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This is one of the 77 letters found in a bog before 1960. NEWS: Eliza reading bank reports; funeral of Elizabeth (McCULLAGH) JACKSON, grandmother to Sir Thomas; local politics, elections & Samuel BRADFORD; new ditches at Liscalgot.
Sharon Oddie Brown. October 4, 2006

Urker April 7th 1880

My dear Tom


Although I have no money invested in it; few earthly things give me greater delight than the Bank report. How can we ever be thankful enough for the success with which God has blessed you! Every thing prospered that ever you put your hand to; and though I allow you your full share of merit; yet still it was God who sent this blessing.


            All the letters you mention arrived safely; and whatever was the cause of delay, the delay did not rest with me. Probably my letters have reached you long ago. Indeed we have been fortunate in our correspondence. I never knew of a letter being lost but one and that was many years since.


            I enclose you a memorial of dear old Grandmother [1] . In getting it printed I forgot to mention her age 92, but you can add it yourself, either with pen or type. She had a peaceful & happy death; very little sickness or suffering. She wanted for nothing to make her comfortable during her life, and we gave her a funeral that was the admiration of all who saw it. Every respect was shown to her memory. The funeral was very large; every branch of the family was represented even Drummuck & Derryvalley [2] which we did not expect. There was a hearse & an undertaker from Dundalk; the former was a great disappointment to the neighbours; for they petitioned to be allowed to carry her, but your Father said that he could not think of having her jolted on people’s shoulders. John & Andrew Jackson [3] , Hugh Brown [4] & Alexr Donaldson [5] carried her from the hearse to the Church & from the Church to the grave. Dr Mills [6] gave a splendid address, besides reading the burial services, the 90th psalms & a hymn even being accompanied by the harmonium which was played by Miss Mills [7] . The Revd Mrr Smyth [8] of Freeduff offered prayers before the funeral left the house. Uncle & Aunt Barkley [9] & Uncle Brown [10] were here; both gentlemen are very delicate; but they were not injured by the journey. Dr. Reed [11] & Thompson Brown [12] were here also; in fact everyone who should come did come; & others besides. Our Grandmother’s memory never returned; but she was still the same kind, affectionate creature that she ever was. Nature remained though memory was gone. She never lay asleep in bed; and was only one day confined to her room.


            We miss her daily; and yet we feel that things are best as they are. She could not live always; and a more peaceful death, nor even so advanced an age, could not be expected.


            In the midst of sorrow, something has turned up, to take off one’s attention a general election. The representation is bitterly contested in some places; this county among others. We will know how it will end within this week [13] . You know my opinion of Beaconsfield [14] ; I am happy to tell you that his siege is over; & an unlucky siege it was. He found the country in peace and prosperity; he will leave it in foreign war [15] & domestic misery.  Yet he has his admirers & upholders; ever since the time of Belial [16] there have not been wanting for people who “could make the worse appear the better reason”, but I hold with all the housekeepers that the proof of the pudding is in the eating. There was a real Irish shindig in Dundalk last week, boxing, stone throwing, window breaking &c. The two candidates [17] for the borough boxed in the Courthouse. Our dear Cousin Sam [18] took a warm interest in one of the candidates; but the one he favoured did not win and the mob went through the town singing “We’ll hang Sam Bradford on a sour apple tree”. Sam’s popularity stands at zero, notwithstanding all his mean compliances with the P. party.


            [This next page is from a fragment that was not attached to this unfinished letter. This is detective work, but I am reasonably sure that it belongs here. On the back, there is the black border seen on stationary used at time of bereavement – the same stationary which was also used for the first page.]


            I must write to Minnie [19] today, if I can be in time for post. Both letters would be too much in one envelope; but each of you can have the benefit of the other’s letter. We have some sickness at present but I hope not dangerous. Mary [20] and her child [21] & Sally’s three children have severe colds. Uncle & Aunt Barkley [22] , Uncle & Aunt Brown [23] , and Lizzie Donaldson [24] are all delicate. The rest of us can not complain. We have fine spring weather and are living in hope of more favourable seasons than we have had in late years. A year or two more such as we have had would ruin nearly all agriculturalists; but thanks be to God we have been surrounded with mercies and comforts. We have even been able to give help to others; both in employment and money. You would scarcely know the Liscalgot [25] farm; with all the new ditches we have got made. Wishing you all the blessings that the Patriarch [26] implored on his beloved Joseph, I remain your ever affectionate Mother, Eliza Jackson


[1] Elizabeth (McCULLAGH) JACKSON (1788- March 12, 1880)

[2] Both Drummuck and Derryvalley were home to two lines of McCULLAGH families. There were hard feelings between them and the JACKSONs based on disagreements over past land transactions.

