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Title: Owden (n.Greeves), Jane to O'Brien (n. Greeves), Anne, 1852
CollectionThe Transatlantic Letters of an Irish Quaker Family_1818-1877 [B. Jackson]
SenderOwden (n.Greeves), Jane
Sender Genderfemale
Sender Occupationunknown
Sender ReligionQuaker
OriginBrooklands, near Lisburn, N. Ireland
DestinationCollins, Lake Erie, NY, USA
RecipientO'Brien (n. Greeves), Anne
Recipient Genderfemale
Doc. No.
Partial Date
Doc. Type
Word Count1877
Genrefamily news, Great Exhibition
TranscriptBrooklands 1st month 4th 1852

My Dear Sister
Thy very welcome letter came safe to hand in less than three weeks (I believe) after it was written, which seems to
bring us nearer together than heretofore: which is a pleasing idea, for the reality is the same although modern
science has annihilated space as it seems.
I am very glad to hear that thy health is even a little improved from what it was when thee wrote to Susanna.
I have thought that both thou and I have inherited something of our mothers constitution, who thou remembers
was not perfectly free of illness of one kind or another for the last 18 or 20 years of her life, although she was
sometimes worse than others. I was much subject to spasmodic attacks a few years ago, which came on suddenly
and were ... whilst they lasted. Our Dr said that they were bilious or were produced from the liver. I used to
always take medicine with me when going from home, not knowing when I might be attacked; but of late I have
not had a return of the spasms at all, which I can hardly account for, unless it be that I have crossed the channel
twice last year and twice this year and was most distressingly sick every time, and that may have been the means
of recovering me from the overstock of bile, which is very desireable & I must endeavour to keep it in check by
taking medecine. I have known several persons that have benefited from taking a tablespoon full of wine in which
24 grains of the sulphate of quinine has been dissolved (to the bottle of wine), twice a day. Sherry wine is the best
as it is less acid than Port. It is a good tonic and strengthening to the system at the same time. Brother Dan's
health is much improved by it lately he thinks; he has been a great sufferer from pains in his stomach which went
through to his shoulder and sometimes to his side. He has been taking the above for sometime now and is much
better now & I have thought it might be of benefit to thec & would be worth a trial.
Brother Dan is still Superintendant of the Provincial School and continues to give satisfaction; but it is
certainly a chore for him who has so long been his own master to now have a number of masters, we may say, and not one of his own children with him. But his son John G. O'Brien's eldest son"3 is with him as a scholar at the
Provincial School; having been both in the Province he has a claim to be educated there. He is a small boy and
gets on well with his education: it is a great satisfaction to his Grandfather to have him with him. We cannot have
Brother Dan to see us so much as we would like, but he is welcome when his duties permit him to come. He has
had great comfort of his children who have all been amiable and affectionate and greatly attached to him in all his
misfortunes. He has now the prospect of soon seeing Mary Jane very comfortably settled, as it is fixed for her to
marry Joshua Eves of Dublin, son of Rebecca Webb that was, whom we all knew so well when Cousin
Elizabeth Sinton was with her. He bears an excellent character in every sense of the word & is in the way of making
out a respectable livelihood, being in partnership with his cousin James Webb in Corn Market where they have a
pretty large establishment in the woolen drapery and haberdashery business & are doing well. I shall miss her
much indeed - she has been a faithful friend and assistant in bringing up our child and also in housekeeping, but
notwithstanding I shall feel her loss so much I am rejoiced and thankful on her own account, for it is right and
desirable that she should have her own home when such a suitable one is offered her, beside having such a suitable
and steady partner, nice young man about her own age to share it with her. Both her friends and his are well
satisfied with the match and it is expected to take place sometime in 5th month.
Brother Thomas and Sister Rachel have consented to allow their eldest daughter to come and live with us in
her place. She is ten years younger and I cannot expect her to be so useful to me for a long time, but she is a clever
well educated girl & I expect to get Masters to assist her. Brother Thomas's means are not very great and it suits
him very well to have Anna where she will be happy and well cared for & no expense to him - yet would not let
het go out to strangers: with us it is like being at home and it serves us and them also. If she did not come I would
have to get someone else and I would greatly prefer my own to strangers.
