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Title: Greeves, Jane to O'Brien (n. Greeves), Anne, 1824
CollectionThe Transatlantic Letters of an Irish Quaker Family_1818-1877 [B. Jackson]
SenderGreeves, Jane
Sender Genderfemale
Sender Occupationhelps in family business
Sender ReligionQuaker
OriginArmagh, N.Ireland
DestinationLake Erie, NY, USA
RecipientO'Brien (n. Greeves), Anne
Recipient Genderfemale
Doc. No.
Partial Date
Doc. Type
Word Count2500
Genrenews of family, friends and neighbours
TranscriptArmagh 12th mo 20th 1824

My dear sister
It is longer since I addressed thee than I ever had intended to be and would have done so sooner, but anything
particular I had to communicate Sister Mary, Brother Thos or some person who could write more of consequence
had written; so thought a pity to put you to the expence of postage. But now as there is a box going I intend
writing everything I can think of. In the first place I know thee will be anxious to hear particularly how my Dear Mother was affected. Thee may remember to have heard her speak of a lump on her tongue, but then she did not
think it of any consequence. It increased for the last two years of her lire greatly and the pain increased in
proportion. When I was in Carlow 5th month was a year, a small piece dropt out of it which left a hole that never
completely closed up - and it affected her speech greatly, so that strangers would scarce know what she said. I was
dreadfully shocked when I came home, but for the last five or six weeks before her decease she could speak plainer.
The pain continued to increase untill it affected the left side of her head and race completely up to the crown, and
also the left side of her throat, neck and breast - and no one can for[w] any just idea of the accumulating pain she
suffered at times; in her head she could compare it to nothing but sharp claws rearing the fibers, and her tongue
felt as if it was a-twisting out almost. It was truly distressing to witness her sufferings without being able to aleviate
them in the least - laudanum was the only thing that seemed to relieve her, and it was only temporary, just while
the effect of it lasted. She had to take it twice and sometimes three times a day in large quantities, a teaspoonful
at a time of very strong - Uncle Sam's making. It smarted her tongue dreadfully - some times it was more sensible
than others - but as I said before, thee can have but a faint idea of her sufferings. It made us all reconciled to parting
with her - which indeed would have been a very hard task under any other circumstances. She bore it with such
patience and resignation as I am sure never was exceeded.
She told me though she had everything she could wish for, that she had no wish to live and that death had no
terrors for her, which was a very happy saying and soothed the pains of parting. It would almost seem cruel to wish
her to live in such agony - though to me it was still a great comfort to have her and she was sensible, I may say,
to the very last. It is a great comfort to us to reflect that she wanted for nothing which we could procure to make
her comfortable; she often said so and the only wish she had ungratified was not hearing from thee. She often spoke
of thee but for the last week or ten days had said nothing. Even if then had one come, I think it would scarce have
been prudent to have told her of it that time, it always affected her so much. What was a little remarkable, one
arrived here the morning after she died. She was able to get downstairs some time in the day untill the last five
weeks, and then we had to have one sitting up every night, and my Father and I slept in another bed in the same
room and got up as ocation required. Before that I had always slept in the room and some nights I would be up
two, three and four times of a night getting one thing or other. For along with everything else she had a cough
which distressed her greatly. I was so accustomed to rise, the least move or cough she would give almost would
waken me, and I could go to sleep in a minute again almost - she used to wonder at me. Aunt Molly was with
her four or five months and was uncommonly kind and attentive — done every thing in her power to make her
comfortable. We had also an elderly ... woman who's name is Susey Hobbs, who was as much so as she could be;
and Thomas let Susanna stay constantly for the last six weeks, and my dear Father was seldom out of the room,
so thee may see she did not want for care. It is a pleasing consideration to think that we did not let her have a wish
ungratified which we could in any way contribute to - and no one could deserve better, for I blieve a kinder or
more affectionate Mother, wife or friend never existed. I miss her more than any one else except my Father and
he bears it full as well as could be expected. He feels her loss certainly very much, but then when he thinks of her
sufferings ... He is not very well at present with a cold, but I dont expect it will be of any consequence. He is the
only parent I have now to please and I hope and trust with the help of providence I never will vex him in any way.
I send thee my profile which some think very like me and others more like Susanna, which last I do: the nose
is not much like either of us. My nose, I remember brother Wm say (the day before your marriage, in Bernagh
parlour) was very like thine, which he said I might take as a great compliment from him and I dont think it is
much changed since, so thee will have an idea what it should be like. The cost time altogether is very like what I
usually wear when I am dressed. I suppose thee will think it gay, but is such as is generally worn by young women
nowadays. I often think of the many pleasant days we spent together and cant help feeling as if I would see thee
again - which 1 hope may be one day realised - but my Dear Sister, ro speak candidly, I never would wish to see
thee come alone and leave Wm and the children behind. 1 think it would be a very hazardous undertaking-and
then parting with thee again would be worse than ever - but should you at a future period dispose of your farm
&c &cc to advantage and conclude on coming to live in Ireland for better [or] worse, then indeed I would be delighted to see you. But it would [be] a nice thing to advise you to do so, least you should have cause to repent
it, for the Rents, Taxes and Tythes are so heavy here it is very discourageing: one comfort you have is chat you are
almost entirely exempt from these. It is certainly a great privation to be so far separated from your friends, but your
children, I hope and crust, is and will be a comfort to you. Oh! how delighted I would be to see them, the dear
little creatures, I often picture them and thee to myself: thee does not say which of us rhee thinks them most like,
but I suppose thee has almost forgot our particular features, it is now so long since thee seen any of us. But I
should not awaken feelings which would be prejudical to thy peace, for the less thee thinks of us, thee will be better
able to bear the seperation, consequently be more contented, which would be a great satisfaction to me. I was glad
to hear by a letter from thee to Mary Sinton particularly about the children &c &c and would be glad thee would
always do so, for I feel greatly interested about them. I am sure Brother Wm has a great deal to do for thee and
them - from thy account I dont think there could be a better husband - how very different would our feelings
be, did he act differently, and I have no doubt but thee is deserving of him.
