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Ros Davies' Co. Down, Northern Ireland Family History Research Site

© Rosalind Davies 2001
Permission granted to reprint research for non-profit use only

This page contains miscellaneous articles from various sources.

Working Condition in Weaving Factory, Tullylish Knockavally; haunted field Poem about Carrickmannon Murder in Carricknaveigh
Lead & silver mine in Tullyratty Origins of Rainey surname Manslaughter of John Glen of Ballyhalbert 31 Aug 1844 Nesbitt Letters

 

Working Conditions and Experiences in the Hazelbank Weaving Company in Tullylish Parish

On reaching the weaving factories, yarn was wound into pirns for weft or spools for warp and woven by means of power looms into a variety of types of linen cloth. One such factory which opened in 1880 at Coose was Hazelbank Weaving Company, located on the site of dominantly female workforce. Because power-loom weaving had not begun to spread in Ireland until the 1860s, enquiries into working conditions did not begin until 1892. In That year, Mr. Osborn, seeking to extend the regulations adopted under the Cotton Cloth Act with regard to artificial humidity and enquiries into weaving sheds in Ireland. He found dust, poor ventilation and high humidity due to jets of steam being infused by uncovered pipes, especially where finer counts of yarn were woven. This resulted in a large amount of condensation which saturated the walls, floors and weavers. Regulations to control the amount of humidity permissible were enacted at that time and further refined in 1903 , 1905 and 1914.

Six weavers who worked at Hazelbank were interviewed. None mentioned excessive humidity as a complaint, perhaps indicating that the regulations were more successful in weaving factories. Nevertheless, while all considered conditions better than those in spinning mills, they did not think that the conditions at Hazelbank were good. Also, while pride inn their work was expressed, none enjoyed her work. One weaver described how tedious she felt the work was;
"It was from one to another, watching, and it all depended on what sort of yarn ya got. Some.... would have broken on ya, you see, and you were continually stopping the loom and tying it up, you know. And watching, the both. Maybe when you had finished with this, you'd turn around and there was... maybe... an end out.. what you'd call an end would break, a thread would go across this way and your shuttle would fly out and maybe you'd have a rip and have to rip all out... it was hard work... Some people couldn't be bothered ripping it out and they would sew it up a bit and then when that would go to the office, the cloth passer that examiner the cloth would come on this. That was a fine. He got the Lord's prayer many a time."

Weavers were paid by the piece at so much per cut or 100 yards. All faults in the cloth detected by the cloth passer resulted in fines which were deducted from the wage. While of course some weavers were more careful than others, all could expect fines from time to time. When this cut (100 yards of cloth) was woven, the cloth was carried by the weaver on her shoulder to the office where it was marked down. At Hazelbank a learner got a fortnight or three weeks to learn before she got a loom of her own. It was very common for a learner to be taught by a member of her family, usually a sister. This was the case for five of the six weavers interviewed and it was felt by them to have been a help in easing the pressure and anxiety of a child twelve to fourteen years old who was beginning factory work. Learners were expected to pick up much of the required skills on their own, but certain skills had to be mastered before they got their own looms. They were, how to change a shuttle, the way to draw in broken ends of warp and how to tie a weaver's knot (which was a non-slip knot). After the initial learning period was over, the young weaver would be given one loom for a few weeks and her progress was monitored by the boss and the tenter.
Well the boss was walking around the factory all the time and then there was what you called the tenters to fix the looms, you see, if anything happened. So then you'da maybe got two, the second loom after two or three weeks.... and then you were on your own, making your own pay.

Most weavers at Hazelbank had two looms but a few of the most experienced had three. None of the weavers described the lively atmosphere found in the spinning mills. The noise of the machines impeded conversation and the discipline was very strict.
If you had a minute to spare and the two looms going, you used to have a wee seat but they woulda tied it up, you hada hide it from them. If you sat down, you daren't be seen sitting! You woulda heard them, you know, with the noisy looms, you would have heard the girls shouting at one another 'yoo hoo', you knew he was comin'. And then, Oh, you'da kept your head down all the time they were walkin' round.

