|Mary Cumming, Petersburg, [Va?] to Margaret Craig, Lisburn.
|Irish Emigration Database
|Cumming (n. Craig), Mary
|middle class housewife
|Petersburg, Virginia, USA
|Lisburn, Co. Antrim, N.Ireland
|T 1475/2 pp.45-47: Copied by Permission of Miss A. McKisack, 9, Mount Pleasant, Belfast.
|The Public Record Office, Northern Ireland.
|Document added by JM 01:09:1993.
|I wish you had seen me, my beloved Margaret, when I received
all your welcome letters. I was above stairs at the time,
busily engaged in putting up bed-curtains. Mr. Cumming had
been looking all over the house for me, at last he came upstairs,
and after standing for a minute, without any preface
he took out the welcome packets. I knew immediately who they
were for, I made one spring across the bed, and as I sat
down to read them there was not a happier creature in
America. I felt real joy, for it was so long since I heard
from any of you.
I have written to Miss McCully, M.B. and my Father, and
I now begin to write to my darling Meg. The last long letter
which I wrote to you has not left Baltimore yet, I suppose.
If you feel the degree of joy when you receive one of my
letters as I do when I hear from you it will not be my fault
if you do not hear often. I am determined to write once every
month, perhaps oftener, and I hope you will do the same.
I have now got over all my fatigue, and at present enjoy
excellent health. I have had a good many visits and I will have
more. I like the Petersburg ladies very much indeed, from what
I can see there seems to be a pleasing society here, but I
will try and give you a description of those who have already
called on me.
First, then there was Mrs. Colquhoun, who is almost
a next door neighbour, and Mrs. Bell, who I think will be my
great favourite here. She is an elegant American, pleasing,
gentle in her manners, she lives at a charming place called
Blandford, about half a mile from Petersburg. I have been there
twice, she has no children, and has therefore time to cultivate
a charming garden, which is in the nicest order. Mr. Bell is
brother to the gentlemen who died in London. Mrs. Bell has
some fine lemon and orange trees, which are most beautiful at
present. Two of them belong to Mr. Cumming and I think there
are two dozen of large oranges on one of the trees. Some are
ripe and they look delightful, Mrs. Bell is keeping them till
we get some place to put them in. She has got a great variety
of fruit trees of all descriptions in her garden. So much for
my favourite, Mrs. Bell. Mrs. Colquhoun is pleasing, but not
so elegant in her manners as Mrs. Bell, she however appears to
be gentle, and I am sure I shall like her. Now to give you an
adequate description of one of my own countrywomen, who was
my next visitor. She is a Mrs. Moore, who lives very near me.
She has resided twenty years in America, but she is completely
Irish in her manners, which I like very much. She is a great,
large, fat, bouncing-looking woman, appears to be perfectly good natured,
and extremely obliging to me indeed, but I come from
Ireland, and that is my recommendation with Mrs. Moore. When
she came to see me she shook hands, and welcomed me to Petersburg
in the true Irish mode of hospitality. "Och, dear", she
said to me, "my heart warmed to you whenever I saw you come into
church". She is a complete national character and I like
her very much. She is an old acquaintance of Mr. Cumming's, and
seems to have taken quite a fancy to me. She told him he was
quite right in bringing a wife from Ireland. She is to have a
ball next week, to which I shall be invited. My next visitors
were Mrs. Anderson and Miss Hexatt. She is rather an elderly
lady and lives with her brother in a pleasant spot a short
distance from town, called Strawberry Hill. I was there last
Sunday, she seems to be pleasing in her manners. She is an
Englishwoman. Mrs. Anderson is a well-informed, elegant,
American, she also lives out of town. Mrs. Robinson called the
other day, she lives near me, I cannot as yet judge of her as
I have only seen her once, but I think her a pleasing young
woman. This is a list of my visitors as yet. Some of the ladies
are prevented calling through illness. I think I shall have a
This, my beloved Margaret, is my birthday, and I know you will
all think of poor Mary. God knows what may happen before another
year. Who could have told me this day twelve months that I
would spend my next birthday in America. I hope to hear from
you, my darling Margaret, very soon, it is a long time since
your letter was written. Oh that I was with you to tell you a
hundred little things I cannot write so well about. You will
see my letter to Miss. McCully. I cannot tell you how much
both Mr. Cumming and I were astonished to hear that Mr. Richardson's
marriage had not, nor was not to take place. Mr. Cumming
met with him in Liverpool the day before we sailed, and he
then appeared to be in wedding haste, for he would hardly
stop to speak to him. Mr. Cumming desires his most affectionate
love to you all. You are a great favourite of his. You
cannot think how much better he looks than when he was in
Ireland, he has got quite fat, and enjoys uninterrupted good
health. He is the picture of happiness. Apropos of a picture,
I will not get mine done till I regain my healthy looks again.
Mr. Cumming had me weighed the other day, and I am seven stone
and a half. I was once nearly nine. He is ten pounds more than
when he left America. Tell my darling Rachel I am delighted
to hear how much she is improved since I saw her. My next
letter will partly be to her. Tell her I will bring her a
little present when I return. Give my kindest love to my dear
James, I shall write to him some time soon. I intend writing to
Mrs. Cumming tomorrow. Farewell, my beloved, darling Margaret!
I will spend many happy days with you yet. Write soon, and
tell me everything.
How are the Derry people? Have you heard from them lately?