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Title: McIlrath, Hamilton to McIlrath, William, 1886
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
OriginSpringfield, New Zealand
DestinationKillinchy, Co. Down, Northern Ireland
RecipientMcIlrath, William
Recipient Gendermale
Doc. No.
Partial Date
Doc. Type
Word Count465
Genrefamily, local economy
May 2nd 1886

Dear William
I received your letter of February 22nd and we were very glad to hear
that you were all well and that Mother was enjoying good health. I
don't know how to excuse myself for not writing long before. I wrote
to John after Father's death and of course I thought you living so near
that it was nearly all the same. However we must write oftener to one
another than we lately have been doing. We are all in good health and
that "all" includes eleven, five boys and four girls, all fine and healthy.
Six attending school the two eldest boys aged, one 13 and the other
between eleven and twelve years, are both in the fifth standard and
for grammar and arithmetic far before me, and the others getting on
equally well for their ages. I forget how many of a family you have
but the two I see mentioned in the programme must be really clever.
Hamilton will be quite a man by this time and Jane a young woman,
how time flies, I think they must have got their musical talent from
their mother for I don't think either of us could ever sing any. My
Mrs would like very much to get the words of the two songs by them
but I suppose you could not easily send them. She is very fond of
music. The summer just past was the driest we have had here for years
and feed very scarce, still the crops on the whole turned out better
than expected and the prices a little better than last year. I thrashed
out two thousand bushels. Wheat fetched 3/= per bushel 60 lbs at the
nearest station about a mile off and oats 2 / - 40 lbs. There is a great
cry of hard times here as elsewhere where it is pretty hard to make much money at present but still I can hold my own pretty comfortable.
Sheep that sold last year for 18/= are fetching at present about eight
or nine shillings but after all I don't think there is any better country
than N. Zealand. A few years ago people were doing too well and
speculated too much on land and other ways and got heavily in debt
and now the reaction has set in, they feel as woeful as a drunken man
when he is getting sober again. I had a letter from James lately, they
are all well. Eliza joins heartily in sending kind love to Mother and
wishing her many years of health and happiness and we would wish to
be kindly remembered to John his Mrs and family and with kind love
to you all from us all I remain your Brother Hamilton McIlrath