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Title: O'Brien (n.Greeves), Anne to O'Brien, Joseph Sinton, 1842
CollectionThe Transatlantic Letters of an Irish Quaker Family_1818-1877 [B. Jackson]
SenderO'Brien (n.Greeves), Anne
Sender Genderfemale
Sender Occupationhousewife
Sender ReligionQuaker
OriginCollins, Lake Erie, NY, USA
DestinationNYC, USA
RecipientO'Brien, Joseph Sinton
Recipient Gendermale
Doc. No.
Partial Date
Doc. Type
Word Count3424
Genrefarm chores, news of family, friends and neighbours
TranscriptCollins 20th 4 mo 1842

My Dear Joseph
We duly received thine to Matia of 2nd mo 24th and on 7th day another dated 4th mo 5th which was truly
acceptable indeed, as we found by them that thee was so well and liked living in the City. We had talked for some
time of writing but thee knows how many things there are to hinder and particularly this time of year. As soon
after Maria wrote as Father could, they went to making sugar of which we made only 42 lbs as they have so few
trees, and then to making sugar or repairing fences as the weather would permit, for, as thee must know we have
had what would be called a wet Spring so far. Yet a porsion of our cows have got through Wing in the fields and woods. Since the beginning of the month, well after fixing the fences, Father, Thomas and the little boys with the steers and horses went at it and ploughed or broke up an acre and a quarter of the S.W. corner of the front meadow.
It was pretty wet ploughing some places but on the whole turned up nice; but they were several days about it on
account of the weather. Then they went at the orchard but Pompey corked himself and being rainy besides, they
have had to be still until yesterday. They commenced again and found it too wet and went to the Thumlock Knole
and garden and now have got it almost done; and Father thinks that by tomorrow he can go at the wheatland.
It takes them a great while to do little for they are all weak at the best and Father has hobbled with his old
complaint I want him to hire a dutch boy or man but he says how can we board him, if nothing else.
We have just bought the first bushel of corn and our last bushel of wheat is ground 7th day and we had to buy
about 20 bushels of potatoes beside $15.50 worth of hay and then we had to go in debt and thee knows; and unless
thee knows for certain that thee can help us it would not be best for us to hire, for thee knows that thee ,s only
an apprentice yet and at their option to do for thee what they think fit; and we do hope that thee tries to be useful
as thee can at all, and that they see thee tries and that thee aims to have a great deal to transact and that thee has
lust got to a place that thee can improve thyself in several branches.
I find that thee will know more of the Irish than thee ever thought thee would, and friends too. I was glad to
hear that thee went to meeting regularly and hope thee will continue it. Since receiving thy last, two have come
for Maria- one from M. Greeves and Mary Kelly which Dr. Moore brought - the same friend thee saw perhaps.
He and one other attended our meeting on first day, but we were not out as the travelling was bad and thee knows
that we have to save the horses this time of the year; and besides we had James … [and D. and have had Francis
and D. Luck?] to dinner and we expected them so could not leave home; beside we attend our south meeting, as
it comes to us. I was sorry we did not happen to be out.
M G[reeves]. mentions Cousin James G. having had a letter from Aunt Susanna a short time ago which brought
an acct of Aunt Jane having a little daughter and that they was all well. What thee writes me respecting Aunt S.
was new to me. I should think that if there was anything in it that Thomas Richardson would have mentioned it
perhaps When thee gets this I want thee to glean what thee thinks from this and write to Aunt Susanna, as Mary
G in her letter says that they feel anxious to hear from us; and I think that we cannot think of a better way than
on receipt of our letter thee to write to her, as it will save us postage and when she answers thy letters thee can write to us, and we can hear a great deal oftener from them and thee can tell her that I requested thee to write and
mention that I wrote to Uncle Thomas, which we hope went safe to him.
My health is better ever since I returned, bur still a great deal of pain in my side whenever I knit or sew. But
since I let Margt. [Margaretta] go to school I have to be more on my feet. I feel better for it but get very tired some
times. Lorenzo & A did not make as long a stay as they expected, on account of the snow likely to leave, and got
home to Collins 2nd day night but I did not get home till 4th day afternoon as I had to wait till 4rh day to go to
meeting; so he came home with me and dined with us and I believe that I have seen him but once, as we cant get
out as the traveling is bad. Thee may judge when I tell thee that Father had to drive our cows to where he bought
a stack of hay and keep them there and go twice a day and fodder them, and we were glad enough when he could
bring them home. We have but two calves yet, the black and the black heifer: they had no trouble in breaking them.
Brin and Via Heifer will soon have calves, all things look well. The Horses get their living out as well as the Cows
and they think they look better than when they were in, but wd not have them out but in, but we are almost out
of hay. But they can make out to plow, as they do but little at a time, as they themselves are not able to work like
other people. Thomas stands it better than we thought he could, and Father says that he does or has did, when
making fence, a good deal.
There is none of them has time to write this time but Kerr and Russel goes down in 5th month and they intend
to write then co thee, and Thos will send Willy a chain if he can get them to carry it for him. Maria has taken our
District school for 4 months for $2 per week... [?] 6th day night, was only out of school 2 weeks. Her health is
good and I think she enjoys herself although she has to keep very busy as she has between 30 and 40 scholars. Lydia
Ann [Horn?] went 4 weeks to her in the winter and she has now commenced again although she is going up again
to Concorda [Concord] to teach in summer school and has got a certificate, and Joy & James G. also goes. Thee
need not let on to our friends that it is a district school M. teaches in.
Father has not done anything to the mill for the first flow: it was because he was not able from the hurt he got;
besides we could not get any lumber drawn. Although I hear him tell folks that he expects to get it running next
fall, I dont know how he can without help from James or some one else. I want Father to write to James and tell
him how it is, and Mary says that James wants him to write to him and let him know how he is getting along. If
we could only get it up and agoing it wd make up, for then we cd face the fence and then we could clear and raise
all we would want.
