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Title: William Williamson, Illinois, to Hugh Williamson, Co Armagh.
CollectionIrish Emigration Database
FileWilliamson, William/16
SenderWilliamson, William
Sender Gendermale
Sender Occupationfarmer
Sender Religionunknown
OriginBelvidere, Illinois, USA
DestinationRichhill, Co. Armagh, N.Ireland
RecipientWilliamson, Hugh
Recipient Gendermale
SourceT 2680/2/3: Copied by Permission of W. P. Williamson, Esq., Ahorey House, Richhill, County Armagh. #TYPE EMG William Williamson, Bonus Prairie, Boon [Boone?] County, Belvidere, Illinois, U.S.A., to Hugh Williamson, Ahory, Richhill, County Armagh, 27 Novem
ArchivePublic Record Office, Northern Ireland.
Doc. No.9007161
Partial Date
Doc. TypeEMG
Log31:07:1990 S.C.#CREATE created 09:10:1990 CD input
Word Count2326
TranscriptTo:- Hugh Williamson
Co[unty?] Armagh
No 3, Bonus Prairie Boon[e?] County, Belvidere November 27th - [18?]43

My Dear Hugh
I suppose you have all concluded before
this time from my long silence I was either Dead or very
ungrateful, but I am not Dead yet and when I read
over your letters which I do almost every week I feel
ashamed of myself for not writing sooner, The Style which
your letters are written in almost surprises me. I think if
you would practice a little more than you do you would
make a first rate pensman, your letters give me the greatest
satisfaction of any I ever seen, sometimes I wonder
if you dictate them yourself or if Rob[er?]t or mary assists
you. I am sorry to hear of the Babes of the wood looks so
poorely [poorly?] since I left Ahory but the only remedy for her now
is to take the 17th admirer for the 18th is gone, I got a Letter from
you on July 15th August 30th Sept[ember?] 30th, I also got one from Ben
and one from Rob[er?]t Roberts arrived here on the 24th of Nov[ember?]
and I am sorry John was not hear [here?] to see it for there was
a great deal of fun in it. I would have enjoyed myself
very much looking at Dick Shanks getting married and
Smiddy at his side with a shovel full of mortar -
I am surprised to hear of another wedding which I under-
stood [understood?] was not to be in that side of the creation
But I suppose I am making my letter up with what you
dont want to see on paper so here goes to give you a
little about Illinois, Tho[ma?]s McCluse and you seem anxious
about coming here and also to know what kind of soil
Ploughs and other Farming utensils is used
The land that is farmed hear [here?] generally is what is
called Prair[i?]e it is like meadow on the surface
quite Black when Ploughed, when a man has a farm
of Prairie here he gets 4- 5- or 6 yoke of oxen and has
what is called a breaking Plough that will run on
2 wheel in the furrow being 3 1/2 inches larger
than the one on the land, if he has only 4 yoke of oxen he takes
18 or 20 head and if he has 6 yokes he takes 2 feet of a furrow
1 man can break 2 acres per day in this manner and if
a man cant buy a breaking plough and oxen he has to pay
2 Dollars per acre for Breaking besides board and Lodging
to the person he employs when the land is broke which
is from the middle of May to the 12 of July it Lies there
to the Farmer begins to put in his wheat the Farmer may
either sow his wheat without cross Ploughing or cross
Plough it if he finds he has time, a Bushel and a quarter
will do, If it is sowed on the Breaking it requires a good
deal of Harrowing as the furrow is thrown on its Back
and the Land is as flat as it was before breaking
There is no weeding or trouble with the wheat until it
is ready for Harvesting which is hardest work here a
Farmer has The manner of cutting their harvest is done
in this way - They have a Tool exactly like your common
Scythe with 4 Fingers of wood that stands perpendicular
with the Blade and made as near the same shape of
the Blade as possible, this Tool is called a Cradle and
it is awkward as looking thing as ever you saw -
when the Cradler makes the stroke the grain rests
against the Fingers and with a peculiar motion of
of the left Hand he throws the grain of[f?] the Fingers
and a good Cradler will lay the grain as strait [straight?]
