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Title: Earl of Ava to the Marchioness of Dufferin & Ava
CollectionIrish Emigration Database
FileEarl of Ava, Archibald/21
SenderArchibald, Earl of Ava
Sender Gendermale
Sender Occupationarmy officer
Sender Religionunknown
OriginTexas, USA
RecipientHariot, Marchioness of Dufferin & Ava
Recipient Genderfemale
SourceD/1231/101: Deposited by Lady Hermione Blackwood
ArchiveThe Public Record Office, Northern Ireland
Doc. No.9808241
Partial Date
Doc. TypeEMG
LogDocument added by LT, 11:08:98.
Word Count1070
TranscriptTexas 8th June

My dear Mama.
I have received all my letters I think I told you. They were
delayed for various reasons but turned up eventually. The last
is dated May 22nd and tells me you are going to Cadogands in
June and to Ireland afterwards. I do hope you will enjoy
your short holiday. I wrote to father but not to you I think
about Uncle W's will. I was much surprised as ever when you
wrote first about Grandmamas interpretation of it I thought she
had probably been mistaken. Certainly it is good fortune
for the Blackwoods. I have been taking a weeks rest or
rather more I think but one never pays any attention to
dates here and have been staying at two little towns
Annavilla & Clarendon.
At each place were a few Englishmen & Scotchmen and of
course like [----?] we flocked & eat & drank together. I
dont believe that any Englishman really has any friend
in an american of course I am not talking of the educated
new yorker or Bostonian but of the average native. They
dislike us and are as jealous as they could be to every
Englishman I have met tells one. And a native has few
qualities to make him in any respect a friend or
companion. He only thinks of the mighty dollar and looks
on everything from a [-------?] & moneyed view.
In no sense of the word is he ever a sportsman and the
Texas man has no idea beyond a steer or his dry good's
They all chew tobacco & smoke & this they cant do in a
decent fashion. When not at work they invariably sit
about & whittle wood with a pocket knife. I haven't met
a man yet who [---'---?] this habit. After supper you'll
see them anywhere squatting about cawing away steadily
at any stray piece of wood they can pick up. When they've
sliced it till no more remains they commence again on a
fresh piece. At meals they are like mutes at a funeral.
They do not introduce strangers to their women
folk so I have seen little of them, but I should think
no women had such a hard time as the women out west.
In comparison to the men they are much more refined in
manners & appearance. They always seem to turn out in
clothes fresh from the laundry & have a finished
appearance the men never get. But the dry climate [----?
them quickly & I believe they are all more or less delicate.
I seem to have abused the men but they undoubtedly have
their good qualities. They are very hospitable and never
by any chance interfere or make remarks about a stranger.
They also seem to be remarkably plucky under adversity
and take misfortune however it may come in grim silence. This
town Clarendon had just been half burnt for the second time.
Some of the people have lost as much as 10,000 dollars
worth but have started again with a quiet determination to
get it back. The two fires have made money scarce & half
or more of the people are broke and I dont see how they are
going to become prosperous. Cheek pulls some of them through.
Amvilla is a town that was boomed and after the boom
collapsed. The Hotel Keeper who has built a place there
that would be good on Belfast Lough advertised in all the
Eastern papers that Amvilla was a certain cure for
consumptives. Invalids eventually turned up & have kept
him going fairly well. There is a hotel here where the
proprietor stepped off the roof in his excitement during
the fire. He was in no danger of being burnt but he got
so excited sending directions to the servant girl &
nigger bot that he took a leap into space.
He escaped with a severe shaking but he sits in his
veranda & tells the adventure to anyone who goes round.
He explained to me how he did not lose his presence of mind
& that he did not forget to "catch up with his right leg"
when he found the left moving forward on its own account.
Dogs in Texas are divided into [----?] four classes. Faists,
bench legged faists, bird dogs & yaller dogs. As far as I
can make out a Faist is any kind of house dog or pet.
A bench legged faist is one of the above with bow legs, a
bird dog is anything in the shape of a hound or pointer, &
a yellow dog covers everything else no matter what breed
or colour.
The other night I went to a recitation & say meeting. The
first man on the stage was a methodist parson who made a
long prayer in an awful whine & prayed that the audience
& also the performer's might be blessed. Then appeared a youth
who made a sort of speech holding his hands out in an
appealing manner to the audience. Then came a particularly
fragile & angular girl with high cheek bones who recited
a long poem about a life boat which she had pulled out
to the [-----?] on the atlantic billows. This heroic
damsel was followed by two men one of whom blew an
instrument while the other whistled. They were followed
by a boy who recited about a man who "worried about it".
Every fourth line came the words "and he worried about it"
First about the End of the world & then his washing & I
forget all the other things he worried about.
One Sunday in Amvilla I went to a methodist meeting.
Texans are excitable though grave but are easily carried
away by noise or shouting, therefore at a methodist
meeting they give way on occasions. A girl and two boys
were "saved" the time I was there.
They what they call "get religion".
Lots of them groaned as if in pain when praying.
The saved ones shout & laugh & cry.
"Oh Lordy. Lordy. I've got the Lord I am so happy".
I think most of them are only religious while in church.
I have three weeks more out in camp and then move north &
shall be glad when the time comes.
With love to Father
I remain my dear Mama
Your affect [affectionate?] Archie