Home Biographies History Places Documents Letters Family Tree Misc. Contact NEW Blog


This is one of the 77 letters and documents discovered in a bog in Ireland. NEWS: TJ's father has been serieously ill; Andrew Coulter Bradford JACKSON is well; first time that Eliza has had money left over after paying bills; worries of TJ's brother John (drinking problems) & sister Mary (her affair with Fred GRIFFIN); request for Joseph MORRIS & Gordon STITT to serve at HCBS.
Sharon Oddie Brown. October 6, 2006
Updated March 21, 2010


Urker Jan 7th 1885

My dear Tom, I think when replying to yours of Novr 17th that I mentioned the Governor’s [1] illness. He is now quite recovered but a good deal failed. Minnie [2] will be surprised at the change she will see in him. The rest of us are well, thanks be to God. Andy [3] is with us at present; he is thriving like a [] not withstanding all the unfavourable years. It was a grand good job for him that he did not get Cavananore [4] ; he never could have done as well there. But as thanks for that to those who kept him out of it, they intended evil but the Lord over ruled it for good. Yours of Decr 2nd reached me yesterday. I gave your messages to Mr Rogers [5] . He is a kind friend of ours; and showed the greatest sympathy in this time of Father’s illness. Indeed the country did that. You would have thought that something terrible was about to happen; there was such a lamentation about him. I spent this new years day the happiest one I spent. After paying all claims and doing a good deal to assist others I had money left; a thing that never happened before; since I began house keeping. I lodged a considerable sum with Mr Rogers yesterday. That is the best way to manage it. If the money is not wanted it is safely kept and some interest allowed. If it is wanted it is just at hand any day. I could not find words strong enough to express my thankfulness for the comforts of old age. Oh, if I was sure of Johnnie [6] & Mary [7] doing well, I would be the happiest woman in the world! I have heard nothing bad of Johnnie lately. Kate [8] is to be here tomorrow & then I shall hear all that is to be heard. I gave Mary your letter to read; she made no remark nor neither did I. I thought that what you had said was enough. I know not whether or not she is going on with her folly. Father thinks she is not; but if she has given it up, she might give us the satisfaction of telling as that she had done so. This letter should have been to Minnie [9] , I am in her debt; but it is to you for a reason you will see below. Minnie speaks of it being her last time in “Creggan” [10] . Now I will not advise you not to part with Creggan till the last day you are in Hong Kong. I think Creggan is to be thanked under God for the good health you have all enjoyed in a trying climate nor do not finally give up your situation till after you are at home. You might possibly regret the loss of it. It will be easy to write your signature at any time. May God grant that the Bank may do well, both while you are in it & after you leave it. But one thing is certain, it did not do well, until it came into your hands. Now I must fulfill a request which I promised to do. Mrs. Morris [11] of Xmaglen, the wife of our grocer, with whom we have dealt for above 20 years; has applied to me to ask you to get a situation in the Bank for her son Joseph Morris [12] . He is 20 years of age, has a good education & is fit to pass a Bank examination for which he was intended. But the salaries in Irish Banks are so small that he wd fair been something better and his Brother [13] who is in a Bank advised him not to go into one in Ireland as his own salary was so small that for several years he could not support himself without help from his Father. I am not personally acquainted with this young man but his Father has prospered in business & a Lineage born as good character; & the young man has been accustomed to business in his Father’s establishment & his Mother assures me that he is perfectly steady [14] ; so if you have a vacancy, I think he might serve the Bank as well as another. They are Roman Catholics. Your Father is also anxious to get a son [15] of Billy Stitt [16] into it. Poor Billy has gone very far to the bad, without any fault of his own [17] ; & it would be a great boon to the family to get the young man a good education. He has got an excellent education and is now employed in teaching in England at a salary of ₤30 a year. As you perhaps remember; young Stitt is a grandson to the late Mr Holmes [18] , former sub-Inspector in Crossmaglen & afterwards County Inspector in Queens Co. The young man’s name is Gordon Stitt. But a near relative of yours our young Thompson Brown [19] will be asking your interest before long. He also intends to try his fortune in your Bank; but is not yet done with school. He has grown up a fine tall boy, as you may see by his photo and “[we must give our ain fish guts to our ain sea maws]” [20] as the Scotch saying is; so be sure to be able to get a berth for him, when he is ready for it. Mary [21] left us last Monday to leave little Mary [22] at school in Armagh, after the Xmas [] she intends to [] some visits in that neighbourhood before she returns.

