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A chatty letter from "Brownie" a niece of Sir Thomas JACKSON who was living in New Zealand, the wife of a Presbyterian Minister, to her two sisters at Slieveroe, Co. Monaghan.
Sharon Oddie Brown, September 5, 2006

The Manse,


South Canterbury,

New Zealand.

31st May 1925


My dearest Mollie [1] & Lizaba [2] ,


            Another year past and I must send you a few lines to wish you both very many happy returns of the 14th and 17th July.  The dates are so close together I could not fill two letters.  We have just had tea and washed up and the children [3] are in bed so I have a quiet minutes to get frightened to you this is Alex's [4] lone day left at 10:15 a.m. and did not get back till 5:30.  He's just having a toast at the fire now before starting off to the evening service, he keeps very well and has at last got rid of the cold he had for four or five weeks.  I was delighted to get a letter from Mother [5] on Friday and hear that there is nothing serious the matter with Mattie [6] ; it's well Sally [7] is free to stay with her.  It was pleasant that Mr. Stuart's [8] installation passed off so nicely, you must all have had a busy time, none of the other member giving a hand.  It is too bad Mrs. Waddell [9] is making herself so unpleasant, I fear she wants to be taught some of the little “niceties” herself.  So Lizzie [10] is off at last, if she writes let me know how she likes life in America, had she ever heard anything of Shevlin [11] [?] lately?  Poor Bessie [12] would get a terrible shock when she landed in Poughkeepsie to find no Fan [13] there. I really, I really can't realize that she is gone, she was always so lively and energetic.  I'm sure Mary [14] would be glad of mother’s company for a while, it will take them a long time to get over this.  Mother mentioned some time ago about about Mrs. Sandy [15] “expecting” but is never said since she got over the event all right or what “it” was. Just imagine my wee girly [16] is four years old today it makes me begin to feel quite old, only one more year she is gone to school, I'm not looking forward to that.  Samuel [17] is at least beginning to speak quite plainly, Margaret understands everything he says, I can't say I do.  I often speak to them about all their Aunties and Uncles, Margaret will insist on calling Uncle Tom, Mr. Tom. She remembers “Slieveroe [18] ” without any trouble and they both say they are going to see Granny in a big boat some day.  We are getting keen frosts at night now but the days are beautiful, I was sitting outside with the children all this afternoon feeling only too warm, however when the sun goes down, there is a different tale to be told.  I finished knitting myself a cardigan last week a heather mixture in beehive wool.  I could not get a decent one under ₤2 so have made this for less than half the price.  I have a dress on hand now for Margaret.  I think the kiddies look so nice in knitted things.  Last week was a quiet one for me as Alex was out so much, another day should finish his visiting; he won't be sorry to see the end of it, some of his people are over 30 miles away, I don't know how he would manage without a car, it would mean he would be away for nights at a time: he is off to [Luiarn?] on Tuesday to a Presbytry Meeting; the car comes in handy for that too as he gets home so much earlier than the train gets in.  I hope there's been a good spring at home this year and that there was no trouble getting the seeds sown.  Mr. Wilcox and Alex are exchanging this day week and tomorrow night week we are having a Mr. Don speaking on Temperance.  It is to be hoped that we will get prohibition this year.  We left a dry district and came to a wet one, so far I've never seen anyone under the influence of drink, though the hotel always seems busy enough.  I had a long letter from Mrs. Smith last week, the Sterling [19] folks had been busy raising money for the repair of the Manse, they made 60 pounds at a gift afternoon and Bruce auction, all they can do to it now is to give it a coat of paint on the outside and it all wanted doing up inside, it seems a loss to spend money on it, it's so full of borer.  I believe they are putting the electric light into, all Sterling is getting it, which it had been there in our day, I fear there is no hope of ever getting at here.  You is seen by the papers that Mr. Massey [20] is dead, he's a great loss to the country and there does not appear to be a man to fill his shoes.  How is Eva [21] and all her family,?  It's a long time since I heard anything about them, my own fault I suppose is that it will you a letter for some time: lots of love to everybody and renewed good wishes for the birthdays from your ever loving sister

Brownie [22]

[1] Mary McCULLAGH (1890-1932), daughter of Andrew Bradford McCULLAGH & Margaret JACKSON – sister of Sir Thomas JACKSON. A year later, she would marry her cousin, Thomas Dare JACKSON, son of Andrew Coulter Bradford JACKSON.

[2] Elizabeth McCULLAGH (1892-1972), daughter of Andrew Bradford McCULLAGH & Margaret JACKSON – sister of Sir Thomas JACKSON. At age 53, she married Wilson GRAHAM. They had no children.

[3] Her children were Margaret & Samuel – George would be born in September.

[4] Rev. Andrew Alexander (1885-1975). He was a Presbyterian minister who worked at Albury, Australia before returning to Ireland in 1931 "He was installed in Largy congregation near Limavady and moved to Smithborough with Scotstown in 1936. Ill health forced his retirement in 1947, although he lived until 1975.” SOURCE: Full Circle.

[5] Margaret McCULLAGH née JACKSON (1853-1944) - a sister of Sir Thomas JACKSON

[6] “Mattie” Maud Elizabeth REED, daughter of Robert Hamilton REED & Margaret JACKSON (who was a sister of Sir Thomas JACKSON)

[7] “Sally” probably Sarah McCULLAGH, daughter of Andrew Bradford McCULLAGH & Margaret JACKSON who was a sister of Sir Thomas JACKSON.

[8] Rev. Samuel McDowell Elliot Fleming STUART was installed April 9, 1925 as a minister at Cahans

[9] There are many prospects, but most likely is Mary Anne Henrietta WADDELL née GILMORE. She would have been a distant relation and was also active at Cahans.

[10] “Lizzie”


[12] I am guessing this to be Elizabeth GILMORE, née BROWN, sister of Francis BROWN; daughter of Thompson BROWN & Elizabeth JACKSONwho was the sister of Sir Thomas JACKSON.

[13] Francis BROWN (1881-1928), daughter of Thompson BROWN & Elizabeth JACKSON who was the sister of Sir Thomas JACKSON. She had been at 35 Market Street, Poughkeepsie, NY for some years  - probably both working and living with Dr. Dobson and his wife. She died unmarried.

[14] Probably Mary BROWN (1874-1927) daughter of Thompson BROWN & Elizabeth JACKSON who was the sister of Sir Thomas JACKSON.

[15] SANDY? Is this a nickname? Could it be Sandy AKA Alexander WADDELL?

[16] Margaret Rankin ALEXANDER (1921-1948)

[17] Samuel ALEXANDER (1922-) married Frances Audrey DUNWOODY.and had six children.

[18] Slieveroe, the REED family home in Co. Monaghan

[19] Sterling, Otago was where Rev. Andrew ALEXANDER was ordained.

[20] William Ferguson MASSEY, Prime Minister of New Zealand died 10 May 1925. He was born in 1865 in Limavady, Ireland.

[21] Eva Oliver REED (1876-1968) daughter of Robert Hamilton REED & Margaret JACKSON (sister of Sir Thomas JACKSON);  wife of James USSHER & mother of  Marjorie, Florence, Erna & James.

[22] “Brownie” Alice Margaret McCULLAGH (1894-1945) a daughter of Andrew Bradford McCULLAGH & Margaret JACKSON (who was a sister of Sir Thomas JACKSON). Brownie was "a Country Monaghan lady of much charm" SOURCE: The Witness 24 July 1931



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