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Title: Parke, Robert to Valentine, Mary and Thomas, 1725
CollectionIrish Immigrants in the Land of Canaan. Letters and memoirs from colonial and revolutionary America (1675-1815) [K.A. Miller et al.]
SenderParke, Robert
Sender Gendermale
Sender Occupationfarmer
Sender Religionunknown
OriginChester Township, Penn, USA
DestinationBallybromhill, Co. Carlow, Ireland
RecipientValentine, Mary and Thomas
Recipient Gendermale-female
Doc. No.
Partial Date
Doc. Type
Word Count2312
Genrelife in the colonies
TranscriptRobert Parke, Chester Township, Chester Co., Pennsylvania, to Mary and Thomas Valentine, Ballybromhill, Fennagh Parish, County Carlow, October 1725
Chester Township the <... > of the 10th Mo: 1725
Chester &c
Dear Sister
Mary Valentine
This goes with a Salutation of Love to thee, Brother Thomas & the children & in a word to all friends, Relations & well Wishers in Generall as if named, hoping it may find you all in Good Health, as I with all our family in Generall are in at this present writing, & has been Since our Arival, for we have not had a days Sickness in the family Since we Came in to the Country, Blessed be god for it, my father in Particular has not had his health better these ten years than since he Came here his Ancient age considered. Our Irish Acquaintance in general are well Except Tho s Lightfoot who Departed this Life at Darby in a Good old age about weeks Since Thee writes in thy Letter that there was a talk went back to Ireland that we were not Satisfyed in Coming here, which was Utterly false; now let this Suffice to Convince you, In the first place he that carried back this Story was an Idle fellow, & one of our Ship-Mates, but not thinking this Country Suitable to his Idleness; went back with Cowman again he is a Sort of a Lawyer, or Rather a Lyar as I may term therefore I wod not have you give Credit to Such false reports for the future, him for there is not one of the family but what likes the Country very well and Wod If we were in Ireland again Come here Directly it being the best Country for working folk & tradesmen of any in the world, but for Drunkards & Idlers, they Cannot live well any where it is like to be an Extrardin<ary> Country; We were all much troubled when we found you did not Come in with Cap t Cowman as Expected nor none of our acquaintance Except Isaac Jackson & his family tho, at first Coming

in one thinks it Something odd but that is Soon over, Land is of all Prices Even from ten Pounds; to one hundred pounds a hundred, according to the goodness or else the Scituation therof, & Grows dearer every year by Reason of Vast Quantities of People that Come here yearly from Several Parts of the world, therefore thee & thy family or any that I wish well, I wod desire to make what Speed you can to Come here the Sooner the better, we have traveled over a Pretty deal of this country to Seek for Land, & (tho) we met with many fine Tracts of Land here & there in the Country, yet my father being Curious & somewhat hard to Please Did not buy any Land until the Second day of 10th mo: Last and then he bought a Tract of Land Consisting of five hundred Acres for which he gave 350 pounds, it is Excellent good land but none Cleared Except about 20 Acres, with a Small log house, & Orchard Planted, we are going to Clear some of it Directly, for our next Sumer s fallow we might have bought Land much Cheaper but not So much to our Satisfaction, We stayed in Chester 3 months & then we Rented a Place 2 mile from Chester, with a good brick house & 200 Acres of Land for 1 pound a year where we continue till next may we have Sowed about Acres of wheat & 7 acres of rye, this Season we Sowed but a bushel an acre 3 pecks is Enough on new ground I am grown an Experienced Plowman & my brother abell is Learning, Jonath<an> & thy Son John drives for us he is grown a Lusty fellow Since thou Saw him we have the finest plows that Can be, We plow up our Sumers fallows in may & June, with a Yoak of Oxen & 2 horses & the<y> goe with as much Ease as Double the number in Ireland, We plow & like wise Sows our wheat with 2 horses, a boy of 12 or 14 years old Can hold Plow here, a man Comonly hold<s> and Drives himself, they Plow an Acre, nay Some Plows 2 Acres a day, they Sow wheat & Rye in August or September. We have had a Crop of oates, barley & very good flax & hemp Indian Corn & buck wheat all of our own Sowing & Planting this Last summer we also Planted a bushel of white Potatoes Which Cost us 5 shills & we had to bushels In Crease this Country yields Extrardinary Increase of all Sorts of Grain Likewise for Nicholas hopper had of 3 acres of Land & at most 3 bushels of Seed Above 80 bushels Increase, so that it is as Plentifull a Country as any Can be if people will be Industrious, wheat is 4 Shills a bushell, Rye 2s :9d oats 2s : 3pence, barley 3 Shills Indian Corn 2 Shills all Strike measure, Beef is 2 a pound Sometimes more & Sometimes less, mutton 2 ½ , Pork 21/2 pound Turnips 13 pence a bushel heap’d

