Letter from Thomas Gribbin to Kathleen Gribbin

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Document ID 201003001
Date 29-09-1933
Document Type Letters (Emigrants)
Archive Mellon Centre for Migration Studies
Citation Letter from Thomas Gribbin to Kathleen Gribbin;Mary Wylie; CMSIED 201003001
1650 Orthodox Street
Philadelphia Sept. 29th 1933

Dear Kathleen 
	I received your very interesting letter early
in June and intended answering it within a day
or two and here is the end of September before
I get started. I must apologize to you for this
long delay and also for not answering your last
two letters.
	It was not lack of news that kept me
from writing, it was just that idea that I will do
it tomorrow and the days stretched into months and
the months brought another letter from you. I am
thoroughly ashamed of the carelessness but I will
try to make amends in this letter by telling you all
I think will interest you.
	Well Kathleen I have both good and
bad news to tell you so with one exception I will 
take them in the order of their happening.
	On July 4th 1932 which is the day 
we celebrate our independence and our biggest holiday
we had an additional to the family in the person
of a baby girl who weighed seven and one half pounds.
She was baptized Agnes Marie but we just call
her Agnes. She is now nearly 15 months and is
just starting to walk around alone. She has mastered
only a few words yet but she has a way like all

babies of letting you know what she likes and dislikes.
She was born in St. Marys Hospital, one of the Catholic
hospitals in charge of St. Francis Sister here in
the city. 
	About three weeks after she was born, Agnes
her mother developed an infection of the breast that
confined her to bed for almost a month and required
three ---lings. She suffered quite a lot of pain and
it was two months before she fully recovered. Agnes
and the baby have both been well since with the ex-
caption of a few colds during the winter months.
I enclose a snapshot of the young lady which was
taken in the garden at the ----- our house by a
friend of ours early this month.
	About a year and a half ago Cousin Hughs
wife Annie died suddenly of a heart attack one
evening as she was preparing to go to church. His
family is grown up now and the oldest boy Henry is
married and has a baby boy over a year old.
	Early in March this year Cousin Mary Logans
Youngest son Francis was fatally injured in a motor
car accident in Greensburg where Mary was living
at the time. He never regained consciousness and
died two days after the accident.

	Late in June Cousin Elizas husband Julius
Reichtmann [Reichman] of Mt Pleasant underwent a serious abdom-
inal operation. During his convalescence about a week
after the operation he developed pneumonia and died
early in July.
	On Thursday July 27th my mother met with
a fatal accident. About 130 in the morning she either
became confused or had a dizzy spell at the head of
the stairs in her home and fell the entire length of
the stairs. She suffered a fractured skull and never
regained consciousness until she died the following
Monday July 31st at noon. The manner of her
death was a severe shock to Mary and myself
but we had the consolation of her knowing she suffered
no pain as she was unconscious, and we also knew
that she was well prepared spiritually to receive
that reward that is meted out to all good mothers.
Mother was blessed with very good health and spirits.
Mentally she was alert and had a fine memory.
Except at child-birth she was never confined to bed
with any illness during her lifetime. Mary and I
have lost our dearest and sweetest friend but we must
remember that she was spared to us a long time and
for this we are grateful as it helps to lessen our
sorrow at her death.
	All this is not very pleasant news to
have to tell you Kathleen in my first letter in 

two years.
	I was pleased to hear that all your brothers
and sisters are working and that conditions in Ireland
must be better than in other countries as you say in
your letter. In my last letter I believe I told you 
of the seriousness of the depression in this country.
The concern I was employed by are engaged in the
Manufacture of steel windows and doors for all classes
of buildings, but this depression has called a half in the
erection of buildings except government work and
there was very little of that. The company was
obliged to lay off a large number of their employes
and to cut the salaries and wages of those they kept.
My salary which was quite good when business was
plentiful was cut 4 or 5 times and the working hours
per week considerably reduced until the summer of
1932 I was making less than half of my old salary.
Finally at the end of September I along with five
Others in the Engineering Department were laid
off on account of lack of work. I was out of
work for seven months or until the first of May
of this year. Fortunately I had saved some of my
earnings which tided me over the winter months
by careful management. 
	A friend of ours is employed by one 
of the big oil companies which have about 15
service stations in the city for the filling of 
motor cars with gasoline (you call it petrol) and
he used his influence to obtain employment for

