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Title: Candee (n. O'Brien), Maria Wright to O'Brien, Joseph Sinton, 1843
CollectionThe Transatlantic Letters of an Irish Quaker Family_1818-1877 [B. Jackson]
SenderCandee (n. O'Brien), Maria Wright
Sender Genderfemale
Sender Occupationhousekeeper
Sender ReligionQuaker
OriginBuffalo, NY, USA
DestinationNYC, USA
RecipientO'Brien, Joseph Sinton
Recipient Gendermale
Doc. No.
Partial Date
Doc. Type
Word Count3690
GenreChristmas, news of family, friends and neighbours, her husband went into the hat business, Irish newspaper discontinued, weather, homesickness, prospects for Margaretta
TranscriptBuffalo 2d month 21st 1843

My dear Joseph,
Thy kind letter of the 2nd instant came safely to hand several days ago and though thee desired an immediate
answer I put off writing in hopes that father and mother would come out to make me a visit, as we have been
looking for them for some rime and then I would be able to give thee mote of the news from the family which would
be much more interesting than anything from that no acquaintance have but us. Rut this morning before breakfast
A.Varney and brother Thomas came in and I was some what surprised, [you] may be sure, at such an early call.
Andrew said he could stay but a few minutes as he wished to get to the office at 9 oclock to take the train/boat for
Albany and he did not think it impossible he might go on as far as N.Y.; and [if] I would like to write a few lines
while he waited he would take them to thee. But Thomas said he had written and I concluded I could not write
much more than he could tell thee in such a hurry. I thought I would not write at all but would just put off writing
till father [and\ mother came and so he started off in a few minutes to go around to the office. After [he had?] gone
about two hours he came back having, I though[t], mistaken in the hour of leaving, come too late for the cars,
they being gone a short time before. So of course he will be obliged to wait for the time tomorrow and (thought
I would improve the time and write to thee and he will take it as far as Albany, if not all the way. Thou mentions seeing a paper from Cortez saying [I] was in the country and I
must tell thee what a time I had there,
waiting. In the first place I must tell thee
about going out. All the fore part of winter
[I] intended going in the country about
Christmas or New Years, but about that
time have all sores of country [?] and ... it
being very good sleighing that it was
almost impossible to get any way of going
so we could for to wait till the weeks of the
New Year ... it came and brought such
fine warm weather chat the snow went off
a good ... Still the roads were icy and after
waiting a few days and till a light fall of
snow we started on 3rd day and went to
fathers, intending to stay there that night,
on to Evans the next day, stay there one night and so the next day come home, Cortes being obliged to hurry back on account of his business. Well we stayed at fathers 3rd day night, having gone out very early though the snow was rather thin in some places, and as it was a fine warm day after we starred it continued to thaw. On 4th day about 10 we started from fathers for Evans, it still continuing to thaw, so that [in?] places the road was ... bare. Thou may be sure we felt some what
in a hurry to get home when we saw the snow going so fast, but we went to Evans and still intending to come home
... there was now no prospect of it being any better. ... the next morning it rained some and the folks there
persuaded us that it would ... a snow storm: as there had been so much fine weather it was time for it to turn
around and be cold and stormy; but it continued warm and then ... all ... rain which melted off all the snow there
was remaining; and there we were with a cutter and the roads all mud and feeling ... [so?] anxious to get home that
we took no comfort ... on account of Cortes business and partly on ace' of having left our house alone, and it,
standing as it did extremely detached from any other, might very easily be broken open without fear of discovery.
We still staid day after day, thinking it would certainly snow; and the roads being so muddy there was no getting
about either on wheels or runners till just a week from the day we come to Evans; and ... day morning it was frozen
very hard and as there was no more prospect of snow yet awhile, and even if it did come it would not be good going
for a few days, Cortes concluded to start with the horse and empty cutter and the bare hubbs and leave me till it
should [be?] better going; and in the mean time I intended to go back up to fathers and make more of a visit and
they would cry co bring [me?] our, as they told Cortes so if I should conclude to stay. The next day it was again
warm and rainy and so it continued for another week. One day it would rain in the morning and through the day
and the next it would rain a little, so that it kept the roads in such a state I could not get to fathers; so there I had
to stay in Evans a week and three days after Cortes left before it froze up and there came snow enough to get to
Buffalo. When at last it did come, Nehemiah came and brought Susan and I down and thee may be sure I was
glad then, if I ever was. I almost thought I would never cry to go in the country again and visit; and what was the
most vexatious was that I spent so little time at fathers. And [the] night when I did get home I found everything
safe, however, from which I felt thankful and I had felt so anxious about it. ...
