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Title: Mary Cumming, Petersburg, [Va?] to Margaret Craig, Lisburn.
CollectionIrish Emigration Database
FileCumming, Mary/11
SenderCumming (n. Craig), Mary
Sender Genderfemale
Sender Occupationmiddle class housewife
Sender Religionunknown
OriginPetersburg, Virginia, USA
DestinationLisburn, Co. Antrim, N.Ireland
RecipientCraig, Margaret
Recipient Genderfemale
SourceT 1475/2 pp.60-63: Copied by Permission of Miss A. McKisack, 9, Mount Pleasant, Belfast.
ArchiveThe Public Record Office, Northern Ireland.
Doc. No.9006091
Partial Date
Doc. TypeEMG
LogDocument added by JM 02:09:1993.
Word Count1348
TranscriptPetersburg. March 31st 1812.

I received my beloved Margaret's long looked for letter on
the second of the month. It is impossible to tell you how
delighted I was to hear that you were all well, and I hope
and trust you may long continue to enjoy every blessing this
world can bestow. You have long before this received letters
from me, and I now begin to think that I should soon have another
from you. How often I have read over your dear, dear letters
I wish they were much longer. I felt proud and delighted that
my dear father was pleased with my poor productions, and it
would be the greatest delight of my life to think that the
great pains and trouble he took with my education have not
been thrown away. William and I have been as well as possible
since I wrote. Indeed, I never enjoyed better health than I
have had this some months past. My old torment, toothache is
returned of late, and troubles me a good deal, but I hope it
will soon get better. How delighted you would be to see my
dear William looking so well as he is at present. I assure
you he looks many years younger than when he was with you.
He says it is all owing to me, and I, you may be sure, have
the vanity to think so. Do you know I have become a great
gardener of late? I have got a variety of seeds sown long
since, and a great many are coming up. My peas will be ready
for rodding in a day or two, my cabbages are doing very well,
and this week I intend getting my melons and cucumbers sown
in a large square. There is not any occasion for glass to
put over them here, and I intend sowing some corn for
roasting. I am told it is as good as green peas when young. So
I flatter myself I shall have a plentiful supply of vegetables
this summer. It is just a pleasant walk to the garden, and
I visit it very often. I have sown all my flower seeds in the
little garden before the windows. I got them from my kind
friend, Mrs. Bell, who has been uncommonly attentive to me.
Indeed, I never met with more friendship and kindness than
I have experienced since I came to Petersburg, from many of
the ladies that have visited me. I have got quite a numerous,
and I think very pleasing acquaintance. I am sure you would
admire the American ladies very much, they are so affable and
pleasing in their manners. Oh! my dear sister, how often I
think of you, how often wish you were with me. I always loved
you, but my affection for you is now increased tenfold.
I think if I could but see you again I would be completely happy.
I have been very busy of late making a variety of little
things. I have now got them nearly finished. Oh, dear
Margaret! what happy days I hope to spend when I return to you
and Ireland. This is my constant wish, I may add prayer, that
I may see you all once more. I think I know what maladie du
pays is.
The weather at present is very pleasant, there were
several wet days at the beginning of this month, which is very
unusual in this country. I do not know what will become of me
in summer, for even in February some days were too warm for me.
One in particular was oppressively warm, the thermometer stood
at 72. The warmest day in Ireland it is not much more I
believe. The peach trees look most beautiful just now, in
full blossom. There are a good many growing in the yard, which
I am told bear very well. I have my early potatoes planted long
since. They are very good, I hear, for some time after they
come in, but will not keep during the winter as they do at
home. I would give a great deal for a little oatmeal, they do
not make any here, the climate is too hot for corn, it
ripens before it fills. I am not partial to the American meal,
as yet, though it is very superior to what we had in Ireland
at one time. William is going to get me a cow directly, which
will be great comfort, I do not like buying milk. You see I
tell you all my little domestic affairs, but I know you are
interested in everything that concerns your poor Mary. Old
Nancy and I continue to be on the best terms that can be, she
is very good-natured, and appears to be very fond of her young
mistress. I think the negroes are very affectionate, they cannot
do as much work as the white servants. Palermo works in the
garden now, and little Joe is our butler, and a very good one
he is, he is a great favourite with me, I would like to take
him home with us.
Mr. James Cumming speaks of going to Ireland sometime in
May, he is not very well. I expect a great packet of letters
from Ireland soon, I think my dear James will write to me, and
I expect to hear from some of my Armagh friends. I hope my dear
Mary Cumming has been with you lately. I am very glad to hear
that my dear James is in as pleasant a situation as you tell
me he is, how proud I will be of him when I go home, tell him
to write to me soon. How does my darling Rachel like school?
I wish she would write to me and tell me all the news. How I
love her! If she was with me we would have a great many little
affairs to settle. William says he will send the pictures along
with the hams, I hope they will be good. Nancy puts a little fire
in the smoke house almost every day.
I baked a seedcake some time ago, by way of trial, which was
very good, it was the first I had ever attempted. I shall be busy
doing a great many little things this coming month. I will write
a long letter the latter end of April, and I suppose the next
one will be from William -- with good news, I hope.
You tell me the next letter will be from my dear Father,
how delighted I shall be when I receive it. I cannot express the
joy I feel when I get a letter from any of you, continue to
write every month, I shall do the same. They are talking of an
embargo being laid on some time soon, I hope they will not go
to war, William does not think they will. He has been engaged
this some time getting tobacco shipped off to England.
I fear you will find this a very stupid epistle, but my head
feels confused for want of sleep. If Madam Toothache does not
soon take her departure I shall have to get the tooth drawn,
and I do not like the thought of it at all. Do not be afraid
of writing long letters to me, the most trifling circumstance
is interesting to me coming from you. I am delighted to hear
that all my Lisburn friends are well. Remember me in the
kindnest manner to Miss McNally and M. B., and the rest of my
kind friends.
William desires his most affectionate love to you
all, he will tell you what kind of a little wife I make when
he writes.
Heaven bless and send you every happiness, is the
constant prayer of your

M. [Mary?] Cumming.

I send my father a few musk and water melon seeds, I wish he
would sow them in the Hot bed. I believe you have not the
water melon in Ireland.

Once more farewell, my darling Sister!

Miss Margaret Craig.
Co. Antrim.

per "Ariadne"
via London.