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This is one of the 77 letters & documents discovered in a bog in Ireland sometime before 1960. NEWS: Seven boxes of tea has arrived; TJ's wife visited July 7-30th along with their nanny Al MING; reports on TJ's children; picnic at Cavananore which is doing well; mention of Derryvalley auction; TJ's home called "Creggan" - (it was on The Peak in Hong Kong); corn crops looking good, but potato blight has reappeared; new Land Bill has passed & Liscalgot & Legmoylin put in & Urker will be; TJ & children & HSBC returned to good health; David JACKSON expected to return from Yokohama in February or March.
Sharon Oddie Brown. October 24, 2006


Urker August 18th 1896


My dear Tom – Once more I am trying to write a line to you, though probably it will not be posted today. The tea arrived yesterday seven double boxes; many thanks to you for it. We have not opened it yet. Minnie’s [1] visit went off happily, the weather was favourable, & all seemed to enjoy themselves. There were only two drawbacks, one was that the visit was not long enough; she & the children came on the 7th of July, & went on the 30th. The other drawback was that Julius [2] was not with them. I was greatly disappointed but I believe it could not be helped. Dr Barnes [3] did not think him quite clear from the old complaint, & forbid him to bathe but in a letter received today, Minnie says he is greatly improved since he arrived at [Alalaburgh?] [4] . Pity that any thing should ail him, he is a dear little fellow.


            Every one about this place was highly pleased with our young officer [5] , he is a fine young fellow, without any upsetting or puppyish ways about him. He has perfectly the measure & appearance of a gentleman; & no one would ever mistake him for anything else. He was as well contented with the “old house at home” as if it had been a royal palace. May God grant him grace. Beatrice [6] is a very nice girl & Dorothy [7] is all alive; I believe she does no know what fear is. The two youngest boys are good fine children; Claud [8] (sic) is my favourite, he is so friendly & [?]. He would seem to help me to go upstairs just as cleverly as if he was able to do it.


            I saw the list of your Bank shareholders. All your children’s [?] names are on it except Claud’s. I hope you will satisfy that omission forthwith, if you have not done it already. There is not a better man among them than Claud, though all are good. He is just as good natured as you were yourself, when you were like him. Both he and Russell [9] were very sorry young men going away & poor Al Ming [10] cried herself sick. Minnie insisted on taking Mary Menary [11] with her; I was unwilling to let her go as sea air never seemed to agree with her; it was nearly finishing her last year; but it appears to be doing well with her now, all the accounts are favourable.


            We had a great picnic to Cavananore [12] , 15 in number, but probably Minnie has told you all about it. You would be delighted to see Cavananore, it never looked better, even in Uncle Bradford’s [13] or Aunt Mary’s [14] time. Ely [15] nearly killed me walking me so much over it; he was so anxious to show me the improvements. I have grown very feeble and cannot walk much though I am in good health & as merry & stout hearted as ever I was. But you may say that it was a sore crush to see what happened to Derry Valley [16] the place where I spent many a happy day. I went to bid it farewell that day before the Auction. The news of the sale of it upset poor Sarah Whiteside [17] greatly & no wonder. I believe there is no great good future for any member of Thomas McCullagh’s [18] family. But one piece of good news I have to tell you. Miss Macready [19] has come in for a legacy of ₤254 by the death of a sister. She is living in Drummuck [20] & is very comfortable there.


            I was delighted to hear that you were back in Creggan [21] again & expecting Kathleen [22] & Amy [23] so soon. I think that under God Creggan was a great means of preserving your health in an unhealthy climate. I was nearly forgetting to tell you how much I was pleased with Tom’s likeness. It is a remarkably good one; when you see it, you see him. I have it set up on top of the What not; so that I can take a look at it any minute.


            The weather was very dry for a length of time & water grew very scarce; but God sent rain time enough for every thing except flax. The corn crop is very good, but alas! potato blight has appeared again. The new Land Bill has passed; Jemmy [24] has put his land into the Land Court & I have put Liscalgot [25] into it, & will put Urker [26] as soon as it can be done. It was a great mistake that I did not appeal when it might have been done.