If a weaver was caught fixing her hair or eating, she would be checked by the manager.
You daren't eat a piece of bread, you daren't...., You'd eat it all right, but if they'd see ye that was a fault... they'd think you weren't minding your work if you be eating the bread. You'd only eat the bread when you were busy working away as well like, watching the looms.

Each weaver pointed out that aspect of the work which was to her most annoying. To one it was the fluff and dirt; to another it was standing on the cold tiled floor on a winter morning and handling the cold machinery. One woman summed up her view of Hazelbank in the following succinct terms, "It was a dungeon.... only thing was , you were glad of the money."

Nevertheless, when asked about the interaction between co-workers, weavers all maintained that they were friendly and helpful. Due to the noise in weaving sheds, weavers could not talk to each other easily. They developed instead a sign language. Again, in the area close to the factory such as Lawrencetown, most people knew each other or were related which reinforced friendships both on and off the job.

The plentiful supply of cheap labour and the technological problems involved in weaving fine linen cloth ensured the survival of handloom weaving through the first half of the twentieth century. Before the Great Famine, handloom weavers were to be found in every townland in Tulllylish. After the Great Famine, due to deaths, shifting population, the arrival of power looms and the alternative sources of employment in the factories, handloom weaving tended to concentrate in the townlands of Ballydugan, Bleary and Clare where fine cambric and damask was woven.


by Marilyn Cohen, 1984
Working Conditions and Experiences of Work in the Linen Industry; Tullylish, Co Down

Knockavally; Story of a Haunted Field near Killough

Knockavally has many stories associated with it and is locally known as "The haunted field at Knockavally". The site is on the left hand side of the road which leaves Killough for Rossglass, called Quarter Hill.

Some fifty years ago, just after the Second World War had ended, the horse and cart was the mode of transport used to deliver agricultural products. It was well known that when horses were climbing the steep hill past the haunted field they were terrified. The horses had to be blind folded as they were pawing at the ground with their hooves, refusing to pass the old cemetery. It was believed that horses were sensitive to the world of spirits and ghosts especially around burial places.

The Knockavally mound is about 50 feet above sea level, about 40 feet in width from its top you can see the Isle of Man. On the top of this mound lay a stone, one and a half feet long, six inches wide and five inches thick. An old Irish Cross is cut into the stone. It is reputed that the cross marks the ancient cemetery which is over a thousand years old, its origins lost in the mists of time.

Tradition has it that this field is a place haunted by the spirits of the long lost dead. A place where ghosts abound, a place where the fainted hearted should not tread alone. Folklore states that if you secretly turned the cross face downwards, on returning the next day, the cross would have reverted back to its original position.

You may say that this is just a "good yarn" , but if I tell you that I knew someone who tried out this experiment fort himself and found out this to be exactly the case. The field wherein the cross lies provides another hair-raising tale.

For the purpose of this tale, I shall call the character who experienced this happening, George. George was young, he liked to shoot with his double-barrelled shotgun. This field was near the bog where the duck and geese frequented- a good place to get tomorrow's lunch or dinner. This bog was known as the White Bog, a dangerous spot believed to be a bottomless pit.

Imagine George creeping along a hedge, waiting for the duck to fly into the field as the moon was rising. On this particular evening George loaded the gun and lay in wait. It and been a very hot day, but now the mists and fog shrouded the field where the stone with the cross lay.

The ducks appeared, suddenly George opened fire, bringing down two of them. He was sure of a good meal for the next day but George could not find the dead ducks and, even more mysterious, he seemed to be lost in the field, he could not find his way out. George steadied himself. There had to be a gate, the gate he had entered by. Listening, he heard sounds, some local people walking home from the pub in Killough, on their way to Tyrella. The men were laughing and joking. George still could not find the gate. Almost hysterical by now, George called out loudly, crying for help. No one answered his cry. He was lost in the haunted field!

