Friday, May 11, 2007

McGimpsey letter from 1854

It's amazing how mothers (and fathers) never change. Even after 153 years, mothers are still offering the same advice and asking the same questions of their far away children (Do you have enough to eat? Are you eating well? Who are your friends?).

William and Marget McGimpsey in 1860

Here is my transcription of a letter sent from William and Marget (Martin) McGimpsey of Loughriescouse, Ireland, to their son Henry James McGimpsey in America (my 3rd great grandfather) on April 2, 1854. I received photocopies of this letter from my aunt Cherie Geyer, who in turn received them from our cousin Vernon Capps, who I believe is in possession of the original. It is difficult to see any punctuation that may be in the original, I have only included punctuation if I thought I saw it. I also have left spelling and capitalization as it appears in the letter, therefore my transcription may be a little difficult to understand. If you have any corrections, questions or anything else you'd like to say, please leave a comment! I'd also like to thank all the people who offered transcription and Irish geography advice to me when I asked for help previously.

Page 1 of the letter

Laughries Caus[1]

Aprile 2th 1854

Dear Son we Recived your letter Dated the 8 of March on the 29th day of Aprile. Thenks be god for his tender Mercies to us and your Letter found us and all your friends and Wellwishers in good health. we have great cause to Bliis[2] the Name of him that is able to save to the very uttermost all that puts their trust in him for his kind Care in perserving us in the midst of danger for Many hundreds Since you left home has found a wattery grave for having an oppertunity of seeing the newspaper of so many Shiprecks we Never thought that we we would a heard fom you and when yang John Moor[3] Came with the letter to your Mother the house was filled with your friends to hear from your. you send your kind love to your grandfather he flitted to my house the Satterday after you left home where he is Now living and doing well. your Mother wants to know if you had plenty of Sea Store please let us know what you are employed at and who you spend the lords day

[1] Loughriescouse is a township in the parish of Newtownards, County Down, Ireland
[2] Bless
[3] Moor and Moore are the same surname in Ireland

Page 2 of the letter

I am happy to kow[4] that you found friends when you arrived in pitsburg put your trust in the Lord for who shall hurt you if you be the follower of that which good. My son Rember the Many advices i gave to you for he that waks[5] With wise Men Shall grow wiser Still but the Companions of fools Shall be Destroyed take care and keep good Company. this is the advice of your tender father which never Might have another oppertunity of addressing you. I would advise you to write to your friends in america and let them both know wher you are and if god wold think fit that you Might fall in with a place for us we wold Sell out and Come to america. you Want to
kow[6] what your brother James is about he is still living at home and working on the farm and wold be glad to see you your friend Thomas Mcgimpsey wishes you to Let his friends kow that his family is all in good health and he has purchased Henery fergisons farm of land. Serd Thompson is Married to Joseph Crake.

[4] know
[5] walks
[6] know

Page 3 of the letter

the old Marques of londonderry[7] is Dead And we have got Lord Castlerea[8] for our Land lord. And I took your your letter to old Mr. John Mcdonalds And he was glad that you had seen his son John and he is in good health at present. Markets is high at present and Meal is Sd 2=2 per Stone and flower Sd 26 per some and potatos .6 per hundred and every thing in perposion lint seed is Raising in prees[9] up till pound five for Rega Barrels your aint[10] McCracke and family is all will and is is doeing well. Let us know know if you agree With the diet of america and if you like it as well as your Mother Contry Robert Patten Sends his kind Love to you and says that he has a great Wont of you on the Satterdays nys to help him in the Shape John McClean Wife and family Sends his kind Love to you and hops to be with you yet

[7] Charles William Stewart, 3rd Marquess of Londonderry (18 May 1778 – 6 March 1854)
[8] Frederick Stewart, Viscount Castlereagh from 1822-1854 when he became 4th Marquess of Londonderry
[9] Price
[10] Aunt

Page 4 of the letter

When you Rite Direct Letters to the Care Mr James Moor Mohill Street grween newtown was Cunty Down Irland for William McGimpsey of Laughries Caus farmer Rite soon as we will be waiting to hear from you. I aid no more at present but I ains as a family sals scribing our selvs till aft Death your father and Mother ----

William and Marget Mcgimpsey

Henry James McGimpsey in 1860


Janice 5/19/2007 2:24 AM  


What a lovely article. And how lucky you are that you have not only the correspondence, but photographs.

My ancestors hail from Ireland around the same time, and so it was fascinating to see what the family was interested in.


Miriam 5/19/2007 6:28 AM  

What a treasure to have this letter! And what a treasure to have such a loving family as a heritage!

Nikki-ann 5/19/2007 9:59 PM  

What a great thing to have! :D Very interesting to read.

I get "Do you have enough to eat? Are you eating well?" off my Mum too!

Christina 5/20/2007 8:26 AM  

@Janice: I have another letter from Marget to her son informing him of his father's death, but I've misplaced (more like misfiled) it for the moment. I really wish I could have posted that one as well for Mother's Day.

@Miriam: It is pretty priceless to have such an insight into the thoughts of ancestors long gone. The family does have a few skeletons as well though!

@Nikki-ann: My mother is always asking me those as well. She also likes to add "Do you have enough money?"

Bill West 5/21/2007 1:07 AM  

Christina, this is a treasure.
My maternal great grandparents
came over from Ireland in the 1880's and reading the letter makes me think of how hard it
was for them and those like them to leave home and family for a
new world.

Christina 5/21/2007 12:22 PM  

@bill: I agree. I can't imagine not finding out for months or years (or maybe even ever) whether your family members survived the voyage, or how your parents are doing back home. It's bad enough moving a continent away from family now, in this age of instant communication and jet travel!

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