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Title: Rev E T O'Neill, San Francisco to Sarah A McNeese, Ireland.
CollectionIrish Emigration Database
FileO'Neill, Rev. E.T/14
SenderRev. E.T. O'Neill
Sender Gendermale
Sender Occupationclergyman
Sender ReligionCatholic
OriginSan Francisco, California, USA
RecipientMcNeese/McNeice, Sarah Ann
Recipient Genderfemale
Relationshipcousins (not acquainted)
SourceD 2093/4/2: Presented by Seamus Coyne, Moy, Co. Tyrone.
ArchiveThe Public Record Office, Northern Ireland.
Doc. No.9102054
Partial Date
Doc. TypeEMG
LogDocument added by JM 16:11:1993.
Word Count2781
Cor. [Corner?] BUSH and STEINER STREETS.
San Francisco, Cal. [California?]
April 22d 1896

My Dear Cousin Sarah Ann McNeese,
I believe that is the name given
me by a certain young man, by name
Wm [William?] McCreley. who Called on me some short
time ago, Stating that he had recently
returned from Ireland. And that his home there
was in the Vicinity of your place - Like all good
Neighbors he had Called upon you, when there,
He informed me that a few lines from me
would please you So as he appeared to be an honest
looking Young man, I believed him, Hence
In trying to Keep the promise made to him -
Well, My Dear Cousin, I am happy to make
your acquaintance, This being the first time for me
to hear of you or learn your name - The Name
"Sarah Ann" Sounds sweet in my ears
as it brings back to me many fond and
sweet recollections of the past, when
She who gave you that Name and myself
were the greatest of friends, She was to
You a Dear Mother and to me a Dear
and good friend, whose demise I have mourned,
But we must hope to all meet in heaven in
a short time, Short and Soon I hope for me
at least. let me say hear Dear Cousin that I
hope you are all well and happy
I have had no word from home in a long
time the last was from Cousin Lizzie of Donaghmore
at the Death of her Dear Mother, Then again I received
a NewsPaper from Ireland which mentioned the Death
of one of Lizzies's Sisters, I do believe, that young sister
was in her lifetime, most pleasing to God and His
Blessed Mother, so I offered the Holy Mass
for the repose of Soul on the Altar of the Most
Holy Rosary in our Church, and as I finished
the Mass I experienced More Joy than
I ever did since or before - Now, Dear Cousin
You see I am not forgetful of any of you at
the Holy Altar. There I unite all, and unite
with them all living and Dead - I did answer
Lizzie's letter, at the Death of her Dear Mother, and
I sent her a Rosary Beads, as she requested, perhaps she
never received either, or perhaps as I selected a
Pair of Very large and strong beads, in order that
they might bear up and retain for Ever - the Big


Blessing which I intended to impart to them
for her, they Could Not Pass through the
Post Office - It seems strange, that as Your
Dear Mother and I were such dear friends
in our young days, that I have heard so little about
any of her family - and that I had to live to be 64 years
old, before writing my first letter to the Children of Sarah Ann.
I hope I wont be so neglectful in the future, but
this future wont be long and I must increase
my speed to make up for past neglects. I have, in the
years past received many Kind letters from my Dear
Cousin Catherine of Listahoy [Lisnahoy?], but for the past
4 Years none, what has become of her?
Well, My Dear Cousin, Your home was saddened
in your early Childhood, but I hope you have
trusting in God, turned these trials to the best
advantage, They were severe, but the Good God
who sent them Can in return, Console the hearts
And the homes that were afflicted, and this I pray
may be the Case with you all. Now I never
Could fix in my mind where you live, because
I know only the roads leading from Coash to
Dungannon, To the City Called Moy and then
on to the Town of Armagh, to Donaghmore
and Verner's Bridge, Oh, I knew [Lauhy?] Corner
and the place Called the Bush, but I never
heard of the place Called Listamnet [Listamlet?] [Lisneight?], Whether
Listamnet [Listamlet?] [Lisneight?], is behind Moy or before Moy or to
right, left, North or South of Moy I cant say,
It may be to the East or West, and this I dont
know either, So I give it up for lost to me
Perhaps, the Name is French and that, why
I never heard of it for they spoke no french
in Coash, when I was there. But there is one place
I remember, even to this very Morning, and Well I
do remember it, and that place is Old Moy -
The town or City or whatever you may term it
I never Could like It was always Cold there
and smoky Dusty and Musty, the Ladies
of Moy, in my time, dressed in a fashion having all
those horrible Defects that I found in the
appearance of the place - I hope all is changed
for the better, Mr McCreley spoke rather
in a friendly tone of Moy - but I Just heard
him and was not converted from my early Cold
impressions of Old Moy - Now my dear Cousin
if you have all your Kind words for Moy, Just do
not blame me for saying what I thought of it,
when I used to tell your Dear Mother about it


