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Title: Greeves, Susanna to O'Brien (n. Greeves), Anne, 1840
CollectionThe Transatlantic Letters of an Irish Quaker Family_1818-1877 [B. Jackson]
SenderGreeves, Susanna
Sender Genderfemale
Sender Occupationshop keeper
Sender ReligionQuaker
OriginLisburn, N.Ireland
DestinationLake Erie, NY, USA
RecipientO'Brien (n. Greeves), Anne
Recipient Genderfemale
Doc. No.
Partial Date
Doc. Type
Word Count2101
GenreJane's recovery, visit from relatives, news of family, friends and neighbours, new apprentice, cheaper mail
TranscriptLisburn 2 month 16th 1840

My dear sister
A few weeks since, I received thy very welcome letter, the last part dated 10 month 10th. It was unusually long in
reaching us, for which we cannot account. We were pleased to find that thou had heard through Rebecca Bell of
dear sister Janes being recovered and home, for which blessing I trust we are thankfull; it is indeed an unspeakable
pleasure to us all that it has pleased the almighty to restore her to us and her friends. She is now as well as ever
and able to assist at the business as well as ever she was. What a comfort it is to my dear father to see her so well,
as many an anxious hour & sleepless night he spent on her account. Bur I believe his petitions were heard at the
Throne of Grace from whence all good comes, and I hope this trial which we have passed through may be sanctified
to us, as no doubt but it was sent for our good.
Thy letter has been very gratifying to us all, more so than many we have received for a long time, as it tells us
of thine and Thomas' [Thomas Emlyn O'Brien's] health being much improved &: also that you are getting along
much better. You now seem quite independant - you are not like us that have to buy everything: it must indeed
be pleasant to have all within yourselves.
We had heard of Abraham & Rebecca Bell's visit to you by letters from them to their friends in this country,
her Aunt Greer- and also her cousin Charlotte Harvey (Dawson that was). The latter read an extract of a letter
to sister Jane from Rebecca, giving an account of their visit to you, with which they were very much pleased; and
she spoke of thee as being a lovely woman, and greatly admired the manner in which the children had been
brought up, and said altho living in the woods they had manners that would grace the first City drawing room:
which thou may be sure was a gratification to us to hear. It was very kind of them to ask Maria to spend some time
with them — I hope you will be able to spare her and I have no doubt bur it will be an advantage to her. Rebecca
is a nice young woman and a person we are very fond of. I will never forget her sympathy for me, when dear Jane
took ill. She was then about to leave Ireland — she and her father called to see us and spent an eveng. She then wrote
me from Liverpool how deeply she felt for us all - and with what tenderness and feeling she did express what she
felt on our accounts. On her first visit to Ireland, sister Jane was in Dungannon and she met Rebecca at Milton
and several other places; they seemed mutually pleased with each other and she had the pleasure of her company
during our Q Meeting. We were again pleased to see her on her second visit and to renew our intamacy — poor girl, she has had her own share of trials and her fathers last misfortune I am sure was a great grief to her. We
dont know so much of her sisters Mary & Anne as they spent most of their time at Milton & Elmfield [the
Dawsons'], but I believe they are amiable girls.
Cousin James [Greer] Greeves & his sons visit to you must also have been gratifying and it was very kind of
him to offer to send Wm money to put up a saw mill, which if you thought it would be an advantage !r would be
well to accept of. I hope he may pay us a visit - he could then teli us all about you. I often picture thee, Wm &
thy children - and almost fancy I know them all, particularly the 3 eldest. I wish I did realy know them, but
wishing is fruitless, therefore I must only live in hope of perhaps seeing some of them in Ireland yet. Thou speaks
of some of us going to see you but, my dear sister, we seem to be tied down to the cares of this world as well as
thyself; although we have not the same care of children, but our business takes constant attention and it has its
anxietys: but since dear Jane is able now to help me it takes much of the weight off my shoulders.
The young woman who we had for 3 years an apprentice] has now left us, her time being up. We have now
got Agnes McIntyre, young woman and a distant relation. She used to help us on Market days for several years.
She is a granddaughter of old Sally Boyds who thou might remember being in Dungon sometimes. We hope Co have
satisfaction with her - she seems willing to do everything she possibly can and she can do anything almost in the
way of sewing, if we required it & could spare her from the shop.
Since I wrote thee John G. O'Brien516 has got married and settled in Armagh and Sister Mary & Lizzy have
been living with cousin Anne McDonnell in the subburbs of Cork on one of the Glanmire roads. It is a warm
situation but she intends going to Cove the beginning of next month, which is still reckoned much warmer, and
I hope against summer she will return to the North again and settle some place near us. Her health is very delicate
and she is not able to bear much fatigue. Lizzy keeps pretty well with the acception of a cough now & again - she
is a general favourite & to he an only child is not a spoiled one. I hope, poor child, her Morher may be spared over
her, for indeed altho she has near and dear friends, yet there are few who would take the same care as a mother.