With best love to yourself, Minnie, Kathleen [23] , Amy [24] , Tom [25] , Beatrice [26] and Julius [27] ; and wishing many and happy new years to you all,

I remain,

Your ever affectionate Mother,

Eliza Jackson.


[1] David JACKSON (1814-1889) father of Sir Thomas JACKSON, husband of Eliza OLIVER.

[2] Amelia Lydia DARE, wife of Sir Thomas JACKSON

[3] Andrew Coulter Bradford JACKSON brother of Sir Thomas JACKSON

[4] Cavananore, Co. Louth given by the trustees to Samuel BRADFORD, a cousin.

[5] Mr.William E ROGERS, Manager of the Crossmaglen branch of the Belfast Bank.

[6] John JACKSON –older brother of Sir Thomas JACKSON and probably an alcoholic.

[7] Mary (JACKSON) MENARY widow of William MENARY and having an “affair” with Frederick Richard GRIFFIN that the family opposed. They will marry a year after this letter.

[8] Kathleen Maria JACKSON – daughter of John JACKSON – brother of Sir Thomas JACKSON

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

[10] “Creggan” is not only the town where the family church was near Urker, but is also the name of a home that Sir Thomas JACKSON and his family lived in when in the Far East. It was in Hong Kong high on "The Peak", so therefore a little cooler in the worst of the heat.

[11] MORRIS In 1901 there was an Owen MORRIS (farmer) and his wife Anne MORRIS living at Urcher as well as their children Katie & Patrick. They were noted for being Gaelic speaking. They may have been related to this grocer MORRIS. A Rosy MORRIS in 1901 was a widow aged 76. Her son Hugh MORRIS was described as a merchant and farmer at Crossmaglen. She is a strong candidate for being the person referred to. A Joseph MORRIS does not live in Crossmaglen in 1901. The MORRIS family name is still known in the region.

[12] Joseph MORRIS. I could find no record of his employment.

[13] MORRIS?

[14] This is a euphemism of the time for a person who abstains from drinking

[15] Gordon Holmes STITT (1866-1943) son of William STITT & Margaret of Crossmaglen SOURCE PRONI MIC 1- 11. From a letter in the HSBC archives dated 28 December 1943, we know he was still alive in 1942  but ailing enough at age 76 (therefore born 1866) to not be able to write. He died in 1949 (KING source). His wife was Isabel and his sister who was still living was: Anna G. STITT. He first went East in 1889 and likely started in Hong Kong. He was a junior there a year later when he signed a thank you letter to Sir Thomas Jackson (along with other appreciative juniors) . He was in Hong Kong for three years and then assigned to Hiogo but from 1898 to 1908 he served at Penang and Singapore. SEE: http://www.user.dccnet.com/s.brown/biographies/Stitt_GordonH.html

[16] William STITT

[17] There are rumours of some land deal gone wrong.

[18] Gordon S. HOLMES. There is a record in the Creggan burials of a John R. HOLMES who may be a relation.

[19] Thompson BROWN (1868-1942) son of Thompson BROWN & Elizabeth JACKSON – sister of Sir Thomas JACKSON. He served with HSBC at the same time as STITT.

[20] “[we must give our ain fish guts to our ain sea maws]” It is an old scottish proverb. Another varient is Keep your own fish guts to your own sea-maws. Or: Give your own Sea Maws [gulls] your own Fish Guts. It means if you have any excess, give it to your poor Relations, Friends, or Countrymen, rather than to others.

[21] Mary (JACKSON) MENARY sister of Sir Thomas JACKSON

[22] Mary MENARY (1872-1946)

[23] Kathleen McCullagh JACKSON daughter of Amelia Lydia DARE & Sir Thomas JACKSON

[24] Amy Oliver JACKSON daughter of Amelia Lydia DARE & Sir Thomas JACKSON

[25] Thomas Dare JACKSON son of Amelia Lydia DARE & Sir Thomas JACKSON

[26] Beatrice Minnie Shrieve JACKSON daughter of Amelia Lydia DARE & Sir Thomas JACKSON

[27] George Julius JACKSON son of Amelia Lydia DARE & Sir Thomas JACKSON



Site Map | Legal Disclaimer | Copyright

© 2006-2023 Sharon Oddie Brown