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Title: Greeves, Susanna to O'Brien (n. Greeves), Anne, 1842
CollectionThe Transatlantic Letters of an Irish Quaker Family_1818-1877 [B. Jackson]
SenderGreeves, Susanna
Sender Genderfemale
Sender Occupationunknown
Sender ReligionQuaker
OriginLisburn, N.Ireland
DestinationCollins, Lake Erie, NY, USA
RecipientO'Brien (n. Greeves), Anne
Recipient Genderfemale
Doc. No.
Partial Date
Doc. Type
Word Count2408
Genreshe's glad Joseph's doing well in NYC, bad state of local economy, his father's decaying health, house renovations, news of family, friends and neighbours
TranscriptMy dear sister
No doubt thou wilt be surprised and delighted to receive this, father having written the forepart; is it not wonderful
co see such from an old man of 82 years of age. He seemed desirous of writing to thee and did so a day or two ago
and left it open for me to add anything I wished to say - but 3 find he has told you so much that he has not left
me much to say. I fear I will not be able to answer many or any of the questions in thy last letter, having sent it to
brother Thomas for his perusal & he has not returned it yet. I must acknowledge it was an agreeable one and we
were glad to find you all seemed in good health & I hope have continued so. We were also glad to hear that Joseph
had gone to N York as he so much wished for a situation of that kind; what a change it would be after a quiet
country life to that of a City where all is noise and bustle, but I learn by Maria's letter to her cousin Anna that he
likes his new employment, which is a great matter. I must write to him soon, as I am sure it would be pleasant to
correspond with him and we would be able to hear oftener of you through him. But as he does not know anyone
in this country J fear my letters would be of little interest. Besides I am no politician nor a great scribe at best, accept
in my own plain way which all who wish to correspond with me must put up with.
I see father has written thee the sad state of trade & depression there is both here and in England: in fact it seems
a general thing all over the universe. When or where it will end it is hard to say; trade with us has been very dull
but we must endeavour to be content and thankful that we are as we are, when all around us are in distress and
many failing. My dear father is one that never could feel easy to get into debt as many do & have done, being
convinced that it is best to move in a small way than to run the risk of speculating, which has been the downfall
of many; and I trust he will be able to maintain his good name and character as long as it shall please providence
to spare him to us. But, my dear sister, we cannot in the course of nature expect this now to be very long; we have
been indeed blessed with having him so long with us and the thought of losing him seems hard, but I believe it
would be almost wrong to repine too much should it please the All Wise disposer of events to call him from work
to rewards. It is a great comfort to see him so resigned and weaned from the world, which he says he can give freely
up. He like many has had his cares and trials and through all has been wonderfully supported. Of late his health
has been much impaired and since the severe attack in spring, which he mentions, he has never been so stout. His
breathing in the morning is sometimes very difficult but towards the after part of the day he is generally better;
and when the weather permits he gets out frequently also to meeting.
Our landlord is going to new roof our house, a very unpleasant job, I do assure thee. I am obliged to have the
bedsteads all taken down in the upper part of the house, as the ceilings have all to come down to allow them to
get at the timber. Father and Aunt have an invitation to go to Brooklands, where sister Jane lives, while the
workmen are repairing it, and they purpose going tomorrow, as both brother John & Jane wished them to do so
at once and not to wait for their return from London, where they have been these 3 weeks among Johns friends
who Jane seems much pleased with, and I believe they all like her. She left the nurse and Baby here under my charge
but Baby was not very well and I thought the change up here after the pure air of the country did not do so well
with her. Therefore ... brought her home and she has been finely since. I frequently take a run down in the train
to see her and can walk from the station house out to Brooklands in ½ an hour at most. Jane was obliged to get
a wet nurse: she had plenty of drink for the baby but it was of too binding a nature; so much so that the dear little
pet had to get medicine often which would ultimately [have] injured her. She is indeed a sweet little creature and,
altho born 6 weeks before the time, seems to be thriving pretty well. She is reckoned like het mamma. I often say
she is too sweet and too good to live. Jane looks right well and is quite fat. I tell her sometimes I dont know what
she will grow to; she is what some would call a fine looking woman. I am one of Pharos lean kine — never very fat
but rather on the thin scale.
I have a good deal to attend to and can assure thee I do not eat much idle bread. We have one young woman
in the shop, also an apprentice, poor dear cousin Elzh Walpole's youngest son & myself on market days; and
we sometimes in the winter when the days are short get a young woman to help. Father has this some time past
entirely given up doing anything in the shop, but he is still able to post the books & to keep the accounts which
is to help me and is rather amusement for him than otherwise.
Aunt Molly, alt ho not able to get out to meetings this length of time, is still able to stira bout but of late she is
very weakly and to use her own words is here yet and still complaining. The cloth shawl she sends as a small token of remembrance with her dear love: it will help Co keep thy shoulders warm in the winter; the made one I thought
would do thee nicely for summer. Made shawls are much worn here by all kinds of people. I hope thee will like
it; it was the young woman in the shop made it, she is very handy. The Alpaca will, I expect, make a dress each
for you thyself, Maria and Margt, and the rolled muslin is for lining the skirts; all silks, stuffs Sec &c are lined here
in the skirts — but I suppose you make your own clothes.
