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This letter was a challenge to transcribe. Initially, I was irritated that the letter writer definitely took no care to make things legible but then I realize now that she was likely quite ill (she died a year later and had been ill for some time - probably cancer). So, I am grateful for the letter and the light it sheds. Miss McCready was a frequent correspondent within the JACKSON and MCCULLAGH families and seems to have served as a governess to many of the children in the family.
This letter comes to me thanks to Christine WRIGHT of Gilford Castle.
Sharon Oddie Brown, November 28, 2004

Updated August 23, 2008. Wendy Jack furnished an improved transcription, so in honour of this I redid the footnotes. I am learning as I go along!




My dear Miss McCready[3]


I duly Recd your kind and Sympathizing letter and would have replied to it long ago only for the illness & death of Tommy’s[4] dear little daughter Edith[5]. Poor Mrs. Jackson[6] has had a trying time since she came to England[7] & feels greatly the loss of the sweetest little babe I ever saw. It was like a model in wax work when it was kind & a patient little creature during its sufferings. Poor Aunt[8] -had her wish a short illness, she was apparently asleep when I set out for Dundalk[9] on Sunday & never awoke from that sleep, having had a stroke of paralysis & died at half past two on Monday night, respected and loved by all who knew her. I would have felt more lonely only for having Tom & Minnie in the house & then the illness of this child occupied us all, but when all is quiet again I shall feel a great blank.


I hope you are quite well & also Sarah Griffin[10] will you remember me to her. [Her] Aunt Sarah[11] came home on Tuesday evening. Mary Menary[12] has not returned yet.


With best love I remain

Dear Miss McCready,


Yours affectionately,

Mary J. Oliver[13]

[1] Cavananore was the home of Mary Jane OLIVER, unmarried aunt to Sir Thomas JACKSON

[2] This would make it Sunday, September 13, 1874, given the death date of Edith

[3] Mary Jane MCCREADY, governess . She died 1896. See her WILL

[4] Sir Thomas JACKSON

[5] Edith Bradford JACKSON (1873-Sept 7, 1874) buried in Creggan Graveyard. She may have been born with a genetic anomaly. She was described elsewhere as having a "pug-nose". She was a twin of Amy Oliver JACKSON (27 May 1872-1962).

[6] Lydia [DARE] JACKSON (1851-1944)  was at this time aged 23 and travelling with her daughter Kathleen, a toddler aged 2, as well as Amy, the surviving twin about  3 ½ months old to care for. Her nickname was "Minnie".

[7] The family was on leave from Hong Kong at the time.

[8] Margaret BRADFORD who died Monday, 17 August 1874.

[9] Dundalk is between 10-15 km from Cavananore.

[10] Sarah GRIFFIN nèe JACKSON. She was married firstly to William MENARY (1838-1874), and then after he died to Frederick Richard GRIFFIN (1858-1890). The second marriage was a scandal within the family because of Fred’s flamboyant ways.

[11] This is most likely Sarah BARKLEY (1811-1892)  nèe JACKSON. She was the aunt of Sarah JACKSON and wife of Rev. Joseph BARKLEY (1811-1880)

[12] Mary MENARY (1872-1946)  was the daughter of William MENARY & Mary JACKSON. She married James Francis WRIGHT (1874-1954) and they retired to Gilford Castle. It was her family research that makes much of what is on this web site possible.

[13] Mary Jane OLIVER (1821-1875). She was an aunt of Sir Thomas JACKSON and lived at Cavananore, although she removed to Ballybay just before her death and died there.



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