Poor John G. O'Brien has been very ill for the last 3 weeks in some sort of fever. The Drs did not say what kind,
but he has suffered a great deal with his head which was shaved and rubbed with tartarmatic ointment and 6
leeches applied to each temple. The Drs said it was iritation of the spine which caused his head to be so ill: his
back was rubed with mercurial ointment & blistered twice, from which he also suffers much. His father has been
with [him] for two weeks, only for which I do not know what his poor little wife would have done. Bur brother
Dan is such a good nurse tender & has had so much experience, he could do much better than many others. The
last accounts we had was two days ago: he was then better - but there were still some bad symtoms which, until
removed, they could not say he was out of danger.
We have now cheap postage - we can now send & get letters from any part of the United Kingdom for one.
pennv52". Our liberal Goverment511 has confered this boon on us, which I hope may be of long standing, and any
letter weighing less than half an ounce we can get for the same, and by having light fine paper we can send two at
a time; anything above half an ounce is charged in proportion at the rate of two pence p oz. We find it a great
advantage as we can now hear from our absent friends much oftener & without much expence. Indeed since it
commenced, which was on the 10th of 1st month, we have received double the number of letters we would have
done - more than we have time to answer. Our invokes from England and Scotland used to cost 1/6d and, if a
penny was put in the time they are put in the office, we get them free - if not we pay 2d. We now pay almost all letters and we generally gee all [incoming] free. No doubt before
this reaches thee you will have seen it in the newspapers.
Last summer was very wee, particularly the harvest; the wheat crop
was greatly injured and very little of it good enough to make flower,
which has raised the price of bread. The corn done much better but still
there is a great difficiency. Potatoes are generally wet and this is what
the poorer class have to live chiefly on. It is feared that on account of
provisions being bad that it may cause fever and other disorders, as is
often the case after wet seasons. Fever at present in some parts is very
prevulent and has proved fatal in many instances.
Brother Thomas' health has been but delicate - he has to be very
careful as the least damp, if exposes to it in [the] least, renews his cough,
which he has had for the last 4 or 5 weeks. He has now no less than
5 childn, the youngest of which I have not seen: it is called for her
grandaunt Elizh Greesr.
Cousin James N Richardsons son who I sent the letter with (which thou
says thou never recvd) is here at present and I asked him about it. He says
he put it with some others into the post office in New York & how it has
been mislaid he cannot tell: perhaps it may turn up sometime. Jacob Green
has not returned yet - the last account we heard, he was in Philadelphia,
so that I suppose he did not visit your part. In one of his letters he
mentioned having seen cousin Sally Simon who desired her love to be
given to my father. I forget wheather I mentioned in my last Mary
Dawjon death (Aunt Mary); she died sometime last summer: she had
been ailing for a long time. I believe her disorder terminated in Dropsy. She
is much missed by the family as she was a very active person and while able attended to the housekeeping department.
Aunt [Molly] has been but very poorly most of the winter. She is not able to [stir?] about as much as she used
this time last year: still, at her advanced age, near 81 years, she is a wonderful old woman. Some mornings she is
up before breakfast and others not til about 11 oclock. She desires her dear love and to say she has been very
poorly this winter. Poor old body we would miss her greatly - she is company for father when we are engaged.
He seems very much broken down of late and John O'B illness has made him so anxious that we think he is not
so well on account of it. His stomach is frequently out of order- it must be ... [indi]digestion. The want of his
teeth is a great loss ... account as he cannot chew his food sufficiently. I hope when the fine wear bet comes & that
he gets out a little he will soon be himself again. I sent A O'Brien your address some time ago and requested she
would write to Maria, which I hope will do. Anna is a good girl and a great comfort to her father & indeed all the
rest are the same - he is blessed with kind affectionate child. They are getting on pretty well, only at present
business is dull with them as is generally the case everywhere. I seem to have written a long letter but very little
news. We hope to hear soon again from you - thou can make Maria do so or part of it. It is gratifying to get a
letter from her. Father, Aunt & Jane join in love to all & each of you with

thy affect sister
2 mo 20th.
I had intended sending this off a few days ago, but thought best to wait for a few days longer that I might be able
to say John O'Brien was better. We have not heard thence last two days, but then he was better & had sat up for
about ½ an hour. I expect his father is gone home - he was to go yesterday. We have had no letter this morning
so I hope no news is good news. We have had no snow of any moment this winter & not very long of frost.