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This is one of the 77 letters & documents found in a bog. NEWS: Eliza is thankful for 4 letters from TJ and is behind in answering - getting frail; Eliza has visited Slieveroe, Killynure & Forstertown; Margaret ROONEY died; Duffy moves into "pigeon house" & John HEARTY & James MacKEE will be housed elsewhere; Hugh BROWNE"s child died; Sarah McCULLAGH's marriage to Rev WHITESIDE & news that she will be going to Eureka, California where her brother John McCULLAGH lives; investing "Aunt DONALDSON's money" & complications with Mary Jane OLIVER's executors; expect that TJ will be encouraged to stay in Hong Kong after May but Eliza counsels that Minnie stay in England with the children; David looks to be successful in Yokohama; J.W. JACKSON in London, still not working.
Sharon Oddie Brown. October 13, 2006
Updated March 25, 2010


Urker July 11th 1893

[recd 12 Aug answd 17 Aug]


My dearest Tom


            Though my writing days are over I must try to scribble a few lines to you in return for 4 letters. May God bless you for all your kindness & thoughtfulness to you old Mother. And never did any of your letters please me so much as your later ones, for they prove that you remember your Mother’s old lessons, and see the truth of them; and the longer you live you will see the truth of them more and more. Oh, how my heart rejoiced to read from your pen that you profoundly believed them! “Rx yourself the Bible” on every occasion and in every day. It is the Book of wisdom, the Book of comfort, the Book of courage, and better than all it is the Book of Life eternal.


            Foaly [1] goes nicely in the Phaeton; but I don’t drive much; there is too much to do in the farm for either man or horse to be often spared. But I have made grand visiting this summer; I went to Slieveroe [2] , Killynure [3] , and Forstertown [4] ; and all those places seemed to be doing well; & pleased to see me much.


            We are all much as usual, & nothing new among us but one sad thing. The death of poor Margaret Rooney [5] which took place on the 2nd inst. She was always delicate & latterly more so than ever & finally the worst case of dropsy that I have ever seen ended her. She wanted for nothing that care or kindness could do; I have taken poor Duffy [6] and his three little children to live in the pigeon house. To go up and down to his own land & attend the work here, would have killed him, if he had as many lives as a cat; and I might give up farming if he was not here. I have arranged another sleeping place for John Hearty [7] and James Mackee [8] so that Duffy will have the pigeon house to himself.


            Hugh Browne’s [9] youngest child died [10] on the 4th inst. & they are in as much [?] about it as if [Tevy?] [11] had perished. Foolish people to lament that their child is in Heaven; & they not knowing what might have been before her, if she had been spared.


            We have heard nothing from Sally McCullagh [12] since she landed in New York. I never got a greater surprise than that marriage. I never heard of it or dreamed of it till one morning I got a letter from her saying that Mr Whiteside [13] was going to California & that she intended to go with him; & asking my permission to be married from this house; on a day in the same week. I was “struck of a heap”, but of course I made them welcome, & entertained them as well as I could. They were married by Mr Reid [14] in Creggan Presbyterian Church. They are very fond of each other; and one pleasant feature in the case is that she is going to the town where her brother Johnny [15] resides. He is a widower with a large family & she may be useful to him & he to her.


            I find that I have not the purse of investing Aunt Donaldson’s [16] money, which I thought I had when I wrote to you. That purse belongs to my Sister’s [17] executors, Ely Gilmore [18] & Alexr Dickie [19] ; & they intend to purchase Railway shares with it which is the best paying investment they can get; but not as good as the HK Bank wd have been. However I must be content.


            Mr Johnston [20] is still alive but no bother.


            I hope the Slieveroe [21] trouble is blown over; it is this awful Home rule bill that frightens people & makes them call in their money; & I am delighted that you are at last thinking of what I often discussed into your ears; to keep your money for your own family. “He that provideth not for his own, hath denied the faith and is worse than an infidel”. And I have been fretting since you wrote to me about Hong Kong that “some were rich, were now poor” lest you should fling your money to any who spent their own in folly & extra [?]


            I expect nothing else but that there will be a strong bid to keep you longer in HK. when May comes; but tell Minnie [22] nothing about it till then; trouble will be thick enough when it comes; without meeting it halfway. I fear that Minnie wrote to Louise [23] that she would perhaps go out with her; but do not you consent to that. How could she steer off & leave her family behind, & the expense of leaving them out would be ruinous; besides interrupting the schooling of the younger ones. I have every confidence that you will succeed with your present mission; I know you will “put on a stout heart to a stiff brae” Besides the blessing of Rose [24] & some other old hags always went with you. And will it not be a noble achievement if you are the means of healing the sickness & wounds of the old cow [25] ? It will be better than if you had taken a fortune. Peace has its triumphs as well as ever. The Directors believe in you & so does your Mother. Your meeting with the old servants drew tears from me; I think they will believe that there is at least one good Christian. Alas! It is the ungodly lines of those called Christians that is the greatest hindrance to the spread of the Gospel in heathen lands. But I see you remember the old lines I taught you long ago,


As you to others kind and true

As you’d have others do to you

And never do nor say to men

Wate’er you could not take again.



            I am glad that you think David [26] will succeed in Yokohama. May God grant it. He hurt my feelings very much when he was here, by paying so little attention to me but I did not reprove him as I did not wish to leave an unpleasant impression of his Mother on his mind, or what will probably be the last time he will see me on earth. However he did not say one unkind word. I wish his marriage was safely over. I am to have his intended here on a visit, but cannot just at present; as Emily [27] and her children are here.


