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Title: Jane Ellen Orr, Portaferry, to John M. Orr, [Chicago].
CollectionIrish Emigration Database
FileOrr, Jane Ellen/94
SenderOrr, Jane Ellen
Sender Genderfemale
Sender Occupationunknown
Sender ReligionProb. Protestant
OriginPortaferry, Co. Down, N.Ireland
DestinationChicago, Illinois, USA
RecipientOrr, John M.
Recipient Gendermale
SourceCopyright Retained by John McCleery, 80 Circular Road, Belfast,BT4 2GD.
ArchiveUlster American Folk Park.
Doc. No.9702156
Partial Date
Doc. TypeLTE
LogDocument added by LT, 10:02:97.
Word Count1647
TranscriptPortaferry March 6th 1848

My dear John
I am sure you will be anxiously waiting
for the arrival of another letter from home, as I have
no doubt the contents of Dada's last would make you
uneasy about Wm. [William?] Henry. Since then he has
been going on ahead, but particularily since this day
fortnight, he has been gaining strength hourly, he is
going about now as usual but is not very good at walking yet,
partly owing I think to a large boil he had on his loin.
His appetite is enormous, I am certain you would be
astonished if you saw what he could eat. In fact he
thinks of nothing but eating and working mischief the
whole day. If possible he is a greater clip now than
ever. You would not think to look at him, that he had
such a severe illness, he is fatter and firmer now than
ever he was in his life before. Eliza Stoop has had a
very slight attack of fever also, she was out in the
garden today for the first. She is still very weak.
We have had a nice a nice house or hospital I might say,
for the last two months. With the exception of Eliza
and myself, all the others have been ill in some
way or other, but are nearly all recovered again. It
will be three weeks to-morrow since we received your
letter of the 5th January, it was more than five weeks
in coming. I wonder what could have been the cause of
the delay. We generally get your letters three weeks
after they are written. We had none last mail, and
indeed we shall be disappointed if we have not one by
this day week. The same mail that brought your last
letter brought one from Tom Warnock, and one from Willy
[William?] McCleery. The former mentioned that "John Orr was
going a-head on his business" that he had had two
letters from you, and that you had joined the "Chicago
Hussars", all of which we had heard before. Well, I
can't help thinking what a great dash you'll cut, when
you mount the regimentals. Oh! how I wish I could see
you. At what time do you exercise? I suppose if we are
spared to see each other we will scarcely know you, you
will be so much changed, and of course we cannot expect
to remain unchanged. It is now more than ten months
since you left Portaferry sometimes it appears much
longer than that period since we saw you, at others
much shorter. Portaferry is as dull as ever, indeed I
think it is more so, many a time I think it is well
for you that you are out of this hole. Dr. Boyd has
gone to Kirkcubbin to live. There is some talk about
Sophia Moreland and him going to be married but Old
James does not approve of the match. Hugh Boyd has
been put out of his house, he is gone to Ann St. to
live. Tom McDonnell that used to be in Mr Donnan's,
is going to his house to set up a public house. Mr.
Baird has given up his fields, and I believe is
going to America in May. he has not been doing anything
for some time. Tuesday evening after [tay?] Shrove
Tuesday and no pancakes, as there are too many invalids
for them. I have just been asking mama what news
I have to tell you, when Wm. Henry puts in his tongue,
and desires me to ask you, if you are making much money
this weather, he hopes to have an answer to his epistle
next mail if not he won't be best pleased. We had a very
pleasant drive this evening. The country has all the
appearance of spring, the wheat is coming up beautifully.
We have a fine large loaf this year, besides what we had
last winter. There is not so much distress as what there
was some time ago. We had very little frost this winter.