[3] This is an odd way to refer to them, but I am guessing that these are two of Eliza’s sons.

[4] Hugh Kirkpatrick BROWNE (d. 1904) son of Daniel Gunn BROWNE (1808-1892) & Margaret JACKSON - a sister-in-law of Eliza

[5] I would suspect that this Alexander DONALDSON to be a contemporary of the other hearse bearers, but I don’t know which one he is.

[6] Rev. Dr. Lewis George MILLS (1823-May 28, 1885) Rector of Creggan Church.

[7] Miss MILLS likely the daughter of Rev. Dr. MILLS.

[8] Rev. R.J. SMYTH

[9] Rev. Joseph (1811-1880) & Sarah (JACKSON) BARKLEY (1811-1892) – a sister-in-law of Eliza.

[10] Rev. Daniel Gunn BROWNE (1808-1892), husband of Margaret JACKSON – a sister-in-law of Eliza.

[11] Dr. Robert Hamilton REED (or REID) (1847-1881), first husband of Margaret JACKSON (1853-1944) – sister of Sir Thomas JACKSON

[12] Thompson BROWN(E) (1837-1915) of Killynure, husband of Elizabeth JACKSON (1843-1923) – sister of Sir Thomas JACKSON.

[13] The MacGeogh Bond Papers at PRONI could be consulted to shed light on the particulars of this election.

[14] Benjamin Disraeli, 1st Earl of Beaconsfield (1804-1881)

[15] I am unsure which war she may be referring to. There were the involvements of Britain in Russia & Turkey which Disraeli was part of. If it was to unrest in Ireland that Eliza is referring to, it might be noted that 1879 was the wettest and most sunless year of the nineteenth century. and in Ireland the effect of this was unmitigated disaster. Between 1851 and 1875, Ireland had been relatively peaceful and conditions had improved. Now another round of starvation, eviction and murder started up all over again.


[16] A synonym for the devil, For example in Milton’s Paradise Lost (a poem Eliza was surely familiar with):

Belial came last; than whom a Spirit more lewd
Fell not from Heaven, or more gross to love,
Vice for itself. To him no temple stood
Or altar smoked; yet who more oft than he
In temples and at altars, when the priest
Turns atheist, as did Eli's sons, who filled
With lust and violence the house of God?
In courts and palaces he also reigns,
And in luxurious cities, where the noise
Of riot ascends above their loftiest towers,
And injury and outrage; and, when night
Darkens the streets, then wander forth the sons
Of Belial, flown with insolence and wine.
Witness the streets of Sodom, and that night
In Gibeah, when the hospitable door
Exposed a matron, to avoid worse rape.
-Paradise Lost, i. 490-504

[17] I don’t know who these two candidates are.

[18] Samuel BRADFORD – I am guessing that this is the Samuel BRADFORD who lived at Carnbeg and was the son of Samuel BRADFORD & Margaret HENRY. If so, his wife was Sarah WILSON.

[19] Amelia Lydia DARE – wife of Sir Thomas JACKSON

[20] Mary (JACKSON) MENARY widowed  sister of Sir Thomas JACKSON

[21] Mary MENARY daughter of William MENARY & Mary JACKSON

[22] Rev. Joseph BARKLEY & Sarah JACKSON

[23] Possibly Rev Daniel Gunn BROWNE & Margaret JACKSON

[24] "Lizzie" DONALDSON - Probably not Elizabeth Johanna DONALDSON née JACKSON, wife of John DONALDSON, since she is usually referred to as “Aunt Bess” I think, but possibly her daughter who lived until 1903.

[25] Liscalgot is a townland adjacent to Urker. Eliezer GILMORE and his wife Sarah JACKSON – sister of Sir Thomas JACKSON lived there.

[26] David JACKSON – father of Sir Thomas JACKSON



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