Transcribed by Gary Carroll -
Letter from Simmons family file at PARO
From James Symons to his children in USA 10 July, 1865
Fermoy, Mallpique [Malpeque] Lot 18 Prince County Prince Edwards Island, North America
My Dear Children,
I have once more taken the opportunity of writing to you hoping it will find you all in good health as I am happy to say it leaves we few at present. But we have had great troubles with sickness and deaths. First your mother was took sick and labouring under a bed of severe sickness for about eight weeks, breathed her last the 12th of April and buried the 14th being Good Friday, in the morning at St. Thomas Church New London, where your mothers parents and your brother Thomas is laid. And as Mary and James were both married and gone to themselves, but when your mother took sick, Mary and her two children came with us, and is still with us, and her youngest child over seven months old was took sick just before the death of your mother, and a few weeks after, the child died. We had two funerals took from our house this spring. The child was a fine boy and died with the water on the brain. But your mothers was weakness, but she had every attendance by doctor and by ourselves. She wanted for nothing that she could make use of for the body. And our minister visited her, which I hope will prove to be the saving of her soul. May God grant it, for Christ sake, Amen. Marys husband is a stone mason and a plasterer. His name is William Hall Priofit. Thay have a farm and a good clearance. There house is about half a mile from us. There oldest child is a girl - called Eulalia. James hath a farm of 50 acres about a mile from us and a half a mile from Mary. And Samuel is with me - not married. My family is small at present, only Samuel and myself and Mary and her little girl Eulalia, and Marys husband is generally away working at his trade. His wages 7-6 per day. Mary and her husband is not so stout and tall as the middle rank, but James is something of my height and size and his wife is a weak, sickly person. They have one child. Samuel stands 6 feet high and big as well. We have never heard from William, your brother since he left the Island. I am able to walk better than when I wrote you last. I have left off the crotch. I can walk better now with one stick than before with both.
We have now commenced building a new house. Our farm is all clear but 5 or 6 acres for wood and as we have a new cooking stove, we do not burn much wood. We have two good horses and 3 good milk cows. We have two heifers riseing 2 years old and we have 2 heifers calfs this summer. We winterd 12 ewes last winter. The greater part of them had lambs. We killed 2 oxen last fall. We sold one and keep the other for ourse. We fattend 2 good pigs. We sold one and keep the other besides several sheep. We have a good crop planted and looks well. The potatoe crop hath not made such good appearance for some years as the do now. We have 2 acres planted. We have 5 pigs 2 rising 2 years old and 3 younger ones. This Island is much like England. We can get money for any thing we have to sell. In the summer season the waggons are running through the Island giveing money for eggs, giveing 8 D. per dozen and ship them to the States.
This Island is improved great since we came to it. Different places were there was but one or two houses is now large villages. We have a large town at Summerside about 13 miles from us, were there was but 2 houses when we came to the Island. We trade a great part with the United States. Steam packets running too and from there twice a week. The telegraph wire goes through the Island and 10 or 12 vessels are building there now, to go to England or any other port where they are wanted. This Island is only 3 Countys, that is Georges or Kings County, Queens County and Princes County. And them 3 Countys contains 67 lots or townships. It is just the same as parishes in England, and each township contains twenty thousand acres. The principal seaports is Charlottetown, Georgetown, Summerside and Mallpique. This Island is great for fish, although thee is no one here that carrys on fishing to any great extent. As soon as the ice leaves in the spring, the herrings come in, and the latter part of May, the cod fish come, and end of June the mackerel come. The cod fish and mackerl stop all the summer but the herring only stop a few weeks. We have a goverment of our own, with a governer and councels, Judge and Attorney general, Treasurer and officers to fill up the offices of the goverment. And send 30 members to the house of assembly once a year in the spring to settle the business of the Island. There revenue of the Island last year was over sixty Eight thousand Pounds, the greatest revenue that was ever known on the Island. And we are all peaceable and Neighborly with each other, although different professions. We are not to war with each other as you are killing each other, and still bearing the title of the United States. I am doubtfull that if you have not seen some trouble by the war but I shall feel happy if your family have not seen some trouble by it. I have lately heard that your uncle Thomas at Kennicott hath sold out and him and his family is gone to the United States, but I think by this time that both you and him would be better off in Prince Edwards Island. I went to see your Maria Glyden her hath a canswer in her back and as it cannot be cut out, the have a plaster which the think will soon draw it out. I have a few things more I could write, but as I wrote you 2 years agone and receivd no answer, so I think it is useless to be writing so much and receiving no answer, so I must conclude, And I beg of you to write me as soon as you receive this letter and let me know all particulars. And may God grant that if we never meet here, that we may all meet in heaven there to sing the praises of redeeming love to Jesus Christ, our King Amen. We all Join in love to you Brothers and Sister, Brotherinlaw and Sisterinlaw And believe me to be your Effectionate Father
July 10th - 1865 James Symons
James Symons was bapt. 21 Feb., 1799 at Poundstock, Cornwall, G. Britain, son of James Symons and Ann; James Symons married Ann Paynter 1 Nov., 1829 at Stoke Damarel, Devon, England; she died 12 April, 1865; they had: 1. Mary bapt. 20 June, 1833 at Poundstock, Cornwall, G. Britain married 1864 to William Hall Profit [1838-1868]; 2. Thomas bapt. 12 April, 1835 at Poundstock; 3. William bapt. 10 July, 1836 at Poundstock; 4. James born 27 Feb., 1838, bapt. 11 Mar., 1838 at Poundstock; 5. Samuel born 11 May, 1839 died 13 Sep., 1906