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Title: J. Wightman, Pennsylvania, to Miss Wightman, Lisburn.
CollectionIrish Emigration Database
FileWightman, James/39
SenderWightman, James
Sender Gendermale
Sender Occupationbusinessman (owns a factory)
Sender ReligionProtestant
OriginLancaster, Penn., USA
DestinationLisburn, Co. Antrim, N.Ireland
RecipientWightman, Eliza
Recipient Genderfemale
SourceCopyright Retained by Prof. J.A.Faris, 15 Coney Island, Ardglass, Co. Down. BT30 7UQ
ArchiveUlster American Folk Park
Doc. No.9802456
Partial Date
Doc. TypeEMG
LogDocument added by LT, 09:02:98.
Word Count1127
Transcript[Miss Wightman?]

1822 [Dublin postmark
27 January 1822?]

Lancaster (Penn)[Pennsylvania?]
1st Decm [December?] 1822

Having given over all hope of receiving any letters
from Ireland you may judge, My Dear Eliza, with what emotions
I recognized your handwriting on the cover of your letter
dated the 8th Sepr [September?] the only one I have received
since that brought by your Aunt Nancy - every account I receive
announces the removal of one or more of my relatives [or?]
connexions to the silent regions of the Dead, and extends the
long catalogue of human misery - In the few months that have
elapsed since my departure from Ireland, how many of those
whom I left in the enjoyment of health (some in the vigour of
life)have paid the great debt of nature, & how many of their
survivors have drunk of the bitter cup of affliction - the
lesson presented by this reflection is calculated to impress
on the mind of the most inconsiderate, this most important
truth, that in the midst of life we are in Death, and that
when the shafts of the great Destroyer are flying with such
profusion around, although the protecting arm of the
Almighty averts them from ourselves at the present moment
we are nevertheless not their less devoted victims -
The death of your Uncle Andrew was an event I had long
expected to hear of - an enemy only to himself, I trust
the virtues of his heart (for he had a good disposition) will
atone for his constitutional infirmities and that as his
indiscretions had more of weakness than vice in them, they
will be included rather in the account of human frailty
than human depravity - Eliza and William have attained that
age when their services will be very useful to their Mother
and I hope that with their assistance she will be enabled
to realize a comfortable provision for them all -
I am sorry I cannot give a more favourable account of
the health of this place than you will have received by
my letter to Jas. [James?] Coulson, forwarded by the last vessel
for Liverpool - since the writing of it we have lost one of
our warpers - this is the fourth death among the adults,
but several children have been carried off by this most
disgusting malady, (fever and ague) fortunately for me, I
am the only person that has been on the establishment
during the season, that has escaped an attack - yet how
enviable is our situation here compared to that of others
- In the [devoted?] cities of New Orleans & Pensacola
scarcely a stranger that continued in either place but fell
victim to the yellow fever - I still continue to reside
in Lancaster and walk over to the factory every day - I
stay at [Haymakers?] [Tavern?] of which the celebrated
Mr Cobbett makes such honourable mention and it justly
deserves all the encomiums he gives it -
there are several permanent boarders most of whom are
young Lawyers - one of them a member of congress - their
reserve and taciturnity form a striking contrast to the
conviviality and loquacity of your Irish Lawyers - each
leaves the table as soon as he has taken the last
mouthful, which he masticates as he quits the room -
from 15 to 20 persons generally sit down to each meal,
sometimes 30 or 40 - and I have often counted more dishes
of meat at breakfast than there were persons to eat of them.
The dishes to be sure were small consisting of sliced [meat?]
& boiled beef, tongue, sausages [spatchcocks?] steaks,
fried ham, hung beef (raw) sliced very thin, eggs, mackerel,
&c &c it is customary to lay knives & forks & plates for
breakfast and supper [same?] as for dinner, and the knife &
fork is used for bread & butter, toast, cakes &c
indiscriminately - Lancaster is a smart place - the
inhabitants are chiefly of Dutch extraction and among the
middle & working classes the German languages is prevalent
- there are several very good modern built houses in it.
but with the exception of these & a number of two and three
story houses which formed the grandeur of its earlier days,
the rest are but one story and so low that one can reach
to the roof of most of them - from the number of places
of public worship one would suppose that at least one
commandment was very strictly observed here, but when you
are told that the law court is sometimes held on the
sabbath, and that Butchers, Millers, Distillers, Brewers
[all?] follow their several occupations as on other days,
you will form a different conclusion - the churches are 10
in number, viz an episcopal, a German Lutheran, a German
reformed, (Calvinist), a German Moravian, a Roman Catholic,
a Presbyterian, a Quaker, a Methodist, a new kind of
Independent, [stain] the five first have organs, some [torn]
[torn] ago we had a Militia Inspection here, [torn]
[-----anding?] officer was Brigadier general [Ma-?][torn]
was mounted on a grey charger, and draped in a blue [un--?]
[uniform?] [torn] coat, white Dimity pantaloons, a pair
top boots (the boast of other days) & a small round hat
surmounted with a "nodding plume" of red & white feathers
- In the afternoon a Gentleman invited me to a glass of
Madeira, while we were drinking it, his Excellency stepped in,
and i had the honor of being introduced to him - but what
was my astonishment, when as I passed by a Blacksmith's shop
a day or two afterwards I observed "his Excellency Brigadier
General [Mor---?] [stain]" with his shirt sleeves rolled over
his elbows busy at work shoeing a large waggon horse. Mr
Wrights information was rather incorrect, there was a lady
(a doctors widow) that made me an offer of her property if
I accepted of her hand with it - I have not heard of her Death,
nor have I any expectation of being her heir - I must refer
you to my letter to M Coulson for what I had to say on the
subject of your coming over. Remember me to all my friends,
give my love in particular to your aunts & cousins and
embrace Margaret, Mary, and Ann for me, may God bless you all
is the fervent prayer of yr [your?] affectionate Father
J. Wightman

Jacob Hancock arrived at Baltimore, we have corresponded, but
having had no reply to my last letter, I infer that he has left
that I had a letter not long since from my sister Nancy
the family were all well. I sent you a copy of the [poem?]
in a parcel that Wm [William?] sent to Mr Patton 18 months ago –