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.
Donald Paterson, was a Tenant at Fernoch Knap. His household included both his daughters with their respective husbands and children during the 1851 Census. He does not appear on the 1861 Census.
Alphabetical listing of People mentioned in letters
Letter #07: Donald Paterson, Fernoch Knap, May 1856
(Letter to Donald McGilp, from Donald Paterson of Fernoch, South Knapdale, Scotland: Lot 14, Concession 7, by Wallacetown, Dunwich County, Canada West, North America, via Halifax. Post Marks: Lochgilphead, May 7, 1856; Liverpool, May 9, 1856; Quebec, May 28, 1856; London, May 31, 1856)
I have to let you know that Alex and Duncan McIntyre is providing to emigrate this summer and they will have a Roup on the 23rd of May, and I hope you and my friends there will do as much as you can to them when they will reach you and also Duncan Fisher, Doid - he is going this year, too, so that in a very short time, there will be but very few in Knap of your old acquaintances, for there is a speculation that there will be but one tenant in each farm.
I am afraid that we will have but a very dull market this year, for everything is looking down since the peace with Russia. We had a very good crop of potatoes this year, but the corn was very indifferent in general, owing to the great drought we had last summer. Potatoes sell here this year at 5/ per barrell, oats 23/ per boll of 6 bushels, barley 30/, the standard straw 9d. Per stone, hay 1/ per stone, butter 13d per lb, pork 9/ per stone, beef 70 - 80/ per lb, ham 1/ per lb, eggs, 6d per do, meal 23/ per boll, sheep from 20 to 28/ per head, wool from 9 to 10/ per stone.
I have to let you know that all friends here are in good health with the exception of the Smith in Tayvallich. He is but very indifferent in his health. I may inform you of Duncan McIntyre’s family that went to Australia. Duncan is married to a woman belonging to Edinburgh, and they have a shop in Melbourne, and he is going with a steamer himself, but I cannot give you any satisfactory account of Donald. You may inform Neil that I received two letters from him with a newspaper within a month of each other, which I was very happy to hear that all friends are well. I would (write) to Neil sooner, but I understand by your letter that came to Ulva that I was to get one myself from you, therefore I delayed to write to him.
Duncan McCallum was desirous to hear about his father. Therefore, the first of you who writes again, he would be very much obliged to you if you would give any information to him, for he sent two letters and never received an answer to any of them. You will have the goodness to tell Hector Paterson that left Bar Youragan, Coalside, that his sister, Ann, is desirous that he would write to her, that she is very much surprised that she did not receive any letter from him this long time. You may tell him that she is quite well and so are the family. She is in Fernoch with me. You may tell Neil and John that they may be looking for a letter from me in a very short time.
Your good sister sends her best respects to you, and she is in her ordinary state of health, and she desires you to be mindful of your later end, because we are pilgrims, and that this is not our dwelling place.
My best respects to you and to all the family and to Arch and John and Neil McLachlan and to all their families.
D Ferguson and D McCallum, A McIntyre, D McIntyre, A McAlpine - they all send their best respects to yourself and family. Also to Arch, John and N McLachlan. You will also give my best respects to my friends, the Patersons. I am much surprised that Arch Paterson is not writing to me for he knows my address.
I conclude with my best respects to you all.