There were two very similar letters addressed to "Father and Mother Brothers & Sisters", both dated November 15, 1837. Although both were signed John Robinson, they had distinctly different handwriting, spelling, etc. Perhaps one was sent to his parents and one to his wife's (Jane Simpson) parents.
November 15th 1837
Dear Father and Mother Brothers & Sisters
You will think us long of writing to you. We thank God for sparing us.
We got into Liverpool on the 15th of May, we sailed on the 17th of May, we were 216 passengers on board, 1 passenger Died on the 24th of May. He had no friends on board he died about 5 Oclock in the morning, the man that slept with him said there was a man dead, we were to get up. They tied him in his Blanket, & tied a stone to his feet. They threw him Over board about 8 in the Morning.
We had 5 very Heavy storms. We were six Weeks on board. Our Family were all sick excepting John and myself, we have had all our health very well. We may thank God for it. Since we landed, We had very little spared excepting Oat meal & Bacon, a Good Deal of your Bread was spoiled tea and Coffee we did not like. We landed at New York on the 26 of June we took a steam boat that night to Albony we were in Albony on Thursday night.
Edward took a small boat to his Brothers we could not go much further for our money was near done we found it was no use stopping there. We took the rail road to Schenecatdy on Friday. On Saturday I went into the country to enquire for a place. I was not long of leating on. I engaged myself for 13 dollars per month house rent & fire wood for the year 3 miles from the village near a mile from the Canal. We can see the boats from our door.
We have got our gardens produce 26 bushel of potatoes, 16 bushel of apples, 2 bushels of onions, cabbage, & a barrel of Coucumbers, for Pickels. we have made three barrels of cider. I have Bought a fat hog. In this Country people gathers all their provisions into their Cellers for the frost is so severe it is to an extreem in summer it is impossible to bide the heat
clothing is very high, Good fustin 1 dollar a yard, Good flanel 6 shillings a yard, Prints from 1 shilling to 2/6 per yard, Good shawls 8 shillings. We suppose the most part of them comes from the Ould Country. People all weres Boots & half Boots mine 26 shillings Janes 14s. Ans 10s. Williams 16s. Marys 6s.-6d. Johns 4s.-6d. Women & children go most of summer barefoot.
I was Plowhing one day amongst the Indian Corn I troad amongst 26 snake eggs there is a great many of them in this country.
People is very Proud and dresse here. The people are near all of them Duch. We have not seen any person from Westmorland. There is tow English men on the Farme from Yorkshire one of them was married when they came to this Country the other has married a Duch Girl they have been near 7 years hear. There are a good many Black People. We have never seen any Indians yet. We suppose the soldiers are up in the West Driving them back
Provision was never known to be so high as it has been this last 2 years, when we first came we got a barrel of flour for 6 dollars, since that it has been as high as 12 dollars and a half. Pork a 7 dollars & a 1/2 per hundred beaf and mutton at 5 cents per lb. our bread is chiefly made wheat & Rye flour, Buck wheat flour is made into pancakes, we have never seen any Oat meal yet.
there would be 1 000 bushes of Indian Corn reared on the farme & 700 bushels of oats, 1 acre of potatoes, 20 horses, 13 head of cattle, 100 sheep. They are light horses and run in waggons & slays in the snow. slays runs upon the snow & goes quick. My Master is a lawyer & his youngest Son at New York, they spend the summer hear and goes in the fall to New York The Master & Mistress is up now at the hog killing they have killed 22 hogs my Master has to large flour Mills such as we never saw in England.
Janes & My Best respects Father and Mother Brothers and Sisters. And hoping you are all well as it leaves us at present. our best respects to Uncle John Strong and Aunt Mary, and all the family, Janes kind love to Mary, you must give our best compliments to Uncle Isaac Williamson and Isabella. Likewise, Uncle William Atkinson and ant Mary and all the Family. Both our compliments to Mistress Lee Ans and William compliments to Grandfather & Grandmother, to Uncles & Ants. Our best respects to Henry Atkinson and Betty Likewise, Thomas Robinson & Margret & Robert Stephenson, to William Walker and Margret. We would be glad to hear from you as soon as it is convenient
I am Your affectionate Son.
