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Title: E. E. Griggs, Sacramento, U.S.A. to Rev. John Orr
CollectionIrish Emigration Database
FileGriggs, E.E/31
SenderGriggs, E.E.
Sender Gendermale
Sender Occupationtradesman
Sender Religionunknown
OriginSacramento, California, USA
DestinationPortaferry, Co. Down, N.Ireland
RecipientRev. John Orr
Recipient Gendermale
Relationshipfriends, business
SourceCopyright Retained by John McCleery, 80 Circular Road, Belfast, BT4 2GD
ArchiveThe Ulster American Folk Park, Omagh
Doc. No.9701189
Partial Date
Doc. TypeEMG
LogDocument added by LT, 15:01:97.
Word Count898
TranscriptSacramento City 8 Nov. 1850

Dear Sir
It is in sadness of spirit that I
communicate to you the melancholy intelligence of
the death of your affectionate son, John M. Orr.
He died of cholera, on Sunday last, after 18 hours
illness. He was attacked with diarrhoea in the morning,
and when I arose he had already three stools I
immediately gave him 20 drops of laudanum and 5 do. [drops?]
of camphorated spirits, which he soon vomited up. I then
went for a physician, who came and examined the
case, and said that he could check the disease
but his medicines failed to produce the desired effect.
The medicine was a pill composed of opium to hold the
bowels in check and calomel to get up an action in
the liver, which had not been in a healthy condition
for some weeks; also burned brandy was administered
frequently in small quantities. About sunset, the physician
came again, and gave him an emetic, but it did
not produce any good result. The disease seemed to
work gradually upon the naturally strong constitution,
and finally prevailed over the skill of the Physicians and
the efforts of friends. I called to my assistance a friend
living here, formerly from Chicago, (our mutual friend)
who had experience in such cases, and who stayed by
until the last, and assisted in the burial.
Your son did not suffer much as I think most do, who
have this disease; he had but little cramping, which was
soon stopped by rubbing with camphorated spirits: he
complained of a restlessness, but said he did not feel
much sick. He died without a struggle, while our
friend Briggs & myself were watching at his bed side.
We buried him on Monday, decently in the burying
ground, a mile below the city.
I need not assure you of
my strong and unwavering attachment to your lamented
son: my long acquaintance with him has strengthened that
esteem. In all our vicissitudes while crossing the dreary
Plains, and during our copartnership in this country,
I have found him possessed of sterling integrity, and
uprightness of purpose; affable in his deportment to all,
creating friends wherever he made acquaintances. I have but
one brother, & had I heard of his death, I think it would
not have affected me more painfully than did the death
of John M. Orr.
I know how vain are all attempts
to soothe the bleeding hearts of friends, when mourning
the loss of loved ones; but I pray that "He who tempers the
cold blast to the shorn lambs" may comfort yourself, the
afflicted Mother, sisters & brother, as none besides Him can do.
While we were at our Winter quarters, three or four persons
who were professors of religion frequently assembled at our
house to hold religious exercises, reading, singing, and praying,
and your son would always remain, paying a great deference to the
exercises. I had a conversation with him upon religion, and
found that he was strictly orthodox - that he believed that Christ was
the sinners only hope and refuge.

We had been anticipating much pleasure
in spending the winter on the Makellome River,
where Thomas Warnock and his brother are mining. We
had disposed of our hay, and were purchasing some goods
to take over, calculating to start the first of this week,
but Death has interposed and I am left lonely and sad
My friends in the States mention your son in their letters
remarking that we must be attached like brothers & [sisters?]
we were.
I presume your son has written you
the particulars of all our business transactions. I think
his property here when all converted into money will
amount to some $700 to $800 besides a lot which we fenced
in the city at a cost of $38 each and which, if the U.S.
Gov. [Government?] holds will be worth in a year, I think $1000.
We thought that our prospect in the Hay business [was?]
very flattering, but the hay shrunk so in weight that we
were sadly disappointed. We hired a man and his team to
assist us in hauling to the mines and paid him $300 for a
month. We hauled eight loads, and found that selling it
at 15 cents per lb or $300 per ton, it only amounted to
about $100 per load, only about enough to pay us well for
hauling. We then concluded to sell our hay here and did so
after feeding our cattle from it about a fortnight we had
a little less than 12 tons which we sold at $50 per ton.
Had we sold our hay as fast as we cut it we should
have got $35 to $40 per load for the 40 loads. Our expenses
have been quite heavy. As Mr Warnock had charge of your
son's business after the latter left Chicago I think best to
see him and advise with him upon the subject. I feel
as if I would like to get a partner who could partially
fill the void occasioned by the death of your son, and who
would purchase your deceased son's share in the team &
implements at a fair valuation. I shall await your order
with regard to the disposal of proceeds of the property.
There may be some things which Mr. Warnock can designate
to reserve for you as keepsakes.
I am, sir
Respectfully, yours,
Rev. John Orr. E. E. Griggs