and as square as you could wish for, 3 men
will rake and Bind it up as fast as a man can
cradle and I have seen cradlers cutting 4 feet at three
cuts - a Cradler will will (sic) a Dollar and half per Day and
the Rakers & Binders will get a Dollar - when the grain
is cut and put up in stooks it is then stacked
in the same way W[illia?]m Barnet used to do without any Thatch
The Thrashing is done by Thrashing machines - gen[e?]rally
8 Horse power that will Thrash from 150 to 300 Bushels
per Day, and the thrashing costs 10 Bushels of wheat or 5 Dollars per
100 Bushel, when the wheat is ready for sale the Farmer
goes to Belvidere and contracts for whatever quantity
of wheat he wants to part, getting whatever money
he wants and then the rise of the market to July
but he has to bring his wheat to Belvidere when he
contracts for it when the Farmer wnats to sow wheat
on ground he has cultivated for 2 or 3 years he ploughs
it taking a furrow 9 or 12 inches Broad and 4 deep
throwing the furrow on its Back so as to cover the weeds
or stubble, and Harrow it in the usual way only they
dont Harrow it as well as they do in Ireland
The Potatoes is planted here in little hills 3 feet apart with 3 or 4
sets in each hill and is moulded with a Tool like your scraper
but what is called a Hoe, the Potatoes is as good here as ever I saw
and we can raise as good oats as you would wish to see
Thomas and you want to know how the[y?] manage about taking
Farms on the shares, there is no particular way or Rule for
this but just as you can agree, it dont however answer
a single man to take a farm very well I think unless
his Friends are living here to let him have a yoke of oxen
or Horses to put his crop in with - There is some men
who comes in here from other states bringing a wife and
Family, horses ploughs and such other things that has no
money and it does very well for them, for they get into
a little House perhaps 16 feet square and if there is 1 or 2
sons they will put in from 40 to 80 acres of wheat and
10 or 15 acres of corn 5 or 6 oats and some Potatoes, but
it dont answer a young man coming in here and buying
a yoke of oxen or horses and putting some wheat on the
shares and when his wheat is in perhaps cant sell his
horses or whatever or may be when he wants to go and
Hire out by the Month, John & I took 10 acres this Fall
on the shares to put in wheat and we bought a yoke
of oxen to plough and put it in but there was mistakes
in the Bargain and we did not get as much wheat
sowed as we wanted we only got 5 acres and we are
keeping the rest for spring wheat - the way we took it was
this - The man we took it from was to give us the ground seed
and sow the seed our Board & Lodging while we were
Putting it in, however these 5 Acres that I have not sowed
I will try and Rent it from which costs about a
Dollar and a half p[er?] acre and find seed and all
myself, I want to have something to feed you all
on next year when you come to see me, I have
my oxen yet and I am going to get me out as
logs as will build me a house this winter
so you see I have not forgot you altogether
John is left me about 2 weeks ago I expect he
gone to Alabama I have not heard anything of
him yet nor I dont expect to hear from him for a
month yet he has the Letter of Introduction to Mr Simpson
and I expect he will do pretty well -
I intend as soon as there comes a frost to go to Chicago and deed 80 acres
of Land I have got what money will do it the half of it of course is
Ishers and John and I entered into a Partnership with anything we do and
the fact is it is the best plan for 2 men to work together in this country
especially on a Farm, and if John makes anything at Alabama I get share of
and if he loses I share his loss. there is something
in Roberts letter that I am not capable of answering so I leave it to John
for I have not got wit enough yet, but I will say one thing if Robert was
once here Ahory would never see him Back again - However Rob[er?]t speaks
of a Flour mill There is nothing would pay so well as a Flour mill here
and so easy made Tom wants to know what is the Best things for him to fetch
the fact is Tom if I was coming to Illinois again I would not fetch such
a rabble of things I would fetch 4 shirts and have them made double across
the shoulders - down to the small of the Back they will last as long again
I would fetch a pair of coarse Lined Trousers unbleached as coarse as a
Riga Bag if not coarser a pair of good
corduroy Lined with Flannel or serge a good pilot cloth Frock coat a Fine
Linen Jaket [Jacket?] without any lining whatever, I would also get a
plain over shirt of cotton Tickin[g?] made not so long as shirts are
generally made to wear over a vest with a belt to Button round my waist
The Belt made of the same as the shirt I would have it with half a neck
and that it would only reach to my Fork
It is one of the Best things you can have for working in and I would
fetch a good warm cap a good warm Neck cravat a few pair of worsted
socks and dont fetch a pair of Big shoes the sort that I did fetch any
any (sic) kind of old shoes that will do you across the sea and when you
come to New York buy a pair of [la?]rge Boots without any nails in them
you will get them for 2 Dollars or so. I would advise any one coming
to America when they get to N[ew?] York to take the same route, as I did
you will see on my other Letters what way I took to come and what
I paid dont have your boxes made large my boxes was the right
size and when you get in the vessel tie your Boxes well to the foot of
your Berth so that the Tossing of the vessel wont Injure them, I will
write a Letter or send a newspaper as soon as I hear from John
and I will write a Letter to Ben and direct to Ahory I wish
Hugh & Robert to see it. Robert also wants to know what cure there
is for the Bite of the Rattlesnake - when a person is Bit let him tie a
cord or handkerchief round his leg or arm and if there is a
River or any cold water near him to immediately go into the water and
squese [squeeze?] all the blood he can out of the wound and on no account
drink water milk or any cold drink if he does he will not live
perhaps 10 minutes, or if he has any Tobacco take and chew a piece and
tie it to the wound until he gets home let him then get an onion and
pound it fine and put on some soda that is a very good cure - there
is also Rattlesnake weed grows will cure it, and to kill a chicken and
[and?] cut it open put it to the Bite will drain out the Poison in
10 minutes the person Bit must drink soda water all the time - Rob[er?]t
wants to [know?] if there is any mines minerals or Navigable River near us,
There [is?] a very Large Lead mine 90 miles west of Belvidere and the
Illinois River is Navigable for steam Boats that is 75 miles of Belvidere
my next letter I wish to be kept in the family you will know when you read
it. I am ashamed of my writing but I have lost my knife and cannot make a
pen If you find I have not given you the proper directions how to act
or that I have not said enough about coming out write
Immediately for If you come I would like you to leave home on
or about the 5 of March
It was weeds poisoned Johns Hand
and tell my Mother not to be uneasy about
John or I for we are doing well enough
I am surprized [surprised?] Robert did not mention the
G[rand?]-mother how she is but I hope she is
better than she was when Mary wrote. Tell Tom
that work is scarce here in the winter time but
I expect if he was here I could get him a situ[ation?]
yearly at 10 or 11 Dollars per month
Send me some
Dear Hugh if the want of a
few Pounds will hinder you and I from
meeting in Illinois I hope we will both
remember there is a Better state to which
we can both have a safe passage to if
we are deprived of meeting here God Bless
Father Mother G[rand?]Mother and all my Friends
and Beli[e?]ve me most afft [affectionate?]
W[illia?]m W[illia?]mson