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Title: Greeves, Susanna to O'Brien (n. Greeves), Anne, 1858
CollectionThe Transatlantic Letters of an Irish Quaker Family_1818-1877 [B. Jackson]
SenderGreeves, Susanna
Sender Genderfemale
Sender Occupationunknown
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 Count2098
Genrenews of family, friends and neighbours, visiting relatives, correspondence
TranscriptSea Park 7th 29th 1858

My Dear Sister
When Sister Jane wrote thee last I did intend that so long a time should not elapse without writing to thee, as she
I think mentioned in hers that I would do so soon; any apology that I could make might not be sufficient to
excuse me, therefore I must not take up thy time reading a long preface for trying thy patience. Suffice it to say
that 1 may in some degree be able to fill up this sheer with matter which may interest thee.
In the first place I am thankful to say that we are all well. In the winter I was not very stout and was confined to
the house for a good while but am now in my best fashion and returned a short while ago from Bernagh, where I
spent a month very agreeably. I went a few days before the Q. Meeting which is now held in 6th month - formerly
it was in 9th - at Moyallon: however in 6th month they reversed it to serve some purpose - I forget exactly what.
On the 5th day, week previous to the Meeting, Sister Rachel got an account of her brother being very ill & on
7th day she got a telegraph message of his death. He died that morning about 8 o'clock. He had been the last 3 or
4 years at a [home] near London: his health was such that he was not able to attend to active business and he felt
better under the treatment & ... there ... place else [there than any place else and?] it is considered the means of
lengthening his days. His death was sudden and unexpected at the last, and an attack of paralysis or something of
the kind. Sister Rachel with some other of the relatives went from Ireland to attend the funeral. It was a long journey,
twenty miles beyond London. He was interred in the friends' burying ground where he attended Meeting, a few
miles from the Establishment. He was a kind son and brother and much looked up to by his family and much ...
by others. In consequence of this occurrence Margaretta & Lizzie and myself were left to the entertaining of our
friends who had previously been invited to lodge with them. We had a few more with them whom we could not
avoid asking to dinner &c but we got on nicely. It is likely that had Sister Rachel been at home she would have seen
more of her friends, but at such a time and under such circumstances it is not to be expected.
Sister Jane and her husband and Margaret are now on a visit to Bernagh. They had not (at least Jane and John)
been there this length of time — something came to hinder them sometimes, one thing and another. They were
much pleased to find the old home stood much improved both inside and out by the alterations since they were
there. I think that Jane mentioned to thee of the improvements. It is pleasant to them as to me to see some of their
old acquaintance in that part, but there are but few of the old stock remaining now: that is calculated to call forth
a kind of Melancholy feeling when we think of all of those so endeared who have gone to that bourn from which
there is no returning. But even so let us humbly trust and hope that it is one of pure rest and peace, where 1 hope
that we will all meet, never to part.
I hope that thy own health is keeping pretty good & that thou are comfortable as when thou wrote last. Maria
with her husband and family I hope are well - I expect that thou often sees them. Thou spoke of Joseph having
some thoughts of going from home to settle where he hoped to better himself and family; perhaps since then he
has changed his mind and that something has turned up to prevent him. Thou would no doubt feel a good deal
if thou wete separated now, that he is thy only son left thee. I, my dear sister, often think of the many trials that
thou hast passed through. No doubt they have been sent for a good purpose by him who knows best what is for
our good, and may they be sanctified to thee is the sincere desire of my heart. Many there are in this land of our
own friends and relations who have been visited with many afflictions and with whom we all sympathise. Very
recently our nephew John G. O’Brien’s eldest daughter, a girl in her 11th, was taken from them after an
illness of 4 months, it might be said in rapid decline although she seemed to have other disorders to contend with;
yet het lungs were I believe the seat of her trouble. Her parents feel it very much-she was a child so companionable
& promised in every way to be a comfort to them. They have left two sons and a daughter a few years old and a
nice little girl; the eldest boy is in his 17th year and the other in his 15th.
They are all here at present, their Uncle having invited them to be at the seaside in hopes that it might be a
benefit to them after all the anxiety they have been through. Elizabeth is also here: it is pleasant for her to have
her brother's company [John Greeves O'Brien the elder]. I must say that they are a much united family: it is very
pleasant to see them so. George's health is improved, he finds his new employment to agree with him. I suppose
that thee is aware that he is now what is called a traveller - he cakes orders for different people for which he has a
commission. Of course it depends on how he succeeds whether it will be worth while to continue. He would
