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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 Count4096
Genresending money, farm produce and cattle, news of family, friends and neighbours, Quaker meeting, wishes him well at work, bad state of Ireland, correspondence
TranscriptCollins 24 of 7th month 1842 first day morn

My Dear Joseph
We duly received thine of 7lh mo 10lh & 14th to Father, TW and I on 6* day evening and now hasten to answer
it according to request. I need hardly say we were all glad to hear once more from thee and that thee was well, and
we think getting along well when thee is intrusted with the inspection of such large quantities of grain to have been
so raw an hand as thee was; but practice makes perfect, I suppose.
When we read the fore part of thy letter we were felt sorry thee had asked A. for any money, as it seemed too
soon, but when he read that part to me, Father said that thee had done the best \to?\ let A. know thee did not want
to spend thy time for nothing... as likely thee mentioned we had enough for thee to do at home, or some thing
else made him get such a notion into his head about thee disliking to stay. But now thee knows what to depend
on and us told, and thee will find thee will have to be very economical to spare us any thing - and we never
wanted it more as we owe here and there a little, thee knew before thee left, and there is no money to be had. Father
is going out to night with S.Lewis with a little butter and ... two calves we have been fatting, to try to get some
money and a little flour. The money was for Thos as he has never been paid. And now we conclude it best for thee not to send any money at present, and if Tho' has any payments to make in the City we will let him call on thee or write thee again who to pay it to for him; and we will be glad to do the same with [Kerr?] and Bigalow as we are in debt to them all. And the produce of our Cows is not going to amount to much
this season - they came in so late and butter is only worth from 7 to 8 cents per lb. This summer we lost our best
cow, good old Cherry, in 6th month: she died of murrain: she could not be saved, she was taken so violently and
being in good order it was worse for her. She had a calf 2 days old when she was taken; every thing was done for
her that could be, but to no effect. She is a great loss. While I am speaking about the cows, I must tell thee which
of the heifers are the best: the black first, the Brinnl [brindle?] next and then the spotted one and I believe the red
and Brock come last. Thee will wonder Father sometime wishes he had sold her to J. G. as cows can be bought
for 133, 3 year old steers for 30$, oxen good from 50/55$ to 60$, very good 65/70$ and every thing else in
proportion. We will have to sell one of the horses or the steers as we cant keep them all. S. Jennings offer[ed]
Father 70$ for Pompy to pay in a year with a little this summer, but Father wanted 75 and more money down as
it was for sake of the money he was going to sell him. But he has grown a great fellow since, and he will be a valuable
[saleable?] horse any time if we could afford to keep him.
As thee reels interested about all we have got, I must tell thee what nice pigs them turned out to be we had of S.
Conger. After running in the woods last winter they wd each weigh I dont know how much, but I expect 12 hun[.?]
apiece and this summer they about hold their own on grass with a little milk; but come to feed, then by and bye we expect they will grow enormously as they did in the winter. We have got two pigs just like them and Father says
they wd weigh 40 to 60 lbs a piece now and they are only little better than 2 months old. Our sow lost her pigs and
we got these of[f] [Joseph] Manchester when a few days old. Father has just begun to make hay a day or two ago,
or at least cut paths to, and he finds grass much better than he expected; and it w^ still be better if he could leave it
a while longer, but he has to begin sooner than if he had more help as he intends making out with Tho' and the
boys. Many complaining of their grass being light. Father ... and the piece adjoining with spring wheat, which looks
well. The winter wheat through the country hurt very much with the frost, and now with the rust: John S will
not have Vi a crop on a large field he has. Our corn is almost a complete failure, as after such cold weather it came
rainny and lasted untill it was too late for corn to come to any thing. It will be a great disappointment to us.
