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This week in history: February 28-March 5

This week we post a letter from Robert’s sister Ann Campbell.  Ann is in Ireland and has apparently not been feeling well.  The letter almost makes it sound like she may be on her deathbed, but she would in fact live till 1876.  Ann tells Robert how much she thinks of him and how often he and his family are in her prayers.  Ann Campbell lived in Aughalane House, which is now part of the Ulster American Folk Park.  Enjoy getting all the news from Ireland.

Aughalane March 5th 1856

My Beloved Brother Robert
Your affectionate letter did me so much good, it was more to me  than all the medicine in Europe, it really did exhilarate me and  made me so happy that I am sure your kind heart would rejoice to  see me.

It is a year since I wrote you and finished my farewell letter  that I began the previous January.  The doctors ordered me as  soon as summer would commence to go to the shore but on the first week in July I was fainting from extreme weakness.  I had to  leave the house to get two floors that were badly laid made  right, as I could not endure the noise of the hammers; so I went  to Jane McHarlands’ [McFarlands?] with Annie’s attention and kindness (for her  disposition is like yours) thank God I felt stronger although I  was with her but ten days on 16th Aug I went to Hugh McCullough  Margt was also very attentive and I was enabled through divine  assistance to proceed to [?]_______.  I returned home on 16th  Sept and the day previous to my return

[Pg. Break] I walked six miles without much fatigue.  Thank God I have been pretty well through the winter.  I was not in bed an  hour out of my usual time since I came from [?]______ ______ I  had the house [?]________ in March last and painted in September  both doors and windows are painted white: I thought all my dear  relatives would have been here before this; that we might meet  again under the roof in which we first breathed and may God grant with blessing I may not be disappointed yet I think He will  realize this favor to me and should I not be here the thought  that my dear brother would [?]_____ on my grave would be a  consolation to me now for to what purpose was all the expense the prepare the house the fine apartments that were always neat were enough for me but the hope of seeing you all did stimulate me to everything I did and made any little care I had only delight;  write me on receipt of this and say you will with the Almighty’s  help be here next summer; it might renew sister Virginia’s health that God may long spare her to you and give her permanent health is my fervent prayer.  I hope the sweet boy Hugh [Hugh Campbell, lived to 81] is well and also little Hazlett [spelled Haslett,  the first Hazlett Kyle Campbell, died at the age of 3] and the  other little fellow.  I trust he will be as healthy as the other  two are and God grant they may be as great a comfort to you

[Pg. Break] and their dear mother as you have been to me.  I hope I never do go to bed without wishing a blessing on you and yours and I trust I never will and that the hours of prayer will grant any requests for you and your family.

I was looking over a letter of yours the other day dated 11th May 1833 and the affection and love in it caused tears of gratitude  that you are still unchanged for the same kindness that breathed  through it pervades your last; Oh! that I may be grateful to the  great first cause for tis’ paternal care to an aged orphan in  giving such brothers as He has given me.  In the letter I am  speaking of Brother Hugh in a postscript [?]____ the decease of  your father in law on 5th of same month and adds I have seldom  met with a more amiable lady than his widow; nor more interesting children than his daughters; I am sure if there had been ten  daughters there could be none more amiable than sister Virginia  thank God she  is yours.  I trust her health is restored.

Andrew and his numerous family are well; both he and sister Betty are youthful looking for their age, his sons assist on the farm; they are like their mother’s brothers, genteel looking and tall  of their age; Bessie lives with me since I was ill she never  looked better in her life than she does at present; Virginia is  growing tall and is an amiable child.

[Pg. Break] Annie has a family of five sons and one daughter all  health a lovely baby died from her in Autumn; her husband is a  decent person and doing well the former has fours on and the  latter two daughters and one son; both their husbands have a fine share of business at [?]_____ ______.  Margaret is also doing  well and has three sons and one daughter; she is much beloved by  her neighbors.  Mary wrote of your kindness in relieving her from her difficulties; poor dear she was a stranger and in debt; the  Lord reward you for what you have done for her and though last  not least dear Charlotte.  She wrote me lately and John never  wrote a letter home but he was so good as to mention me; he was  always a favorite with his mother and I’ve thought there was  something very noble in John even when a little boy.  Give my  kind love to Mr. Campbell [?]_____ & Charlotte; I am so happy to  hear that she has a fine little child.  I hope it will live for a blessing to them, Joseph and Mrs. Campbell are well, she does  not visit much in Winter as she is susceptible of cold but her  health is good.  I do not know when I shall write my good  Charlotte, for I have not [?]_____ to do anything as before I was sick but she is devare she has my prayers, for her welfare.  May every happiness be sister Virginia’s and yours here and  hereafter is the prayer of your grateful sister
Ann Campbell

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