Sister Susanna and I send a few thing which I hope thee will find useful: the silk shawl belonged to our dear
Mother, which I know thee will prize it more for. Also silk for a bonnet which I hope thee may like: from the
description thee gives of the American ones, I think they must be very ugly; and if they were, I think it would be a
pity to spoil good silks. With it I send thee a pattern such as is worn here, which thee can think off the crown is pleated
and sewn to the front, the way the old women's used to be, with this difference that they cock up in front a little instead
of lying straight back, which gives them a smart look. The friends' fashions change like everything else.
I am very closely confined to the shop, very seldom out [off] it but at meal times. I have very little time for
attending to the household affairs. I have the young woman still who was so attentive to my Mother - and she
does it for me and assists in the shop occationally - as does also my Father, which helps to amuse him: he would
feel very lonely had he nothing to employ him. So far we are getting on full as well as we could expect, for there
is great opposition in our way in town - several friends' familys have set up since we commenced who I blieve are
doing pretty well also. The Nicholsons still live here and we are on as good terms as ever - I find it very pleasant
to have them. None of them are married yet nor any talk of it. Thee may say it is near rime for thyself to be going
off: perhaps thee might think and it would be vanity in me to say I might have done so three or four times: but
none of the offers I would accept of- no person knew of rhem out of our own family. Nor would I have mentioned
it now, but I know thee would be interested in any thing that concerns me. Dont take any notice of it in thy
letters for I think it is hardly becoming in me to say any thing about it, now when I think of it. And thy letters
are generally seen or heard by all the family. Indeed I dont see much inducement to marry at present - every one
has enough to do to make out a decent livelihood.
John is quite stout now: he is better for the last six months than he had been for several years before; he is a
very kind brother, and attentive to business. Wms time is to be out next 6th month, when I suppose he will come
home. Mary mentioned in her last letter that he was doing very well now. I often wish Thomas was comfortably
married, until I Susanna and I would get living together, which we very seldom do though we are so near each other,
which I very often regret: bur I will hope for the best; perhaps this ensuing year may do something for him - it is
full time now if ever he intends to marry.
I am writing thee very little news, for I expect Susanna has done that which she is better able to do than I am,
as she lives in Tyrone and there are very few people here that thee knows anything about. I am sure thee will be
surprised to hear of Anna Shaw's marriage [to John Johnson] - as I also was, when I heard it first. Joslin Johnson
called in to see us the night before last and he was enquiring particularly for thee - he said thee would never be
better or happier than he would wish thee to be. He is just the same Win still: he has a chance of being Marquis
of Annandale. His only brother died lately and he had to put in his claim with thirty others and they were all
thrown but his. So now, when he is gone, Joslin has the same chance but only a chance, for it is long
disputed and not likely to terminate soon. I am sure I would be glad he would gain it: there is an estate of £2,200
a year devolves on whoever is successful. I was twice in Moyallon this summer where I had not been for two years before. Our friends there were enquiring affectionately for thee. Cousin Molly Phelps is still alive and well. Bess [Phelps?] is quite well and sensible now, but neither her nor Sally are married yet, nor George. Hannah and Mary Dawson are very nice young women - they were in Armagh lately and called to see me - they were asking when I had heard from thee. Hannah is more
generally liked than Mary but I like them both very well. Uncle Saml is still a constant visitor there and at Banvale
but there is no more sign of Ruth and he becoming one than ever, though we still make fun of him about her. Jane
Sinton continues to live with him. Aunt Debby is very well. I never saw her look better. She says she never was
more happy and indeed she has all the appearance of it. Uncle George makes her a very good husband.
I was glad to hear you intended calling your last little baby John and I hope you do so - I am very partial to
the name of John, independent of its being my Dear Fathers name, and I know it will gratify him a little. We send
a few books which will amuse Maria. I am glad to hear she has such a taste for learning. Had she an opportunity
I think she would be very clever. I wish I could see her - she [is] fine company for thee besides being useful. I hope
thee may get everything safe. I would be glad thee would write a long letter addressed to Susanna and I, and
anything and everything thee could write concerning yourselves would be interesting to us. I hope thee may be
able to make this out. When I began I did not expect to write so much or I would have taken a larger sheer. I send
an old silk bonnet of mine which will do for a pattern and make one for Maria. With dear love to you all I am
with unalterable affection

thy sincere sister