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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


18th January 1917

Dear Mrs Whiteside [1]

                 I deeply sympathise with you in your sad bereavement of a very dear Husband & [????] Christian brother minister [2] .

    I am a native of Ballybay, Co. Monaghan, Ireland.  Succeeded my Grandfather in 2nd. Clontibrit for 8 years, and left for Belfast, & was called to Birmingham, England.  Came back after 2 years and left Larne for Queensland [3] in 1867. 10th June.  I preached in Derryvalley & 2nd Dy. was my Father's family church 1 mile out of Ballybay.  The Rev. I.G. Smith & I stopped together at College in Belfast & he married a relative of mine a Miss Ross of Drummaine.

    I knew the McMurray's, McCullagh's, and nearly all the members of both Derryvalleys & Ballibay Presbyterian Church, & Crieve where a fellow school boy William Horner was the last minister - a native of Ballibay.  The McClatchey's out of town a mile also - and I would have been so delighted to meet your dear Husband!!!  Oh if I had had but one hour with him.  If you could give me in your great sorrow a little sketch of these surroundings I would esteem it a very great favor indeed.  (But if it taxes you too much why do not take the trouble)

    I left Ballybay to go to College in Belfast  in about 1845 or six, & was Ordained by the Presbytery of Monaghan in 1857. to 2nd Clontibrit.  I am now in my 90th year was born in 1827, & am the oldest ordained minister in Victorian Church - Minister Eremitus of Eaglehawk near Bendigo.

    I shall be delighted to hear from you

                                 Yours respectfully
                                          Robert Lewers [4]

[1] Sarah (née McCullagh) Whiteside (1852-1939). This letter is on the occasion of her husband’s death. I have not chased down all the references.

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

[3] Queensland, Australia, where he worked as a missionary (see p. 120 “At the Ford of the Birches”.

[4] Robert LEWERS – likely no family connection, but rooted in the area.


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