George reloaded the shotgun, firing twice into the air, hoping someone would respond to his gun fire. Suddenly mist and fog lifted, the lamps in the windows of the cottages could clearly be seen, lighting up the village village. The someone shouted, "What's wrong?" George replied in a loud voice, "I can't get out of the field." Recognising George's voice, they laughingly replied," You can get out of the field over here, George. The gate's in front of you." Suddenly everything was clear- there were the pillars and the entrance gate; this was the place where he had passed into the field with the cross.

George's friends thought he was drunk. "The gates were here all the time," they insisted. George climbed over the gate and hurriedly he explained his ordeal to his two friends. Joe and Pat at once began to tell George that where he had been was "Holy Ground" and that no-one should shoot in this field.

The stone with the cross- the only one remaining in the cemetery- is now displayed in Down County Museum. It was thought best to place the stone in the Museum for safe- keeping, as there was a real danger that the stone could end up in someone's private collection.

By the way, "George" was none other than my late father-in-law. He was not a man prone to fantasy.

by Elizabeth Gibson; 1st published in Lecale Miscellany and reprinted in The Down Recorder 21st November 2001

 

To My Birthplace by William H. Cleland 22nd August 1888- a poem about Carrickmannon in Killinchy Parish

O'er Erin dear, where'er I steer,
By Lagan, Foyle, or Shannon;
No place so fair, for which I care
So much as Carrickmannon

In youthful days, in boyish ways,
Its flowery paths I've ran on;
Since change and time but closer bind
My heart to Carrickmannon.

Here friendship dwells, good will expels
All envious thoughts, inhuman;
The toil- worn rest, supremely blest,
In peaceful Carrickmannon.

With honest toil, to till the soil,
Her hearty sons rely on;
While daughters fair, with frugal care,
Keep the homes of Carrickmannon.

When want's pale face presents her case
To true hearts, warm and human;
Show me the place gives with such grace
As generous Carrickmannon.

Its hills and vales, and furze-decked dales,
Its placid lake to sail on;
The Chapel Hill, the silent mill,
Old scenes in Carrickmannon.

Around this place a generous race
Of worthy men and women;
Nor lived for fame , but left a name,
Still loved in Carrickmannon.

Thanks to Dufferin kind, of brilliant mind,
Our splendid school now stands on
Its terraced ground, plantation crowned,
A boon to Carrickmannon.
With sense of loss we view the moss,
Now little to reply on;
In bygone days, in many ways,
'Twas a help to Carrickmannon.

With love and truth and ardent youth,
Kind Providence to smile on;
'Mid toil and care, to take a share,
Who fears fro Carrickmannon?

Let others roam, and leave their home,
In search of worthless mammon;
I'll sing my lays and spend my days,
In my loved Carrickmannon.

May all in peace have joys increase
With happiness in common;
And at life's close, be found like those
Who have honoured Carrickmannon.

reprinted in Saintfield Heritage 1998

Murder in Carricknaveagh, Killaney, 27th January 1900

Early in the morning of 27th January 1900, a very savage murder and suicide occurred in the townland of Carricknaveagh near Saintfield.

The evening before, a neighbour, Robert Morrow, held a party in his home. Robert was known colloquially by the expressive name of "The Beaker". This name distinguished him from his neighbour, another Robert Morrow who was known informally as "Decent Robert".

Johnnie Magee, his wife Susanna aged about 65 years at this time, and their young nephew, James Wallace, aged about 24, were invited top attend to party. Young James was very anxious to go to the party as there was a young lady there in whom he was interested and admired.

She was Robert's (The Beaker) daughter Bella who later because Mrs. William Mills, mother of the late highly esteemed Mrs. Dolly Grant of Comber Street, Saintfield.