We have had Stephen & C. Hussey to see us last week - they came before dinner in 6th day and stayed till 7th
day afternoon. I never saw S.& C. look so old and feel so poor. They are coming home this winter and going to
leave the girls in Aurora with a cousin of Stephen's - but that wont last since they first talked of going out to
Buffalo. Poor woman, pa says - but yet we had an agreeable visit from them and had to speak of thee and read
thy letters to them and to hear from thee and whether thee was going to stay; and thy last letter came just as they
were putting on their things to go and they must stay and hear it, for we had told them that we could not know
if thee would stay untill we heard from thee again. But when S. had heard it, he said "oh he wont be home". C.
was much pleased with Abm's present which Maria brought her and we had often to speak of R. and his visit to
Collins. I wd like to know how thy clothes hold out and whether thy coat grows shabby and whether thee has had
to get anything new yet, but the boots Father means to speak to A.V[arney]. about them.
Nothing new has taken place, I believe, since we wrote and rather healthy in this part of Collins, but in Evans
it has been very sickly this winter and now they have Scarlet Fever. We have had some of that North of us but [it]
dont come further than Jennings': one of Jenny Brown's girls died of it. Wing Preston is the only one dangerously
ill and his complaint is consumption. S. and C. Hussey has been to see him - he raises a great deal of mucas
[mucous]. Jacob Taylor's Phebe is likely to come in for a third share of his property- and between Lawyer's fees
and her share there wont be much left. I believe we wrote thee of Uncle Nathaniel Potter's death; he died very
suddenly in Farmington after Quarterly Meeting, just sitting in his chair at a friend's house where he was visiting.
He had been reading to the friend and he (the friend) stepped out to get a little wood and when he returned he saw that N. had dropped the book and his head lay on his breast and went to him but he was gon. I believe it was
thought that it was apoplexy as he had been subject Co such attacks. Thee likely remembers seeing him there at
I forgot to tell thee that L & E[dwin] Mabbitt's families with myself went to Pliny Saxton's on 6th day last
after Quarterly meeting to Palemita [Palmyra] and there I spent a few hours very pleasantly (the woman that spoke
was his wife). She spoke of Abm Bell afterwards and Thomas [Bell] and his wife - has thee been to Bayside yet.
It is grafting time but we have not done any yet, but Father has pruned several trees and left nothing but grafts
on them and as the blossom buds begin to appear he hopes to have some grafted fruit this summer, or fall rather.
Winter in the City to one confined to business must be dreary, but I think it will be pleasant in the summer and
I hope thee will enjoy thyself, and we were glad that L. Graham is gone if he is such a character as thee represents
him; and thee will have more chance to get acquainted with business. But thee ought to be very careful what thee
says to A. and J. about him for the family is a great favorite and they would not thank thee for telling them; and
now opportunly he is gone and thee will feel thyself an apprentice and more expected of thee. I expect that if thee
knew mote ... , but thee must write us from time to time and tell us how thee gets along. Perhaps Father ought
to write to A., and I think he will as he and Maria has been talking about it, but thee need not to say anything
about it to him.
We are glad to get the newspaper, but still we dont get much in them, but now and then a good ... Maria
intends putting them together so as to have a volume at the year's end, but 92 No. never came to hand: perhaps
thee never sent it. It wont do for thee to write in them for, although we have been fortunate, Cortez told Maria
on 1st day that he had to pay 25 cents apiece for two that thee sent him with thy name on them; and had he not
taken them out, thee would have had to pay a fine of $25 if thee could have been found, according to law. Cortes
did not speak of it to blame thee, for he said that anyone that was so kind as to send him a paper, he was willing
to pay the postage for sake of his trouble to. So thee must be careful for the future. The last time I saw Jane
McMillan she said that there were 6 papers in the office for Chris written on, and that she expected to have to
take them all out and pay for them.
Maria has had several letters since thee left from her acquaintances, one from Henrietta Sydham [Suydam]
from New Brunswick, wanting her to make them a visit this summer. Perhaps Maria will tell thee about calling
on them if thee ever goes to Phil. I suppose that thee dont heat much about our friends there. Maria wrote to Aunt
not long ago and we had a letter from bet on 7th day saying we had let the winter pass without letting her hear
one word from us - but we expect that she must have got her letter before hers got to us. If she should ever send
a box of things to Abram for us, thee will know how to forward them to us by the boats and take a receipt and
send to us; for Maria has told her that thee was in N.Y. and she has told Maria that she had things that she wanted
us to have; perhaps she will send them for thee to forward as Maria directed. We would like to be remembered to
J. B. [Joseph Beale] and family, and if A.B. can spare thee sometime to go home with J.B. but it will cost thee 3
or 4 dollars, I expect, but Mary B will think thee ought to go to see them as she will think we want to slight them;
but wait till thee can afford it and they can spare thee, and that will be a good while, I should think.
We have not planted anything yet except a half bushel of potatoes this morning, but expect to make garden soon
as Father is getting it ready. We often speak of thee, as also the neighbors, and they begin to ask "Well is Joseph
coming home this Spring" &c but we have very few visitors on account of the travelling. We just made out to get
home from Farmington and that... [was?] the only sleighing we have had this winter. The 4th day I came home
we drove on bare ground almost all the way from Lorenzo's home - but I did not get to be a Grahamite nor an abolitionist. I found his wife is neither in principle very deep, and I thought I need not to get along: still in the
latter she is most active but believes that Lorenzo goes too far, but still L is a good man - too good to live among
us, Father says. I expect he has gone to Q meeting again and expects to go to yearly meeting in 6th month.
I wd like to go if Father could, but I dislike to leave him at home working with the children; yet I believe it wd
do me a great deal of good.
I want thee to find out what a passage would be across the Atlantic in a Packet, as Maria thinks it is but $30
and, if it was but chat. I could go and come for a hundred dollars easy - but then I dont want anyone to know
that I wd think of it.
I have filled this and I must not complain.

