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This very brief letter is intriguing in the way that it shows the interdependence of the farming families. I have enclosed a scan of the letter beneath, in part because I have no idea what Wm [sweetening?] his breath might mean. Is it a euphemism for drinking alcohol, or is it something else, or have I mistranscribed it? If anyone has ideas, then I am all ears.
Sharon Oddie Brown. May 9, 2012

Aug 29, 2012. Thanks to Beverly Clark, the expression "sweetening his breath" is likely a reference to brushing his teeth - most likely with a mix of salt and baking powder.



 [NOTE: The envelope was addressed to: Miss Mary Jackson, Cavananore, Dundalk, and the cancellation mark showed 1865 Dec 1. The letter was actually written a few days earlier on 1865 Nov 25.]


Killenure[1], Saturday[2]


Dear Mary[3],

I was very glad to hear by your note that aunt Mary[4] was better. I bought three nice heifers for her in Clones[5] and brought them here where she can send for them.

I am tolerable well myself. Wm [sweetening?] his breath. I will go up as soon as I can.


Fare well,

Th C. Oliver[6]


1865 Thomas Oliver letter


[1] Killenure aka Killynure.

[2] The Saturday previous to the postmark would be November 25, 1865

[3] Mary JACKSON (1844-1921) She later married 1stly William MENARY (1838-1874) and then secondly a husband who was 14 years younger than her - Frederick Richard GRIFFIN (1858-1890). Mary was a sister of Sir Thomas JACKSON, children of David JACKSON (1814-1889) and Elizabeth OLIVER (1815-1903). She was a niece of the letter writer, Thomas OLIVER.

[4] Mary BRADFORD (1782-?) wife of Thomas McCULLAGH (1786-1849) of Derryvalley, Co. Monaghan. She was buried at 1st Ballybay Cemetery, but I have no record of the date of her death. It would seem that she was staying at Cavananore. This would not be surprising since her sisters Barbara DONADLDSON and Margaret BRADFORD lived there with Thomas OLIVER’s sister, Mary Jane OLIVER (1821-1875).

[5] The town of Clones is in Monaghan. It is about 20-25 miles from Killenure in Co. Armagh. It would also be roughly the same distance from Killenure to Cavananore.

[6] Thomas OLIVER (bef Oct 1813-1867). He was a sister of Mary Jane OLIVER, to whom this letter is addressed.



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