|Mary Cunningham, Fyfennen, to "My Der son"
|Irish Emigration Database
|Co. Donegal, Ireland
|The Fyfennan Letters. All Publishing Rights Reserved By SusanCunningham, 34 Phelps Ave., New Brunswick, New Jersey 08091, U.S.A.
|The Ulster American Folk Park
|Document added by LT, 24:07:1995.
|THE FYFENNAN LETTERS
The following are transcripts and Xerox copies of two letters
written by Mary Cunningham in Ireland to her son Michael in
America during the 1860s. In creating the transcripts, we have
tried to be faithful to the original in terms of spelling,
capitalization, and punctuation. Since periods are not used
to denote the end of a sentence and sometimes a new sentence
does not begin with a capital letter, we have left larger spaces
between words where a sentence ends.
The people in the Letters
Patrick: A brother, probably a younger brother.
Robert Askin: Seems to be an Ireland-America commuter; probably
one of the neighborhood boys but possibly a relative.
Francis: Another brother, probably the youngest one.
Kitty: Sounds like she was a neighborhood gal who may been
his 'intended' when they left Ireland. We don't know her last
name nor do we know what became of her.
Mary: A married sister in Ireland; we don't know her husband's
James Glerp [Gillespie?] & wife: A mystery without clues.
Bridget: A sister in Ireland.
Patrick Carr: A cousin and trans-Atlantic commuter
Biddy Carr: Another cousin, probably Patrick's wife
Anthony Conwell: Probably someone in the neighborhood; he
probably emigrated after selling his property.
Mr. Malloy & Catherine: Catherine Cunningham, Michael's sister,
and her husband Cornelius Malloy. They subsequently served as
godparents to Michael's first child, Daniel.
James: A son who had gone to America and was not keeping in
Robert Conwell: Probably a borther [brother?] to Anthony; Robert
obviously had earlier emigrated to America and had a farm in Georgia
that was devastated during General Sherman's march to the sea.
Charles Cunningham: Probably a cousin and a trans-Atlantic
Dan Cunningham: Probably a cousin who stayed behind in Ireland
and very likely a brother to Charles.
Bridget's two Little Boys: This Bridget might be Mary's
daughter, or it could be a sister after whom she named her
daughter. (At that point Michael is 30 years old and
it seems unlikely that he would have nephews who were old
enough to have emigrated some years earlier.)
My Der [Dear?] son I write you those few lines to let you know
that we are in good health at preasant [present?] thank God
hoping that the arival [arrival?] of those few lines will find you
in the same Dear Mickel [Michael?] it wonders me very much to
think you did not write to me for the last 2 years Der [Dear
?] Mickel [Michael?] I believe that Patrick received a letter
from you on Crismassday [Christmas day?] which grieves us very
much to think that you paid his passage without leting [letting?]
me know of it Dear Mickel [Michael?] we did not know that you
paid it (page 2) till Robert Askin came home Der [Dear?] Mickel
were allway [all way?] good but I must say that you were very
ungratefill [ungrateful?] to pay his passage without letting us
know you know Der [Dear?] Mickel [Michael?] that there is nothing
in this world would grieve me as much as to part with Paddy
Mickel [Michael?] Francis says that iff [if?] he goes that he
will not stay behind him to leave him here alone without any
person you know Der [Dear?] Mickel [Michael?] that when you Father
was alive and you at home that you had plenty to do to manage the
Der [Dear?] Mickel [Michael?] I want you to write by the return
of Post and preavent [prevent?] him of going for a few years more
and state to him that the times is changed since you paid the
passage and that times is bad when you write do not talk of this
letter Der [Dear?] Mickel [Michael?] we had not a letter from
Kitty this long time we wonder very much of you and her not being
good friends Dear Mickel [Michael?] my health is very bad this
long time do not forget to write when this goes to hand for
if he goes the place will be scatered [scattered?] for Francis
will not stay
Der [Dear?] Mickel [Michael?] I thought it plenty Mary to leave
me for a nother [another?] while when we adice [advise?] him to
send back the passage he wont give us any satisfaction Dear Mickel
[Michael?] I have no more to say at preasent [present?]. A few
lines from sister Mary
dear Mickel [Michael?] little I thought when you left Ireland
that you would forget me as you did after all the promises that
you made but I hope you will not forget in sending me a letter
it is a small return for all i [I?] do to you No more at
preasant [present?] My Husband and i [I?] sends our love and
best respects to you in the Kindest Mary
Mother brothers & sisters join in sending our love and best
respects to you and to Kitty and husband James Glerpp & wife
Then write soon best respects to you