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Title: Rev. John Orr, Portaferry, to John Orr, Chicago.
CollectionIrish Emigration Database
FileOrr, Revd John/89
SenderRev. John Orr
Sender Gendermale
Sender Occupationclergyman
Sender ReligionProtestant
OriginPortaferry, Co. Down, N.Ireland
DestinationChicago, Illinois, USA
RecipientOrr, John M
Recipient Gendermale
SourceCopyright Retained by John McCleery, 80 Circular Rd., Belfast,BT4 2GD.
ArchiveUlster American Folk Park.
Doc. No.9702058
Partial Date
Doc. TypeLTE
LogDocument added by LT, 31:01:97.
Word Count1273
JU 30
1847 [Circular despatch postmark from Portaferry
30 Jun 1847?]

POST PAID [locally applied mark?]

JY 1
A [Transit circular postmark 1 July 1847?]

I [Circular New York arrival postmark 4 Sep 1847?]

FORWARDED [Postal marking applied when letter forwarded from
New York to Chicago?]

John Malcolm Orr
Post Office
New York [crossed out?]
North America [crossed out?]
Chicago Ill United States
Chicago Illinois

Portaferry June 30th 1847
My Dear John
We calculate / whether correctly or not I
cannot say/ that you landed in New York on the 16th inst.
We looked the Newspapers anxiously to see if there be any
report of the Prince de Joinville having spoken at sea, but
tho' we have seen accounts of the Huron, and others that
sailed after you, the Prince's name has not appeared in that
list. I wrote you a letter on the 31st May and directed
it to the Post Office, New York, which I hope you have
received before this time. The first thing of local public
interest which took place since, was the death of Doctor
Chalmers which occurred that morning in Edinburgh. He had
just returned from London, where he had preached before Lord
John Russell and many of the nobility - the General Assembly
was sitting at the time - he was to have appeared in it on
Monday and read the College report - he went to bed on
Sabbath Evening in his usual health and was found dead on
Monday morning. The sensation through Edinburgh, Scotland,
Ulster - in short every place where he was known, was immense.
His funeral was the largest that ever took place in Scotland -
but I am persuaded that you will have the full accounts of it
in New York long before this can reach you - perhaps before
it is written.
Fever still continues very bad in Belfast. I observe by the
papers of yesterday that there were upwards of 1900 cases in the
Hospitals and tents the latter of which have been erected for
convalescents. Dr. Ringland has charge of some of the tents.
We have been in great anxiety these some days about Doctor
McCleery, who is at present very ill in fever. The accounts
last night for the first time, are of a more cheering
description. On Saturday and Sabbath he was so ill that he was
confined for fear of injuring himself or others. He was
yesterday more quiet and we have got about two hours sleep.
Some hopes are now entertained of his recovery. There are at
present twenty cases of fever in the townland of Cloughey
alone. There are not more I think than four families in
this town who have it at present. Saml. [Samuel?] Piper is at
present ill, immediately opposite us. His wife is recovered.
Andrew Maxwell and his wife at Ballysidley are both ill.
There was a paragraph in one of the Newspapers about a
fortnight since, that fever has been very prevalent in
several of the passenger vessels to America, and that
the mortality has been very great. Your mother was very
uneasy for some days after that report appeared, lest
it have broken out in the Prince de Joinville.
We have had very distressing news, or rather I may say
want of news respecting Henry Brown and the Catherine. She
sailed from Whitehaven, on this day three weeks, the 9th
inst. for this port coal laden. The William Henry left
about two hours before her. The afternoon and evening
became stormy and wet, and the crew of the William Henry
say they saw her about 3 miles ahead of them, when they
fixed round and ran for Wigtown Bay. They imagined she
might have made Dromore Bay. She has not been since heard
of. The sea was very heavy off the Mull of Galloway, and
it is almost certain she has gone down. There were in
her, Henry Brown, Geo. [George?] Nelson, Capt. Joseph
Nelson, Wm. [William?]
Shanks, and [McGeean?] from Derry. The anxiety experienced
in town for some days was uncommonly great - that has now
generally, if not universally sunk in the conviction that
they are all gone. The only hope remaining is that they have
been picked up by some passenger vessel from the Clyde, and
that she had not an opportunity of landing them but this
hope is very slight. In addition to the vessel, not insured,
Henry Brown had lifted in gold and silver œ390 on the cargo
of wheat, which at the time was not sold. Their friends
are in great distress. Mary Anne is the only one who still
cherishes hope that they will yet turn up.
In passing from the sad to the joyful, the transition is
something like what we yesterday experienced in Mr McCullagh's
school, when immediately after the recitation of the Sailor's
Orphan Boy, which brought tears to the eyes of several,
then succeeded the '[Call?] of St.Keyne.' It was to the boys
a gala day. There were no less than 20 ladies present, old
and young, and the Boys acquitted themselves admirable. The
examination lasted for two days, but yesterday at one o'clock
was the recitation. Each boy recited two pieces all different
but one, 27 pieces in all. I was greatly pleased with the
self possession and the manliness and the gravity of
William Henry, when reciting the Burial of Sir John Moore
and 'the Graves of a Household' John Filson and John Coates
made a fine exhibition. Mr McCullough at the conclusion
presented each of them with a medal for distinguishing
themselves in some department during the session. No person
present but himself knew what the premiums were to be
till he made the announcement as he began to distribute them
- What joy was in every countenance!
It is probable that you will have seen Thomas Warnock
in New York before this reached you. I understand from a Miss
Rachel that he sailed from Liverpool on the 15th Inst. Robt.
[Robert?] Bowden sailed for Quebec on this day week. All here whom I
have not referred to, are much in the same state as when you
left us. The last account I have from Ballybeen they were all
well. I have not been in Belfast since you left. I never saw
the crops looking better at this season of the year than
they do now. We have had a good deal of moist weather till
this week, which is turning out very fine. The reports about
the Potato crop are very contradictory, but in this
neighbourhood there is no blight yet. We can purchase best
Indian meal delivered in the Market House at œ12.15.0 per
Ton. A month since, it cost us œ16.10.0.
We are all well, your mother, Jane Ellen, Margaret, Eliza,
& William Henry, all desire their love to you. We expect that
you will write regularly once a month, and let us know how
you are, what you are doing, what you purpose doing, whether
staying in New York or going further. In short, every thing
about yourself will be interesting here. And I fondly hope,
and earnestly pray, that you will attend to the suggestions
I formerly gave you and some of which I reminded you of
in my last letter. Seek the Lord's direction in every thing -
Keep holy his Sabbath, and reverence his sanctuary. Take care
of your company, remembering Solomon's declaration 'He that
walketh with wise men is wise, but the companion of fools
shall be destroyed.' Imploring our Heavenly Father's blessing
for you, I am, My dear John,
Your affectionate Father,
John Orr.

Since I have finished this letter I have seen Joe Wallace
who told me that he had a letter from John Moffat
yesterday, and that thro' Mr James Maxwell of New York, he
had fallen into work at Newark, about 9 miles from the city.
Miss Margt. Warnock is now with Mrs Patterson of Renfrew and
her last letter states that there is some improvement in her