These letters survived untouched in a small wooden box for more than 100 years. They were rescued from that silence by one of Donald McGilp's great-great grandchildren.
Archibald McMillan was the son of More/Marion McGilp and John McMillan at Castle Sween farm. He was baptised 19 June 1793. More/Marion was (of course) Donald McGilp's sister
Archibald had 2 sisters: Effy (baptized 1 December 1792); and Peggy (May 6, 1795).
There is another letter from Archibald McMillan in this collection.
Alphabetical listing of People mentioned in letters
Letter #05: From Archibald S McMillan, Robison Cty, North Carolina, 1856:
Addressed: Mr Donald McGilp, Southwold, Fingal PO (crossed out) Try Wallacetown. Canada West.
Robison County, North Carolina, 15th January 1856
I take my pen in hand to let you know that I and my Family are all well, thanks to the Great Disposer of all Good. I have received your letter in due time, and I assure you I felt glad to receive a letter from you in Canada, to what I would from Danna, as I know it will be to the advantage of your Family in time to come.
I would have written to you a week sooner, only I was waiting to see how some valuable property in my neighborhood would sell, viz 2/3 of a Grist Mill and Saw Mill with 250 acres, including the Mill Pond, which contains nearly all the above named Land. I became the purchaser for $1200, And then they sold the Widow’s lot of 200 acres after her Death, which I bought for $200, so that the 450 acres with all the Mills will be mine or my Heirs after the Widow’s Death. The said Mills are 5 miles from my Residence, 1/4 miles from the Robison Institute, across a large stream called ‘The Big Marsh’ with ample water power to keep the Mills in operation; the Widow has 1/3 of the Mills for life, but she is extravagant.
My Dear Uncle, I am Married at this time to my third Wife. She was the youngest daughter of your cousin, John McLean, from Ulva. She is one of the sweetest and loveliest of women, she and my sons that I had before are like Brothers and sister, I have two sons by her, both promising children; my two oldest sons are at home at this time; when they are going to school from Home I pay $8 per month board for each of them, and $20 per session of 5 months for each, Tuition making between 2 & 3 Hundred Dollars a year, but I am well pleased at the result, for they are both Good Scholars, and Good Speakers.
My Dear Uncle, my worldly prospects are very good; the Lord has abundantly blessed me with the means of Living comfortably in this life over many of my contemporaries, to Him be all the Glory who has our destiny in his power.
I was in Wilmington about Christmas. I sent a raft of Timber down the River, about sixty thousand feet. My agent was offered $9 per thousand for it before I left, I was asking $10 for it; I have not heard the result yet, however, I told him to take $9 if he could not do better, I’ll send more down by spring.
You asked me in your letter, how much Wheat I growed of a year: I have to inform you that I have sowed no Wheat; I raise Indian corn. I made about twelve hundred Bushels of that, about 400 Bushels of Sweet Potatoes, and a good crop of Peas, and some Oats. The reason I don’t raise Wheat is my Land will do better in other crops; my Land is not so well adapted to the Growth of Wheat at Your Land is, I cannot boast of the Growth of my Land, but it is as Good as any land in this Section of the country, if I were in the place of my Young cousins, I would go across Lake Erie and go down the Territories of the United States and take a view of that vast Territory of country, before I would make much permanent settlement in Canada. My reason in so doing would be the difference in the price of Land.
My dear Uncle, you said something about the true Religion in your letter, to come at that examine the new Testament and follow the Example of Christ and the Apostles.
Give my love to all your Family, and receive for yourself my warmest regard in this life, and your Eternal (?) are in a world to come.
(Another address written on the outside of the above letter: Mr John McGilp, Balure Caoslaid Perish of Killberry, Argyle Shere, Scotland by Tarbert P.O.)