Andrew GIBSON, Lisnagirr, parish of Cappagh, Co. Tyrone to Robert LOVE near Gastonia, North Carolina (USA)
2 June 1788
With pleasure I snatch at this opportunity of getting you a letter to inform you that yours of the 4th of September 1785 came safe to hand the March following. I am very glad to hear of your welfare and prospective happiness. The war certainly was very distressing on many, yet I hope the survivors of it will one day reap the fruit of their toil. My family and I enjoy a good state of health except my wife who at times is very much indisposed.
My daughter Martha is married about a year ago and has got a young daughter. Her husband is John Irwin’s youngest son (Robert). My son John is just about to take shipping for Philadelphia. He expects to see you perhaps in another season but not having a proper opportunity of a vessel for Carolina, and being afraid of the unknown shores, he thought proper to try first the more northerly part of America. Your brother Hugh and family, sister Eleanor and her family are all well and nothing remarkable among them.
Our country is now in a distressed situation. Neither the farmer, tradesman nor beggar can live, owing to the number of taxes, high price of land and scarcity of provisions which is still growing worse and worse. Whereas your country, by report, is growing better and better. Emigration (?) to turn out as keen (? numbers) are going this year. Among the rest my brothers Andrew and William GIBSON with their families intend this year taking shipping at Belfast for Charlestown (South Carolina, USA). If they come across you your advice to them would surely be necessary.
Were not my page so near a close I would begin and scold you for neglecting to write oftner and would include brother William in my reflections, having received none from either of you only yours, in so long time.
I shall conclude by sending my best respects to your wife and family; also to your brother William, his wife and family. And, joined by my wife, I am assuredly your very affectionate brother,
PS When you write, direct to the care of Mr David CAMPBELL, Omagh
Letter from Andrew GIBSON Lisnagirr, parish of Cappagh, Co. Tyrone to Robert LOVE near Gastonia, North Carolina, USA
22 September 1789
I am still fond to embrace the opportunity of writing to you as it is all the way left to continue a friendship. I am happy to inform you that me, my wife and family is well at present, thanks be to God for his mercies.
There is none of my children married yet but Martha, and John lives in Long Island in a place called Flatbush within five miles of New York. He is one of the teachers in an academy for which he has a 100 dollars per year. We wrote to him where to direct to you, and when you write direct to him at Erasmus Hall per care of Thomas ALLEN, bookseller, the corner of Fly Market, Queen’s Street, No. 16, New York.
I think you are blessed living in a land of liberty and free from the great oppression of landlords and everyone in authority which, indeed, poor Ireland labours under at this present. And all does not suffice to keep us in our duty, for the more oppression is laid on wickedness of all kinds is making a great advance.
Concerning what you wrote me about, I was most partly ignorant of it. I have informed myself since that brother Hugh had cloth prepared to send till you. He received letters from William to pay William LEITCH a certain sum and he would count with you for it. I heard at the time my mother died she left five pounds to you. Uncle YOUNG of Darge is dead some time ago. His children are all unmarried yet. One of his sons is bred to the law and another lives in Derry.
I need not be writing you concerning the crew people as brother Hugh is sending letters with Andrew LOVE. Brother (Joseph?) Patrick and family is well. He has three children.
What is considered a little extraordinary is building a bridge over Derry Lough. This season they began and its thought they will finish it in the next. The gentlemen are laying on so great taxes on land holders that it is hard to live here. I pay upwards of £1.10 shillings per year and I have come to great losses these bad seasons by overflowing of floods and some loss of cattle that is discouraging. Our young folk would fondly go to America but I and the wife are too old to undertake the danger if it were not on their account. You may let me know your opinion of it. John had but a bad opinion of America while he lived near Newcastle (in Delaware, USA) the first year but Messrs. BURNSIDE and UNDERWOOD, that are clerks to the Congress, called him to New York and used all their interest in his favour. And he says all he wants of happiness is some of his Irish friends, and he writes to his mother if God give him life and health in a few years he will come over and make proposals to her and the rest to go to that country. We are all anxious to gain a warm eating portion but too often neglect the one thing need full. But I hope you will not follow that rule, but first seek the Kingdom of Heaven and the rightness thereof, and all other things will be aided to you according to the Apostle’s directions.
I shall conclude being joined by my wife and family in sending our best respects to you and family, whilst I remain your affectionate brother
Submitted by Teena