measure, & so Plenty that an acre Produceth 200 bushels, all Sorts of provisions are Extrardinary Plenty in Philadelphia market where Country people bring in their Comodoties their Markets are on 4th days and 7th days this Country Abounds in fruit Scarce an house but has an Aple, Peach, & Cherry Orchard, as for Chesnuts, Wallnuts & hazel nuts Strawberrys, Billberrys & Mulberrys they grow wild in the woods & fields in Vast Quantities, they also make great Preparations against harvest, both Roast & boyled, Cakes & Tarts & Rum, Stand at the Lands End, so that they may Eat & Drink at Pleasure, a Reaper has 2 shills & 3 pence a day, a mower has 2 Shills & 6 pence & a Pint of Rum beside meat & Drink of the best, for no workman works with out their Victuals in the bargain throughout the Country, a Labouring man has 18 or 20 pence a day in Winter, the winters are not so Cold as we Expected nor the Sumers so Extreme hot as formerly, for both Summer & Winter are moderater than ever they were known, in Summer time they wear nothing but a Shirt & Linnen Drawers & Trowsers which are breeches & Stockings all in one made of Linnen they are fine Cool wear in Summer, as to what thee writt about the Governours Opening Letters it is Utterly false & nothing but a Lye & any one Except <a> go out of the Country when they will & Servants when they Serve their time may Come away If they please but it is Rare that any are such fools as to leave the Country Except mens business Require it, they pay 9 Pounds for their Passage (of this mony ) to go to Ireland there is 2 fairs yearly & 2 markets weekly in Philadelphia also 2 fairs yearly in Chester & Likewise in Newcastle, but they Sell no Cattle nor horses nor no Living Creatures but altogether Merchants Goods, as hatts, Linnen & woolen Cloth, handkerchiefs, knives, Scizars, tapes & treds buckles, Ribonds & all Sorts of Necessarys fit for our wooden Country & here all young men and women that wants wives or husbands may be Supplyed. Lett this suffice for our fairs As for meetings they are so plenty one may ride to their choice of or a Dozen in 6 morning I desire thee to bring or Send me a bottle of good Oyle fit for guns, thee may buy it in Dublin, Martha weanhouse Lives very well about 4 mile from James Lindlys; we Live all together Since we Came into the Country Except hugh Hoaker & his family who Lives 6 or 7 mile from us & follows his trade Sister Rebecka was Delivered of a Daughter ye <... > day 11 month Last past its name is mary Abels wife had a young Son 12 months Since his name is Thomas; Dear Sister I wod not have thee Doubt the truth of what [I] write, for I know it to be true tho I have not been Long here I wod have you [c]loath your selves very well with Woolen & Linnen, Shoes & Stockings, & hats, for Such things are dear hear, & yet a man will Sooner Earn a Suit of Cloths here than in Ireland, by Reason workmens Labour is So dear, A wool hat costs 7 Shills , a pair of mens Shoes 7 Shills , wemens Shoes Cost 5 Shills & 6 pence, a pair of mens Stockings yarn costs 4 Shills feather beds are very dear here and not to be had for money. Gunpowder is 2 Shills & 6 pence a pound Shott & Lead 5 pence a pound, I wod have you to bring for your own use 2 or 3 good falling Axes, a pair of beetlerings & 3 Iron wedges, for they are of good Service here, your Plow Irons will not answer here, therefore you had better bring 1 or 2 hundred of Iron, you may bring your Plow Chains as they are <…> also a good [awnd] Iron There other Letters going to you that gives you an Accompt what to bring into the Country & also for your Sea Store or else I should not omitt it but besure you come with Capt Cowman & you will be well Used for he is as honest a man & has as Civill Saylors as any that Cross the Seas which I know by Experie[nce] the Ship has been weather bound Since before Chirstmass by reason of frost & Ice that floats about in the River & the Saylors [being] at a Loo[se E]nd came down to C[hester] to See us [&] we have given them <…> Dear Sister I desire thee may tell my old friend Samuel Thornton that if he could give so much Credit to my words, & find no Iffs nor ands in my Letter, that in Plain terms, he could not do better than Come here, for both his & his wife’s trade are Very good here, the best way for him to do is to pay what mony he Can Conveniently Spare at that Side & Engage himself to Pay the rest at this Side & when he Comes here if he Can get no friend to lay down the mony for him, when it Comes to the worst, he may hire out or of Children, & I wod have him Cloath his family as well as his Small Ability will allow, thee may tell him what things are Proper to bring with him both for his Sea Store & for his Use in this Country I wod have him Procure 3 or 4Lusty Servants & agree to pay their passage at this Side, he might sell 2 & pay the others passage with the mony, I fear my good will to him will be of Little Effect by reason he is So hard of belief, but thou mayest Assure him from me that if I had not a Particular Respect for him & his family I Should not have writ so much for his Encouragement, his brothers Joseph & Moses Coats Came to See us Since we came here they live about 6 or 7 miles apart & above 20 from where we live, Unkle James Lindly & family is well & Trives exceedingly, he has 11 Children & Reap’d last harvest about 800 bushels of wheat, he is as triving a man as any where he lives, he has a thousand Acres of Land, A fine Estate, Unkle Nicholas hooper lives very well he rents a Plantation & teaches Scool & his man martin hobson dos his Plantation work Dear Sister I think I have writ the most needful to thee, but Considering that when I was in Ireland, I never thought a Letter to<o> Long that Came from this Country, I wod willingly give thee as full an Account as Possible, tho I Could have given thee a fuller Accompt of what things were fit to bring here, but only I knew other Letters might Suffice in that point, I desire thee may Send or bring me 2 hundred Choice Quils for my own Use for they are very Scarce here, & Sister Raichell Desires thee wod bring hir Some bits of Silk for trashbags thee may buy them in Johns Lane also 6 yards of white Mode or

Silk for 2 hoods & She will Pay thee when thee Comes here, I wod have brother Thomas to bring a good new Saddle with a Crooper & housin to it by reason the horses sweats in hot weather for they are very dear here a Saddle that will cost 20 Shills in Ireland, will cost 50 Shills or 3 pounds & not so good Neither he had better get Charls Howell to make it Lett the tree be well Plated & Indifferent Narrow for the horses here are not So large as in Ireland but the best drawers & finest Pacers in the World I have known Several that could Pace 14 or 15 miles in a hour I write within Compass, as for womens Saddles, they will not Suit so well here, I wod not have thee think much at my Irregular way of writing by reason I writt as it offerd to me, for they that write to you should have more witt than I can Pretend to <... >