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One of the 77 letters found in a bog in Ireland. NEWS: TJs health & blessings; a presentation to TJ; typhoon & Mr. NOBLE's death; mention of DARE-HARTIGAN marriage; world politics; Liscalgot renovation completed.
Sharon Oddie Brown. October 5, 2006
Updated. January 13, 2010 - Info ON NOBLE.

Urker March 2, 1881


My dear Tom, I received yours of January 24th yesterday; and was delighted to see once more a scrape of your pen; & doubly delighted by the good news it contained. I hope you are thankful, but it is almost impossible for you to be thankful enough for all of God’s goodness to you. He has spared your life, while many fall around you. He has given health to you and your family; while many lives were embittered by sickness; & he has blessed you with extraordinary prosperity; and made you a blessing to others. I hope you will never fall into error mentioned in Scripture of “sacrificing to your own  [?], & burning incense to your own [?]”. Always remember that whatever talents or business capacity you have; God gave to you; & many who were just as highly gifted; were never blessed with success. Therefore study to be always humble & thankful. Then you may hope for a continuance of the mercies you enjoy. Never, never sin away your mercies. Another great comfort is, that those you love appreciate your merits. There are many unthankful people in the world; but you have not met with them.


I was much disappointed that the paper Minnie [1] sent me which gave an account of the presentation to you; never reached me. I have all the Bank reports as safe as if they were bank notes; or probably safer. I love to hear of your purse increasing; be sure not to neglect that; for every increase to the purse is a step home towards old Ireland. I hope to see you yet.. Father and I are hale & hearty; and have nothing to complain of. The pain in my back scarcely ever troubles me now; & I am as well as I was, forty years ago, only less active, & sight & hearing impaired.


            I wish you had the trip Minnie writes of, safely over. There is a Providence by sea, as well as by land, but still I dread the typhoons, after poor Mr. Noble’s [2] fate. May God keep you in the hollow of His hand, & guard you as the apple of the eye. Minnie did not mention Miss Dare’s [3] marriage in her last two letters. Perhaps it is over. People often forget to mention in letters; things that are some time passed.. Minnie & you did all you could, to make the best of a bad job. May God preserve her from all evil, poor orphan girl that she is [4] .


            I suppose the children are grown beyond my knowing. Minnie will have her hands full teaching them; now that she has no one to help her; but she could not be in better employment; nor any from which she will reap a richer reward; if she succeeds in bringing them up properly; I have no doubt but that she will do her best; but the blessing must come from above. “Paul may plant & Apollo may water; but God giveth the increase.”


            Now for home news. Ireland is getting more quiet; & will soon be quiet enough. You will have seen by the public papers, ere this reaches you; the dreadful reverse the British army has met with in Africa. Old Jingo [5] (Lord Beaconsfield I mean) left a poor legacy to his successors, of wars in India & Africa; & many unjust wars. Millions of money have been spent; & thousands of lives sacrificed; & all to gratify his insane Imperialism. I wish I had the [skalping?] of him.


            Our own family are all well. Liscalgot House [6] is finished. It would please you if you saw it. There are four lovely children there [7] , & everything prosperous. Bessie [8] & her family are well; but they will never be right comfortable till they build a new house, which I hope they will do before long. Johnny [9] & family are well. It was his lot to begin farming at an unfavourable time; which was rather disheartening, but eventually I hope it will turn out well. We were able, thanks be to God to give some help to him; & to other of the connexion, especially the McCullaghs [10] of Drummuck [11] ; & will be able & willing to give more if requires.


[This next page was not attached to this letter, but seems to be the most likely candidate of the available unattached pages to complete it. That being said, it may be that it belongs to a letter that we do not have a copy of and be actually dated after April 1881.]


            As for the celebration of which you sent me an account; as the saying is “It is a poor heart that never rejoices”, and I would go as far as most people to serve or honour my Sovereign; but I [mentally?] hate those public rejoicings; they never pass over without accidents. The money spent, may be replaced; and no doubt did some good, in the spending; but alas! alas! for the precious lives that were sacrificed; and the sorrowful hearts that they left behind! You did well to go to the funeral [12] , and do that honour to your countrymen. They died as surely in the Queen’s service, as if they had fallen in battle.


            May God Almighty give his Angels charge, [caressing?] you and yours, and bring you again in peace, safety and honour, to the arms of your ever loving Mother,

                                    Eliza Jackson.



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

[2] This is possibly referring to Henry NOBLE, an older brother of another HSBC manager, George E. NOBLE. Henry NOBLE was the manager of the Agra Bank in Hong Kong until his death August 7, 1866 at sea near Foochow when he had taken leave for health reasons. It was a year after the death of his wife, and the Agra Bank was about to declare bankruptcy. George and Henry's father worked for the East India Company and all that I know for sure is that he died after 1871 (which would mean he himself is not one of those listed beneath). There are other possibilities of NOBLEs who died at sea:

  • 1840 September Captain NOBLE drowned when his ship, the Kite, was wrecked on a sandbank between Chapoo and the mouth of the Yang-tse-Kiang. His infant child also drowned, but his wife made it to safety where she was treated poorly by the Chinese (put in a cage, paraded through the streets and jeered at).
  • 1854 January 19 Tayleur. Iron ship, 1750 tons. Built at Warrington (Mersey River, inland from Liverpool), 1853. Lbd  225 x 39.4 x 27.6 ft - the largest sailing ship built in Britain up to that time. Captain Noble. On 19 January 1854 left Liverpool on her maiden voyage to Australia carrying 496 passengers and a crew of eighty. The compasses had not been checked sufficiently to compensate for the iron ship and their false readings lured her to destruction two days later on the rocks of Lambay Island off the east coast of Ireland, (just north of Dublin, in the Irish Sea) during a gale and heavy fog. As she began to sink by the stern, a rope and spar were floated on to the beach, and by this means a number of lives were saved. The efforts of those on shore and aboard ship attempting to save lives were hampered by panic among the crew, mainly Chinese and Lascars. There were however many acts of heroism. This disaster cost a total of 380 lives, and of the 216 women on board only three were saved. Her remains lay undiscovered until 1959 when members of the Irish Sub-Aqua Club discovered the final resting place of a tragic ship.
  • 1865 August 30. NOBLE, ? Mr; ; at sea CHN [China]; Cork Examiner (COR IRL);

[3] Florence Gertrude DARE who married Dr. HARTIGAN. Ther was a version - oral, I believe - that suggested that she was pregnant before marriage. Unless there was a miscarriage before the birth of MAry, this is unlikely.The child was Mary HARTIGAN who as an adult married a George ALLEN the son of another DARE sister, Anna Marie DARE.

[4] Her mother had died of cholera in September, 1879.

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

[6] Liscalgot was the house owned by Eliezer GILMORE & his wife Sarah JACKSON – sister of Sir Thomas JACKSON. It was beside Urker Lodge.

[7] Samuel, Mary Jane, David & John GILMORE

[8] Elizabeth JACKSON – sister of Sir Thomas JACKSON who lived with her husband Thompson BROWN at Killynure, Co,. Armagh. Their first six children were born by this time.

[9] John JACKSON, older brother of Sir Thomas JACKSON who farmed at Brackagh, Co. Tyrone. He had either four or six children by this time (I have two I am unsure of with respect to documentation).

[10] McCULLAGHs of Drummuck – probably  the family of James MCCULLAGH & Eliza WALLACE

[11] Drummuck, Co. Monaghan

[12] I do not know the reason for this state funeral.



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