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, June 22nd, 1860
Line Road June 22nd 1860
My Dear Son.
I received your letter on the 19th June although it was such a long time since we heard, we thanked our heavenly father for hearing that you were alive and in good health, for we gave up all hopes of hearing from you.
I am happy to state that all my family are well except myself, although I am able to go about and help myself. I am troubled with a cough. All the boys stay home, but Laughlan went to fish to the Labradors to fish on a vessel. He will be back in a few months. All the boys here go to fish there. They will only be away three months and they clear from 50 pounds to 60 pounds during that time. I wish you were here where you might go there and be the rest of the year at home attending to your own business. If you had been home since you left you might have a house of your own before now and better settled and we would feel much happier to see you here than to think that you are tossing about on the wide world so far from your friends who would be happy to comfort you in any trouble or afflictions which you might meet with.
But my dear son, it is not too late yet for you to return home, and you will find everything here as you left it. I did not forget you at all. The sea is very good for you when you are very young but it is an uncertain home, and it is never free from dangers. Although you would make your home here that need not prevent you from going to sea if it is your choice. It makes me very sorry to think that you would live and die away in a strange country when you might live with us at home. I would think that there are many good girls here that would suit you much better than that young woman you spoke of, but if she is your own choice you are welcome to marry her and that need not prevent you from coming home.
Your mother is so anxious to see you and all the family likewise. She cannot bear the thought that you would settle away when you have such good means of settling yourself at home. Our place here is improving fast. Nothing is neglected. My boys are very industrious and faithful as I need hardly tell you. I can hardly believe you could not come home if you tried, but if you come to Quececk again I am in great hopes to see one sight more of you, but if you do not come my dear son, you will write to me as often as you conveniently can, for if it is not allowed to me to see you, it will be a comfort to me to hear from you.
I was sued last winter by John McPhee and John McDonald, blacksmith for putting two shoes on my grey horse, and making an ase (adze) which they said you got done there, and there was judgement taken against me for 22/ (pounds). I would wish you to let me know in your next letter if you got this work done by them as I think it was not lawfully due.
Your sister Sally had twin boys last April. One of them was called after yourself but he died when he was one week old. Her husband is away to the Labrador. Your mother always makes your share of the cloth as usual in the hopes that you will come home to wear them, and she takes great pains airing your clothes in the hopes that they will be preserved from the moths.
Now if you are obliged to give us the sad news that you will not come home, tell us what we are to do with all you have left here. But your mother says now she trusts to God that she will see you home before Halloween and I hope she will not be Disappointed. I would wish to know your circumstances or if you are laying by any money. But if you are notódo not be backward in telling me, for you would be welcome empty handed as if you had 10,000 pounds.
We got in fine crops this spring. We sowed 90 bushels oats and 16 barrels potatoes besides barley and wheat and that is very promising looking at present.
There has been no deaths here this winter. Our beloved Bishop died last spring. Father Peter McIntyre is to be Bishop, the consecration is to take place in July in the Catholic Chapel in Charlottetown.
I hope you will write as soon as you receive this and let me know what you are to do. I send you my kind love, also your motherís blessing. Your sisters and brothers write in sending their love. Patrick McDonald and Sally alsowishes to be kindly remembered by you. All the neighbors. Ellen McDonald was married to James Fisher, Little River, also Joseph Anley Neilson to James Beatonís daughter, East Point.
I must bring this long letter to close by letting you know that all your neighbors are well and wishing you all the happiness this world can afford.
I remember my dear son
Your ever anxious Father,
P.S. It is reported that John McPhee, Big Pond, was lost on St. Georgeís Banks and I fear it is too true.