Letter dated 27 Jan 1846, from Isabella Home Hopkirk to her son John in Lockridge, Iowa, USA
Jany 27 1846
My dear John,
I have been long in answering your letter but as Alick wrote to David and Robert to Walter I thought there was no need for me hurrying.
I wrote in David's letter for Elisabeth to come home if possible. I cannot give any directions how she should come as I know not the difficulties she has to encounter. If she were in England we could send her money to any part but cannot help her where she is. I think she must come with David when he comes to the lakes and stop till he comes over in the fall. Let David write and tell us how you have arranged matters. If they come by Liverpool they may call on Mr John Laidlaw; he lives in No 2 St Vincent Street. Alex Buckholm is in Liverpool married to Elisabeth but I don't know his directions.
We are all in good health at present. I am very stout and can work as well as ever I did but cant run so clever. And my dear John, what reason for thankfulness have I to the giver of every good that he has not only spared me to this day but is granting me health to enjoy that life he is pleased to prolong. May we praise the lord for all his benefits and for his wonderful works to the children of men.
We were very happy to hear of your prosperity and the addition to your family. May God enable you to bring them up in His fear and ways.
We had a cold wet summer here and though the corn was not much spoiled the potatoes were greatly damaged. You could not notice it much when taken up but when laid in pits they all rotid. The winter is as fine and warm as the summer was cold. I am writing this without fire the sun shining warm in at the window and the blackbird singing and our Jergonell pear tree in blossom. Trade is very good here of all kinds. Servants wages which was P5 at Whitsunday at Martin mass was P8. Labouring men are getting at this time 18 shillings per week and if the days were longer they expect more. Joiners wages has been 16 shillings this winter, masons labourers were 30 shillings last summer and are expected to be as high. This they are thinking, but the racks add it is to be begun in this place next week from Gallashiels to Warwick. There are few weavers in Gattonside now. Christie McHale has three. Willie Matheson, John Anderson and James Scott. There are three more weavers in it. None are working cotton now, all woollen.
There have been as many meetings about the repeal of the Corn Laws as there were about the reform bill. Every day we expect to hear that they are repealed there will be as much rejoicing as was at the reform bill and I think with more reason there is a word of war with America but I hope neither of them will be so foolish if our Governors are fools I see no reason why the people should be fools too. I think if they will fight you ought to cut you stick and come of. Walter gives us a sad account of the place he is in for being unhealthy. I think he ought to leave it. What signifies the advantages it has when they are enjoyed at such a risk. I think if he were coming over here he might get plenty work and tho the wages are not so high they are all paid in money and you can lay it out as you like. The oat Meal is P2 per boll; barley Meal 30s; fine flour 50s; beef and mutton 6d per lb; good sugar at 6d and 7d, and Tea at 3s per lb. But all these except the meat are expected to be cheaper in a week or two.
I think I have told about most things. I will now speak of ourselves. You know we bought the old house and Orchard we paid it at Martin mass by borrowing P100 and 40. We pay 4 per cent for the 100 and 4 for the 40. We have laid out P10 on John Hodges house and let it for 2 pound four we let it. Soon we might have had one for it for houses are scarce, on account of the railroad it goes by Melrose there was a word once of it coming by the . . . . . . . . . . . that
All our friends are well your Uncle Thomas has taken your Fathers house in Melrose and is going to set up for himself. I had a letter from your Uncle in Berwick; they are all well. Mary is recovering. James Hardie and Margaret have not a great business. She is never very strong they have no children yet he used to be afraid of marrying for fear of children and now God has been pleased to withhold those blessings, for children are blessings from him from whom o. . . . . . . good and perfect gift.
I am happy to hear your family increasing and if you or William have another son I would like if you would call him James. My dear John you are now a parent and know something of the yearning of a parents heart. May you never have to mourn your children cut off in youth and now my kindest love to you all to Walter (John watch over him) to David to William . . . . . . . . little ones to my dear Elisabeth whom I hope to see if God spares us: to your dear wife and your two little ones how much we should like to see you all your father and brothers have their love to you all
now may the God who hath led me all my life long watch over and bless you all is the prayer of your affectionate mother
Envelop addressed to: Mr John Hopkirk
Rome, Heny County, State of Iowa, U. S. America}
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