Abbeville South Carolina.
March 8 1872
Dear Brother David.
I have just got your letter of the 20th
and was glad to hear from you once more. It is true I have
neglected to write to my friends at home as frequently as I
have done, but I really had nothing of any Consequence to write,
and knowing, that Maggie Erwin was in the habit of writing
very often I concluded that she would sometimes mention me in
You say that you had received two newspapers from
which let you know that I had entered into a merchantile
in this Town, My partners are William R White and
James R. Cunningham, both to the "manor born" they are steady
and I believe honest men. Our joint Capital is small, not
exceeding Eight thousand Dollars, we are doing tolerably well
notwithstanding great competition from other similar houses.
I had nothing else to turn my hand to, and I could
not endure to be idle. All kinds of business in So Ca[South
indeed in all the Southern States has been greatly frustrated
since the war, more especially the farming interest owing to the
uncertainty of labor. The negroes will not work it they can
and if you should have any of them at the first of the year to
make a crop on your land, you have no certainty that they will
with you until it is gathered. The situation of this country
is not like yours, as you can obtain labor at any time when you
but it is not so here. Freedom has ruined the negroes morally
might say physically - the [they?] steal rather than work.
The newspaper sent me, as it seems, by your daughters
is true that in a fit of spleen I returned but in a very
I regretted doing so: I am sure that she did not intend it to
tanlalize my feelings, altho for the moment I thought so; it was
of excellent rigmarole of the doings of the Orangemen. You know
although she may not have known that I always utterly detested
that party, and I am free to confess that I never had any love
for the opposite faction: my wishes are that all Irishmen of
religious opinion should be united for the general good of their
common country; and until such a state of things is accomplished
you can have no hope for honest and impartial government.
However I will remark in passing that I would greatly prefer
your government, opressive as it is , to that under which we at
present groan. We are governed by an irresponsible body of
negroes! they have the ascendancy in the Legislature of the
State, and the white people are utterly powerless to check the
onerous and heavy taxation which they impose. High taxes
don't hurt them as they have little or no property to be
I had heard of the marriage of my niece Sarah to her
Cousin David Hay. Sarah said in her letter to me that she
had no objection to marry - Provided she got an honest sober and
industrious God fearing man. I devoutly pray that her
wishes may have been accomplished, and that Husband and
wife may live long and happy.
I ask Sarah to excuse me for not, as yet, answering her
last letter written from Lisburn, and tell her to write to me
when I will certainly reply.
Give my brother John and family my kind love, and
remember me to old Aunt Sallie. Tell John-
To be kind to Aunt Sallie for now she is frail,
Like a time shattered tree bending low in the gale.
When he was a wee bainie tot totering [tottering?] about
She watchd [watched?] him when in and she watchd [watched?]
him when oot[out?]. And aye when he chanc'd in his daffin
and fun, To dunt his wee head on the Cauld staney gran
[cold stoney ground?] She lifted him up, and she kiss'd
him fee fain, Tell a' His pit Cares were forgotten again.
Then be kind to Aunt Sallie for now she is frail,
Like a time shattered tree bending low in the gale.
David, I charge you on your first meeting with Aunt Sallie
that you treat her to a glass of good whiskey punch and
charge to my account.
And now for domestic or family news -
My wife is not very stout, she is troubled with a severe and
Cough, more especially in the night. Robert Emmetts
wife is quite low and cannot live long her disease is
consumption - she is all the time in bed. Robert has but one
a daughter some ten years old, they are quite well.
Mary Jane (whose husband is a Doct[Doctor?]: Epting) lives at
a village about thirty miles from here - she has three children
one by her first marriage, and two by the last, the family are
Sallie is a widow the second time, and lives with me- It is
said she will not long remain single - she has one child
Ann Eliza (Mrs Cox) lives in this place - she has six children
Five boys and one girl who is the oldest of the children -
and the family are in usual health.
I am; as usual, in good health although broken in
fortune, yet cheerful in spirit, and as you done me the honor
to contrast me in the latter respect to "old Jamie" I insist
that you give him - a bountiful feed of oats, for my sake.
My son John (a six footer) lives with me on the plantation
he is unmarried.
Malcom Irwin and Family are well I heard from them
lately. Miss Ellen Forsythe called on us she looked well and
said she liked the Country - she is now in Charleston.
Please give my best regards to Jane, and tell her that I
think of her kindness on my last visit - and I must not forget
John Gilmer [Gilmour?], and his good natured wife Nancy. I hope
they, and their three children are well. John might write me
a letter. If you should see my early friend James Smith give
him my best wishes.
Well I think I will conclude at the present, as I
cannot think of any more to say.
Hoping to hear from you again before long. I remain
Your affectionate Brother
Transcribed by Jonathan Engstrand