            The 4th of June [28] was duly honoured, there is little danger of it being forgotten while I have life and memory.


            I sent the other 2 parcels to J.W. Jackson [29] in addition to the first 3. Mrs Lonsdale? [30] wrote that he was not yet able to work. I have heard nothing since from him.


            There is a great difficulty in getting labour hands in many places, though I [?] not felt it for so far. Your steward in Cavananore [31] could not get help for love of money to manage the hay and turnips; so Eliezer [32] and I sent all our men up for two days. That place looks beautiful, and the old house at home is not getting out of repair. All the crops look well; but there is no price for cattle, owing to the deficiency of the hay crop in England. How people will make their rents this year is hard to tell, labour is so dear, and produce so cheap. I am not putting about that, thanks be to God and you. Nor am I in trouble about Mr Gladstone [33] or any thing he can do; for as far as you say, he can go no further than he is permitted by Him who can say to the sea “Hither shalt thou go and no further, and here shall thy proud waves be stayed.” And if we do get some savaging, it will be what we deserve.


            I need not tell you any public news you will be able to see all that in the newspapers. The royal marriage & But alas! the loss of the Victoria [34] was it not dreadful! I fear it may be said of some of the Queen’s admirals & Generals what Robert Burns said of George the third’s ministers –


But faith I muckle doubt my Sire

You’ve trusted ministration

To chaps who in a barn or byre

Wad better filled their station [35]


Let us be always ready, for we know not what hour the Son of man cometh.


            I should write to David, but really I am not able, or you may see by my writing.


            Ever dearest Tom,

                        your affectionate Mother

                                    Eliza Jackson


[1] Foaly was an old horse

[2] Slieveroe, Co. Monaghan home of Margaret JACKSON – sister of Sir Thomas JACKSON

[3] Killynure, Co Armagh, home of Elizabeth JACKSON – sister of Sir Thomas JACKSON

[4] Forstertown, Co. Meath hone of Andrew Coulter Bradford JACKSON – brother of Sir Thomas JACKSON

[5] Margaret ROONEY, I am guessing that she was the wife of a farm hand, James DUFFY.

[6]   James DUFFY – husband of Margaret ROONEY. Also see The Journal of the Creggan Local History Society, 1990, p.58. “My father, James Duffy” worked for Jackson in Tavananore (sic). They also had a property in Urker, … They took my father and family to live in the yard in a house they called the pigeon-house …” [quoted from “Crossmaglen Review, Vol 1, No 3, July 1879.]

[7] John HEARTY, farmhand – the name is still current in the area suggesting descendants still live there.

[8] James MACKEE, likely another farmhand.

[9] Hugh Kirkpatrick BROWNE (?-1904)

[10] Lily BROWNE (1893-July 4, 1893)

[11] [Tevy?]?

[12] “Sally” Sarah McCULLAGH – sister of Andrew Bradford McCULLAGH and recent wife of William Sherlock WHITESIDE

[13] William Sherlock WHITESIDE

[14] Rev William REID, husband of Mary McCULLAGH,  sister of Sarah MCCULLAGH

[15] John McCULLAGH (Abt 1847-1909) of Eureka, California had at least four children.

[16] Barbara BRADFORD (1783-1865) widow of William DONALDSON.

[17] Mary Jane OLIVER (1821-1875)

[18] Eliezer GILMORE, husband of Sarah JACKSON – sister of Sir Thomas JACKSON

[19] Alexander DICKIE (1831-1887) of Roachdale, a neighbouring townland to Cavananore- other ise known as Annaghvackey. His wife was Anna Maria McCULLAGH (1836-1896). Her family came from Newry.

[20] Mr. JOHNSTON? Land agent, I believe.

[21] Slieveroe, CO. Monaghan –home of Andrew Bradford McCULLAGH & Margaret JACKSON- sister of Sir Thomas JACKSON

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

[23] Louise WRIGHT fiancé of David JACKSON, younger brother of Sir Thomas JACKSON

[24] I would love to know who Rose is.

[25] The family pet name for HSBC.

[26] David JACKSON, youngest surviving brother of Sir Thomas JACKSON

[27] Eliza Emily GILMORE, wife of Andrew Coulter Bradford JACKSON

[28] Birthday of Sir Thomas JACKSON

[29] John W. JACKSON I wonder if he may be the husband of a woman in a photo - “Mrs. JACKSON & Janie of Dublin”. The Tullyvallen JACKSONs who attended Freeduff Church are a good possibility.

[30] Mrs. LONSDALE?

[31] Cavananore, Co. Louth – which it seems is now under the control of Sir Thomas JACKSON. The battle with Samuel BRADFORD is over.

[32] Eliezer GILMORE, husband of Sarah JACKSON – sister of Sir Thomas JACKSON

[33] Prime Minister of England

[34] June 22, 1893.06.22 sunk in collision with Camperdown off Tripoli with the loss of 358 lives. SOURCE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Victoria_(1887)

[35] .In the poem A Dream” Robbie Burns dreamt of being at St. James's on the king's birthday, and addressing George III in place of the poet who was the official Laureate. Burns had respect for a monarch and his family, but saw nothing of the supposed divinity which was part of the divine rule of British royalty. Although he recognised George III as the constitutional king, he turned his attack to his supposedly responsible ministers : —

Far be't frae me that I aspire
To blame your legislation,
Or say ye wisdom want, or fire.
To rule this mighty nation.
But, faith ! I muckle doubt, my Sire,
Ye've trusted 'Ministration
To chaps who,in a barn or byre.
Wad better fill'd their station
Than courts, yon day.



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