I believe I have not written since we went to house keeping. I will give thee a description of our situation as
well as I can. Our house which is on Scott St. just about ... as a small white cottage standing a little back from
the street in a large yard and garden in which we have two or three dozen fruit and ornamental trees, and in the
front against a trellis near which is trained a fine huge Honey Suckle such as they have at Boydes in the front part
of the yard; and Cortes says after rest is under cultivation as a vegatable garden and is plenty large enough to raise
all the vegatables we will need if it is well tilled and Cortes intends to have it. The house consists of a ... parlour
in front - a ... with a more comfortable ... off of it and a large outside room or shed which we use to house our
wood in and hang clothes in to dry &c; [and in the summers?} it will be very ...'ct for a kind of kitchen. Upstairs
there are three rooms and a clothes closet. The ... [front room?] is a very pleasant one as it commands a view of
the street and is light and airy for summer. The rent of it is one dollar a week until the first of May, after which it
will be more, though I do not know how much. If we had looked all over the city I do not think we could have found a place that would suit us better than this. The only objection we have to it is that it is rather too far up
town. It is so long a walk for Cortes to go to and from the store - but he says he does not mind it at all and he
thinks it is better and much healthier than a situation further down town would be.
Cortes still continues in the Hat & ... [fur or cap] business but it is impossible to tell yet how he will suceed
as business of all kinds is so dull here that no one is doing any thing of any amount. I suppose he is doing as well
as any of them, considering that his is a new establishment though that at present is little, but it will no doubt be
better in the spring, as it always is when navagation opens. Thou mentions ... letter home and to Rebecca which
thee has the liberty of reading. I wrote it before we went to house keeping and have looked somewhat anxiously
for an answer to the many questions it contained. Canst thou feel free to talk with Rebecca and ask her advice about
anything ... [as?] thee would me or mother. I hope thou canst, as it will be a great comfort to thee to have someone
who can take the place of a mother or sister to thee. How [dost?] thee like the other girls and all the family
individually. I believe [thou never?] mentioned anything about them in particular. Thou need not be afraid to say
any thing thou chooses to me.
So thou saw Potter, did thee. Well I will nor congratulate thee for I do not think it one that will afford thee any
pleasure unless it be because he is from this part of the country. I advise thee to have as little to say to him as
possible, as he is a most consumate knave and I would not like thee to introduce him to any of thy acquaintance
for thee may have reason to be ashamed of him yet before he leaves N.Y., if thou dost.
I am very glad thou hast written to Aunt Susanna though no doubt it was quite a task and one which I suppose
thou dreaded; but after the first one thou will think nothing of writing to her and in chat way we will hear from
thee and Ireland at the same time.
Did thou ever say any thing to any of the girls about my parasol that I left there when I was in N.Y. I wish if
thou hast an opportunity thou would send it to me, as I would like to have it in the spring. If Andrew had a trunk
with him I would ask him to bring it for me, but he has only [valise?] and I do not know as it would go into it ac
all. I will however speak to him about it and if it will go into It I think he will bring it.
Thou mentions Wm Bell the editor of The Irish Friend as being in this country, so of course the paper is
discontinued. Mother had wondered why they got no more of them of late, but thou explained it and I suppose
she need not expect any more of them. What did they say of Wm. Has he been guilty of any crime? Grandfather
or Aunt Susanna in their last letter mentions something of Cousin J O'Brien's difficulties, also of Uncle Dan's
second failure which is a sad thing for his business. How much better it is for us that father has never aspired to
something he could not reach than to have twice, and failed as Uncle has only to his own discredit and the
mortification of his friends and relatives. Poor Cousin Ann: how much I feel, for she is so sensitive and suffered
so much from the first difficulties that I almost rear this will be quite too much for her to endure; as many hardships
as we have had to pass through and difficulties to encounter, I would not and do not think thou would be willing
to exchange places with Uncle's children, and I think we have reason to be thankful to the Great Authority of our
being for placeing us in a situation where, though we have had to work hard and be deprived of many advantages
that our Cousins have had, still, were we thrown on our own resources, we could get along in the world with less
disadvantage to ourselves than they can.
This winter has been almost as remarkable for a great quantity of snow as last was for very little. The snow came
about the 18th of Nov and it was good sleighing nearly all the time from that till after New Years when we had
about 3 weeks of mud, and since that time a good deal of snow and good sleighing again. I have not taken many
rides yet but will call one of these thine if thou chooses. There has been for sometime, say near two weeks past,
more severe cold weather in succession than ever was known in this city before, so say the oldest ... I have not
[formed?] a great many acquaintance yet and do not intend to, for I do not think it adds much to ones happiness
to have many but quite the contrary, and am glad to find thou art disposed to have a limited number of intimate
friends, though I think to a person in business it may be often an advantage to have a pretty large number of
general and passing acquaintance. I have been very fortunate so far in forming acquaintance and have found the
people here very pleasant and agreeable and seem generally disposed to be sociable. I find that my dear Cortes is
a great favorite among all that know him, which thou may be sure is very gratifing to me indeed, for I think he is
well worthy of it. And, my dear Joseph, if thou only know him as I do, thou would think that instead of having
lost a sister thou hadst gained a brother. But I trust thou will know him at some future time and then thou canst
appreciate him. I think thou must have such feelings in thy thoughts of home without me as I realized when I was at home after thou went away; but thou must not think that our dear childhood home is any the less now to me than it was before
I had another, for I found that, even after thou wert gone, I spent many happy happy hours there with my other
brothers and our dear sister Margarerta, who thou would be surprised to find so much improved in one year. She
is become so much of a young woman in her manners and conversation that she had become a good companion
for me just at the time when I was about to leave home, which thou may be sure was a great trial for me to do.
