Saturday, March 11, 2006

I remain your loving husband while life do remain...

July 30, 1863

My Dear Bridget,

I hope these lines will find you and the children in good health as this leaves me in at present thanks be to God.

Thus begins a letter from my great-great-great grandfather Patrick Griffith to his wife, Bridget. He had crossed over from Ireland ca. 1860, after having grown up through the potato famine of Black '47. Patt and Bridget and millions of other fearless Irish immigrants, men and women and children, are why we celebrate St. Patrick's Day this week.

My Dear Bridget, I hope you have received your Passage Certificate before this. I have paid your fare on a steamer on the 25th day of July. It cost me $137 dollars. I would not have you come on a sailing ship you will be no more than 12 or 15 days on sea. You will have to get some sort of a bed for the voige and that is all you will want.

Bridget, if you have not the Passage Certificate before this do not delay one day without writing me until I see after it, if you have received it you need not write until you get another letter that will be in a week or two. I will send you what money as I can, you must manage it as well as you can. You need not buy any expensive clothes, but come as clean as you can, and when you reach me I will be able to dress you in the fashion of this country.

Bridget, you must have courage and if this journey was over you, I think with the help of God that the hardships of your life will be at an end. Bridget you must see which is it cheaper to go through Waterford to Liverpool or by Dublin. If it is not much dearer I would sooner have you come through Dublin.

Bridget you must be wide awake now and not to let anybody fool you. When you are starting from home you will get Matty and Johney for half fare on the train and by you taking Thomas on your arms when you're getting tickets I expect you will get him for free and you must act the same way when you are paying your fare on the steamer to Liverpool. ("Old Tom" Griffith was my great-great grandfather.)

If it is by Dublin you come when you get out of the train you will get a carriage it will take you and whatever you may have to where you will meet the steamer for free. (Illegible) one shilling William Hoher will tell you the rules of that place. Bridget you would want a sweet loaf or something nice on the steamer to Liverpool it is very little will do you. I think that a drop of wine would be very good for you in case that you got sick. When you land in Liverpool inquire for Wm. Riley. He keeps a boarding house. He is an honest man he will see you all right. If you have a bag do not let anybody take it without you know what they charge and don't give them half what they ask.

Bridget as soon as you receive this next letter write that moment supposing you were not to start for a fortnight after so as I can have your fare paid from New York to Wheeling. Because when you start from Liverpool you will come as fast as the letters do. I would want to have your letter a week before you land in New York. Bridget, I am about 30 miles from sister Judy. You will write direct to her and she will get it without delay.

Bridget it is Johna that will write you the next letter. She will let you know all about the journey from New York to Wheeling and where I will meet you.

Bridget this is all I have to say to you. May God send you a speedy voige. If you were here tomorrow how happy I would feel and never more to be separate until death.

I remain your loving husband while life do remain.

Patt Griffith


  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger La bella italiana, at 6:24 PM  

  • Wow. Wish we had yr family's capacity to preserve documents, and i've been appreciating yr comments elsewhere. thanks for this post.

    By Blogger lonesomepolecat, at 2:58 PM  

  • This is a most priceless gift. Several years ago a house fire wiped out all our family back to the 1600's, including bibles and diaries and photographs that can never be replaced.
    The Insurance company tallied everything in dollars and cents.
    There was no price on my family history. What could I write? Paper? Photographs? Their loss is an eternal regret.
    Do your best to protect these precious treasures.
    They are truly A Price Above Rubies.

    By Blogger Kira, at 12:30 AM  

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