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Title: John Hall, Pennsylvania to Mrs. Hall, Armagh.
CollectionIrish Emigration Database
FileHall, John L/25
SenderHall, John L.
Sender Gendermale
Sender Occupationunknown
Sender Religionunknown
OriginMcDonald, Pennsylvania, USA
DestinationArmagh, N.Ireland
RecipientMrs Hall
Recipient Genderfemale
SourceD 2041/13: Purchased from J. A. Gamble Esq., 44 Taunton Avenue, Belfast 15.
ArchiveThe Public Record Office, Northern Ireland.
Doc. No.9311135
Partial Date
Doc. TypeEMG
LogAction By Date Document added by C. McK. 05:11:199
Word Count1216
TranscriptTo: Mrs. Hall
[County Armagh?]

From: John Hall
Washington County
June 24 1889

Washington Co.
pa [Pennsylvania?]
24th June 1889

My Dear Mamma
I suppose by this time you are almost beginning to
think all about home has been forgotten by me, but that
is not so. I wrote two or three letters home a good while
ago and have not had any answer although I am anxiously
waiting every day but expect some of them will soon take
a notion to drop me a line. As this day has been wet and
we could not work I thought to embrace the opportunity
and write you but of course cannot give you any very
interesting news as anything here would not concern you
Well there is a young fellow named Scott a Scotchman
and he and I have rented a basement in a house here and
are keeping bachelors' quarters as we find we can live a
great lot cheaper than paying $18 per month for board;
it is entirely too much but it is the cheapest one can
get around here. We are living very comfortably and quiet
in our own house and take turn about at cooking which is
sometimes not very hard to do but it is pleasanter than
being along with some of the dirty people one has to
board with sometimes and will take all you can earn and
not be satisfied with it. Scott (my fellow bachelor)
is a nice quiet religious fellow and a bit of a
musician so sometimes it is pretty lively at other
times dull enough, but I expect to be able to pull
through the summer well enough.
John Keenan & Ada and the children are all in
heir usual health. They have moved into another house
a great deal better than the one they were living in he

is getting along tolerably well as this is the season
for the harness business.
I had a paper from Moses the other day. How is he
getting on? He would have a notion to come out here but
I would give him a wholesome advice to stay at home for
this is not the country that it is represented to be at
all. If people could get home again easily as they can
come here there would not be so many people in America
today. I have seen a good lot of it and have not yet
seen any part of it to equal the old Country in
anything. Of course people will write home things and
put them in a different light & misrepresent everything;
but I believe in saying what I know about it. There are
dozens in this very town working night & day & saving
every cent they can get to scrape up their passages
back. In summer you are scorched in winter you are
frozen if there comes a shower of rain you can't walk
the streets without a pair of gum boots up to your knees.
In bed you are eaten alive with bugs, out of bed with
mosquitoes, wood ticks & all the different flies that
were in the Ark. I have had many a time to get out of bed
with flies, bugs & heat and go out to the yard and sleep on
a timber pile or a plank and yet was too hot so if you can
see any pleasure in living in a place like this I can't
and if there was anything for it it would be less matter,
but with the help of Goodness I will show it the heel of
my stocking as soon as I can and go somewhere else.
How is Dada getting along in the Land Courts? I
suppose he gets home pretty often to see you I had a
letter from Maggie about two months ago she was saying
Mr. David Anderson gave her some encouragement to come
out here but if she knew as I know how hard she would
have to work for a living she would stay where she is of
course about all she could do in this country would be
keeping boarders and I know enough about that to tell
her to not try it here for the half of them go without
paying anything and are never heard of more. Indeed
I would be sorry to hear of her coming out here or
anyone for whom I had any regard unless a laborer
[labourer?] as he can do better than he can at home
but he is the only one except of course a man with
capital and starting some enterprise. Tell Florrie and
Annie that I have been on the look out for a letter
from them for the last six or seven weeks and if they
don't write soon I'll go over and see what's the matter
with them. I have been working outside for the last
month or six weeks in the sun and am as brown as a

Mulatto. The weather here has been awfully warm and
no rain for a good while till today and it is
predicted that we are going to have a very hot summer.
I suppose you saw in the papers an account of the
Johnstown disaster; it was the most dreadful
catastrophe that ever this country experienced in such
a manner. It occured by the bursting of a dam which
was situated on the top of a mountain just above the
town. This dam was made to divert the course of a
canal so as to supply towns on both sides of the
mountain with water and when you consider that the
dam was over three miles long & the body of water
lying against it a mile and a half broad & from 70 to
90 feet deep you can have some idea of the force of
water there would be coming down on the town in the
valley below. The town had 35,000 inhabitants & it is
supposed that fully half of that number have been
lost, some people have lost every relation they had
in the world & most of them all their property. The
place is only about 65 miles from here.
I saw an account of a railroad wreck near Armagh
in some of this country papers and was very sorry
to notice amongst the list of the dead the names of a lot
of people I knew. I am sure Armagh has been in a great state
of excitement about it. I wish you would make some of them hunt
up a paper with a full account of the affair & send it to me.
I have not got a paper from home for months.
I have had a letter from Moses this morning he says he has
been ill for four or five days past and was sorry to learn
from him that Annie had been very ill for a good while but
hope she is all right now. Moses also said that Lytle had come
out to this country. I had not heard it before. What part did
he go to? I may probably have a chance of meeting him on my
This is all I can think of.
Hoping you are all enjoying the best of health
Your affect [affectionate?] son

N.B. This letter was begun about ten days ago.