prefer to be more at home, but when the health is not good there must be a giving up of our wishes. Brother
Dan'l is about leaving the school - I could say it is his desire to do so ... but they are about making some changes
and so it seems not desirable to put him about in his old days, & on the whole we hope it is for the best that he
is leaving. It is with his son Thomas chat he will be, most likely. He is to go to spend some time with his daughter,
Margaret Baker, and most likely be here a little too. He is leaving with the acknowledgments of many that he has
improved the farm and garden with most if not all that was under his care: it is pleasant to know that he is leaving
under such good feelings.
When on my visit to Bernagh I spent an evening in the company of Susanna Greer, McDonald [McDonnell]
that was). She had been asking particularly about thee and saying how intimate you were, and how you had
learned to make shoes which was then all the fashion for ladies to do; & I remember seeing a pair of blue velvet
shoes with Aunt Molly which I think that thou had made. Susanna has had her trials; she had a fine young man
died in Paris where he had gone to improve himself, if I mistake not in the French language - he had been a
teacher in the Watford school, also a tutor at one time in a wealthy private family. Her husband and two
daughters went to Australia, the daughters have a school and are getting on very well, but the climate did not agree
with their father and he returned a short time ago. They have several more
children, some at home with them and some in employment. Their
youngest girl got a hurt some time ago which caused her to be lame;
latterly she has suffered much with it and she expressed a desire to have an amputation performed & she is at present time under the Dr's care in
Dublin, and has bore the operation well & it is hoped that her health will
hold up; if so, she may be better for having it done.
Our Cousin Wm Greeves and his wife and two sons still live at Grange
- his eldest son is the first wife's son and the other by the latter. Cousin William is wearing well: he has for the last two or three weeks a
daughter of his brother John G. Greeves [and Marie Tonton Forstall]
with two of her nephews on a visit. I saw them when I was in Co Tyrone.
They reside now in Liverpool and she and the boys live with their brother
Robert, who lost his wife some time ago. They seem very fond of their
friends in this quarter: anything relating to her father [who had died in
1845] is listened to with interest - she was very fond of him. When she
was over here a couple of years ago, she with her sister and brother paid
us a visit here. Since her sister was married, and she and her husband
has returned to New Orleans.
We have not heard anything lately from Cousin William Sinton. He has
never written either to his brother Thomas or his sister Margaret [James
Greacen's widow] since he left. We heard that he married again. His daughter Susan and her husband [Alfred Pim] reside somewhere in the vicinity of New York but what her
husband's employment is I have not heard. It is a wonder that he never thinks it worth while to enquire after his
friends in this country. Cousin Thomas and Margaret are I think looking well: her two nieces are brave girls but
they may thank their Aunt for making them so - they do acknowledge her kindness and the interest she has
for them. Their brothers went to Australia a year ago and Samuel the youngest is with his uncle in the baking
business. We hear that Thomas Walpole is getting on well [in Australia] and that he and his wife have a store of
their own. John Joshua is married and resided in Melbourn: his wife is a Scotch woman: he has some position
in the Custom house it seems.
The lot of some families, I may say, is to be widely scattered but when so, how pleasant it seems when intercourse
is kept up. We of our family have always taken the deepest interest in our absent friends and in anything relating
to thee and thine, and I hope it will always be kept up, at least as long as there is any of us to the fore. On looking
over some old papers or manuscripts not long ago, I found a paragraph or two taken from a newspaper relative to
Uncle Joseph Sinton, also one relative to his wife, written at the time of their deaths. I think it might be
interesting to Joseph to hear some of what esteem and respect the person he was called for was held in. I will
enclose a copy in this and I hope to have, my dear sister, soon some expressions of our dear father which was
taken down by a friend who had often seen him during his last illness. It was but latterly that I got them arranged
so that I would like to send them to thee, therefore I thought it best not to mention it to thee lest thee be
disappointed. I had expressed a wish in her hearing how much I would like to have some of his many sayings on
paper. I was so circumstanced that it was but few that I could take down myself. I hope to be able to enclose them
in my next and dont intend to forget it. These I hope, when secured, will amply compensate for my long silence.
I may have penned thee some of the intelligence that Sister has mentioned: however as I do not know, thou will
overlook it. I have made so many blots that thou will be hard put to make it out. I am not used to write on such
thin paper. With dear love to Maria and her family, also Joseph and his wife, I am ever

thy truely affectionate sister

Please say how Thomas' widow and her child.