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Title: McIlrath, James L to McIlrath family, 1876
CollectionThe McIlrath Letters: A family history in letters from New Zealand to Ireland (1860-1915) [Bassett, McKee et al.]
SenderMcIlrath, James L
Sender Gendermale
Sender Occupationfarmer
Sender Religionunknown
OriginSouthbridge, Canterbury, New Zealand
DestinationKillinchy, Co. Down, Northern Ireland
RecipientMcIlrath family
Recipient Gendermale-female
Doc. No.
Partial Date
Doc. Type
Word Count644
Genrenew emigrant, family, acquaintances
January 11th 1876

Father, Mother and Brothers
I now write to inform you that I received yours of October 24th ‘75
and was happy to learn that you received what I sent you without any
trouble and may you all long enjoy a pleasant drive.
You said that the Aulds was leaving Belfast for here and that you
recommended Maggie to me.
As soon as I received your letter I wrote to Mrs Smyth who takes
care of the newly arrived girls until they find a situation. She is Mrs
of the Emigration Depot, Christchurch I said that I expected a girl
of the name of Maggie Auld to arrive per ship 'Conflict' from Belfast
and that if she wished to find me to send her with the others that was
coming to Southbridge.
I also wrote a letter to Maggie in care of Mrs Smyth so that she
might get it when she landed.
Well I happened to be in Southbridge on the day that the others
arrived there but no Maggie. I then telegraphed to Mrs Smyth to
know where Maggie had got to and received in reply that she was
engaged at the Club Hotel Rangiora.
I then took the train next day and went right to the Hotel a distance
of 48 miles and saw her there. She told me that Mrs Smyth never
gave her my letter until she was leaving after being engaged I asked
her if she would prefer going with me and she said she would but
her Mrs when I asked her said that it would only be fair for Maggie
to stop a month as she was engaged and give them a chance to get
another and Maggie to let her Brothers know that she was leaving
and if they were willing that she would at the end of the month see
Maggie on the train for me at Christchurch.
Rangiora is 18 miles on one side of Christchurch and Southbridge 30 by railway on the other. So if all goes well I expect her in 3 weeks.
You will see by a clipping the account of the passage it was pretty good
83 days. By another you will see the Death of Thomas Logan I am
not certain but I believe it is the same as I never knew any other.
I wish to inform you that Mr Robert Matthews is leaving here on
Monday the 14th for Sydney and will sail from there on March 1st
by steamer for London calling at Cape of Good Hope 2 days to coal
she is expected to go to London in less than 50 days in all. Robert
is going to give you a call we had all the family in the room I now
write together with. John Skilling and Mrs or what was Mary Ann
Moorhead on Wednesday Night last and this night Friday we are
going to Southbridge Hotel to have a Public Dinner before he leaves
there is over 40 persons invited (men only) I hope he may arrive safe
he will stop a week in London with an Uncle then to Belfast I think
you may expect him in the last week of April the same steamer came
out in 431/2 days last trip he will be with you perhaps as soon as this
letter he will be able to tell you all about New Zealand he is coming
out again. Hoping you all may enjoy a good chat with one so nearly
connected and qualified to give you a good idea of Colonial life.
I must once more take my leave in the hope that you are one and
all well.
PS I see that I have not mentioned that Mr Matthews is brother to
my Mrs you will know now.
I remain yours affectionately
James L McIlrath