and Dear Cousin Catherine also they a kind
of thought with me in that Matter. Now I was
always an Authority with my dear Cousins and
especially in the matter of Ladies Dresses and
their Head dress - we call them things Hats
in this Country, If I gave my opinion of the Ladies
dresses they were all attention and I tell you what.
You Dear Mother Just Loved a fine Dress
Every thing complete and Catherine also.
Now you must remember that I lived in the
Old House of Coash where every thing was
well kept and Everything worth keeping,
There were none of your old Haberdashery
frauds or hand me downs there neither
of people or things in general, because
they took their Fashions and Customs in
general from Dungannon and good
Common sence [sense?]. Hence I had my
mind and Eyes trained up to that standard
and I knew that except things were in
keeping with the taste and Customs
of old Coash they were all wrong, And
I often told Srah [Sarah?] Ann and Catherine
when I returned of the Deformities of the
Dresses which I had seen in my travels
and of the people also. I was quite as confident
with both of my dear Cousins in matters
in general and of Ladies fine Dresses in
a particular manner. So we all Came to the
Conclusion that Moy was a quaint old
town with quaint old people, Now Mr
Creley's visit to me revived many of my
old impressions of Moy - and of the people
who resided there in my time; but I heard
him out with the greatest effort at gravity and I
did not let him even think of what I was
thinking of the old times, You see, when I went
out from Coash in any direction, I regarded
Myself as One of the O'Neills of Coash and
that was Enough for me to walk strait [straight?] and
keep my mind to myself. Hence my rather
independent Character, knowing that
I had all Coash at my back, as long as my
Dear Cousins. Catherine and Sarah Ann
stood by me in my report of these Matters,
forced me to be rather particular in
keeping close to the customs Established
in and about Coash. And I Just
feel inclined that way yet. The old


feelings of pride in the perfection of what
I knew to be the rule there haunt me
yet. And if I had anyone here
who could understand me in these
details I would never tire in talking
them over as I did with my Cousins in
in [sic] the good old times of my youth.
How happy I felt when New Dresses
and New fashions Came to the fore.
And how anxious I was to see them put on
and I Just boiled all over with Joy, when
I saw them (my Cousins) full dressed going to the
Old Chapel on Sunday morning, because
I knew from investigation and experience
which I gained in my travels, that there was
nothing to come near the perfection of their
dresses - God rest their souls, little they thought then
that I would mention these things at this late hour.
But the good people and the good thing of those
Days I never can forget, I was so pleased to look
at the Fancy Laces and Embroidery of their
Finery, that I thought I should try my hand
at the Art of Embroidery, So I stole a lot of the fine silk
and Worsted used by my Cousins, took some of
their Needles and Wax and a share of the utensils I had
seen them use in fine art, & then I started in on my
own Hook, as the Dutchman says, to Embroider.
My place of Business was out in the Fields, but I was after
some time missed from the House and Called
to order for my absence, & my Ears pulled betimes
But I was a great student in that High art and bore all
in patience, Finally I was detected like thieves always
are and I was convicted. As I had no other place
of concealment I carried all the articles of my
my [sic] workshop in a Satchel strung round my
neck and carried it pushed into my breast
on one day being startled by some one who came
near my place of Business unexpectedly, I forced my
bag in haste into my breast but made a bad Job at
concealing it and having to appear in the House instantly
My Dear Old Aunt detected the retundity [rotundity?] of my
breast and demanded an explanation and on the
spot I had to deliver up my ill gotten goods for
inspection, which defamed me in the presence of all.
When the worsted and Silk, the Wax and the thread
together with the Bodkins and scissors, were all
turned out on the floor of the Old Coash House
in the Kitchen, there was a terrible Commotion.
for the time being. Every body had lost something