James, who had been adopted by his aunt & uncle, was forbidden to go to the party by them; and it is possible and conceivable he was feeling humiliated, frustrated and very disappointed by this treatment. His uncle and aunt were treating him as a servant boy and not giving him his proper place. He had been brought up by Johnnie and Susan and helped them to work the farm.

Johnnie and Susan returned home late from the party and Johnnie went to bed. About 2 o'clock in the morning as he lay asleep, James hit him on the head with a hatchet , the blow making him unconscious. He recovered some time later to find a dangerous wound on his head which had bled freely. He was now weak from loss of blood but was able to make his way to the kitchen.

There was no sign of either his wife or adopted son. Thinking his wife had gone down the road next door to "Toddstown House" where the Prentices lived (as she had a routine habit of doing) he went back to bed again.

In wakening about nine o'clock in the morning there was still no sign of anyone. This time he was determined with what strength he had left, he would go to Prentices. A short distance from home he found his wife lying dead in the middle of the road, with a hurricane lamp lying beside her. About 25 yards further on he found the body of young James lying at the side of the road under a tree with his braces hanging round his neck.

It seems that when James attacked old Johnnie with the hatchet and left him unconscious, Susan, who was in the kitchen at the time, heard the commotion. She took the hurricane lamp and was on her way to Prentices to get help when James caught up with her.

The police, when they arrived, found marks around her neck and Doctor Scott, from Saintfield, on examining the body expressed the opinion that death resulted from Suffocation due to strangulation. Her face was also swollen but there were no marks of violence on the body apart from the fingerprints on the throat.

Fro some time before this dreadful happening, James was very unhappy and mentally disturbed, expressing concern about spiritual matters. A few days before this shocking misfortune James had gone down to Saintfield to see the Rev. Stewart Dickson, minister of 1st Presbyterian Church. Mr. Dickson was not at home and James left a rather strange message for him saying he was depressed and worried about dying. He had been noticed lately of being rather strange in his habits, but no-one had any idea of him becoming a danger to himself or anyone else.

We will never know what went on in the unhappy and troubled mind of James Wallace.

The road where this tragedy occurred was known as 'Johnnie Magee's wee road' until about 1970 when the Hillsborough Council renamed it the Laurel Bank Road.

The 'Beaker's' farm is owned by Jim Morrow and the Magee's farm is owned by the Scott family. 'Toddstown House' is now owned by the McKee family.

Frank Fox
SHM 1994 p40,41

The Hill of the Little Pieces of Silver

When lead and silver were mined at Tullyratty townland

in Ballyculter parish

In the late 1820s there were at least 14 lead mines working in the east of Co. Down, from Conlig to Dundrum. One such mine was located in the townland of Tullyratty on the farm of one Thomas Smith. It was first opened in 1827 and the shaft reached a depth of 102 feet. There were several horizontal drifts, which are veins of ore. The mine had both lead and silver but the silver content was small at 10 ounces, pound of silver to one ton of lead. Thirty tons of ore were extracted from the mine and were sold in Liverpool. It was assayed both there and in London to have between 75% and 80% lead content.

The ore would have been shipped from Strangford as the proprietor of the mine was the Right Hon. Lord de Ros of Old Court who also owned Strangford Harbour. It was said that one cargo of ore sank at the bar mouth of Strangford Lough. Whether this happened in 1830 when work stopped, to be resumed in 1842 , is now uncertain.

The mine was working again in 1853 however and this is substantiated by the registration of two children baptized at Christ Church in Ballyculter. A daughter Mary Anne born 11th March 1853 to Nancy and Alexander Hershen a miner and a daughter Elizabeth born 18th March 1853 to Grace and John Patton a labourer at the lead mine in Tullyratty.

