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Title: McIlrath, Hamilton to McIlrath, William, 1874
CollectionThe McIlrath Letters: A family history in letters from New Zealand to Ireland (1860-1915) [Bassett, McKee et al.]
SenderMcIlrath, Hamilton
Sender Gendermale
Sender Occupationfarmer
Sender Religionunknown
OriginKowai Pass, Canterbury, New Zealand
DestinationKillinchy, Co. Down, Northern Ireland
RecipientMcIlrath, William
Recipient Gendermale
Doc. No.
Partial Date
Doc. Type
Word Count546
Genrefarming, local economy, family
TranscriptKowai Pass Feb 15th 1874
Dear Brother
I received your letter of the 20th Oct. on the 2nd Jan. and we were
very glad to hear that you were all well as this finds us at present -
enjoyment of the same blessing good health.
We are busy harvesting now and it is a rather (busy) time for we
have far more heavy hot winds here than you have got at home and
this harvest has been rather more than usual stormy - however in
another week I expect to have finished. I have about sixty acres crop
this year the wheat is fair but the oats is a very fine crop and prices is
likely to be higher this season than last. Wheat was 4s/6d per bushel
of 60 lbs. last season and oats 2s/= per bushel of 401bs this last two
or three years but they made a spurt at the latter end of last season
up to 4s/= and 4s/6d and are likely to be the same this year. If we
got the same prices for our grain and stock here as you get at home
we could live like the sons of an Irish King for we do not go to the
trouble of draining and manuring just ploughs and harrows and rolls
and leaves it there until fit for cutting. No weeding or thistle pulling
here, threshing the grain in the paddock and burns the straw makes
no manure except what the horses make in the winter never houses
cattle. Cattle is low priced here you can buy yearlings for about 30
shillings per head and cows from four to eight pounds according to
quality horses is a good price I sold a pair of blacks for eighty pounds
this summer. Beef 3d to 4d per lb. and mutton 2d to 3d per lb. and
butter averaging about eight pence and whiskey 6d per glass or 22s/=
per gallon. Labour wages is improving this last year or two - a good
man in the harvest time can make about a pound a day piece work or from 1s/= to 1s/3d per hour and found.
I can send you very little more news that you would know anything
about - you asked me the name of my wife - her name is Eliza Jane
Atkinson but she is going to write mother a few lines and give you her
whole pedigree. I shall write no more at present but with
my very best love to father and mother, John Mrs and
family and the same to yourself Mrs and all the
little ones. I remain your brother
Hamilton McIlrath

I should like father to write me a few lines and tell
me how mother and he is getting on I hope he wont
work too hard and John he might write too and tell me if
his beard is nearly as long as the tongs still I was hearing from a Mrs
Finlay and her daughter that came from Bangor that Joseph Logan
was not doing so well as usual.
Remember me to all friends enquiring and especially to Uncle
William and Aunt Jane.
Yours truly Hamilton Mcllrath
Please do write soon and I shall have more leisure to answer your next.