or feared they would be the next Victims of my pilfering
propensities, The servant girl who had hair Pins,
and head Bands, with bead ornaments, and
Side Combs & Cracked Combs, for their
hair were frightened almost out of breath,
when my Aunt scattered the contents of my
Satchel before them so they Hastened
to find whether anything was missing of their
valuables, vowing to keep a watch on the Young
rogue Ned. But what would have given me
the worst Blow of all was never found out and
now I Confess it for the first time. It was this, I was
working on what was Called a Fire Screen.
Cousin Catherine had Just Graduated at
Miss Small's Ladies School at
Dungannon - And her special works of Art were
when she returned home, on Exhibition. She had
some Paintings which Cousin Hugh O'Neill
remarked he Could beat out, with a piece of a
Burned stick, That horrified me and displeased
others also. But she had worked a Fire
Screen which all admired and so did I.
And this I was determined to beat. For this I had
to get Black Broad Cloth, or the nearest thin [thing?] to it, and
having no Cash or Credit I was much troubled at
my Condition and anxious to find what I wanted,
I happened to find a Coat belonging to one of the hired
men and thinking he did not want it, I determined
that I did, so I Cut the Skirt of the Coat and
began to fashion it for the Fire Screen
but Just when I had it near prepared to begin
my work of Art my Aunt Caught me, but
as I had to Conceal the Cloth outside the House
as I could not conceal it in my breast, that Just
saved me from dear knows what. Now I had to
walk very straight for a long time in the
Vicinity of Coash House. So finally my
taste for Embroidery wore off - But if I
did not Embroider I pelted them in
many other ways, before I ran away from
home. This brings me back to old Moy, where I
Slept my last Night in old Tyrone. Old Moy
with all its faults gave me protection on that Night and
Salt Herring for breakfast, It was Friday, I had taken £20
in Notes from my dear Mother, and fearing I might get
robbed or taken back as a Robber, I placed the Notes
between the linings of my Cap, and throwing it on
the table went to sleep, I was Convinced that
No one would steal the old Cap and as to the


small Coins in my pockets they might take them
So I got off all serene - I expected to be pursued
by some one of my friends, so I hoped
that as they could not find the Money in my
pockets they would believe me, when I intended
to tell them, I had been Robbed and then I
might make my escape again with the Cash
After Years I paid my parents the £20 - With Intrest [Interest?]
so that much is settled, Now Dear Cousin the
principal reason for my long neglect to write home
was that I expected to be Dead long ago and if dead
I Could not keep up the correspondence so I was
Convinced therfore [therefore?], I neglected to establish it
But Mr Creley's visit woke me up to this effort
and indeed I was frightened at the idea of writing
I thought you might have regarded me as dead
and in the grave. I have been very near that point
during these last seven years, and I a kind of
think I am still nearer now than at the beginning
but must wait yet. I am almost helpless
from Rheumatism, for this seven years, Confined
to the House. Just able to celebrate Mass, which
thus far, I can do with the greatest difficulty.
All other duties I had to relinquish, I can take
part in the Choir to sing a Mass, and some other
little acts, but cant sit in the Confessional
nor give Holy Communion Baptize Preach nor
marry, so I am a kind of retired from business.
I am still hoping to get better, trying all
the new and old remedies but without
success I have to try to write these few lines
wrapped up in my Blanket, Of late, I do
not suffer the terrible pains which I used
to have, I can rest better at night, but when
I make the least effort to move or walk
all my Joints rise up in rebellion. so I have
Just to keep in Bed or sit still in the Blanket
But in appearance I am one of the 7 wonders
of the world, as a perfect Deception. Everyone
who comes to visit me remarks how well I do
appear, How healthy looking. Even my good
Doctor, God Bless him, the other Day said
he never found such a healthy Constitution
as I have (only for the Rheumatics) well I believe all
this, I know I was always good looking Handsome
and Gay as a lark, pretty, yea, beautiful, because
My Dear Good Mother was the most beautifull [beautiful?]
Woman in the North of Ireland, the people here
are ignorant of that part, and that's my secret and the


reason why I am still so handsome Even in
my Blankets. Now I feel happy that I have told you that -
and when I send you my Picture, if I live to do so, you
will Just say I told the truth, But perhaps your Post
Office - but Lord it must pass through old Moy and
the smoke of the place would destroy it, and the Post
Office is a small concern, Well I will think the matter over,
Dear Cousin, will you give my kindest love to all
the McNeeses & tell me their Number. Please remember
me to all the different branches of old Coash, Tell me how I might
find your place out. Let us make the starting point from old
Coash House In order that I may Just think of where
you live.
Your Cousin
Edward Tho [Thomas?] O'Neill O.P.

P.S. The Coat Stolen
was an old Dilapidated one ETO'N- [Edward Thomas O'Neill?]