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Title: O'Brien, Joseph Sinton to O'Brien, Maria Wright, 1842
CollectionThe Transatlantic Letters of an Irish Quaker Family_1818-1877 [B. Jackson]
SenderO'Brien, Joseph Sinton
Sender Gendermale
Sender Occupationclerk
Sender ReligionQuaker
OriginNYC, USA
DestinationLake Erie, NY, USA
RecipientO'Brien, Maria Wright
Recipient Genderfemale
Doc. No.
Partial Date
Doc. Type
Word Count1458
Genreaccount of passage to NYC, work
TranscriptNew York [12 or] 17th 1 mo 1842

My Dear Sister
I suppose that thee looked for a letter from me before this, but I am so confused with the noise that I could not
have written before if I had tried, but I am getting used to it a little and I like living here very well. I suppose that
you knew before this time that I got here safely as I have sent you two newspapers. After leaving Mother I got along
on my journey very well, having had very pleasant weather for travelling, but was rather longer than I expected,
not having got here until second day night at eight o'clock, being 4 days from Farmington. I took the cars at
Canandaigua at 10 o'clock on 6th day and was told that I would be in Albany by the next morning-but when
we got to Syracuse, only eighty five miles, the cars stopped and we had to stay all night. Well the next morning,
2 shillings for the "bit lodging", we were in the cars again at sunrise & were in Albany, sixty miles, before dark.
While in the cars I was told that I would have to stay at Albany till second day morning and that I would have to
pay $8 to get to N.Y. But before the cars had come to a stop a man came to know if any were going to N.Y., and
being told that I was going, he came to me and told me that he would take me for three dollars and that if I would
go with him to his office he would give me a ticket that would take me clear through.
But as he offered to take me so cheaply I was afraid to trust him, so I told him that I would call at his office
when I had left my trunk at the hotel, but he would not leave me but went with me to the hotel where they told
me that I need not be afraid to trust him as he drove the mail stage and he was obliged to go through as soon as
possible. So off we went to the office but had hardly got to the street before I was told by another man that he
would take me for two dollars - and in a moment another came and another until there were five. But the first
one held on to me by the arm and dragged me along as fast as he could and all the test ran after me as if I were
going to be hung. But after awhile they all left me but two, one hold of each arm and we went along very peacably
until we came to the office when the last one that came to me told me that he would take me for fifty cents and
held me and would not let me go into the office and there they held me fast, one pulling each way. At last a man
came out of the office and both together pulled till the other man slipped down and I got away alive and got a
ticket for two dollars into the bargain and was to start in the morning at eight o'clock.
I then went back to the hotel where I stayed all night and next morning ate a good breakfast, being the first
time that I had sat down to a table since leaving Canandaigua. As soon as I was ready a man came for my trunk
and told me that I would have to cross the river on the ice - where I found the stage waiting for me, having on
board eight mail bags full of letters which would hold about three bushels each, a part of which had to be inside
the coach; and one passenger which was the only company I had, who done very well for a Dutchman, untill we
had gone one hundred miles, when two young men came on board who had to pay $4 each to go about sixty miles;
and before we got to the city we had nine which with the mail filled the coach. We had to cross the highlands, as
they ate called - a very hilly county between Poughkeepsie and this city where we found the road very bad. What
was more than all, it was night and we were told that two stages had turned over that day, so thee may judge how
much I slept. At last we came in sight of the city after we had been in the stage thirty six hours without any time
to eat - only when they were changing horses - and I was set down in the middle of a large city without a person
that I knew, at eight o'clock in the evening without knowing which way to turn or which way to go -tired, hungry
and sleepy. Well, there I stood all alone with thousands of people around me, about half asleep thinking what it
was best to do, when I was awakened by a tap on the back with "Cab Sir?" "With all my heart", says I, and was
saying as I went in "423 Broome Street". In ten minutes I was shaking hands with Abraham and in ten more was
eating supper — 15 more in bed and two more asleep.
Well I think thee must be tired of my long story of my long journey and I am afraid that 1 will not be able to
write anything that will be more interesting. I have not written hardly any since I have been here. My principal
work is adding up accounts in the Ledger for settlement, going on errands &c. There are four of us in the office
most of the time and sometimes we will be a half day unemployed, and then again there will be more than we can
do. Another is a book-keeper besides, who comes every evening at candlelight and stays till 10 o'clock which is
our busiest time, as we have to be disengaged in the day time to wait upon customers. We hardly ever go to bed
before twelve o'clock. Then we get up at eight o'clock in the morning when our breakfast is almost ready, so that
it is nine every morning and sometimes ten before we get to the office, when a "darky" comes in and makes a fire in the back office where we all sic down to read the mornings papers while he makes a fire in the front office and
sweeps the floor; We then go to our work which is about eleven o'clock. At one we eat our lunch. At six our
bookkeeper comes - Abram goes home - James and I go to the coffee house [for] coffee and toast or anything we
want. At ten we go home where the girls have the tea table ready for us, and Abram in bed. James says chat we
will not have to be m the office in the evening when we get the accounts balanced.

1st mo 20th evening
I will try to finish my letter - We have been very busy all day sending off a cargo of cotton to Harve [Le Havre?]
I wonder what Lorenzo would think to see me standing on a bale of cotton overseeing 4 negroes. I have been
on my feet all day and am almost tired out, and it is now ten o'clock and I want to put this letter in the office yet
tonight. If there is anything thee wants to know that I have not told thee, thee must tell me of it. Abram is sick
today and not able to be at the office - the rest of the family are well.
We have very fine weather here - no snow at all and scarcely any frost. When thee writes, tell me how it has
been in Collins. Tell Cortez I called to see his cousin this morning but did not see him, so I left his letter. When
thee writes, tell me how thee gets along with thy school and how Newton gets along with his. What of your
debating school &c, and if thee does not fill thy letter, let Thomas write some. Remember me to all enquiring
friends, especially to the girls, and tell me all thee thinks I want to know when thee writes.
We are very busy - I cannot have time to write any more. With love to all I remain

Thy affectionate brother

My expenses on my journey were, from Canandaigua -
To Auburn $2.00
Syracuse 1.25
Utica 2.00
Albany 3.75
N.Y. 2.00
Food & Lodging &c 2.50

Write soon.