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Title: McIlrath, James L to McIlrath family, 1877
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 Count462
Genrefamily, acquaintances, weather, local economy
April 30th 1877

Father Mother and Brother,
You will I hope excuse for not writing before this, but we were every
week for the past three months expecting Mr. Robt Matthews back
again when I intended to write to them after his arrival but we are all
beginning to think that he must be enjoying himself to perfection, and
has forgot New Zealand altogether. His friends all arrived safe here
one of his sisters Mrs Patterson was very ill on the voyage but is now
pretty nearly recovered the other sister Mrs Wallace
was confined on the voyage but arrived here in good
health about as broad as she was tall. Mr Robt.
Anderson and Mrs. Anderson is well, we enjoyed
ourselves very much the first night they arrived here
we almost felt as if we were roaming over Irish soil
again and forgot for the time that there is distance
between. Old Mrs. Matthews was very ill about
Christmas and was at Christchurch, when her friends
arrived, for medical attendance. She is not quite well
yet and thinks a good deal about Robert.
I hope you are all well Father, Mother and yourself, Mrs and family
not forgetting John, Mrs and family you may tell John that I received
the portraits for which I return thanks I shall write to him as soon as
Robt Matthews arrives but perhaps he has made up his mind to stop
in Ireland. Maggie Auld is still living with us and in good health she
can name a good many people about Killinchy that I must have forgot
or else they are newcomers - if you see her Father or Mother tell them
they must write to her oftener as she is always looking for a letter from them her brother David comes to see her regular he is living with
Hans McClure and Robt is living with George McClure.
We have had one of the wettest summers and especially the harvest
that was ever known here. Some of the crop had to be left uncut as
the land was too soft for the reaper others was cut but not tied and
was growing to the ground so badly that people turned pigs into the
fields sooner than pay for binding it up. The result is that fat pigs is
plentiful and therefore cheap. I had all my grain in stook but then it is
a deal sprouted.
Butter is a good price being a shilling per pound we sold £60 worth
and has on hand about f30 worth more, besides feeding 16 calves.
I hear David Osborne is left for home I never saw him only at the
I forgot to mention that we are all well, and remains yours
J.L. McIlrath