Thy Mother

P.S. I hope that thee can make this out as I have hurried to get this off, the first opportunity. Thee mentions
having a sore throat: if it is ulsers, ask Mary for some honey and black pepper and gargle with it, as thee used to
at home. Dont neglect it as it is a bad kind, and I am sure she would get it for thee. Say to Aunt Susanna when
thee writes that Maria received a letter from her 1st of 3rd month, and we were sorry and disappointed to heat of
Uncle Thomas ill health and that I say that perhaps a voyage across the Atlantic might be of use to him.

Things have transpired since writing the foregoing - the mare has had foal!!!, which we have been looking for.
I have 6 goslings and fid Sherman was married yesterday to the B [Benedict] ... [girl?]. Win G. has been quite sick
but is better today so as to be able to plough. Father has planted three bushels of potatoes by the ... tree and Thos
and the boys drew out manure with the steers and I dont see but Thos works as hard as anyone. Father is very tired
and stiff in the morning and can hardly stir. M. [Maria?] has let him use her money to pay for the hay and the
taxes, and whenever thec can help us let us know it, as I dont think we can get the hay made unless we can hire
help. I should not wonder if Father wd sell the Colt as I. Gregor has been at him about it, and I think that if Father
could get $70 or 80 for him he ought to sell him and keep the steers and the cows. How can we do without the
cows? and Father will want money to get the rest of the Mill irons - does thee know whether Uncle S. Sin ton has
written to A. yet.
We think thee improves in thy writing. William and I are alone today. Father and the boys ate out in the
dashing, trying to get ready a piece of ground for potatoes while they are waiting for the mare a few days: and
we have beautiful weather today, the most like summer that we have had. Be sure to write by every opportunity
as it would save postage. Thos takes this to the office, he cant go only on 7th day as thee used to do. We have got
thy last letter but one, that was a month written before we had it - we had been looking for it and Thos had been
down to the Center the week before.
We have not seen the O'Briens this winter; as we expected Jerry did not come yet, we learned by S. Goodale,
school master. Bye the bye, Cortes school proved a very disagreeable one to him. They had him quit before his 4
months were out and he will have to sue them for it, as he will not take for less than he hired for. Cortes expects
to go into business with a young man in Buffalo: he was to know this week, he told Maria. Newton has been up for his trunk. He told that J. Potter has moved up to the store and let out his farm to Wm Jenks, who has sold his establishment Turnkey. I don’t know what Joash is going at, but he wants Wm Jenks to buy his place. We have got a bedstead and bureau of[f?] them … but they are in Pontiac yet. One man has left and the other carries it on - they are miserable workmen, Father says.
Well I think that I have brought this to a close, so will say farewell, my dear boy.

Thy affectionate