I have no idea when the workings ceased but my great uncle Felix Rogan born 1872 from Ballintlieve, who often visited Johnny Lawson at Tullyratty, told Richard Sharvin who is the present owner of the farm where the mine is located, that he remembered the shaft being filled in. The iron ladder in the shaft which was made b a blacksmith was too heavy to be removed and so it was buried. Flooding in the shaft was a problem but as the land there is elevated it was proposed that a horizontal shaft be dug to drain the mine to Cromie's Bog bear Carlin but it was probably too expensive.

The entrance to the mine and the horse walk are in a field called Mine park which is at the rear of Richard Sharvin's farm yard. The horse walk was where one or two horses were harnessed to a horizontal pole and they walked around in a circle The pole turned machinery which was used to pump water from the shaft or to winch the ore to the surface. The remains of the store house , in which the tools and equipment were kept, are still visible.

The powder house in which the explosives for blasting were stores is situated high on the north side of Slieve Triplog at a safe distance from the mine shaft. It is completely constructed of stone with a corbelled roof and when inspected in November 1998, during a very wet spell, the walls and floor were completely dry.

The spoil from the mine may have been dumped at Buttony beside Tullyratty and Ballintlieve. When the ground was cleared about two years ago a large amount of broken stone was found there.

Lead and silver traces can still be found in rocks and stones around Tullyratty to this day. Some years ago, when excavations were being dug for the building of a shed in Richard Sharvin's yard, I remember noticing the rock that was removed had a high quantity of lead in it. I doubt if the Tullyratty mine will ever be worked again, but who knows?

by Brian Fitzsimons; Published in Inverbrena Local History Group Memories 1999

The Surname Raine, Rainey, Reaney ( from Irish Roots Magazine #45 p32 )

There are 3 distinct surnames here. Raine, according to the English surname expert, Reaney (coincidentally), can have a number of origins,none of them Huguenot. These are, from the French Reine, 'queen',in a sarcastic or nickname sense, from the French le Raine, again a nickname meaning 'frog' and finally from the toponym de Rane from Rayne in Aberdeenshire in Scotland.

Turning to Rainey, this is a surname of Lallan Scots origin deriving from a pet form of Reynald or Reginald. The surname was prominent around Angus and Dumfries from where it must have come to Ireland during the Ulster Plantation which began around 1600 when Scottish and English Protestants were settled on the newly conquered lands of the Gaelic Catholic clans of Ulster. One Rainey family was particularly prominent, those of Belfast, Newry and Greenville, who originated in Ayreshire in Scotland and a detailed pedigree of whom, spanning the period 1580- 1910, can be found in the Genealogical Office in Dublin (MS 182, 16-19). The head of this family in 1897 was Major General Arthur Rainey of Greenville.

The original ancestor was William Rainey who came from Ayreshire to Belfast around 1603. The Hearth Money Rolls of the 1660s indicate that the surname, then usually written ' Raney' or' Reany', was originally concentrated around Ballymena- Antrim area of County Antrim, as well as around Belfast, from where it later spread to other parts of Ulster, although remaining strongest in this area.

Prominent branches of this family can be traced in the will indices at Ballygowan near Antrim town and at Braniel, Crossnacravey, Comber, Lambeg and Drumbeg, all places within 15-20 miles of Belfast in counties Down and Antrim. By the middle of the 19th century we find around 100 Rainey households in Ireland, of which 50 were in County Antrim and 35 in County Down. The surname does not appear to be recorded in Tyrone at this period, although a branch had been prominent at Magherafelt in County Londonderry since the early 18th century, when Hugh Rainey of Magherafelt, in his will of 1707,left a bequest founding a charitable foundation, Rainey's Charity of School Erection.

Reany/Reany is an English surname with no direct connection to either of the above.

 

Manslaughter of John Glen aged 2 of Ballyhalbert on 31 Aug 1844

Armagh Guardian 11 Mar 1845- Court News
Manslaughter;

Mary McCappin, for the manslaughter of John Glen on the 31st August last in the parish of St. Andrews.

