Main content

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 Occupationunknown
Sender ReligionQuaker
OriginCollins, Lake Erie, NY, USA
DestinationNYC, USA
RecipientO'Brien, Joseph Sinton
Recipient Gendermale
Doc. No.
Partial Date
Doc. Type
Word Count2742
Genreshe's glad he's doing fine, news of family and friends, consequences of the frost, cattle
Transcript11th 11th 1842

Dear Joseph
We received thine of 10th 23rd second day last which was truly acceptable and is always glad to hear
when thee is doing well. I dont believe [hat thee has any flatterers as thee never lets us know of anyone praising
thee, how well thee gets along, having so little chance of business, but I hope thee comes up to their expectations.
I think that they must put a good deal of confidence in thee to trust thee with the keys of the office and safe, but
I hope that thee will do everything in thy power to secure their confidence in every sense of the word.
Cousin James G. in his letter lately says he is always very sorry when he hears of young men leaving the country
for city residence and hopes that thee will be an exception in keeping out of temptation; but I can write to him
that I am not afraid of thee, as we all put confidence in thee in such things. Cousin James seems to feel poor,
although he doesnt say much, only he cant think that we can feel the pressure here as they do and is sorry there
is so many things to retard Father in progress with building of the Mill. He dont write any news. Maria had a letter
from Cousin Mary some time before. She intends coming out sometime early in the spring if she can. I expect
Maria will have most of her company. I am glad that that box has got safe to hand and expect there is a letter in
the office today from Maria saying it has come to Buffalo, as it has had time to get there. Father and I are aware
how vexatious it is to have to do business with the Custom House, as we have been thro it once, and we have been
afraid that those things wd cost really more than they wd. be worth to us here; but the blankets I suppose wd be
worth alone the duty as they used to sell, but I could have made cheaper bedding here. But it was kindness in our
poor old Father and he does not know anything about those things and we concludes best not saying anything
about it to Aunt, unless thee said thee wd suggest that if ever they want to make us a present of clothing again,
that they have it made up in the form of clothing and send it by some one coming. But 1 should have thought
that thee could have told them at the Custom House they were not for sale and they would not have charged thee
so much. We never could have got them if thee had not been there. I was satisfied with thee for taking the stockings
and if the other dont answer for us women folks. I will send them to thee perhaps. There is also a piece of linen
mentioned: what I thought of, if it was fine enough for shirts for thee and if thee thinks thee must have linen shirts
in the summer, if thee could get me one of those shirts thee had of James, I wd. make thee some of it and save
thee buying to make up for thy expense. Is thee going to make thy great coat do thee this winter. I am almost afraid
sometimes that A. will think thee too extravigant for thy circumstances - does he ever hint the thing.
Thos. so far is getting along well. He has been turning this fall at great wheels and quill wheels and occasionally
does cabinet work. Maria has had a bureau, bedstead, a table and a stand made there. Thos. made the table and
bedstead and table and Father said that they looked well as any when varnished in that shop. Indeed Niamiah
Candee told me that Thos. made the best bedstead that had been made there. Father says that he has an uncommon
good idea about work, but the hardest of it will be getting the pay; but he is going to get it as he goes along, as he
takes such pay as Ladd gets - expects to get a cutter all finished, off of him, and that is something we want.
Father and the boys get along without him better than they expected they would, but there is not much to do.
The potatoes were not much to dig as they turned out poorly - a great many rotted in the ground, the weather
has been so wet and cold, and the corn was nothing and thee will say so when I tell thee we have not had a grist
of new meal for pudding. I sometimes dont know what we will do. Father could let out the farm, but then I tell
him we must keep the cows to get our bread with next summer, and I dont suppose that we could let it out without
them. If Father does let it out he will get Aunt Lydia S. house to live in and have a shop in the wood house and
go out when he got a job. But I think now it is best stick to the farm as we can raise our pork and have all the milk
and butter we want and keep a horse to go with. Father has not sold any of the stock yet and he has tried a good
deal. Harry Hall talks of taking the four yearling steers but is not sure yet that they are good ones, tho we got [them]
of N. Laing.
Fruit has been destroyed by frost - that is late frost last summer: when the blossoms were on the trees they were
blasted. We had about three bushels. None of the graft bore. Some great orchards had not so many on them -
instance ShepardWilber wont have apples for their own use this winter. S. Hussey a good many more than they had the year before: there warm soil is the cause of the difference. S. Hussey's girls are going out to Aurora to live
this winter, just move out with a few things to keep house with. They have had the girls boarded this last term
and they were not suited with their treatment - such works.
I believe that we told thee of two young men who gave us a call on the way from N. Falls. "Well now, according
to a promise one of them made, he sent us a Courrier with the sketches of the tour in them which is very
interesting - maybe thee sees them. It is A Pedestrian Tour signed W. in the letters to the Editor. Those we saw in
some of the papers thee sent us are not from them. Father gets those papers regularly and I believe likes them, but
says best not to have thee ... as thee has so much to do with thy money. But just send us a paper when thee gets
one given to thee. Margaretta was pleased with the one thee sent her – [you] might direct such to her as she takes
more pains to read and keep up a correspondence. She says it improves her as thee asks her questions for her to
answer. I was sorry that she made such halting work of the forepart of this. She began i: some time ago, intending
to send it when we heard from thee again about the box. Did thee think of sending Maria's parasol - she left it
at Abram's.
We hear that John Thorn goes this week and Thos. intends to write - I hope he has. We want thee should write
to him about keeping to himself and taking care of his health. Maria will often write thee from Buffalo and thee
write her by opportunity, as postage costs so much. Cortes I believe is a person that bears acquaintance, and as M.
