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Title: Alexander Robb, Nicola Lake, Canada, to Sister [Dundonald?]
CollectionIrish Emigration Database
FileRobb, Alexander/10
SenderRobb, Alexander
Sender Gendermale
Sender Occupationfarmer
Sender Religionunknown
OriginNicola Lake, British Columbia, Canada
DestinationDundonald, Co. Down, N.Ireland
Recipient Genderfemale
SourceT 1454/6/3 or T1454/5/9: Copied by Permission of Dr. J.C. Robb Esq., M.B.E., M.D., M.C.H., Cambourne Park, Belfast. #TYPE EMG Alexander Robb, Nicola Lake, [British Columbia, Canada?], to His Sister [Sukie?] in Ireland [Dundonald, Co Down?] 10 May, 1868.
ArchivePublic Record Office, Northern Ireland.
Doc. No.9006022
Partial Date
Doc. TypeEMG
Log12:06:1990 GMcE#CREATE created 24:10:1991 PKS inpu
Word Count1161
TranscriptTo: His Sister [Sukie?], [Ireland?]
Alexander Robb, Niclola [Nicola?] Lake

May 10th 1868

My Dear Sister
For a long time my
conscience has been telling me that it was time
for me to write home and when I got your dear
kind letter its voice got too strong to be any longer
disregarded. You cannot tell how much your letter
interested me containing as it did so much news
of things and people whom I am still very much
interested in. You are perfectly right in your
conjecture that I never received the letter containing
poor Lizzie's likeness. I am going to send down to
New Westminster for it. In future if you would
simply direct your letters to "Lytton British Columbia"
I would be sure to receive them .. by directing them
to "New Westminster Lytton they are just as
likely to stop at one place as come to the other
and the two places are about 150 miles apart
Would you believe it, the first intimation I had
that John & Martha had a little daugther was
by the mere accident of her being sick and you
mentioning it. I never before heard that that
there was such a being in existence as Jennie
Robb. I am very sorry that I connot comply
with your request about the likeness. I think
though that when you hear my reasons you
will be satisfied that is not my fault if I don't
send it to you. In the first place then I dont think
there is a single Photographic artist in this
colony or at least there is none nearer than Victoria
and that is nearly three hundred miles from
here, and in the second how far do you think
I would have to go by the most direct road
to visit my nearest white neighbour You would
never guess so I will just tell you I would have
to travel as nearly as I can judge (for the trail has
never been measured) between 45 and 50 miles
I have heard indeed that two men have settled
about eight or ten miles from here but I have never
seen them. And now I think I hear you say "What on
earth can you be doing in such a place?
Well I am just starting a ranch or farm for a
friend of mine who wishes to commence farming
and stock raising here and I will most likely
stop here a year at least if not longer
I have never seen a place in my life so
admirably adapted for both pursuits as this
is. There is a valley here about seven miles long
and from one to two wide mostly of the very best
kind of prairie land. It requires neither draining
clearing nor any other improvement to grow
the best kind of wheat, barley, oats, or vegetables
of all kinds for years to come. What would they
think at home of land that would grow
wheat or oats ten or twelve years in succession
and the last crop be as good as the first, and yet
I have seen within this last month thousands
of acres of such land. According to the land
laws of this country any British subject may
take up to 160 acres of land in any place in
the country by merely paying the registration fees
which is only ten shillings and settling on it.
After he has done a certain quantity of work on
it you get what is called a "certificate of improvement
which is in fact neither more nor less than a government
title to the land, this you may sell or otherwise
dispose of as if it were your own land In fact
it is so only that when the land comes to be surveyed
"which may not be for years) you or your successor
have to pay government one dollar per acre for
it. There is a wonderful difference between this
and paying twenty pounds or so per acre for leave
to farm a patch of hungry land, from which one
may be turned out by the mere caprice of the landlord
But this is not the only advantage connected with
this valley. On each side of it for I don't know how
many miles rise a succession of gently rising
hills. These though unfit for agriculture afford
in summer the best run for stock I ever saw
They are covered with a kind of grass which I
think is peculiar to this part of the world. It
is called "bunch grass, from its growing in tufts
or bunches, these tufts are sometimes two or three
feet apart, while in places they grow quite close
to one another, the spaces between the bunches being quite
bare. It grows from about fours inches to two feet in
height and I never saw anything in the world that
appears to agree with animals so well as it does
In one month after it commences to grow in the sping [spring?] cattle
or horses which can scarcely walk will be rolling fat-
As a general thing animals do very well in the winter by what
they can pick up over the hills but it is safer to [make?] a
little provision for them in case a very deep snow should
come and last a long time. It is true there is no market
nerarer [nearer?] this than 50 miles but in a very few years all this
valley will be settled up and a good road made to it - Until
that time most of a farmers dependences will be in his [stock?]
which he can drive any place, but there is a sure fortune to
be made out of them by any one who has capital enough
to buy enough of them to get a start with. I forgot to
mention that there is a young man along with me, here
as partner of the person for whom I am making the farm
However uninteresting these things may be to you My dear
Sister I mention them because in the first place I have
no news to tell you and in the next I want to show
you that I am not half so much to be pitied as from the
way you and Eleanor writes you appear to think I should
be. No person is to be pitied in a new country who has
got good health, and knows how to work. The only thing
that I regret about leaving home is the leaving those
that I loved behind me. And could I only see them
once more (which I hope yet to do) I would be perfectly
satisfied to end my days in this country
Give me best love to Father tell him I will write
to him in a short time. To Andrew, Mary
and all the rest
And believe me dear [Sukie?]
Your loving brother
Alexander Robb
P.S. When you are writing to Eleanor tell her I received
her letter and will answer it shortly