Margaret Glenn examined by Sir R. Staples. "I live at a place six miles beyond Portaferry. I had a child of the name of John Glen. He is dead. He died in the month of August last. I know Mary McCappin's house. I was going there for some change she owed me. I met her on the road and we had some altercation. When we got near my own house, she laid down a can of milk which she had in her hand and struck the child twice. On the second blow having been given, the child fell out of my arms on the road, on his head and shoulders. I stooped to lift the child and she struck me on the back of my neck. When I lifted the child, he was bleeding at the mouth and nose. The child was in perfect good health before this. He was two years and two months old. She struck the child twice before she struck me. I lifted the child and took him to my mother and then to Colonel Ward. I got a line from him to Dr. Murland, who attended the child. The child lived about four weeks after. Dr. Murland is in Scotland. There was an inquest held on the child and Surgeon Chermside was on it. "

Cross examined by Mr Andrews; "The prisoner is a cousin of mine. We were on very good terms before this and I have frequently dined at her house. On the day this affair occurred, we were very angry and used bad words to each other. I struck her after she struck me. I bit her bit it was when she was hanging me. I did not lay down the child myself. After I had the child up , I kicked over her can of milk. The child was not running about after this occurred. He was scalded some time before and was attended by Dr. Rankin. It was four weeks before he was quite well.

Doctor Chermside examined the body of the child after death. The body appeared emaciated. Opened the head and found a slight extravasation of blood on the left hemisphere of his brain. That was sufficient to cause his death. A fall or a blow would cause the extravasation. Did not observe any external marks.

Cross examined by Mr. Andrews, but there was nothing material elicited.

His Lordship addressed the Jury and told them, that, in his opinion, there was not sufficient evidence to show that the violence inflicted by the prisoner on the child had been the cause of his death.

The Jury after a few minutes' consultation , handed in a verdict of acquittal.

The Nesbitt Letters- Rathfriland 1861
kindly sent by Sandra Winegar

Rathfriland June 25th 1861
Dear Sir:
I do join with my friends, Nesbitts, in sending you a few lines to let you that you have such friends as us still on the land of the living. We got a letter from your hand a length of time ago. Our delay has been long, please excuse.
I have kept a Public House in Rathfriland for the last 20 years, and is hinging by the old wals yet, although the business keeping a Public House is near over, however for these 9 years past I had another situation that helped bad times as foreman over a Corn and Flax Mills called Glasker Mills, long side of these old Gentlemen called Nesbitts, whom I believe to be your Fatherinlaws full cousins. I do any writings that they have to do, as well as possible us finding in a newspaper the neardest of kin a wanting to a Joseph Nesbitt, who emigrated from the North of Ireland to American 1770. We agreed that we would write and that we might have a chance of a legacy now in our old days. We certainly had great jokes about it, out of the first part, I was to get a first rate silver watch, with Guard and Key however we found friends instead of a legacy which realy the are glad to find, same time I lost my watch, however I have a good Watch and will have to call on you for one of the American guards & Key, to make up my wants and will be in duty bound to pray, also give the news of the day otherwise send me a sample of finest Brandy so as I can treat your friends, and we will have a merry day drinking your health in Brandy, as its my choise drink. Dear friend I hope you will excuse the liberty and jokes made to you. We would wrote to you long since but really it was not in my power to get writing on account of the throng of business in they mills this Spring season. However I hope you will forgive the delay. We must do better for the time to come. Also I hope these lines will reach your length in safety and find you and all friends in good health. We would fondly hope that the talk of wars in your kingdom may all end in peace, peace is the best in almost all cases, but if not settled that your states may come of victorious. The Battle's not to the Strong, nor the race to the Swift. I must acknowledge that I have a good many friends in different parts of America. My Motherinlaw and family lives a place called Royal Oak, Oakland Co. State Michigan, and an Uncle of mine called David Lawson lives at Ohiah. Also an Uncle Joseph Cantly who lives in New York Lancaster Street No. 29 South Ward. I think that he is Clerk in a Bank, he is altogether a smart man, and a kind hearted one as lives. He is one of the first rate surveyors, he is fit for any situation. Also I have another old faithful friend a School Master, he lives in Milwaukee, State Wisconsin, His name is Patrick Ross Megarrigle last account he was teaching school, he gave me all the learning. If ever you be in that part I would be glad you would give him and Mrs. A call. He is able to give you history of the whole clan of us. Also of this part of Ireland. He is a first rate Protestant, he was a faithful friend to me Lord grant him long and happy days, and days of peach is the desire of his old scholar till death James McMahon Rathfriland, Ireland. Now my dear friend I hope you will forgive my uselessly talk, to you a stranger. I must conclude with best wishes to you, and Mrs. And family Also Fatherinlaw and family and all enquiring friends with hopes of soon hearing from you.
James McMahon
Rathfriland, Co. Down Ireland