I wish there had been more. I am sure it must be very
cold where you are, when the water you wash in is frozen
before you are done dressing. I suppose you would have
plenty of skating but perhaps you would be too busy to amuse
yourself in that way. Chicago must be a horrible place,
I would have no fancy for living there at all. it's a
great wonder the half of you aren't drowned in the streets,
surely you were drawing the long bow as the saying is, when
you said that in some places no bottom could be found. The
papers are filled now with accounts of the King and
Queen of the French. The King has abdicated the Throne,
and has fled to England. It has caused a wonderful
sensation. I believe Dada intends sending you a paper
with an account of all the proceedings. Mrs John Maxwell
has got another little son. Tom likes New York very much,
and writes very pleasant letters home. I hear Robert
Bowden does not care for America at all, I wouldn't
be surprised if he lands home this spring. Margaretta is
here at present, there is no word of her going to be
married yet. I fear she'll soon be "on the shelf", perhaps
she intends using her privileges this year, for you are
aware I daresay that this is a Leap Year and they have the
privilege of asking the Gentlemen. Grandmamma had a very
severe attack of influenza, we thought she would not have
got around again, she was so very weak. Uncle Robert is
still feeling the effects of the fall he got some months
since, he cannot yet speak well, he was at meeting on
Sunday fortnight for the first. William John of the
[Booten?] had a pretty smart attack of small-pox but
is now quite recovered. Our Sacrament will be on Sunday
fortnight. I do not yet know who will be here to assist
Dada. I have not seen or heard from Mary Blow since you
left. Mary Shaw writes occasionally. Her Father died at
Dunadry about two months ago. Henry Blow is traveller for
some house in Belfast, and Sandy is still in Alexander
McDonnells - Dr. Filson is nearly recovered of fever. He
was out on the car yesterday for about twenty minutes,
he is still very weak. The Doctors were very much afraid
of him at first he was very ill indeed for two or three
days, he is greatly reduced. Sam Little has also been very
ill the Dr. Tom said of fever but his friends think he is
in consumption. There has been a great deal of sickness
in town, scarcely a family has escaped. Mrs Welsh is
in Gransha at present. She never came near us but once
since Wm. Henry took ill, she is very much afraid of
fever. I think she would not have come at all but she
thought he was going to die, and was afraid of us being
huffed. We had very few visits during his illness, even
yet the people are afraid to come. I think Dada
mentioned in his last that Mrs Gelston had got
another husband - a blacksmith - well she has dismissed
him until he learns manners, she is a most extraordinary
woman. There were great rejoicings in Lecale on the 23rd
of February the day on which Lord Bangor came of age.
There were upwards of 40 bonfires in the evening, they
looked beautiful from the hill. Mr Nugents house was very
nicely illuminated. I hear the tenantry are to give him
a grand dinner in June, after that he is going to the
Continent for three years, so Lady Bangor will have that
time to spend in Castleward [House?]. It is thought that
Mr Moore, formerly minister of Ballycopeland, will be
chosen by the congregation of Rosemary Street. Mr Gibson
has got the chair of Sacred Ethics in the new College.
Dr. Edgar has been appointed to one of the Chairs also,
and has to resign his congregation Ash Wednesday. On
Monday evening Mr Blair had an examination of his
singing class, to which I was invited, and of course
went. We had some very nice singing indeed. We had
"Dame [Durden?]", it certainly is a very funny thing.
Wm. Henry had joined the class before he took ill, &
was continually singing "Joe Kiss Betty," and several
other things they had learned from Mr Blair, he has a
great taste for music, but I don't know whether he will
be able to sing any or not. Andrew McDonnell of Ballywhite
is very poorly at present, and has been so for some time.
I am afraid he is going to die. He had an auction of his
property some time ago, he bought Ballywhite himself, and
Mr James Warnock got Marlfield. Rachel and Sarah Warnock
are very poorly at present with cold. We are all busy
knitting quilts to help increase the Sunday school funds.
I hope we will be able to have the School House built
this spring. How are your shirts holding out? Are there
any of them beginning to wear yet? and your woollen
stockings, I daresay you find them very comfortable
now in the frosty weather. I think I have given you
all the news. There is a deal of stuff in this epistle,
but I wanted to write you every thing I could think of,
as it appears from your last that you do not like
short letters. I am sure if this one doesn't please
in length, I don't know what will. I must now have done
scribbling, this must be posted to-day, or it won't be
in time for the mail. With love to you from all here.
Believe me yours very affectionately
Jane Ellen Orr