Main content

Title: Jane Ellen Orr, Portaferry, to John M. Orr, Chicago.
CollectionIrish Emigration Database
FileOrr, Jane Ellen/98(2)
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.9702153
Partial Date
Doc. TypeLTE
LogDocument added by LT, 10:02:97.
Word Count1572
TranscriptPortaferry Wednesday 28th Jun 1848

My Dear John
On last Friday when we heard the American mail
had arrived and we had no letter from you we were extremely
disappointed. I assure you we did not know what to think,
it was five weeks since we received your last letter we
had a paper however which prevented us from thinking you
were dead altogether. We knew Tom Warnock must be with
you, as his friends had two papers from him posted in
Chicago but we could not account for neither of you
writing. Yesterday morning however we got a very agreeable
surprise, by receiving your letter of 3d June, we were not
expecting it before Thursday at the very soonest, as it is
generally on that day the mail reaches Portaferry, but the
Niagara had an unusually quick passage, nine days I think
(10 days & 8 hours). The Warnocks were delighted to receive
Tom's letter, which came yesterday also - I am glad to hear
you ever in the enjoyment of such good health, many a time
we wonder if you ever take a cough now, I think the climate
of Chicago must agree with you very well. I hope it may do so
with Tom and that he will be able to remain with you during
the winter, it would be so much pleasanter for both of you.
You spoke of having had a great thunder storm, we had one
also on Thursday night. It commenced between ten and eleven
o'clock and lasted until after one, we were all greatly
frightened. The thunder was awful, it was as loud as on
the day Mr Johnston preached here the sermon before last.
I don't think there was any damage done. I saw one flash of
lightening with my eyes shut, and my head under the blankets,
and then about a second after came an awful peal of thunder
which made the bed shake. The weather ever since has been
cold and unsettled. I think Maggy mentioned in her letter
that there was to be a great wedding here, Margareta & Dr.
Tom. Well they were married on the 8th of this month, and
a wonderful turn out we had. I was one of the bridesmaids.
I think there were twenty-four in the meeting house, and
about twenty eight sat down to a splendid lunch at one
o'clock, the marriage was at twelve o'c [o'clock?]. I wish
you had seen the crowds of people that were in the meeting
house, I am certain it never was so well filled before,
some people were thinking it would have been a good plan
to have made every one pay a halfpenny, and given the
proceeds to the building of our school-house, which we are
about commencing. There were four outside cars and two
carriages taking the party to the meeting house. One of the
carriages was Mr. Allan's of Mountpanther, the other was
from Belfast, and took the Bride and Groom away after
lunch. They went to the Giant's Causeway, & remained
only a week. We visited them of course, I hear they
have been visited by all the townspeople, - They were
up here yesterday for a few minutes - George Bowden
goes to Belfast on Monday, and intends commencing to
practise there, his marriage is by all accounts to take
place immediately. Isabella Dalzell of Glasgow was to
have been married on Tuesday week to a Mr. [Menmine?],
but was put off for a fortnight. It is a fine match for
her I believe. Isabella Filson was reading me a long
letter yesterday she had from Maria giving her a
description of the dresses &c &c. I know you wouldn't
care for hearing about the dresses, so it is useless
for me taking up my time writing what would not be
interesting. Marianne Seed is not to be married for
some months yet. But sure Robert Greer is to be
married in the course of a month, to a Miss Cooper
an English lady, she is mistress of seven languages,
and is heiress to some very wealthy gentleman !!!
It is a sin to see so much money going to our family -
Mr Nelson the waterguard, had some very bad distressing
news yesterday from New York. His son John (I am sure you
must remember him) had got second mate of an immense
vessel called the "New World." He came here nearly
three months since for his eldest sister to take her
out with him to New York; after the vessel arrived there,
John Nelson was sweeping out the deck and missed his foot,
and fell overboard, and was drowned. His father is in a
dreadful state, the shock came very unexpectedly indeed -
Alexander Blow sailed about three weeks since for the
Brazils. Henry intends going also whenever his time is out.
Alexander told me, when I was in Belfast, that you had
promised to write to him before you left, but had never
done so. He had been looking for a letter every mail,
and was very much disappointed that he never had received
any. Will you thank Tom Warnock from me for the kind note
which he wrote me, and say also that Eliza Ann McCleery
and I have been talking of writing to him for some time,
and that we must not talk any more but write, for
talking will never write a letter. I wish I could write
as good a letter as Tom, I'm a precious bad composer, I
never take time to think what I am to say - Alexander
McCullough has been nearly dead within this last month
of inflammation, he is now I believe quite well again.
He has dissolved partnership with his brothers. John and
William have bought new starch works, and Sandy carries
on the [broking?] business at the office in Waring Street.
Robena and Miss [Gowen?] are to be down soon, and Mary
Filson will be home from school this evening. I think
I told you before that she had gone to school in Ardglass -
Dada is anxious to know if there is any additional
inland postage on your letters when they are in
envelopes. We just pay 1/- what we always did when
sending a letter, but Dada was thinking that perhaps
there as some additional postage from New York to Chicago,
if there is we would not put them in envelopes again.
Don't forget to answer this question when you write - Is
there much fruit in Chicago this year? We have immense
quantities of gooseberries, but the caterpillars fastened
on the bushes some time since, and destroyed the leaves,
on some of the bushes there is scarcely a leaf to be seen
but bad as they are with us I believe they are not half as
bad as in Mr Warnock's garden. We never had so many
gooseberries in my recollection - Mrs Hughes and four of
her children are in town at present. Old Tom Hughes died
very suddenly about a month ago, he was found dead. No will
can be found and his daughter will of course get all the
money œ250,000 she has œ48,000 independent of her Father's,
which was left to her by an Uncle. I understand, she is just
as penurious as her Father was - Dada goes to the Assembly
on Tuesday. Mr Hamilton of York Street is to preach here
on Sunday week on education. We are all as busy as nailers
knitting quilts which we intend to dispose of to the best
advantage for the benefit of the Sabbath school.
we have been working at them since January, and
they are not finished yet. I wish they were done for
I'm heartily tired of them. Alexander McKibbin of
Belfast is to be married on the 16th of July to a
Miss [Cordukes?], she's just eighteen. Everybody is
getting married nowadays - John Filson is going out
to his Uncle Robert in Pittsburgh in September - There
was a letter from Willy [William?] McCleery a week or two
since, he is in [Trieste?] at present, and they must leave
before the 15th of next month, or else the ports will
be closed - I think there will be a great turn out in
Mrs Donnans some night this week for the bride and
groom. I wish Hugh would pluck up some spirit and
send for Tommy Waterson, and let us go to the stores
and have a dance, instead of playing cards all night.
We have at last sent the [Farina?] away, it was shipped on
Saturday in the Commodore, I think we won't get more
than a pound a hundred for it there is just eight hundred
of it altogether. I think you never saw such a size as
what Archy [Archibald?] McMullan is growing, he will soon
be as large as poor Tom Gelston was. William McMullan bought
Hugh Boyds house, he intends giving up Purgatory - I do not
think I have any thing more to say but I suppose you
will be thinking by this time you have had quite enough
of such stuff. Perhaps Dada or Maggy will think of
something more to say - With love in which I am joined
by all here
Believe me yours very sincerely
Jane Ellen
Remember me to Tom Warnock. Do write to Wm. [William?] Henry
or he will be huffed.