 

Dear Cousin William Nesbitt - Our new friend Mr. Jones says that you were an infant when your Father died, and that he was Buried in York District South Carolina. In what year, year did he die, and what country woman was Uncle Joseph's wife.
Dear Cousin is your Mrs. Living, or dead, and of what country woman, and how many children, and how many living and their names and ages, us old people are rather curious, it belongs to our clan. We all were softhearted and clannish, Dear Cousin you will please accept of these few lines and believe us & Brothers to be your real cousins and acknowledge us to be so Robt. Jno. & Saml. Nesbitt now living on earth. Lord grant that we may live long to hear from each other. Although far distant at present. Should none of us old people never live to meet on this world Lord grant that we may all meet in that happy and everlasting kingdom never more to part, and that we all may be able to sing tht new and heavenly song. Please write as soon as this our first letter reaches you, asking any questions you wish, give us your address so that we can write at every opportunity back and forward as long as spared on this land of Bondage, as our days will be short. We would wrote you long time, only for the hurry of getting the crops all settled, Then we thought well of waiting to see how they would get on with us. They are doing first rate. We have a great appearance of all kinds of crops this Season, very warm weather and some heavy showers. Most Powerful growing. Our Markets are Reasonable, Oat meal 14¢ per cwt. Eggs 6 to 7 pr. Dozen. Butter 9 to 10 pr lb. Beef 6 to 7 per lb. Mutton 7 to 8 pr lb. Bacon 8 to 9 pr lb. The above prices for goods sold in Market are correct, however trade is bad and money scarce.
Dear Cousin when you write direct to our dear and worthy friend Jas. McMahon Publican Rathfriland Co. Down Ireland. He was the only person that found you out for us. He is a man of principle and esteem. We hope the Lord will pay him for what he has done for us at many times. May the Lord bless one and all of you our dear Cousin & children, not forgetting our new made Son Mr. Jones that your days may be long and peaceful. Our Children do join with us in sending their kindest love to you all. Farewell dear friends. May the Lord bless and protect you all from danger is the prayer of your cousins,
Robt. Jno & Saml. Nesbitt

