Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)

Letters To / From America

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1847, Exchange of Letters.

From James Christie,
Clyman, Wisconsin,

To his wife, Elizabeth Reid Christie,

New York City,

February 3, 1847.

 [Note added 2012 by Michael Purcell.

The letters below were submitted by Noel Walsh they are an exchange of letters from James Christie to his wife Elizabeth with a reply from Elizabeth.

In 1840 James came to Carlow at the request of the John Alexander of Milford Mills and Thomas Watson of Nurney to investigate the establishment of a Flax industry in Carlow.

Circa 1842 James married Elizabeth Reed, they had six children.

 They left Ireland in 1846. James travelled to Clyman, Dodge County, Wisconsin to clear land and build a cabin for his family, leaving his wife and family to stay with her brother in Connecticut.

Elizabeth died in childbirth in 1850 aged 32.

James died in 1890 aged 79.

The letters form part of the extensive Christie / Reid archive stored in the Minnesota Historical Society, 345 W. Kellogg Blvd. St. Paul, Minnesota, 55102-1906.

The Christie letter's archive chronicles social, religious, economic, political and family life in the United States over three generations.

It is intended that the Pack-Beresford and Creagh letters will be donated to the MHS.]


From, James Christie, Clyman Township, Wisconsin, to his wife Elizabeth Reid Christie, New York, 3rd February, 1847.

My very Dear Elizabeth,

I feel the utmost gratitude to God that you and the children are well. We will begin to put up our house in 10 days. We've drawn every log for it 3? miles as our land contains no suitable trees.

I build it in the most fertile part of the land, so that we may have a good garden at the door. I've been cutting down plum trees and wild vines but I've spared some so as you may see them.

Providence seems to separate us that our Love may be purified. I have always told you, my Dear Elizabeth, that it was for the sake of our children that I would take upon me the toils of a settler's life, and how much easier will it be for me to die, knowing that they will be independent.

We will each of us have 40 acres of good land, and my 40 will still be there when I am gone; not as when you die in Ireland, leaving your children a legacy of debt and the same eternal round of slavery which has been your own lot.

We left with $310 and all that's left is 50. Out of that a cow and sow and pigs are to buy, and a plough, shingles and lumber for our house. We are hard up for cash -- but I enclose one dollar for you.

You would have more if it were to spare.

And have, My Dear Elizabeth, my blessing. God be about you and the Children, for you are my heart and they are the light of mine eyes.

Your husband until death,

James Christie.


Extract of letter from Elizabeth Christie, Hartford, Connecticut, to her husband, James Christie, Clyman, Dodge County, Wisconsin,

February 24th 1847,

My Dear James,

I received your kind and Welcomed letter of 3rd February. There is nothing in this world gives me so much happiness, My Dear Husband, as a letter from you.

Thank God, little Sarah Jane is quite strong again. And Tom is a fine stout boy. None of his clothes fits him, he's grown so. Oh, Dear James, you speak about us coming to you in April.

God grant us that. I received your one Dollar which I am very thankful for.

I bought some shirts for Tom and the makings of some slips for Sarah. But I long to see you, dear James. The days are years till we be once again together.

Oh, that that day has arrived, I think I would cry for joy.

Your loving wife,

 Elizabeth Christie.

Source: Noel Walsh & Michael Purcell c.2012

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