Submitted by David Booth, firstname.lastname@example.org.
These two letters were originally sent to my great, great grandfather in Brighton, Sussex, by the family of his first wife in 1861 and 1862.
At the time that these were sent, Benjamin Brockhurst was recently discharged from the Royal Artillery and was working on the railways and caring for his two young sons, William and James, since the death of his wife, Rachel (Arbing), from pulmonary consumption on the 18th December 1859. Benjamin remarried in November 1861 and it is from the first child of this second marriage that I am descended. The letters were found amongst the belongings of my great aunt who died over twenty years ago in England, and for some reason were given to me.
Although I am not a blood relation of the Arbings of PEI I am interested to find out more about them, where they came from and how long they had been there when these letters were written. Indeed, was Rachel a native of the island? If anyone who sees these letters is connected with the people concerned then I would be happy to correspond with them. Please note that these letters were written on a single sheet of paper in each case, and folded like a booklet. I transcribed them using the exact words, spelling and grammar as the original except in three places where the wording was unclear and where I have made some indication of that.
Letter from Rachel Arbing, May 2nd, 1861 to Benjamin Brockhurst, 7 Elder Place, Brighton
Suffolk SettlementDear Benjamin:
Lot 34, P.E.I.
May 22nd, 1861
I have long and anxiously looked out for a letter from you or Rachel, and I fear there is something the matter when neither she nor you have written to us since Dec. 1853. I have been at considerable trouble to ascertain whether you were alive or not, and it was only last evening that I learned through the kindness of a friend of mine who sent letters to England for information respecting you that you were now discharged and residing in Brighton. I hope that you will lose no time in writing to me after you receive this letter, as you may be sure that it would be much satisfaction to me and my son, James to hear how you have been for so long a time past; in all probability my dear Rachel must be dead, or something extraordinary has prevented her from writing to me, or her brother. --- We have reason to thank Almighty God that we enjoy good health, and neither wand for food nor raiment, these mercies with the blessing of God should learn us to be contented. ---- Our relations here are in their usual good health. People are busily engaged in putting seed in the ground, and the weather is colder than usual at this advanced period in the season.
I would now conclude, requesting you not forget to write me without delay letting me know how matters are with you and your family to whom myself and James send our affectionate compliments.
7 Elder Place
} I am
} Dear Benjamin
} yours affectionately
} Rachel Arbing
} per her friend
} Robert Robertson
Letter from James Arbing, Nov 23, 1862 to Benjamin Brockhurst, 7 Elder Place, Brighton
Dear Son and Brother. We Received your kind Letter And were glad to hear you and the Children Were All Well As it leaves us All At present We Would like for you to send us the Childrens likenesses if you Can And if you have Rachels likeness We Would like if you Could get Another one taken to send us one of hers.
Mother is glad to hear you have A Steady person to See After the Children And if She was Near you that She Would See After them for you.
We were much pleased And glad to See the little Williams letter that he can write so well for his Grandmother thinks a great Deal of it and hopes they Will be good Children for their grannies sake and then they Will very Soon be Abel to Write to me for I would like to See them And Wish I was Nearer to them And I could help them in Many Ways poor little Darlings God Bless you you Both for I Suppose I Shall Never see you for! Am Getting old and Cannot hold Much longer But little William rite to me Again so As We Can See how you improve At School please to Send us Word if you are Near Any of your own friends or relations Dear Brother I Suppose you Did not know that I am Married I have Been Married About 15 Months And have one Child We are getting on very Well At present but Some things Are getting very Dear Such As Cottons And things of that Sort on Account of the American War. We hear that there is great trouble in Some parts of England on Account of the Scarcity of Cotton they Are looking for Assistance here and through All the British provinces. Dear Brother you May Think us very inquisitive but.we would like to know what pension you receive And What kind of Work you are employed At in the Station for you Said in your letter you had to Work At Night in it. Now the Station I do not exactly understand What it Means only I know it is a Railway Stoppage or port or is it the Arsnal Where the Military things is Made this I Did Not understand exactly but you Can Send Me Word in your Next letter (obsscured) Dear Brother it must have Been A hard trying time With you When poor Rachel Died I Would like to have Seen her before She Died but God knows What is best for We Cannot tell how Soon Some of us May follow her May She be gone to that happy land to Dwell with Christ May her Soul rest in peace We Now All join together in Sending our ???? love to you All And to My little Name Sake James I Would like to See you My littel Boy be a good boy and try to learn your Book So as you Will be A good Scholar and then you can right letters to me God Bless you My Boy and tell your father to send me your likeness
Dear Brother as it is perhaps some troubel to you as you Cannot I believe Wright yourself to Answer to Many questions of Mine but I Would like to know how times go there the price of things Which is most needed in household Affairs I think littel William Could Wright Well enough to wright to us for we could read every word of his wrighting and if you Would Wish I Can Send you Word in My Next letter Any thing you Would Wish to know Concerning any of your old Acquaintances here Mrs Fitzgerald is here on the Island About A year That is (Clows?) Daughter but she seemed to know but little about Rachel said she saw her once or twice and left her in Woolich the last time she saw her said she was well and that and that you were doing well and said that you were working in the Arsanel and was getting 14d per week he says he was in the Crimean war so farewell at present
We remain your affectionate Mother and Brother
James S. Arbing
When you wright direct as follows:
To James S. Arbing
Prince Edward Island