Emdale, Rathfriland Co. Down Ireland
June 25/61
Dear Sir:
This time twelve months, we saw an advertisement in a Paper called the Morning News Wanted the neardest of kin to Joseph Nesbitt who emigrated from the North of Ireland to America about the year 1770 Published by a Willm Mehary Belfast, we being like many other fools thanking that there was a great legacy going to turn up and that we might try as well as others knowing that we had a friend of that name that emigrated to some part of America but did not know where we three Brothers wrote to this Willm Mehary of Belfast different letters and for him to give us the address. He would not but said that he would send off our letters with others to the proper quarter in America and see who was the neardest of kin. We then through our particular friend James McMahon, Rathfriland, got a Gentlemans address - James Adger & Co. Charleston S.C. We wrote to him. He being a gentlemen wrote by return but could give no information, but was really very kind and referred our letter to a Lawyer whom he put great confidence in. We think his name is Lemonton. However, shortly came a letter from Mr. Jones saying that he was soninlaw to an old Gentleman the name of Willm Nesbitt, and from what he had gathered up that he believed us to be the cousins of his Fatherinlaw W. Nesbitt. We certainly are according to the will of your and our Grandfather, Caleb Nesbitt made in the year 1769 - your Father, our Uncle, Joseph went off in a huff 1770. Our Father in his lifetime got letters from your father J. Nesbitt but none of them are thefore, now we as Brothers and our familys do unanimously join and do call you our dear cousin. Oh how happy we are, and how we rejoice when looking over your soninlaws letter as he informs us that he is married to your Daughter. He tells her good qualifications, we hope they are all true dear Cousin we as a family do mingle our tears together and rests satisfied fully that we have found you our near and dear cousin, and we hope you will accept us so. But we are really sorry to think that you are going to have a long and bloody war. Now in your old age, Lord grant them all to end in peace, is the prayer of your dear and affectionate cousins, Robt. Jno. & Saml. Nesbitt. Dear Cousin about the year 1600 or earlier a number of the Nesbitts, of these connections came from a place called Fifeshire in Scotland. They cause of them coming from Scotland was to Establish the Protestant and Presbyterian Religion in this part of Ireland of which our connexion forefathers suffered from the Presbyterrian Religion under Charles the first and second, who wanted to put down Protestant & Presbyterrian Religion. Our great-Grandfather's name was Caleb Nesbitt. The fourth part of Ireland was peopled from Scotland and part of England.
Now Dear Cousin we have given you an outline of our forefathers and about the time they came to Ireland. Now we confine ourselves to your and our Grandfather's Caleb Nesbitt to whom was one of four brothers, Allen, Saml Jethro and Caleb was your and our Grandfather's name.
He had four sons and four Daughters. His sons names was Caleb, Jno. Joseph and Robert. So Joseph was your Father's name -the other three your Uncles-Grandfather Caleb died 1769 next year your father Joseph Nesbitt Emigrated to America. Your Uncle Caleb was not married. He died in the year of the Rebellion 1798 age 73 years. Next Uncle was Jno. He was our Father and had born to him 6 sons and two Daughters - Three of said sons dead. Their names were Caleb, Joseph & James. Now three Brothers of us still living Robt. Jno. & Saml. Robt. 84 years of age and can read the New Testament without specks. He lives with his son-in-law in McKee and eight Grandchildren. Two of them, Sons, and 6 Daughters, all of them living and a stout family they are. Now Jno. 72 years of age and was the Father of 7 children, 3 sons and 4 Daughters. Now living Jno., Saml. Mary Jane, & Betty Sally. Betty Sally now married. Samuel never was married, now ages 70 years. He lives with Brother Jno. And family. These are the names of us three Brothers that is still on the land of the living, belonging to the offspring of our Grandfather Caleb Nesbitt. Dear Cousin our Father Jno. Nesbitt died in the year 1812. We Jno. & Saml. Is still living in the same House, only repaired, and on part of the same land that formerly belonged to our Grandfather Caleb Nesbitt, however it's a small part now of said old farm. Dear cousin we are glad to hear and know that we have found out our near and dear cousin William Nesbitt, and family. We really thought once that we would never be able to find them out, Should the Lord not spare any of us to meet on this world of sorrow, we hope to meet in that Heavenly Kingdom among they Blessed Saints, never more to part. Dear Cousin should you and us not meet as wee are fast hastening to the Tomb perhaps some of our children might, however if this long letter of information agrees with your minds, as it does with us all, The communication can be continued although far distant at present. We hope the Lord will give you contentment and peace of mind now in your old days and sheath the sword of Anger Between your Nations. Lord grant them all to end in peace is the prayer of your dear and affectionate Cousins Robt. Jno & Saml. Nesbitt.

 

by Ros Davies