E [Father] is almost ready to go to the west again: there is talk of a great many going. Ah ram Tucker has been
to see Charles and tells fine things of his [cousin?]. He saw most of our acquaintances that have gone there and
they are all doing well, among the rest Stephen and Armida. Abram will sell and go and take all his children if
he can. Tho' and Maria say they mean to go. Chauncy Rose has sold and gone out to find a place, I believe. John
Pekins [Pickens] has sold to Tim Russel679 and says he is going there. G [McMillen] & Mary Ann go when the[y]
can, they say. George has sold his farm: Hugh gets the part next his, with the buildings, and Aunt Lydia gets the
other, I understand for Moses, and she is coming up to live on it so we will have her for a neighbour. G & M Ann
was here yesterday. G is very much drove for money to pay his old debts: some think his taking his Father farm
will finish him. He keep & hired man and woman, but they cant do without them now, but he had the man all
winter besides hiring Mordaca [Mordecai] Sherman'190 to cut his wood. G is dashing away just what suits him,
speculating now and again in horses and oxen. While here yesterday he left his horses fasten[ed] out at the bars[?]
as he had been up to Andrew H after having M. Ann, and he had got G [probably George, son of Levi] Woodwards
buggy. Well, while there [as he wd not bring them in?] they got lose and they ran away with the buggy and before
they got to Sams they dashed it all to pieces ... he had given S. Conger a 70 Dollar yoke of [oxen?] for this
spring, came dash up against a large stump and almost killed himself. He came with such force that he tumbled
on his back and tolled over, and there he stood when they went to him. We have not heard from him to day but
expect he left him down at his old place, as he was hardly able to go when he took him away. The other was a colt
that he got with the farm and he had broken it. G felt very bad: they think the buggy is not worth repairing as
both the axletree[s] are broken, the tung [tongue] and one of the springs.
Father enjoy'd himself at year mg and was not sorry we went and was well while he was gone; and the children
done well, as Maria used to come home every night. I felt easy about them. I mean to have Father go more if I
can; he wd have gone to quarterly meeting but Wm was not well and the girls and Thos were going; but Thos wd
have staid at home as he goes every summer and let Father go, but we could not feel easy; so he had me go as he
could make out for a few days well enough. Still I did not expect to go untill the day before, but I went to and we
had an agreeable time. Elizabeth Newport attended: she is from Pens [Pennsylvania], Also Pliny Saxton's wife
from Palmyra. We went to Charles Neatyard[?] and his sisters and had an agreeable visit. Elisha Freeman's
health is poor, not thot to last long.
Of our own country, it is pretty ... at present. Wing ... [Preston] is gone: he was burried about two weeks ago
yesterday. We attended his funeral and the day before old [Smith?] that.... was buried. Her death was caused by
being thrown from a light waggon while from home in Perryburgh [Perrysburg NY]. She died immediately. The
horse took fright and the old man could not hold him; so the conscience was he can away and some of the harness
give way and caused the wagon to turn over, and she was under it. When all was over she was only heard to speak
once; it was expected it was her head that was hurt. Joseph Palmerston has been very ill but has got well again, I
expect, as it is some time since.
Marias 4 months is out and has taught one week towards another mo.: she looks thin but is well. We are all in
usual health. When Father works a little too hard, is sure to have his old complaint come on; yet he has been
better than usual as I make him hemlock tea to drink that he thinks has done him good. Its likely you have got
Rebecca home by this time and so cousin Phebe is making you a visit. She used to be lively when a girl but I never
thot she looked the least like me. I guest [guessed] who it was before I came to her name: thee must have [wondered?]
who she was before thee saw her, from James descriptions of her. They used, to think her too talkative in Phila and
I find she dont lose any of it, from thy acct. I hope she wont tire Abram out. I never tho1 much of her, but then
thee not say any thing.
Mary Greeves told us of her [Phoebe's] Mothers death. I wd like to hear what she had to say of thee or to thee,
as she used to say thee was the hadsomest [handsomest?] baby she ever saw. I think she must allow thee has grown
some. If nothing more, its likely she inquired of thee about Jacob Taylor's affairs. Well, the heirs does not expect
to have much left, if any at all. Caleb has sued for ... and is likely to get about 1600$ besides his share; but Phebe,
the woman that kept house for Jacob, has commenced a suit against the estate and if she recovers it, with a loss of
10,000$ in bank that has failed, there cant be much left. Give my love to Cousin Phebe and tell I should like very
much to see her and here [bear] from Bersy Tracy (Mary's Mother); and that I have often been asked about her
within this 20 years, how P. Sin ton was and if she was married yet. She'll likely make Mary Beale a visit as she did
the last time she was in New York, Maria says. We wd like to be remembered to J. Beale's family. Dont thee find
the Irish people a very agreeable people to be acquainted with, far before the Americans in general.