me at one of these stations. The work is entirely
different from the engineering work I am accustomed
to but it is proving very interesting and it was pleasant
to be employed in the open air through the summer.
The pay is much smaller of course that what I
am used to earning but it is sufficient to meet
expenses and with conditions as they are I consider
myself very fortunate to have this job.
	In your last letter you inquired if 
our President Mr Roosevelt (who is referred to
by the newspapers as F. D. R for Franklin Delano
Roosevelt( was a good statesman. I would answer
Yes to this question. Conditions in this country were
gradually growing worse due to the refusal of the
former President Hoover to render any government
aid to banks, farmers or manufacturers. The country
was facing a crisis when Mr Roosevelt took office
on the fourth of March last. He immediately called
Congress into session and asked for broad powers
which were voted to him by Congress. He first 
declared a bank holiday of about four days and
all banks had to report to the Federal Government.
The sound banks were allowed to open at the end of
the holiday and the balance were aided by the
Government and allowed to open as soon as their
condition met with Government approval. He next
aided the farmers by setting aside funds to purchase
the surplus crops of wheat and cotton.

	He then took steps to regulate the industries
of the country on a shorter work week and with a 
minimum wage. This latter is a vast undertaking
and is not yet completed. The object of it is to increase
employment and at present it is meeting with
good success. It is known as N. R. A. or National 
Recovery Act and all firms which agree to the
Conditions of the Act are entitled to displayed
posters furnished by the Government. The President
organized the Citizens Conservation Corps for single
men. Their work is conservation of forest tracts [tracks],
clearing away decayed trees and planting new one [ones]
in the various forests throughout the country.
Their wages paid by the Government is two Dollars
per day.
	There is a general feeling of optimism
throughout the country and the people at large are
working with the President. If Mr Roosevelt succeeds
in bringing prosperity back to the country and I 
feel sure he will, he will go down in history
as one of our greatest Presidents.
	We are nearing the end of our Prohibition
period as you have probably read. The last session
of Congress repealed this Act and it requires the
ratification by three-quarters of the States that is
36 of the 48 must vote on it and pass it.
To date 29 states have ratified by direct vote and
by the end of November, we expect to have our

personal liberty again after 13 years of the 
worst graft and political corruption that any
country was ever excused with. 
	Mary visited Mt. Pleasant about two weeks
after mothers death and stopped at Elizas. She
called at Fannies [Fannys] and Hughs homes while she was
there. I obtained all their addresses from her the
early part of this week; they are as follows :-
Mrs. Mary Logan 206 E Washington St. Mt Pleasant,
	Westmoreland Co., Pa. U.S.A.
Mrs. Eliza Reichtmann [Reichman] 206 E Washington St. Mt Pleasant
	Westmoreland Co. Pa. U.S.A.
Mrs. Michael Mullen (Fannie [Fanny]) 853 Van Kirk Ave., Clairton Pa. U.S.A.
(I do not know what county Clairton is in but I think
a letter would reach her without it)
Mr. Hugh Gribbin, 232 Brown St., Greensburg, Westmoreland Co.
	Pa., U.S.A.
	I noticed that your letter is addressed to
the Lee Street house. Well I have moved several times
since then, each time to obtain a lower rental to meet
my dinimishing [diminishing] income. My present address is 1650
Orthodox Street. Philadelphia. This house was the
home of my grandparents and my Uncle William
who was killed by a motor car in the autumn of
1928. I believe I told you of his death in a previous 
letter. He left the house to John Brady another

nephew who had lived in the house since he was born
John is the only son of Mothers older sister Martha, who
died 36 years ago. Cousin John is about 50 years old and
unmarried. He has been out of work for 3 years and
I was paying his board out of money my Uncle left.
The depression has reduced this income to nothing. I
decided that we would do better by moving my family to this
house where there is plenty of room and where John
could get his meals instead of eating at the boarding house
and just sleeping here. As he is unable to pay any
board, we are boarding for him in exchange for the rent of
this house which he owns. He is very well satisfied
with this arrangement which will probably continue
until he secures employment. I am also making
repairs and improvements to the house as my salary
will permit.
	If you have endured my letter so far
then you have the gift of patience as this is by far the
longest letter I have ever written. Agnes has been looking
at this letter and asking me if I intend writing a
book. Several days ago she told me she could write
and answer your letter if I did not soon do it.
	With kindest regards to your mother, brothers
sisters and yourself, I remain,
	Very sincerely,
	Cousin Tom