fort, about these two last places is very good ground but it can’t be purchased (nearly cleared) under from £5to £10 this currancy acre, the land is never manured & brings from 20 to 40 bushels of Wheat acre & from 40 to 60 Bushels of Indian Corn.— Mens Wages there about half a Dollar from this we went on through Washington county to Day Wheeling on the Ohio river & crossed over into the Western Territory; there are several families of friends settled about seven miles over from Wheeling, that have come there from South Carolina, & other places, three or four of whom are accounted very great Ministers; they were generally at the Yearly meeting in Baltimore when I was there & had not returned when I left that Quarter— This Territory is of large extent & likely in a short time to form another state, it’s now regulated by the laws of Pensylvania; Congress is disposing of the land (which is at present generally covered with Timber) in sections of a Square mile which contains English acres the purchase of which is two Dollars acre the terms of payment 1/4th on taking the section 1/4th in 2 years after 1/4th in 2 years & 1/4 in 4 years, one year after is allowed & in case of the full payment not being made in the 5th year the land is taken possession of by congress & forfeited by the purchaser – This part of the Country is very healthy & comes as near Ireland in regard to the climate as any place we would <be> likely to meet with here; The Country is hilly but by no means mountainous being mostly rising grounds descending into little Valleys; on most sections there is good water which is generally the case on hilly ground; The soil is very rich in the low ground or vallies & produces when cleared grass in abundance & produces from 40 to 50 Bushels of Indian corn acre; but it is too rank for wheat or other small grain;— the high ground is very good for wheat or other kinds of grain & brings good Potatoes (which several parts of America does not) the produce of wheat is from to 25 to 40 Bushels acre; they generally plough only about 3 Inches deep for their wheat the soil is quite soft & black on the rising ground; such a Section in Ireland when cleared I think would bring 40s or 2£s acre yearly & be counted cheap;— here it can be purchased out for ever in it’s present State at 9s/9d Irish money acre; very little taxes to be paid & no tithe man coming with his demand.– This season has been remarkably dry; since I came to America I have not seen more than days rain. Wheeling is about 300 Miles from Baltimore & I went about 20 miles beyond it; where we met with an honest Welshman of the name of Jno Edwards who behaved extremely Kind to us & entertained us about 3 days; he Settled there in 8 Mo 1800 & bought a Section on which he has a good house nearly finished; at least it’s looked on in that part of the country as such.–My dear I have mentioned to thee how cheap & good the land is; but even with these advantages they who live comfortable in poor Ireland will on coming here think it very odd & perhaps at first not be well satisfied; on coming here into the Woods for 2 or 3 years there will be many things to encounter; A very middling habitation must answer them perhaps but in a very few years people get independant & can provide for their families in a manner not to be done in Ireland (except by chance<)>.—It is my opinion if a few of us were settled on a section which would answer 3 or 4 Families, that we could be as one family to assist each other & for a while be satisfied to take with plenty but not of dainties & with accomodations not of the best; but such as through mercy I have been used to for some time back & would be as happy as I could wish if my dear Hannah & my dear Children were with me. –it would add greatly to our comfort if brothers Wm, Jno Cozins E Pitts, J Green & their families came over; we might form a little colony & in a little time I hope be happy together.— J Green could get plenty of Wild Turkeys & Bears, to shoot with Deer, Patridge, Pheasants, &c. On the road I saw Dear’s, Turkey’s, Patridge’s, Pheasant’s, Snipe’s Squirrell’s &c. –I Knocked down with my stick one evening as I was travelling a fine Pheasant as large as a pullet which served me & my fellow traveller next day for dinner. Baltimore seems to be an excellent place for business & there is good profits on what is sold in general; but I find it an unhealthy place to what Dublin is; altho its not above 1 /4 as large as Dublin, I think more People die in it in the year; nothing of the yellow fever has appeared in it this summer yet the inhabitants very much dreaded it the weather being so extremely hot & not having experienced so warm a Summer these several years past;— On my journey to the Ohio I could wring the sweat out of my waistcoat as if it was just taken out of the washtub & it has been never dry for a week together; the morning<s> are very cold. There was such numbers of people moving to the back country, we would be some times oblidged to lye all night on the boards & often Beds little better; I think I am now hardy enough to travel anywhere; returning I generally got one good meal in the day, carried some bread with me & would get a pint of Cider with it or sometimes Milk; I suffered a good deal by my feet blistering & most of the way I walked in very great pain; in every other respect was thro: mercy as well as I could possibly be in my health & not at all tired.—J. Roberts told me he had orders to pay me 10 Guineas & the same to my brother Benj, I have got from him some part of mine as I had not more than carried me back to this place & I thought I should have been oblidged to have sold thy watch in the country & should only I took as cheap a way of travelling as I found would carry me on.— I intend remaining here until thee & the children comes which will I hope be as soon as you possibly can, as I can’t be happy untill that wished for time comes, when I think we would set off for the Western Territory. The Welshman I before mentioned desired me on your arrival not to mind writing to him but immediatly set off & we should have house & room with him & welcome & he would assist in looking out for a suitable Section against spring as I told him if my friends came over that I expected not less would do.—If I knew they would not come over I would on getting the 10 Gs from J Roberts, have parted with the watch & returned back & get some for ourselves & try to be clearing it to have some Indian corn against harvest next but then I would have to come back against Spring to conduct thee & my little Family back.— I hope to get something to do here to Support me as this City is a very dear place altho: provisions at the first hand are low fine flour 8 Dollars for 1C 3Qr 01b ; Beef 3d lb Irish Money, Fish cheap, Milk 4d Qt Irish Money Salt butter 10d lb. I hope My Dear thee has been enabled to bear the heavy burden which has been thy lott; they occupy a good deal of thy Dear Joseph’s thoughts but he cannot lessen them let me my dear have a letter by every vessell from Dublin or by Post under cover to J & J Roberts Market St.-As soon as my dear Knows what vessell she will come in, she will please write post to acquaint me & if no vessell is coming here if one offer’d for Philadelphia to come in her & to write post from dublin to me here acquainting me with her name & when she will be likely to sail; but a Vessell to Baltimore will answer best & take less to carry us to the W. Territory which will come very high not less I suppose than 100 Dollars.— Everything in the earthen ware & ever<y>thing necessary for housekeeping very dear here, plates about 3/ Doz Irish money, Tin Ware, dear, as is Clothing Stockings, & Hatts & I wish I had my old Boots a new pair here worth 9 Dollars If E Pitts was coming he could get several little tools for very little that would be of great use here & cost a good deal to get them –A nest of Drawers on board would be very handy to keep things in & handy to take them out.— Beds very dear & Bed Clothes, it would be much better to bring such articles over than to buy them here— Pins & Needles would be good articles to sell here If possible my Dear strive to come in a vessell that won’t be crowded with Passengers, as the way that some vessells are crowded & badly provided by the Captain it risques the lives of the passengers very much— I’m sorry Jas Roberts alter’d his Plan of being in Dublin in 12Mo. as thou mentioned thou should have a great plenty of Potatoes, good bacon with two pots of Essence of Spruce to make on board, a cask of Water, Oatmeal, Flour, Wine Spirits, some Bottled Porter, bring several heads of cabbage— Ah that you were all safe over in this country— My Dr Love to all my Dear Ralations & to thee my dearest Hannah with all my Dear children whom I often think of & hope yet to be happy together & my Dear will believe me to be in the tenderest ties of affection thy loving Husband
Jos Wright