This letter from Anne Fraser stated once again with a somewhat dramatic comment that the family was hoping to see Aunt Bess , “we had great hopes of seeing you out here this summer now I am afraid we will never see you when you are putting it off like this, but I hope if we do not see each other here, we will meet where parting is no more

Anne may have been thinking about the impermanence of life as she related the details of a serious illness suffered for a number of months by her sister Mary. The family was so worried about Mary that all the brothers and their wives came to visit her for what they may have thought would be the last time.

Letter from Anne Fraser to Aunt Bess September 30, 1866 Page 1
Letter from Anne Fraser to Aunt Bess September 30, 1866 Page 1 continued
Letter from Anne Fraser to Aunt Bess September 30, 1866 Page 2

24 Kaine Letter September 30, 1866
Transcribed from the original by Kerrin Churchill 28/1/18 (punctuation added)

Anne Fraser to Aunt Bess from Morris, Ontario Canada to Freshford, Kilkenny, Ireland

Morris 30 September 1866

Dear Aunt

I take up my pen to write to you after a long Silence, but I hope you will pardon me for not writeing sooner the reason was I was waiting to see whether Mary would live or die before I would write. She has been very poorly since last April there was times that we did not think that she would be alive in the morning but she is better now then she has been this last summer, we have some hopes of her now, the Doctor said it was her nerves was afected, she used to cramp very bad and she had the queerest Cough I ever heard and that with every breath it was more like a bark than a Cough, she had four very severe atacks and never very smart between them, but the Cough has left her now, poor thing had a hard time of it, John and his wife, James and his wife, Charles and his wife were all to see her, Charles has stoped in Bluevale I do not know wheather he will go back to the States or not, none of them knowes that I am writing to you, we live two miles and a half from them, father gets very good health but mother is as usual one day well and one day sick, I hope you enjoy good health, we had great hopes of seeing you out here this summer now I am afraid we will never see you when you are putting it off like this, but I hope if we do not see each other here, we will meet where parting is no more, Aunt Bess we would have all things that passed over halled? since we seen each other, Poor Mary I would like to see her very much and her two little boys, I hope they may be a comfort to her, and her poor mother I pitty her, I am sure if Richard Stone was as he should be, I think Aunt Mary would be worth her board, I would like to write to Mary but I do not know what to say, well we had a very wet harvest here there will be a lot of bad flower this year, we got our grain in the barn in good time so if you will come we will have good bread for you, there is very good prices for grain, Potatoes are very black this year the folks thinks it is on account of such wet weather, so I believe I have no more news to write, only Sissy sends four kisses, and Isabella sends you one, please give my love to Mary and kiss her two little boys for me and to Aunt Mary and accept the same a great many times repeated yourself from your fond Niece Anne Fraser, please write soon and I will write a long letter the next time, I hope you will forgive me for not writeing sooner

Added at the top of the letter
It was John Thomeses son that attended Mary all the time she was sick he is a good Doctor

Added in different handwriting at the bottom of the letter (probably Charles Kaine, Aunt Bess’s brother))
We have had a very troublesome time here during part of last summer on account of the rumors of the Fenians threatening to invade Canada but I think the greatest danger is over now, they are talking up going to Mexico to erect an Irish republic on the soil of Mexico since the Canadians do not allow, or favour their designs on Canada. The lesson they got when they attempted it will I think will prove salutory, and save Canada from a repetition of the same act. We have a wet summer and harvest But prices for good sound grain is good and so is the price for beef and pork

Anne also expresses concern for Mary, her her relative in Ireland, who it seems was in a bad marriage. Anne usually wrote in a more lighthearted manner but this time sounded a bit weighed down by family illness and a wet harvest that spoiled the flower (flour) and made the potatoes black. She did not however forget to send kisses from the children!

A postscript added from someone (most likely Charles Kaine, Aunt Bess’s brother) who also commented on a “troublesome” summer due to the threat of the Fenian raids. (Fenians were members of a movement to secure Ireland’s independence from Britain.)

No information related to the Fenians in Mexico could be found so we must assume they were not successful in establishing a republic there! In May 1866, the Fenians had attacked Canada at Fort Erie, about 250 kilometers from Huron County and did not mount further attacks in the area so the Kaine family was safe from that threat.

The Battle of Ridgeway is also known as the Battle of Lime Ridge or Limestone Ridge. It was fought on the morning of 2 June 1866, near the village of Ridgeway and the town of Fort Erie in Canada West (present-day Ontario). Around 850 Canadian soldiers clashed with 750 to 800 Fenians — Irish American insurgents who had crossed the Niagara River from Buffalo, New York. It was the first industrial-era battle to be fought exclusively by Canadian troops and led entirely by Canadian officers. It was the last battle fought in Ontario against a foreign invasion force.

Battle of Ridgeway

4 thoughts on “Letter #24 September 30, 1866: A Troublesome Summer

  1. Very interesting…I just finished reading a book set in Ireland. They were a very rich culture indeed. It sounds like a terrible winter for the Kaine family in Huron County.

    Did you go any further investigating the website in BC ?

    Stay safe and well, Carrie

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What good handwriting Anne Fraser has! The family had a lot to cope with in dealing with family illness, hoping for a good harvest and worrying about the Fenians. I too now have my doubts about Aunt Bess. Will she ever get to Canada!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Fun to read about the concerns of the 19th century Irish immigrants and to see the beautiful penmanship and unique spelling. Thanks as well for the research around the Fenians–very interesting that they were thinking of making inroads into Mexico. Definitely feels like a bridge to our past.

    Liked by 1 person

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