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Title: McIlrath, Hamilton to McIlrath, William, 1882
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 Count667
Genrefamily, politics, local economy
TranscriptKowai Pass
May 8th 1882

Dear Brother
It is so long since I have heard from you now or wrote myself that
I scarcely know how to commence. I have been waiting month after
month and year after year I might say for an answer to a letter and
a photograph of the house we sent you nearly three years ago and
always expecting a letter every mail. The time has went by as you see
however I write this hoping that Father and Mother and you all are in
good health. We are all well and getting on pretty well as the home
letters used to say more especially as far as family is concerned we have
seven now five boys and two girls all healthy just the same as was of us
I believe. I dont know whether it is two or three we have got since last
we wrote however the names of the youngest three is - William,
Harriett and Freddie - so many you see required one to look about for
names. The two oldest boys is attending school we have a very large
school within half a mile of us this part of the country where I live
is very much changed since I came to it on an average you would not
have met with a house within every four miles but now every inch of
land is taken up, fenced and built upon and there is a large colliery
about a mile from our house and only a road between the property it
is on and my farm so you may guess it is not a dull place - for instance
there was an election on Wednesday last for seven members to serve
on the school committee when there was about 200 householders
present. I secured a seat though competition was great. Speaking of
elections I have for the last nine years been at the head of the poll as
a member of the road Board never was defeated, but enough of this, I
might write a great deal about people and things here which you not knowing them might not interest you. The grain and produce market
has been pretty low this last few years, for instance beef at present
is only 17/= per 100 lbs. mutton best 2d per lb. and pork 3d per lb.
Wheat 4s-6d per 60 lbs. Oats is a fair price this season 3s-6d per
bushel of 40 lbs. Horses very plentiful not half the price they were a
few years ago. Brother James and family is well, I think I mentioned
in my last that he had a very bad arm, it healed but shrivelled up
so that it is but little use to him but he can do without working but
it frets him a little as he was always used to be busy at something.
He got Robert Matthews swamp farm and Robert went farther up
country. Dear Brother receiving no answer to our last as I mentioned
before has made us very anxious fearing something has happened,
pray ask Father and Mother not to think me ungrateful or that I have
forgotten them, that I shall never, write as soon as you get this and let
me know how they are. God has spared them to a good old age and as
it is likely we shall never meet again in this world I have a certain hope
we shall all meet in a better where there is no parting. Remember us
to John and his family and ask him to forgive me for not answering
his letter but as soon as I hear from you all again I shall write to him.
Cousin Robert and family is well. He sold his old place and bought a
larger farm no more now but with kind love to Father and Mother and
you all. I am their affectionate son and your brother
Hamilton McIlrath Remember me to all enquiring friends.