|Mary Cumming, Petersburg, [Va?] to Rev. Andrew Craig, Lisburn.
|Irish Emigration Database
|Cumming (n. Craig), Mary
|middle class housewife
|Petersburg, Virginia, USA
|Lisburn, Co. Antrim, N.Ireland
|Rev. Andrew Craig
|T 1475/2 pp.89-93: Copied by Permission of Miss A. McKisack, 9, Mount Pleasant, Belfast.
|The Public Record Office, Northern Ireland.
|Document added by JM 02:09:1993.
|Blandford. Jan.[January?] 29. 1813.
My dearest Father,
This day your long wished for and welcome
letter came to hand. I cannot express how very anxious I have
been for several months past on account of not hearing from
you, it is eight months past since Margaret's last letter was
written. I could not imagine the reason why none of your
letters came to hand, as William receives his from his friends
in England and Ireland as regularly as before war was declared,
but I hope I shall be more fortunate for the future. The letter
you mention of Margaret's will not arrive now if it was sent
by the "Charles Faucett" as all her letters were taken out
and destroyed. I wrote a long letter to Margaret about two
months ago, but the ship did not sail till the fourteenth of
this. Once more I have the happiness of telling my dear Father
that William's health and mine is now quite re-established.
I think I have got completely quit of the ague and fever which
was very unwilling to leave me, but by taking great quantities
of bark I have at length succeeded in stopping it.
Thank God, my spirits are much better than when I last
wrote, though I mourn and still will deplore the death of
my beloved child. What a lovely baby she would have been had
she lived till now! I amuse myself as well as I can with my
drawing and work, which helps to pass the time when William
is in Petersburg. He goes over every morning and returns to
dinner, he is now very busily engaged buying tobacco. We have
amused ourselves during the winter nights reading Marshall's
"History of the Life of Washington". It is very entertaining.
This manner of passing our evenings reminded me of the ones
we used to spend at my darling home.
Our winter for so far has been uncommonly pleasant, there
has been little rain and not much cold weather. William has
peas sown a month ago, he has learnt already to be an excellent
The place is all kept in the nicest order. He was obliged
to get two more men for the garden so that we have now nine
black people about the house, a pretty large family you will
say. I like this place much better than living in town. I
wish my dear Father would pay us a visit, I think you would
be pleased with our place of residence. I intend making a
collection of seeds and roots to take home with me. we have
a great variety here which I believe are not to be met with
Almost every week adds to the list of my acquaintance,
I have been visited by several very pleasing people since I
came to Blandford, indeed the society in and about Petersburg
is most delightful, the more I know of the American
ladies I like them better, many of them are highly accomplished,
all friendly and agreeable. Mrs. Stott, a lady
lives very near me is going to teach me botany, she is a
most pleasing woman, has a fine taste for drawing, and
seems willing to give me every instruction in her power. In
spring we intend going into the woods on a botanising expedition,
she says there are a great variety of very curious
plants to be met with in these wild woods. You that have a
taste for these things would find constant entertainment if
you lived here, but you live in a far better country where
you are not afraid of the ague and fever. However, William
intends for the future to take a jaunt for two or three
months during the sickly season, and by that means I hope we
will enjoy good health for the future. Agnes Freeland stayed
some time with me lately, she is a great favourite of mine.
I can never forget the attention I received from that family
during my illness. I go to see them very often. How delighted
I am to hear that you have all been so well. May you all
long continue so is my earnest prayer.
I hope my dearest James will be everything your fondest
hopes can wish, indeed I have no fear but he will be an
ornament to his family. I shall be quite proud of my
brother when I return. Write to me often, my dearest Father,
for I can't express the heartfelt delight your letters afford
me. I will write by every opportunity. I would be very much
pleased to get the view of Strawberry Hill. Often I look at
the view of Lisburn and think how many times I have admired the
original from that sweet little spot, which I hope I shall
revisit in a very few years. I am sure my dear William will
leave this country as soon as he possibly can, for he does
everything he possibly can to please and oblige me. How delighted
I will be if I can amuse you when I return relating
the many wonders I have seen and heard of in this great
quarter of the globe. The people of this country certainly
enjoy many blessings, provisions of all kinds are so plenty
that you seldom or never see a beggar. I wish I could send
some of our nice hams and flour to you. William is concerned
in a shipment of flour that is to be sent to Cadiz. I suppose
they will get a high price for it.
I was very much grieved to hear by your letter of the
death of Mrs. Fulton. I pity the girls from my heart. Will
you give my kindest love to them. Many many is the happy
day I have spent with them and will spend again I hope. If
it was not for that sweet flatterer I would be very dull
sometimes, but still she whispers that I shall live to return
to Ireland and to meet once more the beloved friends
I left. I suppose Dublin will be the town where we shall
reside and then I hope I shall have the happiness of seeing
my dear Father in my house. William says he wishes very much
for peace, but is afraid it will not be brought about soon.
There is some hope, however, that the discomfiture of
Buonaparte [Bonaparte?] in Russia may tend to lower the demands of this
government on yours, and in that case a peace may by concluded
during the present year. I trust it may be the case.
God bless you, my dearest Father and grant you every happiness.
I thank you most sincerely, my beloved Rachel, for your kind
letter. Believe me, I never could suppose for a moment that
you would forget your sister Mary, whom you used to love so
much. I am very glad to see that you are so much improved in
your writing. I shall hardly know you when I return, you will
be so much altered. I have my heart fixed on your coming to
stay with me in Dublin, by that time I hope my darling Margaret
will be in a house of her own, and then my Father can stay the
most of his time with his children, you see I have not left
off my old amusement of castle-building. Ah, Rachel! many
of my schemes of happiness have been destroyed within the last
six months, when you speak of your little niece I am so
grieved to think she is no more. Oh! Rachel, had you seen the
angel that she was you would have loved her, in my life I never
saw so lovely an infant. Give my kindest love to Mrs. Telfair,
I hope she will be more fortunate with her baby than I have
been with mine.
I have written a long letter to Mary Cumming, and another
to Mrs. Brown of Liverpool, she left her eldest little girl
with friends in Baltimore. Tell my dear Margaret if there was
any particular news in the letter she wrote me in Summer I
wish she would repeat it in her next, as I am sure I shall not
now receive it. When you write to James give my kindest love
to him, tell him I wish he would write to me, my next letters
will be to him and Margaret. What a happy time it will be
when I return to you all again! How delighted I would be to
have my dear Rachel staying with me. You would be delighted
with our house and garden. I hope Mr. Neely is well, give
my kindest love to him. I am glad to hear you are making so
good a progress in drawing. I suppose you are a nice worker
now; who makes your frocks for you? I have done a quantity
of satin stitch lately, it is the kind of work I like best.
Agnes Freeland taught me how to make a very neat trimming of
white cotton, many a time I have wished I could describe the
manner of working it, so that you and Margaret would learn it,
but you could not unless you first saw someone work it, however
I shall have the pleasure of teaching you when I go home,
it amused me very much when I was not able to do any other kind
I hope Miss McCully and my dear Margaret Byers are well, I
am glad to hear they are to live in Lambeg. I am sure you and
Margaret would have missed them very much had they gone to
I shall be much obliged to Margaret to send me a
receipt in her next letter for making currant wine, we have a
great many in the garden, I wish to try to make some next Summer.
We have plenty of fine Madeira here, but I have so bad a taste
I would rather have currant wine.
William joins me in kindest love to you and my dear Margaret,
and believe me, my dearest Rachel.
Revd. [Reverend?] A [Andrew?] Craig.