I suppose thou art aware that sister Jane is very comfortably settled and it is indeed a pleasure to see her so happy
and it is also pleasant to have her settled near us; she has got a good affectionate husband and he thinks no little
of her and het wee daughter. She spoke of writing to thee and I think will when she gets settled at home. This is
her second visit to London: she was there about this time two years with Cousin James Greeves. We frequently
hear from him - oh dear, how much we would like all to see him again.
Cousin John Greer Greeves is in Ireland at present: he paid us a flying visit the other day. He is at present in
the neighbourhood of Grange from which he intends to proceed to Warrant point to see brother Thomas and then
to cross over to Liverpool and to soon return back to New Orleans. He had intended spending longer time in
Ireland but letters from home required him to go sooner than he intended. Poor fellow, he has had his ups and
downs as well as many others. He told his uncle when he was over here about 6 years ago he considered himself
a rich man, but now he considered himself a poor one. He has a large family w wife & ten child. One of his sons
he has with him, a lad about 19 years of age. He has been in England these 12 or 14 years and is now for the last
5 years in a situation as clerk in an office in Liverpool: he is indeed a fine boy. He has also 2 or 3 child at school
in England and some of the eldest boys are also in situations one place or other; one he has at sea. Altho he looks
older, still he looks healthier than when he was over last.
I see father mentioned of the embarrassed state that poor brother Dans affairs have got into again. Poor man,
he is one of the unfortunates & too fond [of] speculating. We feel much for him & particularly for his poor
children. John too from the state of trade has been oblgd to give up business and I fear when all is wound up there
will be a loss to his creditors; but he thought best to give up in time rather than go on & be worse in the latter
end. He has got a situation in the firm of Richardson & Brothers which I hope will answer both him & them —
it was through sister Jane: she spoke about him to them. I feel a kind of regret that that establishment [in Armagh]
which our name has been so long in should go into other hands; however it cannot now be otherwise.
Did I mention before that Wm Dawson's family of Elmfield are now living here. They have sold their interest
in it and has something yearly out of it. The reason of them settling here is their son Wm, the only one at home,
is employed here with the Richardsons [Richardson & Co. of Castle Street and flax spinners of Island Mills,
Lisburn] in the manufacturing department, and his father not being able to attend to the farm they thought it best
to be near him. I believe he gets a handsome sallary.
Cousin Mgt Pike is now on a visit amongst her relations in the north — she spent a few days with us. It is
wonderful how much she gets about. She was enquiring for thee and seemed pleased to hear about you; 1 read
her part of Marias letter which I had some time ago, with which she seemed much pleased & was glad to find she
had such a taste for improving herself, and was quite gratified with it altogether and of the oppettunity of hearing
of you and about you. We had also a visit the other day from Cousin Elizabeth Greer of Milton who has been as
companion to Sarah Squire, a ministering friend from England. This friend has been a long time in Ireland.
Cousin Elzb has been with her round the coast and in centres down Antrim & Derry where she has held public
meetings among those not of our Society. She seems still to have much to do amongst us.
Our friends in Grange & Moyallon all seem pretty well. Jonathon Pikes second eldest son was married lately
to a daughter of Joseph Robinson Pims by his first wife - his present wife [Anna] is a daughter of Dr Leckey of
Carlow. Uncle and Aunt Sinton are much in their usual way, Uncle paid us a visit this day week and returned in
the eveng; now since the railway goes to Portadown it is very convenient. The Q meeting will be held there
against this day week - it used to be held at Grange but it is changed & Grange Q meeting is in 6 month; and
since the meeting house is enlarged in Belfast, the Q meeting is held there alternately & Lurgan. The latter meeting
house is much improved but there are very few friends now belonging thereto. I was amused with thy account of the friend whos house thou lodged at, from where thou wrote thy letter, and I fancied I saw you all stowed up in one room. Oh, how I would enjoy such a thing: I am one that would like such
very much; at our own Q Meeting sometimes I try to make as much room as possible to accommodate my friends,
but we have so many of our own near relations that we have little room for strangers - but I may tell thee we
generally have our own share at all meals. We live very convenient to the Meeting house and many say they would
rather come to us than the higher folk for they can make freer and reel more at ease. Altho we do not see what is
called much company, still we have many comers & goers and it is what father likes best. He likes a friend to
come in a friendly way without a formal invitation, and I think there are many who can come to us and reel easy
in doing so. Such are the terms we stand on with those who know us; and it is an old adage "self praise is no
recommendation": still I know thou would like to know & hear these things of us, only I would not write diem.
Thou may be tired of chis long epistle before thou gets this length & I have spun it much more so than I had
any idea I would when I commenced. It may be with some difficulty thou canst make out some parts of it: my
pen is nearly worn our as well as my matter and so must draw now to a conclusion. If I mistake not, Maria is in
my debt - however a letter from either of you will find acceptance with

thy afft sister

Please give our dear loves to each member of the family. Marias account to her cousin Anna of her brothers & sisters
was very gratifying. I asked Anna to send me her letter, the perusal of which was satisfactory & gratifying to us all.