I have a vague memory of my mother showing me this letter from “our relatives in Ireland” that may or may not have been real. It was probably sent to her by her brother, Hugh Simmers, who may have been pulling her leg. Brother Bill recently did a good job of reading it in authentic Irish Brogue.
There are some family names in the letter. Bridget, for instance, was the middle name of Hugh’s grandmother, Margaret Bridgit Wigmore, whose father, Stephen, was born in Ireland in 1843 and immigrated to New York in the 1860s. He doubtless left some family behind in the old country. Moreover, Stephen had a brother named Timothy, who may have stayed in Ireland.
The letter makes good reading regardless of whether it’s real. It’s addressed, County Cork, Ireland.
Your welcome letter received and me and your Aunt Bridget thank you for the money you sent us. We have had nine masses said for your grandmother and grandfather–God rest their souls.
You have gone on to high places in America. God bless you. I hope you’ll not put on airs and be forgetting your native land.
Your cousin, Hugh O’Toole, was hanged in Londonberry last week for killing a policeman. May God rest his soul and may God’s curse be on Jimmy Callahan, the informer. May he burn in hell. God forgive me.
Times are not as bas as they might be. The herrings are back and nearly everyone has a hard time making ends meet. The price of fish is good.
We had a grand time at Pat Muldoon’s wake. He was a baltherskite and it looked good to see him stretched out iwth his big mouth shut. He is better off dead and he’ll burn till the damned place freezes over. He had too many friends among the Orangemen. God curse the lot of them.
Bless your heart, I almost forgot to tell you, your Uncle Dinny took a pot shot at a turncoat from back of a hedge, but he had too much to drink and missed–God curse the dirty drink.
I hope this letter finds you in good health and may God keep reminding you to send money.
Your cousin, Biddie, had a baby. One of them Limey officers in fancy uniform took advantage of her. He offereed to marry her but her father said “NO”, better a bastard in the family than a bloody Englishman. God bless him and may the child never know.
Father O’Flaherty, he baptized you, God rest his soul, is now feeble-minded. He sends his blessings.
Nellie O’Malley, the brat who went to school with you, has married an Englishman. She’ll never have any luck.
God take care of the lot of you and keep you from sudden death.
Things look bright again. Every police barracks and Protestant Church in County Cork has been burned to the ground. Thanks be to God.
Keep sending money.
Your devoted cousin