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Title: McIlrath, Hamilton to McIlrath, William, 1878
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 Count819
Genrevisit, family, emigration, local economy
TranscriptKowai Pass
July 15th 1878

Dear William
I feel ashamed for not writing to you long before this but the fact
was we did not care to write before we seen Robt Matthews he and
James & Robt. McIlrath made it up to come together but when one
was ready the other was not and they only got our length on the 24th
April last. I think the cause of the delay was owing to James's arm
being so bad. It had been very bad and no mistake but it is getting
better now he said he had not told you about it in his letters for fear of
making you over anxious until he seen how it would turn out however
when he was up here he seemed to be getting all right I have not
heard from him since, as I promised them to be down to see them
last month and have some pheasant shooting but it being the dead
of winter here and the shortest days here I put it off for another two
months however we spent a very pleasant time when they were here.
We had some pleasant chat about home Robt. Matthews speaks highly
of the reception he got from you all he says Father no matter how late
he had been up the night before was still first up in the morning.
I have just received your letter of May 15 78 by which I am glad to
hear you are all well, but I think you ought to be in receipt of some
letters from Eliza before this she wrote after we got your likenesses
which we admired very much you have really a nice family, and for
yourself and Mrs. I wont say anything I dare say you are both proud
enough of your looks already, we got the parcel all right very proud we
all were of them the book I think a great deal of and I still hold the
same views but people here would call you a heretic if you mentioned
such a thing. James told me the Presbyterian minister would not baptise his last child on account of him not conforming to their rules
Hamilton Jellies likeness I think a very true one considering the time
since I last seen him I hope they are all well has none of them got
married yet. James thought the likeness was Robt. Hamiltons on
account of the verses that came along with it and for the other things
they were all really very pretty and you were all very kind considering
you never received anything from us yet, the children has never done
talking about their grandfather and grandmother. Robt. McIlrath
says little Jenny is very like her grandmother and I think she is too I
believe if her grandmother seen her she would say she was as pretty a
little girl as she could wish, little Hamilton and us all drank to your
healths out of his glass the night it came not forgetting his namesake
the sender. John Robert wishes me to thank his grandfather for the
Bible & grandmother for the pretty socks she sent him.
We are in good health and getting on well enough if we would be
satisfied but New Zealand is a great place for trying to get more we
live in a very healthy place and I believe it will be one of the most
prosperous districts in Canterbury before long. When I settled
here first it was as much as I could see a house in any direction but
now every inch of government land is bought up and the railroad
running past and coalmines and potterys within about a mile of us
and freehold land is rising in value rapidly. I could write a great deal
more but what interests us here would be of no interest to you as you
would know nothing of the people or local news but it is different with
me anything happening at home within the circle of our aquaintences,
births, marriages or anything is news for me. Remember me to John and tell him I scarcely know how to excuse myself for not writing to
him long before this but I am a miserable bad correspondent except
I commence at once to answer a letter time wears on until I feel
ashamed and then I think I will wait for another but no second came
in this case, but I will write to him some of these days.
We got his and the Mrs likenesses and I can tell you they do look
well. John has got a fine face of hair and the Mrs. she really is a fine
looking woman. No more now but with kind love to you all and best
wishes to Father and Mother. I remain your affectionate son and your
H. McIlrath