This letter was written by James Pedlow who lived in the townland of Drumgor which lies between Lurgan and Portadown. The letter was written to relatives in America and gives a vivid picture of life in our area in the 1830s. The flavour of the original is retained by using the spelling found in the epistle.
The letter was found by Samuel Johnston of Portadown and he sent it to the Belfast Newsletter in which it was reproduced about ten years ago. I am indebted to the Newsletter for permission to make use of this material.
13th of the 4th month 1834.
I received thy letter dated 10th May, 1832. Dear James I am almost recovered after three months suffering in gitting a tooth drawed got my jaw cloave and it beilded for 2 months then came off a piece of my jaw the size of two beans. When my jaw was cloave my teeth came so close that I could hardly put the thickness of a penny into my mouthe.
The are some better and I expect the will mend. My bowel closed that I hod to take a physicke 3 or 4 times every week for 4 weeks. Thank God I have my life a little longer. I am living single yet keeps a house keper and is dowing perty well.
I sometimes think I will mary, but I no that I am tired of keeping housekepers. My dauter lives ner me. Is dowing perty well. The have a pice of land, keeps a cow, has a breave goesery, keeps 4 loomes going for the market weaving cambrick.
They have a son and a dauter and aperes to soon have the third. One Nancy Pedlow has been very poorely this long time she does not get good health. Henery is failing fast, he is verey little. David Pedlow was verey bad for more than a year, he is beter and able to hold his fathers plow this spring. The have mounted four damask loomes with mesheens on them that I cant describe. They have no simpels or lashings but works with wier and pesthard. The expence was great, one cost more than £60. Thomas Pedlow made the mesheens, he is said to be the greatest and best In making them in Ireland.
Henry Pedlow Juner is a very nice young man, he is a good working boy and good to father and mother.
Edward Pedlow is dowing a dale in farming. He has bought John Maginess place for £90, sold it in 2 yers at £105, bought Oan Heers place and Robert Lyness place. His brower Thomas is mared to Yalow Hal Lavertys dauter, the are dowing as the can.
Edward has five or six sones Henery and a dauter, the are dowing better than the were. Mary Ogle and children lives in Tormira. I asked her if she had aney thing to write but she had nothing but Dear James I rejoice to no that thee and thy family is well. It might satisfy thee that thee left this place farming and tread is bad here. Pertatoes was sold this summer from 5 to 8 pence per hundert, oatmeal 8s to 10s per hundert. This yer pertatoes sells from 1s 6d to 1s 3½d per hundert, oatmeal 9s to 10s per hundert, beef 3d to 5d per lb, butter 6d to 7d per lb, ferken butter 8d to 8½d per lb, pork £1 to £1 7s per hundert, wheat this yer is from 8s to 10s per hundert. There is hardly an old diaper wel to be seen in Lurgan market o/s or 8s 4d sells and has been sold at 10d to 1s 3d per yrd. I was telling thee of Brownlows great works in the mantues (Montiaghs), how he banked in the lan, built a steem mill on the side of Lough Gullen and dreaned it dry. But all has gone to nathing.
This winter past was verey wet, it broke down the bank of the lan and overflowed. The wine mill at Tory Handlings for dreoning the Closet is out of use. It would take 5 liket it to do, so the Closet is floaded and Lough Gullen ful again.
The fever is in 5 houses within five mile of me, 2 corps left one house this day. I cant remember well all the dethes that hapened since I rote but James Boys, Janey Boys and Joseph Greer and Oan Heer and Will Bontons wife are all parted this life. Moses Boys mared Will Bontons dauter and were drounded going to Scotland.
Our friends all esceped chilar (cholera) that reaged through this countery, 35 died in Lurgan in about 10 days. Tanderagee was worst. Portadown had but some 10 dethes. Armagh had great dethes. The dethes in Belfast and Newery was so great that one might think the 1/4 was ded. But all is well this long time. I was gretley fritened when I herd of John Thomsion the red (reed) maker. I saw him on the first day in good helth, and he was ded on 4 day.
We have stile some parteywork here. A man called Branan, a Pepis police officer began to beat a we boy. Others would not let him the pack rose to parteywork, the police fired on the mob. The prestands of the police fired over their heads. The pepies fired low, shot one boy in the ne, another in the leg. The last happened in Portadown, it is to be tried in Dublin.
Now, Dear James, I have wrote all the account I no concerning our family and aney thing thee want to no ask me in thy next letter and I will answer thee.
William O'Neal and Pat O'Neal that treaded to Ameraca and had a shop in Quebec - a young sister and brower with them - they are both ded.
William came home 2 yers past and ded. Pat was buered about 3 months ago here.
Now, Dear James to conclude I bid thee farewell, wishing thee and they famely every blessing that God may send.