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Title: John Shanks, Chicago, to "Dear Cousin", Ballyfounder, Co Down
CollectionIrish Emigration Database
FileShanks, John/11
SenderShanks, John
Sender Gendermale
Sender Occupationmanual labourer (has been painting and scraping a schooner)
Sender Religionunknown
OriginChicago, Illinois, USA
DestinationCo. Down, N.Ireland
Recipient Genderunknown
SourceD2709/1/52: Presented by Miss Shanks, Ballyfounder, Portaferry, Co Down
ArchiveThe Public Record Office, Northern Ireland
Doc. No.9502043
Partial Date
Doc. TypeEMG
LogDocument added by LT, 07:03:1995.
Word Count950
March 20th 88 [1888?]

Dear Cousin
I now take the
oppurtunity [opportunity?] of writing
once more to you hoping
this finds all well as it leaves me at
present William had a letter from
Nicholas last night & he says that
he is coming out in the latter end of
April & your mother too Will we welcome
them both but if Nickey is for sailing
he should have been here the first
week of April as we believe it will be
an early spring I would have liked to spend
a week with him before we start, for
this is our slackest & nicest time now
we have the year round. I am going
again with your Uncle Willie in the
Ada Medora I think Willie Martin is going
to for the Summer in her but Nickey
may get a situation without but I cant
think the wages will amount to much
for there is few clerks has good wages
I will certainly be a change for your
Mother in coming out here she will
see many strange faces
yet a good many friends
I woald [would?] like to know how you are doing
in the farm this season & if you
reduction as the prices must be very
low for produce Nickey mentioned
also that Willie was married
but he did not say who to so I am
at a loss to know & as you are the
only correspondence I have from that
side of the water I wish you to write
immediately who the unfortunate
new friend I have now & how the
stand in relation to one another
in Ballyquintin I am afraid they
wont work well together the may
do it for a while but I wish them
well anyhow I am under the
impression that it is only a bit
crafty work on the part of the old folks
to lynch him over at the first
oppurtunity [opportunity?] if you dont write
your mistress surely will she
can tell better how things are going
along be sure & tell us how the family
is doing if the children are at
school I am sure Lizzie must be
able to sport around now but
I must tell you that I am almost
1 stone heavier than I ever was in the
old country as that will tell you how
I like it conditionally I suppose it
must be due to so much Hog corn &
corned Hog

now I must say [how?] I am getting along
I have worked nearly all the winter
about the Schooners I was a great
time with Capt. Glenn & has not
done with his vessel yet we are all scraping
& painting her now but in rainy or
snowy days we dont work & only works
8 hours a day I get a Dollar for that I have
made my board in his schooner for
the whole winter & now has my
clothes ready for next Summer which
I had to buy last spring when I came
here about 1 month ago 2 settled up
with your Uncle Willie for last
season & he gave me 5 dollars per month
more nor I was engaged for making it
œ7 per month & 20 dollars for good conduct
making it 260 Dollars so I got two bonds on
the chicago board of trade at 5 per cent
payable half yearly so I am started already
but you could not guess who came to
see us one night It was James Shanks
William James you know & he stopped
with us all night & the next day he
says he is getting along pretty well that
is if one can believe him he lives 90
miles south from here on the Illinois
Central railroad & has a farm rented of
160 acres he says his father has bought
a farm in Minesota [Minnesota?] & that
is all I hear from him but he asked me out
next fall but I dont know
about that yet

we had a very severe winter of Freezing
sometimes 25 below zero yet we can
live & work in it too then we have
a heating stove in the houses & can
make them any temperature in the
house we had it summer heat all the time
steady you can sleep with only one blanket
I perhaps will be home to see you in a
few years you know I have got somebody
there yet but I would far rather live
here I had a letter from Annie 2 weeks
ago she said that she he had not seen
you since that time we were down
that Easter Sunday you have not
forgot it yet I am sure I am going
to send you some Photos before long
Miss Maggie & Kattie [Katie?] is going
to get theirs taken so I am Promised some maggie
is a very nice acomplished lady
she has not much to say but she
would delight you to hear her talking
on any subject she comes up here
occasionally but rather is as full of
fun as she can stick you could not
be up to her the two younger ones are
still at school I have never been at
your uncle Sams yet but I hear
maggie Shaw is getting better she
had Typhoid Fever. I must conclude
with my best wishes to all William &
Mrs joines [joins?] me in so doing William
will glad to hear from you any time
be sure to write immediately as we
will be on the take up you delay any
time we will be started before
Nicholas comes excuse this scribble
I remain
Your Cousin
John Shanks
3028 Main st
Chicago, Ill [Illinois?]