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This letter was transcribed thanks to the considerable efforts of Wendy Jack. The footnotes were prepared by myself and then verified (and corrected or amplified) by Wendy. Many of the letters are the property of Betty Whiteside and/or Wendy Jack. Any researchers who wish to make further use of them should check with them first.
Sharon Oddie Brown, modified June 8, 2005


17Novr 1893
8 o'c after Tea


My dearest Sallie [1] ,

                 I was indeed delighted to have the reading of your two most interesting letters [2] , the first to Miss McCready [3] which she sent on to me after they had read it at Slieveroe.  Then last week Mary [4] sent me from Belfast the last one giving the great account of your journey & settling in Ione [5] .  What you must have suffered from the heat.  I hope it is cooler now, and that you & Mr. Whiteside [6] are keeping quite well, & that he is quite recovered from the cold he had.  We felt the cold here intensely after enjoying so much lovely hot summer weather.  This night there is a great storm.  We have already had some severe frosts, our pond covered with ice!!  I conclude you got my last dated 29th Sept as you had heard of dear Alice Gardiner [7] being called home.  Her mother is expected home next week from Jennie Gordon's [8] .  Miss Houghton [9] has her sister with her at Annvale - but she will soon leave her.  I very often think of you dear friend & fancy you busy in your new home.  I am so glad Mr. Whiteside has got a congregation and trust you will both be the means of doing much good in our Master's service.  I am sure you will be learning the organ before long.  It is a great change in the service for you.  Just fancy we are going to have the railway [10] at last through Keady!!  They might have made it years ago when you & I could have exchanged visits more frequently.  The Midland Great Western are to bring the line from Kings Court to Castleblayney, on here to Armagh to Cookstown, so we are in the midst of changes of all kinds.  Then Dr. Allen [11] is going to leave this with his family to take charge of The Retreat as his father has retired to Warrenpoint.  So already seven young Doctors are busy canvassing all who have a vote.  Dr. John Elliott [12] & Jimmie [13] came to canvas for their brother Dr. Bertie Elliott [14] .  We had not seen the former for years, & at first Father [15] thought he wanted Keady for himself!! and was quite ready to vote for him, but of course it was his young brother he was working for.  The election will not be till January.  There may be a great number in the field by then.  Miss McCready wrote me twice lately and was so good as to send me her photo which is a splendid likeness of her.  I suppose it is the same as yours.  They are to have a sale of works next month, but I could not promise to send this time as I am more fully occupied in the office [16] every day at this season than later on, and have nothing ready.  As for painting I have done nothing for ages.  Aunt Sarah [17] is away in Edinburgh last three weeks she crossed with Miss Kirk [18] , and proved a very bad sailor but you must have suffered a lot.  It was dreadful.  I hope you have long ere this quite recovered all bad effects of that journey.  Have you any land with the house, or a cow?  I will enclose a tiny packet of poppy seeds saved from one your plants.  May be they well grow.  I am glad you gained a prize for yr exhibits.  Ione is not marked on our maps.  I read in a paper lately an account of Wolfe Ione's career I suppose he gave his name to your place.  It is a long distance from Eureka from the time you spent on the journey.  Father was two days in Dublin & Lusk last week, and twice in Armagh at Land Court this week, and is now writing rent receipts beside me.  He loves to hear about you & talk too.  May the Lord bless and keep you & yr husband safe, and may we meet again here, or where there are no more partings.  I was reading a letter of yours to me written about 20 years ago!!  You said you were fast growing into the sere & yellow leaf stage!!  What are we now?  Tell me if the postage is all right.  I don't wish you to have any to pay on it.  I wrote to Eva Reed [19] when sending her your letter.  It was a happy plan sending it to all the friends. Father and Annie [20] unite with me in fondest love to your dearest self & kindest regards to Mr. Whiteside [21]

                       from your ever affectionate friend

                                   Ellie McKean [22]

[1] Sarah (McCullagh) Whiteside (1852-1939)

[2] Likely to announce the birth of her son, seven months after her marriage. The wording here displays a certain delicacy.

[3] Mary Anne McCREADY (?-1897), Governess

[4] probably Mary (McCullagh) Reid, wife of William Reid

[5] Ione, California, USA

[6] William Sherlock Whiteside

[7] Alice Sarah GARDINER, daughter of William GARDINER and Mary COULTER

[8] Jennie GORDON?

[9] Miss HOUGHTON?

[10] Railway date?

[11] Dr. ALLEN?

[12] Dr. John ELLIOT?

[13] Jimmie ELLIOT?

[14] Dr. Bertie ELLIOT

[15] William McKEAN

[16] I wonder if she worked in the office at the mills at Laragh – one of her father’s mills

[17] Aunt Sarah?

[18] Miss KIRK?

[19] Eva Oliver (Reed) Ussher

[20] Annie McKEAN, sister of Alicia Eleanor McKEAN

[21] Rev. William Sherlock WHITESIDE (1860-1916), husband of Sarah McCULLAGH

[22] “Ellie” Alicia Eleanor McKEAN, daughter of William McKEAN and Mary Anne Jane BARTLEY. She seems to be a contemporary of Sarah WHITESIDE, probably born circa 1852


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