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Title: Mary Cumming, Petersburg, [Va?] to Margaret Craig, Lisburn.
CollectionIrish Emigration Database
FileCumming, Mary/16
SenderCumming (n. Craig), Mary
Sender Genderfemale
Sender Occupationmiddle class housewife
Sender Religionunknown
OriginPetersburg, Virginia, USA
DestinationLisburn, Co. Antrim, N.Ireland
RecipientCraig, Margaret
Recipient Genderfemale
SourceT 1475/2 pp.75-77: Copied by Permission of Miss A. McKisack, 9, Mount Pleasant, Belfast.
ArchiveThe Public Record Office, Northern Ireland.
Doc. No.9006097
Partial Date
Doc. TypeEMG
LogDocument added by JM 02:09:1993.
Word Count1065
TranscriptPetersburg, June 24th. 1812.
My dearest Margaret,
As this is the only opportunity I may
have for some time of sending my letter to Europe, I am
determined to write, though I fear I have not much good news
to enliven this letter. Before you receive it you will have
heard that War is declared between Great Britain and America,
my dear Father's fears are now all realised, I could never
bring myself to believe that they would go to war. Last
Sunday the declaration of War arrived here, and the "happy news"
was announced by a number of the inhabitants by the firing
of cannon, such is the spirit of a good many people of this
place. I cannot express how much I have felt since I heard
the unwelcome tidings, and when the cannons were firing and
the mob shouting and rejoicing so on Sunday, it made me almost
melancholy. I now feel as if I was a prisoner in this
country, I much fear the time for our return to my dear native
land is now more uncertain than ever. If I could hear often
from you I would be better reconciled, but that I cannot expect.
God only knows when war will be ended, at present I
think the prospect is very gloomy, but I will not dwell any
longer on this unpleasant subject, for I cannot bear to think
of it
Now for some good news, in the first place then, my
little darling Mary is grown the sweetest little pet you ever
saw, she has not been once sick since she was born, she has
got so fat and white that she is like a wax baby. Oh, my
beloved Margaret! when I sit looking at her pretty little
face I think what a pet she would be with you all at home,
how you would love her if you saw what a sweet little darling
she is. She is beginning to take notice and will attend to
you when you talk to her. I do not know who she is like, some
think her like William, I believe she will be pretty, she is
very fair, and has very dark blue eyes and a sweet little
mouth, but I believe I told you all this in my last letter.
I know my darling Margaret will not be tired hearing of
her little Mary. Tell me does my Father speak of his little
grand-daughter, or express a wish to see her? I hope he does,
I am sure he would love his little Mary, as he always did her
mother. How delighted I shall feel when I go home to see him
with his little pet, talking and explaining everthing to her.
Oh, Margaret, dear! when will that blissful time come? but I
live in hopes that my dreams of happiness will one day be
I hope I shall have a letter very soon from you, it is now
nearly three months since the last letters were written, I
think I would hear oftener if you sent your letters to Liverpool,
William heard from James yesterday. I hope we shall be
in Blandford before I write again, I am anxious to get to the
country once more, I was there about a fortnight ago, and the
place looks beautiful. I think the garden will be a source
of great amusement to William, as I suppose there will not be
much business to attend during the war.
When I return to Ireland you will not hear me complain
of the heat as I used to do, having experienced the heat
of a Virginian summer, yours will appear quite pleasant. It is
more oppressive than you can imagine. I can compare it to
nothing but living in steam, the air is actually scorching
sometimes, but this uncommon heat does not continue more than
a week or so at a time. During the very warm weather the
mercury is from 90 to 94 in the shade, I wish very much I
had brought a thermometer like my Father's I believe it does not
rise higher than 76 with you. William and I continue to enjoy
excellent health, which I hope will continue throughout the
Summer, we are obliged to make use of the ice to cool the water
constantly, indeed I could not have conceived it would be so
necessary as I find it is. There is an ice house at Blandford
which I hope will be a great comfort to me.
When you write now, my dearest Margaret, you must let
your letters be very long, tell me everything, no matter how
trifling, many is the time I read over your dear letters. I
shall write every opportunity I can hear of. How is my dear
Rachel? I hope she continues to like school, how she would dote
on her little niece. I have not written to my dear James yet,
but I will soon. I hope he is well. I intend not to have my
little pet christened till we go to Blandford. My dear William
makes an excellent nurse, he is so fond of his little daughter.
I fear she will be spoiled between us, but I will try and
bring her up as well as I possibly can, for I cannot bear
spoiled children. I had a long letter from my dear Mrs.
Cumming lately, which I will answer when I get to Blandford.
Remember me most affectionately to them all, and to all
my good friends in Ireland, particularly to my kind friends
Miss McCully and my dear Margaret Byeres. I send you a curl
of my darling Mary's hair, she has not got much yet.
I received a letter about three weeks since that came by
Mr. Sinclair, dated Nov. [November?] 6th. I hope you have got the letter
William wrote to you before this time. I hope the pictures
may go safe, God knows when you will see the originals, but I
will hope for the best. Oh, my darling Sister, the day that
takes me to you again will be the happiest of my life. Tell
my Father I hope he will write to me soon. William joins me in
the kindest love to you all.
God bless you my beloved Margaret, and grant you every
happiness, is the sincere prayer of
Your ardently attached
Mary Cumming.