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Title: Owden (n.Greeves), Jane to O'Brien (n. Greeves), Anne, 1856
CollectionThe Transatlantic Letters of an Irish Quaker Family_1818-1877 [B. Jackson]
SenderOwden (n.Greeves), Jane
Sender Genderfemale
Sender Occupationhousewife
Sender ReligionQuaker
OriginSea Park, near Belfast, N. Ireland
DestinationCollins, Lake Erie, NY, USA
RecipientO'Brien (n. Greeves), Anne
Recipient Genderfemale
Doc. No.
Partial Date
Doc. Type
Word Count1514
Genrefamily news, living at the seaside
TranscriptSea Park near Belfast 11 mo 26 - 1856 4th day

My dear Sister
I have been wishing to write to thee for some time past but various engagements arose which prevented me until
now. It seems a long time since thine & Prudentials joint letter was received, to which I replied without much delay
& I had hoped I should have heard from either thyself or some of your circle to let me know how thou & all the
test wete, as thou had not quite recovered from the effects of the last very trying bereavement which I do not
wonder thou should feel very severely.
Brother Dan and all of us have been greatly tried in a similar way by the removal by death of dear Mary Jane
Eves [Daniel O'Brien's daughter], who died this day was 3 weeks after being confined to bed only two weeks Her
disease was gastric fever which at first we hoped would not be of much importance but after a few days it assumed
a more serious character by Hemorage of the bowels setting in, which continued for many days notwithstanding
all the aid the best medical advice in Waterford would give her; but at last it seemed to be got under and we quite
hoped she had got a decided turn for the better, when she was seized with inflamation which ended in modification
& soon earned her off. She was quite sensible all through her illness & quite calm & resigned: when told of the
danger she was in, she said "she was not afraid to die" - het trust was in her Saviour in whose atoneing blood she
hoped for acceptance. She took leave of her little son the night before her death & was enabled to give him up to
the care of her Heavenly father & to pray for his preservation. Poor little child, he will never know the great loss
he has sustained in being deprived of such a mother as he is only 2 ¼ years of age. He is to live with his aunt
Margaret Baker who has undertaken the care of him, for which task she is well qualified; he has a little
independance of his own, which will pay for his board & education. We were all greatly attached to dear Mary
Jane: she lived with us nearly 6 ½ years previous to her marriage, during which rime neither my Husband or myself
can ever remember that she committed the slightest fault in word or deed, and with respect to her care of dear
Margaret, nothing could exceed it. She stored her [Margaret's] young mind with religious truths which I trust will
bear fruit all her life, I may say her life was a preparation for death and therefore when the awful summons came
she was truly "ready", although the warning seemed very short. She died at Newtown school neat Waterford
where she went in middle of last summer to be superintendant of the school or head housekeeper, which post she
filled to the satisfaction of the committee & of friends generally, and her loss is greatly deplored there as well as
by all who knew her. Gastric fever had got into the school & she caught it whilst attending to her duties; the
under Housekeeper is ill now and not expected to recover.
We have also had to deplore the death of another valued friend within the last week, who was first cousin of
Brother Dan's: his name was John Lamb, son of Thomas Lamb late of Peartree Hill. He was about 59 or 60 years
of age, stout & active. He was a kind benevolent man & was greatly beloved & respected. His was very sudden
indeed, having dropped off his feet in his own sitting room without any previous warning (that is known) &
never spoke after & only lived a few minutes. His wife Abby Lamb & her sister Sarah Watson were in the room
when it occurred: ,r gave them a great shock, as indeed it did everyone who heard it that knew him. He has left a
family of 4 daughters & one son. Three of the daughters have been married for some years. He was a most
affectionate husband and father and they ate all in great distress; poor Abby is in a delicate state of health & is
greatly to be felt for. She is a woman that everyone likes who knows her. She is a good Christian & therefore has
that support which nothing earthly could give.
Sister Susanna is at Bernagh with sister Rachel and her two daughters Margretta & Elizabeth who have returned
from school lately and are two amiable girls. Her eldest daughter, Anna, has lived with us ever since dear Mary
Jane left us & is a good sturdy young woman. I find her of great use to me in many ways. Frederick Smythe also
lives with us which with our daughter composes our present family. We look on sister Susanna as belonging Co our
family but she is so often from home she seems more like a visitor than a resident, but I expect she will not always
Brother Dan is nearly 71 years of age now and has been wonderfully active for his years, but he seems greatly
broken down by dear Mary Jane's death, He was the only one of the family who saw her during her illness & it is
a great satisfaction to him that he had been with her. We are anxious about George O'Brien who has been in a
delicate stare of health for the last year. His chief complaint is situated in his head, a kind of pain accompanied
by a feeling of fullness which is very trying at times. He was two months at a cold water establishment last winter
which he thought was of use to him at the time, but it returned again & now is nearly as bad as ever. He has a
wife and 4 little children to lament his loss if it should be the Divine will to take him. But we hope he will be spared
to them & to his friends - he is a worthy good young man & we are much attached to him. He is of a gentle &
unasuming disposition. His brother Thomas is well and his wife presented him with twin sons some time ago,
who are both thriving well. They are their first living children. John [Greeves O'Brien] still lives in England
[Liverpool] & Elizth's home is with George & Rebecca. Her health has been better of late than it was a year ago
- at that time we hardly expected that she would have been alive now - but now we have hopes of her ultimate
I hope all thy remaining children are well and their children. I hope Maria's sojourn in the country had the
desired effect on her health & that she is now strong and well - and that you are comfortably settled in Town for
the winter. Now that the election for the President is over the popular mind will get settled down again to
business. I have no doubt there was great interest whilst it was in agitation. Most of the people in this country
would have preferred that the Antislavery candidate had been elected, but the American people ought to know the
person who would suit them best. Dear Father used to say he was afraid there would be a day of awful retribution
some time if the slaves were not emancipated by their owners: he thought they would eventually emancipate
themselves and wreak their vengeance on those who enslaved them.
I have not had a letter lately from Cousin James Greeves bur I heard by some means that he had met thee near
the Falls of Niagara when thou went there the beginning of last summer. His son is still in Paris, I believe. He has
not found time or he had no inclination to come to pay his friends in Ireland a visit yet. Cousin James expected
he would have done so before this. I believe he is very fond of gaiety & he does not expect to meet much of it
amongst his relatives here; if he did, he would be disappointed - yet we have in general a good deal of rational
This is the first winter we have lived at the seaside and so far we do not find it colder than our former residence,
which was more inland. We have let Brooklands to one of John Owden's partners [William Richardson] & do not
expect to return to it. Our present residence is larger & more commodious, with a larger farm attached - we all
like the change very much. I am thankful to be able to say we are all well. Anna Greeves & Margaret wish me to
give their love to thee, in which I warmly unite & remain

thy truly aft sister
Jane Owden