And sometimes even now I can hardly bear to think that it is no more my home. But, my dear brother, I am not
unhappy, no — very far from that. I am as happy as I can be in the best affections of the best of husbands: he does
any thing in his power for my happiness and I would be the most ungreateful of my sex if I did not do all in my
power to enhance his. Poor fellow, he has had a dreadful time with the toothache for several weeks past. It is not
only in his teeth but his head, and is I think a nervous afflection such as father ... [used to?] have sometimes, thou
may remember. I have tried all the cures for the toothache I have heard of, to no purpose, and I told him I think
if he would get some medicine for his nerves he would get better; and I hope he will ere long, for I cannot bear
to see him suffer so much as he does.
Thou does not say anything what thou had concluded about staying in N.Y. - or when thou thinks of coming
home to see us at any rate, if not to stay. Please mention something about it in thy next. Tell Edith and Willy with
my love that where I live now I do not have any little boys or girls come to see me, and I wish they were near enough
to come now and then and I would be very glad to see them. Please remember me affectionately to Joseph Beale's
family and say I often think of their kind attentions to me during my visit to White Plains. Do not thou think
Joseph is one of the kindest and best of men.
Andrew [Varney] was here last week as a juryman; he went home on fifth day and I wrote a few lines to mother
by him, telling her of thy letter and saying I would send it to her by the first opportunity, and now Thomas is here
I will send it by him. He says he wrote thee ail the news of the country so, though An [drew] told me some, I
suppose thee will find it all in Thomas's letter. He says, however, that there are some weddings he did tell thee of
Among them is Harriet White to Gary Adams, and Enos South wick's daughter Lydia to Stylis Terrence. I think
thou will wonder to hear Lydia is married but it is really so — her and her husband called here about two weeks ago.
Last fall when I first came down I thought some of getting a situation for Margaretta to have a trade, but did
not find a place then and when I [would] Susan came down and after staying 3 or 4 weeks she found a situation
in a milleners shop; and the Lady who kept it wanted another apprentice and I thought it would be wise for
Margtta to be with Susan, as she was going to board with us and they could both be together. But before I visit out
in the country did not want her till spring, but mother cannot then; so she will not come but perhaps she will
another winter.
Folks are going to milk 7 cows this summer and charge milk with Sam/Tomf[?] G ... folks to make cheese. They
will have about 12, so that both together will make a good sized cheese and mother says she is going to have
Margtta make it so she will have enough to do till cheese making is over; and then, next fall again if nothing
happens, I intend to try to get her a place to learn some kind of a trade and have her board with us as Susan does
this winter. I think it will be better for her to have some kind of a trade and she does not [incline] much to teach
school and besides I think there are other employments that are better for the health than teaching. What does
thou think of having her learn to be a dressmaker or a milliner. Tell me in thy next - for I think we ought to try
to do all we can for our brothers and sister in this way. I think Thomas is doing pretty well for the times this
winter, for besides getting 10 dollars a month he is learning a good trade and if the man he is with should leave
Pontiac, he can set up a shop for himself and I doubt not do very well there, poor Tom, I do hope having
[recovered?]. He is a good hearted fellow: I have almost felt anxious about him. The children all study at home this
winter and are improving considerably.
How is Millerism in New York, does it get many disciples? It has caused considerable excitement here - as
well as Animal Magnetism, which I suppose is creating ... [some din?] in your city also, as I see by some of the papers thou sent. Susan Candee has boarded with us nearly ever since we kept-house and to-day Charles came
down to stay a while with Cortes in the store, as Mr. Hall his partner expects to leave next week for Boston, and
he will want someone with him to be in the store while he is at his meals and out on business; and Charles wanted
to come so bad that Cones thoug[ht] he would take him for a few weeks on trial, and if he does as he wants him
to, he will most likely keep him awhile, perhaps all summer. Charles is a smart [?] ... boy and I think will do very
well if he is not unsteady and will do as we want him to. Why, ... Cortes feels much as thou and I do about trying
to help his brothers and sisters along as much as he can.
And now I have occupied nearly all the room my sheet ... finds and I think if thou art able to make it all out
thou will say Well, M. has done very well this time; and, my dear brother, when thou hast read this, think how
glad I will be to get an answer ere long from thee; and remember also that I can still, though we are separated, be
nearly all to thee that I have ever been. For I do not wish thee to feel as if my new companion had severed any of
my old ones. No, Joseph, I will, if thou wants me to be, thy advisor and thy sincerest friend; and I think that instead
of tendering me unfit for acting the part of an adviser, it only gives me more facilities for knowing the world and
thereby adding to my capacity, which was always made for advising. Thou wilt please give my love to all Abrms
family individually. Cortes says he would often send thee papers but that any thing that is in this city papers is old
to thee, as all the news comes from the Coast. With love to thyself, in which my deaf Cortes unites, I remain
thy sincerely affectionate sister
M.W. Candee
Susan desires her best respects to thee as also does Charles.