Main content

Title: O'Brien, Maria Wright to O'Brien, Joseph Sinton, 1842
CollectionThe Transatlantic Letters of an Irish Quaker Family_1818-1877 [B. Jackson]
SenderO'Brien, Maria Wright
Sender Genderfemale
Sender Occupationschoolmistress
Sender ReligionQuaker
OriginCollins, Lake Erie, NY, USA
DestinationNYC, USA
RecipientO'Brien, Joseph Sinton
Recipient Gendermale
Doc. No.
Partial Date
Doc. Type
Word Count1644
Genremoney, sisterly advice on how to behave at work, news of family and friends
TranscriptCollins 8th month 12* 1842

My Dear Brother,
I am just released today from a long ... task of teaching and (as we used to say in Philadelphia) I do not know
what I shall fly at next unless I take thy advice and conclude to go to Mobile, which I have been thinking strongly
of and will conclude what to write for thee to say to Rebecca about it.
Before I close this, that money draft thee sent came safely and father says as it was thee did perfectly right in
sending it as thee did. $17 of it will have to go to Wilcox for some of his money that Father borrowed in the
spring, $5 to pay taxes, $5 to buy oats to feed, and $5 to [Timothy] Russell; and the remaining $10 will have to
go to Russell now towards paying him up what Father owes him, which is I suppose about $20 in all.
We thinks thee gets as much as thee could expect the first year as times are now, and thee need not be afraid
but James will allow thee all thee will earn next year; and thee must remember that it will depend altogether on
thy own exertions to make thyself useful and to endeavour in all things to suit them. Thee must be satisfied with
what they do for thee, for thee must consider that it will be the making of thee, as it were, and thy board and
washing, is a good deal in the city. Thee should he careful ah our saying too much about home, or Abram will
think thee is discontented if thee does; and though I does say and I know from experience that thee thinks a deal
about home and us, but thee must keep thy thoughts to thyself and they will like thee better for it. I am glad [of]
thy account that Rebecca has got home as she will almost [be] like a mother to thee; and thee must look up to
her as such and thee will find her one in whom thee can rely for advice on any subject and at all times.
Father and Thomas have just come in from working in the hay-field and I asked them what I should say about
the hay to thee. Father says tell thee that they have cut the meadow ... die house and a piece in the Sugar Bush,
which has filled the barn about as full as they call 15 ton, and they have still nearly all the slashing-meadow to cut
yet. We have had about a week of wet weather since mother wrote, but Thomas says it is nothing strange for it is
camp meeting time; but it has been bad for the farmers on account of their hay-some of them had a great deal
cut: father however was so fortunate as to have none cut. Father has had $35 offered for the sheep but thinks he
ought to get $49 for them, and if he can sell them and 5 calves which we have raised he will have plenty of hay to
winter the rest. Thomas says when they get over their hurry a little he will write to thee. David Malcomson must be from thy description a nice sort of a man and I dare say thee finds him a very pleasant companion, as he can tell thee a great deal about thy relatives in Ireland. I cannot imagine what should
make his brother think of leaving a good home in Ireland to go to the wild west: but I suppose others might ask
the same questions about our family.
Thomas went down the same afternoon that we got thy letter, to John Wests to get Stephen [Estee's] address.
It is as follows: Oneco RO., Stephenson County, Illinois. We think Stephen is as good a person as thee could get
to give thee information; and be sure and mention every thing to him that thee wishes to know about. No doubt
he will be somewhat surprised to get letters from you dated from N. York.
I suppose thee will wonder when I tell thee that I have had some visitors from Philadelphia: it was Mr. Remak,
my French teacher, and a Mr. Wells, a young friend of his. They were on a pedestrian tour to the falls and came
through this way and their return home through Pennsylvania. They were with us from sixth day evening till
second day morning. We were greatly amused with their account of some of the adventures they met with on
their rout[e]. Mr. Wells intends furnishing sketches for a news paper after his return and was so kind as to offer
to send us a copy of it. I think they will be very amusing indeed if he writes his anecdotes in the same ... style in
which he related them when here. Thee may be sure it made a great deal of talk among the folks around in Collins
and they think I have been highly honored to have two city gent1 take so much pains to come and see me; and
really I did have a very good visit and better for being so unlocked for. How very cheap travelling is now; I suppose
one could go to N.Y. now for less than $10 in the best style.
And so thee has had the pleasure of meeting our cousin Phebe Simon and her niece. Did she make many
inquires about our family or me in particular. Thee says Thomas R. [Richardson] visits a good deal at Abms; does
not thee think he comes to see Anne. Cousin Mary Greeves told me as much when I lived in Philadelphia.
Thomas would have written by Frank but he did not seem inclined to take it. He said it would be a long time
before he would be in N.Y. and that we had better write by post. He took thy address, however, and said he would
call and see thee if he could; and perhaps thee will have a call from my friend Mr. Wells, as he said when here that
he should be in N.Y. shortly after his return and would call and see thee. And Mr Remak thought perhaps he might
sometime also. He might perhaps get some information about the West - he is very enthusiastic in it[s] praise but
as thee says we would not know how much to depend on.
Margaretta bid me say that the rest of us write all the news and do not leave any thing for her to write at all,
but I will try and get her to write soon as I can. Thee does not have to go as far as Columbus did to get the New
World - I like the extras very much and indeed all of them, but I have had so little leasure to read that I do not
know near all that is in them. I am now reading Mo[nth?]ly Ennshin, which I like very much though Mother
thinks I will like the Inquirer better. We see an account of an extra being published called The United Irishman
and Father would like to get it, if it would not be too expensive.
It was very kind of J. Beal to offer to take thee home and I think thee ought to go; but, Joseph, I want to tell
thee to be very causious what thee says or listens to about Abrams folks, as I found when I was there that there
was a good deal of jealousy existing on the part of Joseph's family; but thee must not think of going unless thee is
sure thee can be spared from the office.
There is going to be abundance of beechnuts again this fall N.D.[?]. Tucker says he never seen the like before,
that there was two years in succession such abundance of beech nuts.
How thoughtful of James to pay the postage for thee: dont thee find him an uncommonly kind and generous
young man and like him better the more thee becomes acquainted with him. Oh! if thee will only try and do as
thee should do, he will always be a good and kind friend to thee; and remember there is nothing that will give him
a better opinion of thee than being faithful in any thing thee is put to do or thee has the care of. Has thee ever
made any mistakes or blunders in bussiness? and does thee find that they put thee to do things now that they would
not trust thee with at first. As we do not hear what they think of thee from themselves, we must depend upon
thyself to tell us as far as thee can, what thee thinks they think of thee and what thee thinks of thyself; whether thee thinks thee improves any or not. Do not be afraid to write me just what thee thinks about thyself, as it will
be a satisfaction to us all.
I had almost forgotten to say something about to-day being thy birthday and Margaretta's, and it is also the
last day of my 5 months school.

2nd day Morning
... yesterday and I was asking her what she thought of my going to Mobile, and she says she would not like to
have me go to so warm a climate; and I suppose thee knows he has a right to have something to say about it and
I suppose thee will not be surprised to hear that it will ... now till she will hath a better right, so thee need not
say anything to Rebecca about it. Still hopeing it will not be long ere I hear from thee I remain

thy attached sister
(Cortes desires to be remembered)