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!! Ballina Chronicle; June 12, 1850; Emigrant Letter

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  • Cathy Joynt Labath
    BALLINA CHRONICLE Ballina, Mayo, Ireland Wednesday, June 12, 1850 INTERESTING LETTER FROM AN EMIGRANT The following extracts are from a letter addressed to his
    Message 1 of 1 , May 13, 2006
      Ballina, Mayo, Ireland
      Wednesday, June 12, 1850

      The following extracts are from a letter addressed to his relations by
      an emigrant who went out to settle on the land belonging to the Potters'
      Emigrant Society:-
      "Marquette County, State of Wisconsin.
      "Now that we have time to look around, we can tell you a little about
      emancipation and the far-famed store of Mr. Thomas Twigg. From the letters I
      had seen in the Potter's Examiner, I thought that it must be a true model of
      a yankee store; but what a surprise, we found it to be in the fashion of an
      Indian wigwam, consisting of about 38 trees piled upon each other, and
      furnished like some of the rag and bone shops in Angel Meadow. It had on the
      shelves a few cotton balls, a few bunches of matches, and a little thread,
      about two bags of flour, and a few potatoes, and some little pork at 10d.
      per lb. and very bad at that price. We find upon inquiry that flour is 3
      dollars per cwt, the potatoes 3s. a bushel of 60 lbs. ...[ink blot on
      several following lines]... At these prices you must bear in mind Mr. Twigg
      said he could realize a profit of 25 per cent; but the profit will be more
      than 125 per cent, as they can get flour from the mill at 1 dollar 25c. We
      had our house by ballot, according to rule; but it was in a bad condition,
      the roof was not on, and the cement plaster with which the houses were to be
      plastered is made of sludge, had thrown on with the hand without a trowel,
      no chimney built at all, and we had to be without a fire in the house for
      six weeks at first, and then had to give nearly 5l. for a stove. The room
      floor is not laid yet and when we want to go up above we have to crawl on
      the logs like cats. I was to have five acres of land broken up, fenced and
      sown, but I have only about one acre part ploughed, none fenced, and none
      sown. The other four acres I got is of first rate quality. The upland is
      beautifully timbered, not heavy, but enough for farming purposes; and the
      upland is so fine a natural meadow for hay as any in the world. We feel
      heartily sorry for many that came up here when we did, for the society's
      allowances has been bread and treacle and coffee, and it is only some times
      that they can get that; and if they did not go to work for the society
      before they built their own houses, they would have no credit at all. The
      society pay in goods for all its work. Rail making is one dollar for cutting
      the trees and making one hundred rails, and finding their own board. The
      Yankees pay one dollar and a quarter in each and board you. I went out to
      work at my own trade, and built the first brick house west of Jose River. I
      intend to take up government land to the amount of 320 acres, or what is
      called half a section. If any of you want to find a good country, this is
      the place; there will be a deal of work for bricklayers and masons, and
      there is only one bricklayer besides me up here, and no masons at all. I
      believe this will be a fine country very soon, as the government is
      improving the river, and then we shall have market close at home for our
      produce. We live within two miles of Jose River, and the same distance from
      the head of Buffalo Lake. If I had gone to work for the society I would have
      been in as bad a state as the rest, but I went out to work six weeks and I
      brought home 50 dollars, besides being boarded during the time. I have not
      been to work for the society yet neither do I intend, for their wages is 6s.
      a day, and bricklayers are something more independent than that. We have now
      a couple of barrels of flour, nine bushels of potatoes, some pork and
      groceries, all paid for in cash, and so few dollars besides. Remember this
      will be a first rate place for bricklayers, and if any of you come, you must
      expect no credit, as is represented for you in England. No employment, you
      must have no meat. If ____ wished to make something handsome of his money,
      now is the time as land here can now be had cheap, but in a short time it
      will rise in value as fast as ever it did at Millwaukee or nay other
      shipping port. If my brother could be any way got out before this spring, we
      will find him some constant work at good wages. The average price for
      labourer's here on the farm is from 8s. to 10s. a day in spring and hay
      time, and harvest 10s. to 14s. a day and board. There is plenty of work for
      any man here that will work and sure independence in the end. We think it
      would be a rare change for them to get out of a factory on to the farm and
      raise all their own provisions free from rents, rates, tithes and taxation.
      When once we pay one dollar and a quarter an acre the it is our own, and we
      don't fear anybody. If the society was managed here in a proper manner it
      would work well, but here, as in the Potteries, it has too many paid
      officers and bloodsuckers. There are at this time eleven paid officials
      living at the society's expense, beside wages weekly. We assure you that
      they have made a poor show for the members out of the last draft of money
      they got from England.

      Cathy Joynt Labath
      Ireland Old News
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