            19th Your letter of July 16th has just come in. I congratulate you in hearing your girls back & in such good health; also on the good health of “the old cow” [27] . I never weary of doing what I can for “the old cow” and for all belonging to her; & I think I am heard. I often observe answers to my petitions, and I feel assured that the blessings which I implore will be alighting after I am mingled with the clouds of the valley; I have made up my mind to live, if I can, till I see you again. Every one is telling me how well I look; & I feel well except for weakness & infirmity.


            There is nothing new that I know of among your Irish friends & acquaintances. David [28] writes that he is to leave Yokohama at the end of the year. I am not sorry on account of the earthquakes [29] . He expects to be here in February or March. You may remember that I wish him to bear the expense of Urker after I am gone, he has a right to do so.


            Give my love & blessing to Kathleen and Amy; and believe me to be with ten thousand times ten thousand blessings to yourself, your ever loving Mother,

                        Eliza Jackson


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

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

[3] Dr. BARNES? Probably a London doctor.

[4] I have no idea what this might be.

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

[6] Beatrice Minnie Shrieve JACKSON, daughter of  Amelia Lydia DARE & Sir Thomas JACKSON.

[7] Dorothy St. Felix JACKSON, daughter of Amelia Lydia DARE & Sir Thomas JACKSON

[8] Claude Stewart JACKSON (1892-1917), youngest son of Amelia Lydia DARE & Sir Thomas JACKSON. He was killed in WWI and died near Ypres, Belgium.

[9] Walter David Russell JACKSON (1890-1956) son of Amelia Lydia DARE & Sir Thomas JACKSON

[10] Al MING was the family nurse to the children of Amelia Lydia DARE & Sir Thomas JACKSON. She travelled with the family and visited Urker whenever they returned from the Far East. A story recounted by a Mary DALY and recorded by Mary CUMISKEY in the Journal of the Creggan Local History Society , 1990, p. 55 describes MING as being about four feet tall with two pigtails down her back and exceedingly small feet (possibly bound?).

[11] Mary MENARY (1872-1946), daughter of Mary JACKSON – sister of Sir Thomas JACKSON

[12] Cavananore, Co. Louth, a family farm.

[13] Probably Andrew Coulter BRADFORD (1788-1847), uncle to Eliza JACKSON (mother of Sir Thomas JACKSON). He never married and died at Cavananore.

[14] Mary Jane OLIVER (1821-1875), sister of Eliza JACKSON

[15] Eliezer GILMORE husband to Sarah JACKSON – sister of Sir Thomas JACKSON

[16] Derryvalley, Co. Monaghan a farm where McCULLAGHs lived – it was sold to cover debts.

[17] Sarah (MCCULLAGH) WHITESIDE (1852-1939), daughter of Thomas McCULLAGH & Sarah McCULLAGH.

[18] Thomas McCULLAGH (1793-1877) of Derryvalley, husband of Sarah McCULLAGH.

[19] Mary McCREADY governess to the McCULLAGHs of Derryvalley.

[20] Drummuck, Co. Monaghan was the home of the McCULLAGHs of James McCULLAGH & Eliza WALLACE.

[21] Creggan was the name of the home that the JACKSONs had on The Peak in Hong Kong.

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

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

[24] James JACKSON, brother of Sir Thomas JACKSON. He has been farming at Legmoylin - land that Sir Thomas had bought for him but that he had managed for some time before for Harriet DONALDSON. He was deemed by other family members to be ineffectual and his wife was credited with the success of the farm.

[25] Liscalgot is the townland where Eliezer GILMORE & Sarah JACKSON resided. At the time of Griffiths Valuations, Eliezer's father, Samuel, held a lease from Richard ALLEN of 48 acres while David JACKSON held the leasefrom Richard ALLEN for 76 acres and as well had free title to three houses of little value. The leased land that GILMOREs and JACKSON had amounted to about half the townland. Richard ALLEN held the rest.

[26] Urker townland is where Eliza JACKSON resided and where several generations before her had lived. The JACKSONs at the time of Griffiths Valuiations lease about 55 acres and had farm buildings and a home while Samuel GILMORE leased a couple of acres. The landlord was Thomas P. BALL.

[27] “the old cow” =HSBC.

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

[29] I don’t know if she is referring to specific earthquakes, or the general likelihood.



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