Wednesday, 19 January 2011

December 1901

Why does one start to think about sorting Family Tree papers in the new year I wonder. Happens every time but whether I get the job done this year is anybody's guess. Did think I would do some posts on same though.

Click to enlarge for artistic detail
Having sailed the Atlantic on a ship with engines with husband Alan who was a Chief Engineer I just cannot imagine the discomfort of a sailing ship

This is a letter written by my paternal Grandfather to his Mother in December 1901  while away at sea.
He was obviously an artistic man as seen here in the original letter. I did not know him as he died when I was a baby but his artistic influence lives on in my family.

Dec 14 / 91

SS Rochdale
Lisbon


Dear Mother


I received your kind and welcome letter and was glad to hear that you were all quite well as it leaves me at the present. Well mother as we will be leaving here on Tuesday or Wednesday and we just get to St Vincent about two days before Christmas and we be about a week there and we will be going from there to New Orleans and it will be about the end of March and then the winter will be over.

Dear Mother I am going to try my best when I come home for the tug boats or some kind of a job on shore and if I don’t get a vacancy in two or 3 weeks I go on the month boats until I get a chance in them. Well mother I was very glad to hear that Rosina has gone to the Dressmaking and I hope she will like it and Lizzie is foolish if she don’t learn a trade while she is young she will be too old just now as I was when I went after a trade and I am sorry for it now.

Dear Mother I hope father is comfortable in his ship I am not as when I was here before the 2nd and 3rd engineer is not so nice as the others but the chief engineer is nice and he want me by the ship when we get home but I told him that a pound a month is not enough for me and I told him I am going to try and get in the tug boats.

Dear Mother you must write about 3 weeks time after you get this letter and don’t forget it is of no use writing to St Vincent but I will send home a letter from their. Dear mother you must tell Rosina to try and write me a letter to New Orleans. Well mother the weather here is very fine all the time and it is a very large town but I have not been ashore we are laying in the river and it is a long way from the town so I got no more to say at present hoping to find you all quite well from your son


Henry Alexander Gilland


X X X X X X X


I wish you all a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year a good plum pudding and a welcome cheer.


Yours Dear Henry


18 comments:

Susan said...

You have a treasure there. I love reading these old letters. Keep it safe.

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

How nice to have that letter. Family trees are fun and often very interesting too. I hope your Wednesday is a wonderful one.

La Petite Gallery said...

I like Henry. Those are so wonderful to own and hold and re-read. I lost everything in a fire During Huricane Andrew in Florida.
I would keep them in an Iron fire proof place.

I too am going through paper work
this time of the new year.
Yvonne

Elizabethd said...

Letters from other times are so evocative. E mails have nothing to compare.

Needled Mom said...

The artistic talent definitely shows in those drawings and I love the sweet letter. It speaks volumnes about the times in which they lived.

Annie said...

Dear Barbara, This letter is like holding time in your hands. This echo from the past is a true treasure. Annie

Sara said...

He sounds a little homesick....isn't it interesting that you also traveled all over the world by ship when you first married...and I know you have the artistic talent too. This letter makes me want to know how all their lives turned out...

Willow said...

Isn't it amazing to look at the lives of our ancestors? My husband is currently scanning photos and letters from his parents, grandparents and great grandparents. When he is finished, I'll begin on min-- yes, when is the question.

Susan said...

What wonderful treasures and heirlooms!! 1901 - my, that's 110 years ago!!!! I'm very impressed.

Patsy said...

I have one letter that my great grandfather wrote his father, He was working away from home. And one his brother wrote to his father in the Civil War.
It makes them come alive to us.

talesfromagarden said...

This must be a family treasure!To think plum pudding figured so much on the menu then too,my all time favourite,its about the only original thing left to us for Christmas now!No wonder you are into the old and treasured things of life!

Winifred said...

That was lovely Barbara. Wasn't his handwriting beautiful!

Lori Zehr said...

As a fellow Christian, I am so glad to have found your blog. From your posts I detect we have similar interests. I enjoyed reading the beautiful letter. I too have a stack of WW1 letters that passed between my grandma and her fiance, my grandfather. What treasures! My daughter has recently traced one branch of our family in an unbroken line to England in the 1100's. We visited your beautiful country a few years ago! I will now visit your blog often. Blessings!

Elizabeth said...

Utterly fascinating....
what hints one gets
how one tries to fill out the details of their lives!

More, please!

a woman who is said...

This is a fun pursuit. Wonderful that you have some real letters and drawings. Keeps us filled in on what you find.

Melanie said...

How wonderful that you have a letter still in the family from that long ago. It gives a flavour of what he was like as a person. Sadly all I have are some tos and froms at the front of books. I would love to know more about the people behind those names. What a wonderful letter and drawing.

Gwendolyn said...

What a treasure Barbara! His writing is so formal and yet you can hear the tenderness in how he writes to his "dear mother" and "well, mother." I am just imagining the mother's heart, how she longs to see her boy, glad to know he is well but sorrowing that he is not going to be home for Christmas. There are hints of how tough life must have been for him...the engineers not being so friendly towards him and not getting to go into town as a young man would like! Wow! Lots of history here and you are blessed with tidbits of your heritage in these letters! Thanks for sharing!

Vee said...

What sweet words...makes me wonder if mothers still get such letters from their sons. Probably not too many.