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curious news and notes by Mike O’Laughlin
Letters from an Irish Immigrant: (#1 in a series)
Key words: Castle Gardens – OKeefe – Boston – Jersey City – Brooklyn – Counihan – Lusid – Callaghan – Gortroe – Walsh
(From a series of letters from Jeramiah Moynihan uncovered during a renovation of the Bricin in downtown Killarney. Supplied generously by Johnny Maguire to me in May 1993. I have added the likely punctuation on my own – Mike O’L.)
Boston, July 3, 1867:
My Dear Father, Mother & Brothers,
I hope you will excuse me for not writing home before now. I had so much tossing and turning about from poast to pillar. I was for five weeks in Jersey City at worke and I could stop there for a long time. I wrote to Boston to my uncles and aunt and they were most impatient until I came to Boston. I went to worke to Uncle Michael and I could not stand him or is wife. I came up to Timothy Callaghan and he gave me work cheerfully and gave me more wages than I was wort. I suppose you know him he is Mick Callaghans son, he takes large contracts and employs a lot of men to work. I have nothing at all to say to him , everyting is different in this country from home. Girls can do a great deal better than men. I left Mary after me in Brooklyn, that is in New York, she got a very good place and I am very glad she remeant their. Johanna got a place outside Boston called Briton, it is a country place. There are a great many of the friends their, it was one Mrs. Walsh that got Johanna the place out their, her own name is Mara, from the Rock Road.
You gave me to much to do entirely in sending three of us into a country with doubth (without) manes or money and every person was surprised how bare we were. Every person was very kind to us but Michael Mara that is my Uncle, but I deny him to be my Uncle. My Uncle Gerry was every kind to me and Aunt Hanna is very she don a great deal for Johanna she dressed her out in great stile she is on the look out for a good place for Johanna. Mary is very well she writes very often once a week to one another. I am very thankful to Timothy Moynihan he gave me some tools what I wanted. I am very thankful to Gerry Counihan he is very well and not forgetting Ned Counihan.
Let me know is their much doing any person having any sort of way at home, it would be better for them to stop at home, the old country is much better than this country. I hope ye will hold yere grip, if I could get any thing to do at wheelwrithing I would do a great deal better. I am at floor laying with John Lusid he is very well.
I would not advise any person to come to America I could make up as much as would take me home again if you like. Timothy Callaghan is going home 20th July. Tell Denis Keefe and his friends his health is not good. (CONT….)
Dear Mother you need (not) fret nor be troubled about us it is now used to us. I cried and fretted a great deal when I landed at the Castle Gardens when I knew no(w) one thier and I had no(w) place to go to. Dan and Michael Moynihan of Gortroe behaved very well to us- that is Michael the black smith. I am very sorry that I came to Boston but it cant be healpt. If Johanna was in a good place I would go to some other place. Every person had great blame to you for sending Mary but she is lucky enough. I had a great deal to do on board the ship- they were so sick and knowing no one they were sick all the time nearly, I was very sick for the first week and from that out I got strong thank God.
I suppose you have Eugene to work, Tim and Con are well hope Andrew will mind the work. My best respects to all the friends and well wishers. I would write long ago but for Mary writing so often she did not send that letter down to me she told me their was so much grief in it. You can direct to Mary and she will send it down to me. I remain your affectionate son … Jeramiah Moynihan.
We Might be able to send you a little money in a few months but we were so bare for clothes.
About the author of this blog
Mike O’Laughlin is the most published author in his field. Since 1978 he has authored: 60 books, 40 CD’s and Videos, 300 podcasts, and over 1,000 articles. Having written books on every county in Ireland, he also publishes rare works in both Irish and English, including ‘The Annals of Ireland by the Four Masters’ and the ‘Irish Book of Arms’. His works are found at www.Irishroots.com