The boys are all glad to here from thee and when a letter comes we have to wait untill they get ready to come in
and sit down to hear it, just as we used to do when Maria was gone. It pleases the little boys to be noticed. Father
find[s] them of... [great?] use this summer. Thos keeps well but cant do heavy work; but he has held the drag or
cultivator in doing the corn and potatoes, and ridged for ruatabaga’s down at the bridge and such work that saves
Father a good deal; and he has planted and hoed with the rest. Still, he looks thin but keeps well. Margaretta
grows tall: she will soon be as tall as Maria. She and Wm went to school fore part of summer, but one thing or
another has hindered her of late. But I expect her to go some more as it is a pity to keep Wm G at home as he learns
pretty well: he is in 2 syllables. He often tells us when not writing he must send a kiss to Joseph as he sent one to
him; and the little boys will say, well, I would like to know what Joe is about.
Well, I chink thee must get a thorough knowledge of business - thee is intrusted so much with large things -
and we do hope thee will still persevere in thy endeavours to keep in A & James's favour for, as M [Maria] says,
where James takes a liking it will be permanent unless it is thy fault. I expect it does seem a good deal to pay thee,
a beginner, when they could get good hands for nothing as it were; still I think they can place mote confidence in
thee than every one and M thinks thee must save James agreat deal of running about, as the girls used to speak of
him a great deal and how much tunning he had. How does thee like him or has thee got acquainted with him yet:
for business men is just what thee says of him; when they are attending to their business they cannot nor will not
attend to any thing else. So that thee not mind if he does not be conversant in the office.
Thee does not mention any thing about our Irish friends in this last letter. We received thy letter to Maria after
we had given our letter to G F White or we should have answered; but how it got there we could not tell, as I found
it in one of the Committee rooms, tucked into a string that surrounded a packet that was directed to Canada. I
should not have found [it], only Nathaniel Potter happened to see it there. We expected likely J Wattins [Watkins?]
[at?] yearly meeting and we were sorry we had not got it sooner, but I think if he was there he might or did inquire
if there was any there from Collins. His [he] is a distant cousin to Father.
We have had so much rain this summer that the creek has cut up the road beyond the bridge so as to make it
impassible at times; and they had to get on [to] the commissioner to see about helping them fix it. And finely
[finally] they have concluded to have them turn the course of the creek and have it run beyond the present bridge, and build a bridge 24 feet in the span and to till up where the old one is now with logs &c &c. Well, while there
they got them to say where the road on the hill muse run: so after some time they conclude that where Father
wanted was the best place and so run in on Sam's. So Burk went to work to Make it out and, while busy, Sam went
home leaving word with one of the neighbours to tell Burk not to go on to his land. But B. persevered and staked
it out, but told Father to get all agreed and lay it where they thot best and they wd come on again. But Sam is
innoinable [immovable?] altho he told Burk that he might go on his land if it was thot best. Now yesterday they
happened along again and they left word with John Goodell they might continue the present road on to that point
of the Hemlock [?] knoll that you used to talk about, and so they are all satisfied. We here and our west neighbours
the Shermans and others are coming on and the make a bee [combined endeavour] to work down the knoll so as
to bring down to the new bridge they are Co make. So I am in hopes we will have all completed and that they all
will be satisfied, so that we shall know which is our Road or not and not have Sam forever sputtering [?].
Maria is writing to Phia to Sally Ann [Fling}. She has just had a letter from her: all well, his letter has nothing
in them to interest us, such as Marriages and death of folk we no nothing about and how much they wd like to see
het &c &c. She has not had any in some time before. I wrote a ... long letter to Cousin James in the Spring, let
him know how much we had done and what little prospect there was of Father getting it done at present, as rimes
were bad and his health bad, but mat when he could he meant to work at it. Which he does this fall for he ought
to get it up, but, as stock is, we could not finish it with what we have, if it was all sold, and pay out debts too.
We see shocking ace" from Ireland in them last papers thee sent. What a distressed state they ate in and there
are a great many coming ... I tried to have Father write for that Irish man thee wanted to send, but he tho' we
could not board him at any rate, as we have to buy our bread stuff and Potatoes. We are in hopes of having enough
of Potatoes this year as they look well but our ... are nothing as they have been so backward ... Bigalow or Frank
and I done know but both start ... week for Phia with a drove of Cattle. Frank got the number of the office from
Thos as he expect to come by the way of N. York home. He is going such a round, he tho' it was not best to carry
a letter, so that thee will likely see him as he intends calling.