says we must know him to appreciate his worth. She says that she had no idea that he was thought so much of in
Buffalo as he is - the circle he and his friends move in is a very respectable one, and M. says that she wont be lonely
Father wants Maria to get something for Margaretta to do this winter, so to be able to earn her board and to
get her from home to improve her too, but I dont know how it will do. I cd. try and spare her this winter as Ann
[Widderfield] can help do a good many things: she is small for her age but smart. Hugh L. [Laing] says his mother
dont think will ever take her away and Andrew V. [Varney] has I expect secured her from Benjamin for us - that
unless we abuse her we may keep her. I needed a little girl to bring up, but Rachel's was the last: but I was her choice
as fit to bring up a female child. We must make her mind and so far she is a pretty good child - very pert and old
fashioned. Thos. thinks a good deal of her and thinks it a nice affair to get her.
Has thee ever seen that John Healy* that we wrote by: he has cut up a real caper with the Whites. E. [Edwin]
Mabbit contracted for all their cheese and had them take them to Buffalo where he had to pay for them. But Jo
and behold when he got there, no John - and previous to this he (E. M.) had delivered him two tons where he
received $ 10 to secure the bargain, and [bats all he got or ever will I suppose. The Whites say that they have lost
a good deal by it for they had to store them there, and then could not sell them for what they expected; its
mistrusted that the man they stored them with was in with him, as he offered them for their cheeses when it was
seen that John was not likely to come. Now I. White wants thee to make inquiries if there is such a person in New
York and where, until he does something with him if only to frighten him; but to keep this to thyself. I suppose
thee could find his name in the directory.
I have written something about M. [Maria's] marriage to Aunt Susanna but dont know what to tell her, tho.
They expected to have been married in the way of friends, as such marriages are allowed now in our yearly
meeting, but not to take place until the new books of disciplin are printed, which they did not know until two
weeks before: so had to be married by a majestrate. I. Potter performed the cerimony. One of the overseers has
talked with Maria about it and she finding their intentions: she expects that friends will continue her a member,
as it was her wish, and Cortes wanted her to if she had any wish. These things I did not tell Susanna, not even
that he was not a member, as they think a great deal more of these things than we do.
I wd. like to have Susannas letter sent to me, or any other that thee gets from them that v/ be interesting:
sometime when thee has opportunity by hand, make a package of them. We saw a letter [Stephen Esteef] .., wrote
to I. Potter from ... [Illinois] that wd have answered everything that thee wanted to know for D. M. [David
Malcomson]. He must have got a situation, or some offer before when he was out brings him again; or perhaps
he has formed some attachment somewhere that thee does not know about, but which some of us guess.
M. has been twice to our American Institute in Buffalo. She says that she could beat them making wax flowers
or some she saw there that they asked one dollar for - a rose I believe - and got seventy five cents for, I believe. We looked a little for J. Beal but suppose that he has got home before this. I wonder that Mary B does not see
further than she does, to work things the way she does. It would be cheaper, I would think, to take a place in the
country and buy everything they want than do as they do; only this is not a grain country. I would write them to
come here, only I would not want any more of our relations. But I feel sorry for them or for J. at least - they might
do better in any part of [he state than there. Provisions are low in Buffalo, pork..., butter 10 cents per pound, ...
$3.50 per bll, and everything in proportion.
Father has to go out to get a barrel of salt and one of flower [flour] yet, but was waiting to hear about the box
when it would be in town. I am afraid he will have hard going as we have had a fall of snow yesterday and last night.
For a week or two past we have had beautiful Indian Summer. He takes our butter out. We had not enought to
send to N.Y. as we had to sell it through the summer to get flour. They are going to build a Baptist Meeting House
at Goodell Corners and Charles R. has offered to let Father have hard pay to work on it toward spring, if F. cant
sell the stock he thinks he will. F. health is better comes cold weather, and he and the boys have been ploughing
the corn ground again for next spring and if it comes dry again he expects to plough more, as people find that the
best way with some land. Our wheat is not worth thrashing. I believe I told thee that the mill will have to stand
still until better times. I want F. to cover up the timber. Washburn gets more than he can do and wishes that ours
was finished, but how can we finish it and times so hard — good cows selling for SI0 a head and good 4 year old
steers for $40, calves about $2. Father offered ours for $2 apiece. Hugh Mc.[Millen] bought a cow for $12 5 or
6 weeks ago on 1 years credit: he has 5 ... lives with him and takes great comfort there about putting down a new
floor in the log house and building a stone chimney, so as to have a stove and no fireplace, which will make it very
comfortable. The girls ate in Harrisburgh teaching a A ... and they all feel hard toward their mother, but Father
says serves them right as they did not use her well ever.
Think they will want thee to stay next year: if thee stays, thee will just have to let them allow thee what they
think best. They are kind to thee, I suppose, and thou wd like to stay: still I wd not urge myself on them as there
is always enough to do on the farm, but thee wd not make anything as it has been the last year, and it was well
thee was there, sure enough. I hope thee may be able to make this out, for I cannot. Let us hear from thee
occasionally. With love to all I remain

thy afft Mother

* J. Healy, son of Christopher Healy, and I think that thee might be enquiring of some of the Orthodox brethern
to find out if there is such a person in N.Y. and his direction - but keep all to thyself. He done pretend to be
anything of a friend. The reason of the Whites wanting to find him is they expect that Moore of Buffalo has
checked them, as he says that he advanced him $300 - to Healy - when the cheese was delivered and they had
to go in shares with him in the loss before they would pay him anything; that he did not pay him anything and
if he did not that they could take Moore for a wind bag.
L. Mabbitt ... gave us a ... paper to send to the Irish Friend (to the editor) if thee has the chance.