Brother Thomas' health has been better the last two months and he has been able to get out to meetings pretty
regularly, which is a favour indeed, but he is still weak and feeble; indeed if thou should see him thou would not
think he would live long, but he has looked so for many years and may be spared for many years longer I hope,
but this is very uncertain. Dear Aunt "is still to the fore" as we say in Ireland but we cannot expect that she will
stay very much longer as she will soon have attained her 93rd year and she is much weaker and shrunk than she
was a year ago; but her intellect is cleat which is a great thing for thankfulness and she seems as interested in the
welfare of her friends and relations as if she were only 50 years old, which is rather extraordinary as old people often
get selfish and careless about others, I hear. She seldom goes down stairs now but she gets into a sitting room next
her own most every day. Latterly she has to be helped as she has a pain in her side and one of her hips which causes
her to walk with difficulty - she only feels it when she walks, which is a great matter as otherwise she might be in
constant pain. Susanna is most kind and attentive to her: she has never felt the want of a daughter as she has been
so well cared for. Susanna received thy welcome letter and desires me to say that the receipt will do very well, so
that there need be no further trouble about it. She is very much confined at her home as she cannot leave Aunt
very long at a time. I can say that I would not be very much surprised to hear that she was taken at any time, she
is so much reduced in strength and she has such a severe cough for such a long time on going to bed and on rising
in the morning; she has had it for years and we have wondered how she could bear up under it so long.
I have not had a letter from Cousin James Greeves for a long time: his eyes are so weak and sore that he says
that it is a great task for him to write. I was glad to hear some-thing of him and his family from thee. We quite
expected that his son Thomas would have been at the great Exhibition & that he would have come to see his
relations in this country, but he did not. I cannot understand how a young man with an independent fortune such
as his can be so parsimonius as his Aunt Mary represents him to be. He must be a little mind, I tear, and if he
cannot be generous and Philanthropic, and not at all like his father who we were all so pleased to have among us
and would be glad to see again.
When we were in the great Exhibition in 7th month
there was a great part of die Crystal Palace which was
unoccupied, which did not look at all well compared
with the other allotments of the Edifice; so that they [the
Americans?] must have sent over a great number of
articles after that time so as to have made it at all equal
to other nations & even to surpass them, as their great
boastings would warrant, but as we were not there after
the middle of 7th month I cannot say how it appeared
after that. The Greek Slave was much admired but
some thought that as the Americans were slave owners it
would have shown more delicacy of reeling to have had
some other subject. However it may have been only a
few who reasoned so & I think that a sculptor has a right
to choose what subject pleases him, provided it is
moulded in a manner fit to be seen. I have got to learn
how and [in] what article the Americans so far exceed
the English and other nations, except in their mowing
machines or rather reaping machines which I understand
are only suited for level ground, which are not very
plentiful in Ireland, at least in the North: so I suppose
that they cannot come into general use here.
I was glad to hear that Maria and her husband were
getting along so comfortably. It must be a great
satisfaction to live in their own house and be certain that
no one can put them out of it or call on them for rent,
and as there are very few taxes in America I should think
that they would feel very independant in a very short
time. If it answered in other respects, it would seem natural and reasonable that thou should live with thy only daughter, if she and her husband wished it & thou liked
it better, but it is not pleasant to give up thy own home altogether. If thee could manage to [he] there occasionally
I should think it would be a very comfortable plan: the change would be good for thee, and now that Joseph has
got such a good and agreeable wife, it must be a great comfort to thee. I think it a previlege to be able to do so.
I saw Abraham Bell and his daughter and son when they were in this country and was pleased to meet them -
he is a very kind, trusted and affectionate man. He was speaking very entertainingly of thee and thy family, which
it was gratifying to hear. He had a very severe passage going home, so I fear that it may frighten him from coming
again. I believe that it was the twentieth time for him crossing the Atlantic.
I must say farewell for my paper is done. Aunt & Susanna desired their love: with the same from myself, I am

thy affectionate sister