We have concluded that it is best for thee not to send the New World any longer, as it must cost thee
considerable. And if thee can send us a political one once in a while without ex pence, even if it is a few days old,
we wd be glad to see it as we dont take the Buffalo paper now. But we know these papers and out letters must cost
thee considerable and we want thee to Save all thee can. Yet they furnish us a good deal of reading, but then we
w11 not wish thee to send them any longer.
Thee must enjoy thyself very much when in the country as thee has always lived in, but we ate glad thee does
not go any where without acquainting A. of it and that thee goes to meeting and conduct thy self Soberly. Thee
will always be thought more of and confided more in than those that behave like Larry did. A. gives thee as much
as thee could at all expect, for thee must consider he has only taken thee as an apprentice and what they allow in
such a case is merely what they think thy clothes will cost; and thee may see A tho1 that perhaps thee wd want it
all, so advised thee not to send much home. Thee see, he w11 not want thee to go in debt to them, nor we either,
for fear something turning up that thee wd have to have; and I do hope A. is willing thee should stay, for if he is
not and thee knows it, I wd not want [thee] to stay and be a burthen to him, for there is enough to do in the
country. But I'm afraid thee has felt too independant for A: thee must study him and try to please him in every
thing, for he grows old [64] and harder to please. When thee write, say if he still feels satisfied to keep thee or if
he still treats thee kindly, for I wd be sorry to have thee stay against his will. Thee cant tell whether they were
disappointed in thee or not, or whether thee knows more about business than they expected.
I had to write as they rest [do] not [have] time. Maria will write next, and as we want money and cant do an [
... ] other way we will call on thee to that amount at any rate, but I hope thee want any mote clothes now for so
... and keep a regular acct of everything, so that thee have it if call[ed] on or can give an acct of... thee has had at
any time. I must bring this to a close as I have to go get Father some provision ready to go to Buffalo with, and I
wanted to send this by him: it will save thee [6cents?].
A. Varney give Father credit for 1 Dollar on his ace': thee does not say thing about his writing to thee. When
Thos has an oppertunity he will write, but what a pity he is such a bad speller and It affronts him to tell him of it.
I think[?] I will have him study the spelling book this winter and give him out sentences to write on a slate, so as
to learn him how to spell. The boys learned well last winter. I suppose thee does not here often from our friends
in Phila we have not lately except thro Sally Ann: they ate well.
I wrote to Aunt Susanna to write to thee and if she does, thee be sure answer it. Thee need not be sp ... for
they wd make allowance for chee. I wonder Aunt Jane do not answer my letter. Her husband is in partenership with Thos Richardson Father, I expect. The family of R. used to feel themselves above us, we used to think, but i: is
only as regards property, I suppose. Thos [Richardson] is settled in the city - does he visit in the family.
Well I cant think of any thing more and in hopes thee can make this all out I will say fare well, wishing thee to
remember us to Abram and the girls, in which we are joined by Maria and remain

thy ever afft Mother
A O'Brien

P.S. Did thee know that Father wrote to A: thee ... [need] not say any thing to him about it, as likely he will
answer it when he gets ready. It was nothing more than asking if thee answer them for what they wanted thee for
&c &c. Thee will have to be very careful how thee act before or with Abram, as M say[S] his mind sometimes is
on one thing when thee wD be talking with an other and he wd misunderstand thee: so thee cant be to[o] careful.
That of Uncle Sam I will never say any more about it, so if Abram think best he will of himself Thee might write
by Frank if he calls. I dont know ... if F. or Thos can go this fall or not: he never saw such rimes in Collins.
Thos gone to Stephen Whites to meeting and is not home yet. Portia & Lydia Ann went to Quarterly meeting
with ... They lodged at Aunt A ... ny with us so we had quite a visit. They were very much pleased with our
meeting. Maria says the girls all (P., N. & LA,) desire to be remembered to thee. People all say JDA has done
going to Portia. John is at school yet but is coming home to help make hay. Well, I believe I have written all,

Abraham BellJoseph S OBrien
117 Fulton St
New York