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Letter to William Robertson McGillivray in Ontatio, Canada from his brother James McGillivrayin Egilsay, Orkney Islands, Scotland, 1857



Egilshay

July 26, 1857

Dear brother I take this pleasant opportunity of writing you this few lines to let you know that this leaves me and my family in good health at present thank god for all his mercies to us. Hoping and earnestly wishing that this may find you in the same. William I have received you letter the 24 and I am very glad to hear word from you again. I wrot an answer to the last letter that I got from you and never got any word from you again. That is three years and six months ago. I have word from you by motherís letters and it was a long time that I never hard any word from any of you all. I was thinking very long for word from some of you before I got word of my fatherís death. Dear brother Mother sent very little word about fatherís property whither he left it all to John or did he wish any of us to get share with him, but I hope that he will be a kind son to his mother as they are none of us along with har but himself. For my own share I do not expect to get any of it for I am far from them. But I would be glad if John would help me to.

Dear brother I am now to tell you about my family. We have eleven children, you will think that is a great family and so it is. I will tell you all there names now; Margaret and Mary and Douglas they are three stout young women now they are as tall as there mother. The boyís is James and William next. James is taller than me, he is been at the cod fishing this year and he is done very well and now he is at the herring fishing. William is growing fast to he is shopping with James Wood in wire. The next is Jemima and John they are both shopping in wire to keeping cattle and the next is Hugh and Archiable and Harriet and Edward. Margaret is been home with us all summer and the four youngest ones is not fit to do any thing for themselves yet. Mary is a cliver young girl she is shopping in Kirkwall a servant now. John sent word for one of the lasses and ___ to help in taking har out, but he did not send any help. Mary was the one that was to go and she was very willing, but she was not able to go harself and I was not fit to give har any thing to help har so she was obliged to drop it. Douglas is shopping with Hugh Bews in Menas his servant. Now William you have the names of all my children just as they were born and what they are all doing.

Dear brother we are still shopping in old upper cornquay just doing the same old way. We have had many hard ships in getting bread to our family, but thanks be to god, we have had no affliction sent us by death. We have had sickness in our family at different times, but thanks be to the Almighty, we are all alive yet so far as I know. William I will tell the I am turned grey headed now, my whiskerís is altogether white, thou would not know me if thou saw me coming in to the house.

William I am very sorry to hear of your wife not being well. I would rather hard word that she been in good health, but when you write me again let me know how she is and if she is still alive. Let me know all about William, let me know what Aleks doing and if he came home to Canada. I would like well to know if he be still alive. Let me know all about Motherís farm and what she is doing. Let me know all about your own farm and what you have growing on it and how many horses and cows you have. The produce of this country is very high to. The bowl of meal is 16 to 20 shillings and the horses and cattles much the same as they are with you. The cropís is looking very low this year. Dear brother my wife gives you and your family har kind love to you all and tell your children that there Cousins gives them all there best respects and wishes them well. Tell your children how many cousins they have in Orkney. William your old friend Peter Gairoch gives you his kind love and your aunts and uncles and Cousins gives you there kind compliments. You did not send any word to them and they were not satisfyed with you at all.

Aunt Mary is shopping in whistle hear and aunt Barbara in Felehall they are both failing fast. William you will _____ and help your namesake to America. I think he will be a cliver fellow if he be _______. James is been speaking about going to America but whither he goes or not I do not _______. William I will bring this long letter to a close. Give my best respects to your wife and children and I sicerly wish them all well. Write as soon as you receive this letter and let me all the news you have. So no more at present from affectioned Brother

James McGillvery

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Transcribed by Scott Mills from a photocopy of the original document. Original document currently in the possession of Gail Nunn.I have added some punctuation for ease of reading. Mis-spellings are as written by the author.

William Robertson McGillivray was the recipient of this letter. His brother James is living in Egilsay, Orkney Islands, Scotland, U.K. at this time and William is living in Ontatio, Canada.

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