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Title: John Orr, Illinois River, USA, to Rev. John Orr, Portaferry.
CollectionIrish Emigration Database
FileOrr, John M/34
SenderOrr, John Malcolm
Sender Gendermale
Sender Occupationunknown
Sender Religionunknown
OriginIllinois, USA
DestinationPortaferry, Co. Down, USA
RecipientRev John Orr
Recipient Gendermale
SourceCopyright retained by John McCleery, 80 Circular Road, Belfast, BT4 2GD.
ArchiveUlster American Folk Park.
Doc. No.9702051
Partial Date
Doc. TypeEMG
LogDocument added by LT, 31:01:97.
Word Count550
NoteN.B. John Malcolm died in 1851 (Did various jobs and decided to go west where he expected to do some kind of business)
OC 9
1848 [Liverpool arrival postmark 9 Oct 1848?]

Mendocia Ill [Illinois?]
Sept 12 Paid 34 [cents postage?]

Revd. John Orr
Co. Down

Mendocia Ill [Illinois?]
River 10 Sept 1848
My dear Father
I suppose you will be surprised
to receive a letter from me dated at this place
but from the erratic life a person leads on
this side of the Atlantic especially when he
does the outdoor business of a concern
it is not to be wondered at, 300 or 500 miles
in this land of Liberty is a mere nothing
nothing in comparison to a trip to Belfast
with you. I sent you a paper from
Jacksonville some days since.
Mendocia is what you'd call a rather
unenviable place to reside at I shouldn't like it
it is situated on the Eastern Bank of the Ill
[Illinois?] River which is a beautiful stream but here
the bank is sand that gives birth to innumerable
numbers of fleas and immense flocks of
Musquitoes [mosquitoes?] are raised, as they say here, in the
adjoining swamps and timber lands & besides
which a goodly number of bed Bugs have
taken up permanent residence in the
sleeping apartments of some of the Taverns
with all these comforts I have mentioned you
can imagine the comforts of a residence
on some of the Western Rivers better than
I can describe them. Mendocia is notwithstanding
a place of considerable importance
it is about 200 miles south of Chicago and
121 from St. Louis. the adjoining country
cannot be surpassed in fertility immense
tracts of corn (Indian) which is the principal
production extend as far as the eye can reach
few of the farmers have less than 100 acres
some of them over 1000 acres, it is a crop
that does not require much labour in raising
from $2 to $3 per acre will plant and stack
or rather bin it. Sometimes when the price
is low a farmer wont go to the expense of
gathering it but will first put in a drove
of cattle to fatten and then a herd of Hogs
to eat up what the cows leaves the lazy
farmers dont sell much corn some of them
buy one old fellow about 16 miles from this
keeps from 500 to 1000 head of cattle and I
am told generally sells some 5000 Hogs during
the packing season. the trade of this river
as made up St.Louis, it is almost equal
to that of the Ohio & Upper Mississippi together
the Chicago folks are doing their best
to bring the business that way. some five
to seven steamboats pass this place daily
besides numbers of Canal Boats & River
Barges. This without doubt is a great
country you have only to take a trip down
the Illinois river to visit almost every place
from London to Pekin [Peking?] we have Napels [Naples?]
Venice Rome and all the other celebrated Cities of
Europe along its banks besides a few
from South America and no inconsiderable
sprinkling of Indian towns with unspeakable
I had a letter from Thomas Warnock
yesterday he has taken a letter for me
out of the office but did not send
it lest I should be gone from this
Mr Bentley has got better of the bilious
fever. I am quite well heat or cold
seems to agree with me alike
I must conclude hoping that this
will find you all in good health
I am dear Father
Yr [your?] [affectionate?] Son
John M Orr