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Title: McIlrath, John to McIlrath family, 1881
CollectionThe McIlrath Letters: A family history in letters from New Zealand to Ireland (1860-1915) [Bassett, McKee et al.]
SenderMcIlrath, John
Sender Gendermale
Sender Occupationstudent
Sender Religionunknown
OriginSouthbridge, Canterbury, New Zealand
DestinationKillinchy, Co. Down, Northern Ireland
RecipientMcIlrath family
Recipient Gendermale-female
Doc. No.
Partial Date
Doc. Type
Word Count479
Genrefamily, school
TranscriptNew Zealand
Aug 12th 1881

Dear grandfather and grandmother now for the first time, I write to
let you know how we are getting along, dear papa and mama is well
at present, and all my brothers and sisters, thank God for that great
blessing. Papa was ill with a bad arm a long time but it is a great
deal better now it is his right arm and is stiff at the elbow joint, he
could do very little work for a long time but he is still at something
now. Mamma has had bad health this last year, she has been confined
to bed often for weeks at a time but she is better now. Papa is busy
getting the wheat in now but he has got (an) American drill for
drilling it in instead of sowing it with the hands, it is a two horse
draught. I am at school now acompanied with my brothers and sister
William and Janney Robert and James Hamilton, when three stops at
home with Mamma, Matilda, Agnes, Eva, so you see that Papa has
got a nice little family.
I was eleven my last birthday which was the last day of March. My
youngest sister is about one year and a half old, dear grandfather, I
must not forget to tell you that uncle Hamilton paid us a visit some
time ago we were all very glad to see him, he is well likewise aunt
and dear cousins. Papa and uncle Hamilton went to see their cousin
Robert McIlrath where they spent a pleasant evening.
I must tell you that papa got a nice quiet little pony to ride when his
arm got a little better, it had a pretty little foal and he gave the foal
to me, it will soon be two years old, you may think how proud I am
of it, as I am like uncle Robert Matthews very found of horses, uncle
Robert Matthews is well. Grandmamma Matthews is well and going about in good health, she is seventy four years old now. Aunt Ellen is
not in good health she got a stab with a rush, and broke the ball of her
eye, when she was stooping for water at a creek, but I hope it will soon
be better.
There is going to be a school treat about Christmas for the school
that I am at for the scholars, and we will be at it I think.
Dear grandfather I should like to see you all, but when I am a man
I should like to come and see paddys land and see where papa and
mamma was born.
I have no more to say at present. But I send my best respects to
grandmother and you and all my uncles and cousins and aunts at
home. Written by John McIlrath born 1870.