Submitted by Nancy Perozzo, email@example.com
The following two letters were transcribed by Edward R. MacCormack in 1991. They were written by his great grandfather, Ronald MacCormack, of the Souris Line Road to his grandfather, John Archibald MacCormack away as a merchant seaman. These letters were originally in the possession of Edward's Aunt Mamie, now deceased, and given to Edward's father, then passed along to Edward. Due to their historical and genealogical significance, we are reproducing them here. In an note attached to these letters, Edward mentions that his grandfather eventually gave up his life at sea after more than 20 years.
Letter June 22nd, 1860
Ronald MacCormack, Souris Line Road to son John Archibald MacCormack at sea, May 8, 1858
Prince Edward Island May 8, 1858
My Dear Son
I write to you the present hoping to find you in a state of good health, as it leaves us all, thanks be to God, we are all well and in good health, I have to say that I received a letter from you from Quebec, but it was to long before it came to hand, for to write back to you and I then wrote to you to Swansea, after I received from you from Swansea. It was always a pleasure to us to hear from you, but we often gave up hopes of you being living, and it would fill our hearts with hopes to receive a letter from you, and I have done all my endeavors to answer all I receive, knowing that my letters would be equally so pleasing to you. You have promised me in your last that you would come home this summer which was the most pleasing of all, but I am afraid it will be late before you will be back from your long voyage.
I have to relate to you that our family has diminished a little, Young Sally, was married to Patrick McDonald, Souris and they are well, and the boys are always about home only some odd times Lauchlan will go on short trips, Donald was not so much going to school as we expected as he was wanted about the place.
I have the whole of the house finished and a barn of 56 feet long and 26 feet broad all finished last fall, all but painting. Every thing that you had expected here from me is for you yet waiting for you. I have also a two year old filly out of the yellow mare and she is a spirited young heart keeping her for you. I will be a judge on your return, as I hope you will come, or that I shall hear from you, whether you are to make use of what I have in my gift for you, as you have long deserved it from me. Even although it should happen that you would not be in the circumstances that you would like to be in, to make your appearance, let not that keep you one day, come and see me before I die.
Duncan McCormack left us three years ago and is now married to Alexander McDonald’s daughter, Little Pond and they are living in Georgetown. Ronald McCormack is married to Catherine Howlet, Hugh McLellan is married this winter to Donald McDonald’s daughter, East Lake. John Haily, Souris to Agnes McDonald, Lot 45 Road, Joseph McIssac, Souris to Elizabeth McDonald, Souris, Thomas Steele, Souris, to Peggy McDonald, Morris Pond, John Logue to Sally McCormack, Boughton Island.
There is good business on this island mostly since you left, especially going to the Labradors. There is about six large schooners every summer going from Souris well equipped with seines. Ronald McCormack, Souris, has been to the Labradors every summer since you left, and there is John and Moses both going seine masters, and Ronald Heaton each of them getting 25 [pounds sterling] besides their share of fish.
This year, no doubt if you was home but you could be employed as they are, and would obtain chances for some of your brothers and do better than going so far away under the control of Englishmen, but I hope there is good time coming and you will embrace it.
Duncan’s brother James is a Strong Merchant in Georgetown. Dear son I have to relate to you that all my affairs is improving pretty well since you left, and as it was you that laid the foundation of it. I should like that you would come home with your brothers to share in the profits of it.
James Hanning was home last winter or twelve months ago. He was working at the house until he finished the house. He went to the States last May, and is determined to come home this summer and settle himself on a farm and I am well pleased with him.
We had very light snow, frosty lingering spring. Plowing commences 5th May. The disease still in the potatoes, they are scarce, provisions cheap, money not so plenty as the two years past. There is sickness prevalent all over the end of the island all winter and has caused great trouble in families and many has fallen victims to the case. It is called measles but is supposed to be mixed with the nature of smallpox.
I trust if it should happen that this letter should come to your hand that you will at least write to stating with truth what you intend to do, but I am pleased sincerely in hopes that you will come yourself. You have a right to come home from Quebec for the winter although you would go away for your clothes in the spring. Your mother has not made a piece of cloth since you left, but there was a part for you waiting for you yet. She is getting elderly but would yet get young only see a sight of you.
We all join together sending you our love and respects hoping that you will come direct home when you receive this. Your affectionate father, and do not think that I forget you, not until I die nor neither your mother, brothers and sisters.
Lot 45 Road
Prince Edward Island
British North America