John Robinson Rotterdam, to the care of
Mr. Henry C. Yates Schenecatdy,
New York State
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November 15th 1837
Dear Farther and Mother Brothers and Sisters
You will think us long of writing to you We may thak Good for spairing us
we got into Liverbool on the 15 of may we saild on the 17 the of may we ware 216 passengers on passenger died on the 24 of may he had no frends on bord he died a bout 5 O clock in the morning the man that slept with him said the was man was dead we ware to get up they tied him in his blanket & tied a stone to his feet They put him over bord about 8 in the morning
We had 5 very heavy storms We ware six weaks just on bord Our famely ware all very sick Excepting John and my self we have had all our health very wel we may Thank God for it since we landed we had very little spaired excepting Oat meal and bakin a Good deal of you bred ware spoiled tea and coffe we did not like
We landed at New York on the 26 June we took a stem boat that night to alboney we ware in alboney on thursday night Edward to a Lanel boat to his brothers we could not go much further for our money was near done we found it was no use stopping [**] we the Rail road to schneccaty on friday on saterday [**] into the country to inquir for a blace I was very [**] of leating on i engaged my self for 13 dollers per month hous rent and fir wood for the year 3 miles from the vilag near a mile from the knell we can se the boats from our dore
we have got our gardens produce in 26 bushels of ptates 16 Busels of apples 2 bushels of Onions cabage a barrel of cucumbers for pickels we have made 3 barrels of cider I have boat a fat hog In this country People gaders al ther provisons into thers selers for the frost is sever it is to an extream in sumer it is most imposible to bide the heat
clothing is very heigh Good fushing 1 dollar a yard Good flanel 6 shilings a yard Prents from 1 shiling to 3:6 per yard Good shufs 8 shilling we suppose the most part of them comes from the ould country People all wars Boots and half Boots mine 26s. Janes 14s. ans 10s. Williams 16s mairs 6s. 6d. John 4s. 6d. womans and children go most part of sumer bar foot
I was plouing on day a mogst the Engin corne i troad a mongst 26 snak egs there is a great many of them in this new country
People is very proud and dressey hear the People ar near allmost Duch We never seen any Person from Westmorland yet Their is to english men on the farm from Yorkshire none of them was married when they came to this country the other has married a Duch Girl they have been near 7 years hear there is good many Plack People hear we never seen any Ingins yet we suppose the solders up West Driving them back
Provisons was never known to be so heigh as it has been thes last 2 years when we first came we got a barrel of flour 6 Dollers since that it has been as heigh as 12 dollers and 1/2 Pork at 7 dollers and half per hundred beaf and mutton at 5 cents per lb our bread is chiefly made wheat and Rie fl[**] Buck wheat flour is made into Pankakes never have seen any oat meal yet
there would be 1.000 Bushels of Ingine corne reared on the farm and 700 bushels of Oats 1 acre of pates 20 horses 13 head of cattle 100 Sheeap they are light horses and run in wagons and Slays in the snow Slays run uppon the snow and goes quick
My Marster is a loyer and his youngest son New York they spen the sumer hear and goes in the foale to new york the Marster and Misstres is up know at the hog killins they have kilt 22 hogs my marster has to large flour mills hear such as we never saw in England
Jans and My best respects Farther and Mother Brothers and Sisters and hoping you are all well as it leaves us at present our best Respects to Uncle John Strong and ant Mary and all the family Janes kind love to Mary you give our best compliments Uncle Isac Williamson and ant Bella Like wise Uncle William Atkinson and ant Mary and all the Famiely. Both our compliments to Mistress Lee An and Williams compliments to Grand farther and Grand Mother and to Uncles ants Our best Respects to Henry Atkinson and Betty Lik wise Thomas R[**} and Margret and Robert Stemson to William Walh[**]et we would be Glad to hear from you as soon [**]ent Pleas Give it to sister An
I am your [**] son John Robinson.
Dear Sisters you give my kind love to Brother Mathew and send me his Directeons to his Place I want to rite to him in the spring Our best compliments to Brother Robert an sister Bety and the famely Likeswise Christean Harron Our kind compliments to Mary Rishardson & An & sarah Harrison Give my best complimets to John Jon an John Couln Mary Teedale Give my kind love to Mistress Harrisen Kennith Both our kind Love to you Dear Siste ans an William kind Love to you an to there cousins
Pleas rite to me as soun as you can I am you affestionate
Brother John Robinson
John Robinson Rotterdam to the care of Mr Henry C Yates Schenecatdy
New York State
Mr John Simpson
Long Martton near Appleby
[Post mark: Portsmouth Ship Letter]
[Note: "Ship Letter" distinguishes mail that has been sent as freight on regular ships rather than "packet" (mail) ships operated by the government.]
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Last revised 2005-05-03