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Title: William D. Riddle, U.S.A. to John Wallace, Ireland.
CollectionIrish Emigration Database
FileRiddle, William D/28
SenderRiddle, Willia D.
Sender Gendermale
Sender Occupationcommercial agent
Sender Religionunknown
OriginPittsburgh, Penn., USA
DestinationDrogheda?, Co. Louth? Ireland
RecipientWallace, John
Recipient Gendermale
Relationshipold friends
SourceD 1859/12: Presented by Dr. J. T. Anderson, 16 Ashley Gardens, Banbridge, Co Down, Ireland.
ArchiveThe Public Record Office, Northern Ireland.
Doc. No.9401014
Partial Date
Doc. TypeEMG
LogDocument added by LT, 22:02:1994.
Word Count1292
TranscriptPittsburg, Pa [Pennsylvania?], United States
November 30th 1853

Mr John Wallace
Droghead [Drogheda?] Ireland

My dear old friend and playmate,
My Uncle John
Riddle who has recently arrived here informed me that you
still remember me and sent a message with him to that
effect. I thank you for bearing me in mind so long,
and take pleasure in assuring yu that there is no one
whom I left behind me of all my boyish companions,
who has been oftener in my memory, or kept nearer
my heart than yourself.
I am glad to learn John that you have become a stout
and hardy man, and I am glad also to know that you
have grown up with habits of industry, and principles of
truth and honesty, such as your worthy and honest mother
taught you to reverence, and such as I am sure she
will be pleased and proud to see you possess. Truth,
Honesty and Industry are the qualities that enoble a man,
they raise him far above the petty distinctions of wealth
or the brief titles of an hour, they confer more real happiness
in life than either wealth or rank, and a satisfaction
in the hour of death that worlds could not purchase.
I have much in my mind that I would like to say,
but have little time to say it. Only a week ago, I returned
home from a long trip of several thousand miles in the West
and this is the first evening since I came back that I have
had to converse with my Uncle. He is sitting beside me, and
while we are interchanging questions and answers, I am scribbling
off these lines to you. I always try to do a thing while the
purpose is fresh, even if it should not be as well done, I prefer
to send you a hurried letter to-night rather than risk neglecting
it a month by putting it off for more leisure.
Now what shall I tell you of all that crowds into my mind ?
You will naturally wish to know something about myself and
my mothers family. You are already aware that my father died
several years ago. My mother is still spared to us and enjoys as
good health as those who knew her twenty years ago could expect.
She remembers your good mother very well and often speaks of her,
and desires you to present her kindest regards and best wishes
for her health and happiness. Sister Matilda is married to
a man in the State of Indiana and lives about five hundred miles
from this place she came home with me on a visit and will
go back about the middle of December. She also remembers you
and your mother & sister very well. Samuel is a larger man
than I am and is what you would call a pretty clever, good natured
& off-hand sort of a fellow. He learned to be a printer when young
and has tried his hand occasionally at Editing Newspapers as
well as printing them, but is at present engaged in the same
business as myself, travelling all over the country visiting customers,
settling accounts and collecting money. The post would be called
in England or Ireland that of a "Commercial traveller" or a
"Commercial Agent". Some would think it desirable for the opportunity
afforded of seeing the world at large and the people in it,
but now after an experience of four or five years it seems to me
that the privilege of staying at home would be prized above
all things. I have had a fine opportunity of seeing more
than one half of the great country comprised in the United
States, visiting nearly all the towns and cities West & South
of this once a year, and if I had you beside me could answer
you a good many questions regarding the condition of the country
& people. The remainder of our family, Mary, Jane & Robert
are all grown up, and all living at home. Robert is a clerk
in a store, I really have forgotten what wages he gets, but think
it is 20 or 25 Dollars a month, = £4 or £5. I am so much
of the time away and so short a time at home at once, as almost
to be a stranger in my own house.
This is all I have to say about ourselves; Holland & family
& William John & Family are all well and making a comfortable living.
Uncle & the rest of his arrived while I was away, they
had a pretty good passage and good health, and are now all as
well as they could expect to be, and pleased with the country.
I wish now in the few remaining lines to say something
about yourself and your mother. I remember your mother with
very kind feelings and do not know anyone in Ireland whom it would
give me more pleasure to render a service if in my power. I am
much pleased to learn that she lives near & enjoys the protection
of Wm [William?] Anderson, my father's best & most esteemed friend. I remember
Mr Anderson well, and remember too that there was no man of all
my fathers circle of neighbours whom in my boyhood I respected so
highly for dignity of charactor, & noble qualities of heart.I hope
his kindness to your mother may be repaid twofold in Heavens
choicest blessings upon him and his family. Give him my
kind regards, and say I would like to hear from him.
I have been pleased for several years whenever I heard of you,
to learn that you were living with our highly esteemed
friend and former Pastor Mr Brown. You have done well
John in remaining in a good place when you had it. I
always advise a friend to change about as little as possible
he always makes more by it in the end of the race.
I would like to hear from you and learn whether you intend to
spend your life in Ireland, or whether you have
any thoughts of trying your fortunes in a new country. If
you have, and would communicate to me your views, I
would take pleasure in furnishing any information in
my power to enable you to form a correct judgment
for yourself as to how the country would suit you, and
how you would suit it. Many come to the U. [United?] States
with erroneous views and have the mortification of
struggling against disappointment for years or until
they can outlive it. This is a country where men work
hard, quite as hard as they do in Ireland, but at the same
time a man of intelligence and enterprise and who possesses
also the qualities of industry & integrity, takes a worthier position
in society and is better rewarded for his labor [labour?], than such men
generally are in Ireland. A poor man here if industrious,
can hope to place his family in a position of comfort & independence,
in Ireland he can not always be sure of attaining to this.
If you should ever think of coming to this country,I would say
endeavor above all things to furnish your mind with useful knowledge,
employ every leisure hour in improving yourself in reading & general
knowledge, and in any effort you may wish to make in this line.
I am sure will find Mr Brown a willing & very competent advisor.
Send me a long letter as soon as possible so that it may reach
me before I leave home again, and tell me all about your
plans & prospects, and if I can render you a service rest
assured the opportunity will give me much pleasure.
With best wishes for your health, Yours truly, William D Riddle.