Here's a copy of a letter with news of home from Bridget
Joyce, Bagenalstown, to Hugh Coogan, Harlem, NYC. Written across the top
of the first page is
"Dear Hugh, write soon please. BRIDGET JOYCE."
Bagenalstown Post Office January 28, 1879
My Dear Cousin Hugh,
You must be somewhat astonished to receive a letter from the little
child you left at home when you were going off --but my dear father
has spoken about you all and about my uncles who have turned out so very
cold that they never even wrote a line to him. But I hope dear Hugh that
you will not forget to drop us a few lines as soon as you can and tell us
how your poor mother is and how you all are, including my father's
brothers. I wonder none of you ever wrote this long time. Poor MARGARET
often speaks of you all. We are all living together still in a most
comfortable house near the chapel. My father holds very stout still, the
best father in all the world he is. Full of good nature and of CORRIES
stories, he attends to the little garden and spends the day happily. My
mother is failing fast. Margaret is housekeeping for us and is the life of
the house. PATRICK is MR. WARD'S corn buyer and accountant, and I am with
JAMES BYRNE TELEGRAPHIST for the past 6 years and half. So we are all very
happy together, thank God. FATHER W. MAHER* came to see us Friday last. He
is very well. MRS. MAHER** is not well lately. JOHN will soon be ordained
priest, and PATRICK, the youngest, is in Kilkenny College. They are doing
BALLYLOUGHAN. MARGARET LALOR is married and has a young daughter. TOM &
DAN are married in the same place, ABBEYLEIX. All are doing well. I will
write you a long letter soon as I hear from you.
[Bridget wrote at least one other letter, dated March 29, 1880, to
Hugh's brother William. Someone had sent her news from NY, including the
death of her uncle WILLIAM JOYCE.]
Why I wrote Brother Declan [Michael Coogan, 1841-1904, at Mt. St.
Joseph's Abbey in 1879] is for your address because my father would be so
happy if he heard from you. I had a letter a few days ago from him [Br.
I shall keep you no longer now, only to ask you to give our best love
to all friends but especially to your dear mother [Catharine Nolan Coogan,
1798-1883], self, and Willie.
Your most affectionate cousin, B. Joyce
--Bridget's 1880 letter indicates that one of
her NYC immigrant uncles was REDDY JOYCE, referred to in an 1863 NYC-to-Illinois
letter as working on 10th Avenue in Manhattan as a conductor and in
contact with his Coogan immigrant cousins. Another of her Joyce uncles was
William, who died later in 1879 or early in 1880 and left a second wife
and children, according to Bridget's 1880 letter.
--Also from Bridget's 1880 letter: **Mrs.
Maher was probably the wife of EDWARD (NED) MAHER of BALLYLOUGHAN; they
had several children. *FATHER WILLIAM MAHER was stationed in PHILIPSTOWN
--A letter of August 7, 1877 from Brother
Declan to his brother Mathew in NYC states "I hear frequently from Bridget
Joyce of Bagenalstown, They were all well the last time I heard from them"
--St. Andrew's RC Church, Bagenalstown, has a
record of the baptism of twin boys, Michael and Patrick Joyce, on Feb. 21,
1825. Sponsors: Mary Byrne & Mary Walsh. Parents: MICHAEL JOYCE and
MARGARET COOGAN. Joyce family members listed as sponsors for Coogan
baptisms include Mary Joyce (1827), Daniel Joice (1830), and William Joyce
(1844). Also sponsors: Michael Maher (1871) and 'Edward Mather/Maher
I would like to know whether MARGARET,
referred to in the letter above, was Margaret Coogan Joyce, and I'd
certainly like to find out who Bridget Joyce's parents were. Does anyone
have info about anyone mentioned in this letter?
- From another family letter written probably
in 1868 by the last of the clan (except for one brother, a monk) still
in Ireland to a brother who had immigrated to NYC & Iowa, the passages
below contain references to some Co. Carlow neighbors and relatives,
and local conditions. I've capitalized names, placed question marks
where the handwriting has faded, and added explanations [in brackets].
Anyone who would like a .jpg file of the complete scanned letter
should contact me. I''ve omitted some sections. If you have info about
anyone mentioned below, please post it or send it to me. If you find
material such as
- this useful, please let me know--there are
also some letters that send news from NYC of immigrants from Co.
Carlow, especially Joyce, Nolan, and Byrne families.
- August 10th
- My ever dear Brother,
- With gladness I answer your welcome letter that afforded me more
comfort than I could tell.
- . . . . .
- We had a very warm time of it here since we had no rain during
the summer but three showers up to this time and that made hay very
dear. It is from 50 shillings to 5 pounds per ton. You may let Hugh know
heifers was very dear last May and is expected to be full as cheap next
November from the way hay sits.
- We got none from Mr.? WATSON this year. We just got from JOHN
EVANS what will do. What little we have you may be sure we think every
moment and hour until we get away, as farmers try every plan to do
without employing him. Potatoes
- appears very good too. Today mowers went from 4 to 5 shillings a
____ and binders 2.6 shillings with diet? and 3.6 without diet so again
the harvest is secured. Farmers won't trouble the smith if they can help
it. [Margaret's husband was a blacksmith.]
- We have six or seven heifers and a cow and some pigs, but then
their expenses leave very little, and whatever the farmer takes from him
he gives him very little.
- MRS. BYRNE wishes me to excuse her in not answering your letter
sooner. She thought to do so different times and something kept her
back. His own health was bad and she wished to have to account of him
being better before she would write.
- He is a great deal better, but the poor woman
met with a long and great trouble it pleased God to visit them with [Scarletina?].
THOMAS was the first and before the him? What it was was the Mater with
him. God took him to himself. The Lord be merciful to his soul. BRIDGET
and FRANK then took it. Doctor Omar? was sent for a long struggle with
the best attendance. He brought them out of it. The rest was sent away.
All is well now. There never was more sudden deaths to our remembrance
than this last year.
- MRS. MURPHY OF SCALP was at her tea in perfect health and fell
dead and never drew the second breath, and Mr. JAMES KELLY OF SESKINRYAN
died in like manner.
- Both were a great loss to their children. And poor JOHN CAUFIELD
of KNOCKLINAGEN got an untimely death. He was got [found] drowned in the
Barrow at three weeks' end and the whole place searched as far as the
sea would allow them.
- MRS. BRYAN was very troubled. She wishes to be remembered to you
all in the kindest manner.
- LAWRENCE BRYAN TAYLOR and family sends you their kindest regards.
All your old neighbors in Ballyloughan are well and desire to be
remembered to you all.
- FERDINAND? NOLAN of AUGHABEAG, now in Bagenalstown, sends his
love to you.
- Please tell the JOYCES they ought to look to their mother. I
understand she is in a bad way and has but little understanding to know.
And ___ Dan can do very little for her since Margret is out of
employment. They are very ungrateful to them in America. You never
mentioned to me how the KELLEYS were doing. There are some bad accounts
about them, whether it be true or not. I give my love to Brother Denis
in the kindest manner and I hope he gathered a great deal of sense since
he left the old country. Also remember me to Patrick and daughter in the
kindest manner and poor sister Bridget [& Lawrence
- MEANY] and family, remember me kindly to them all. Tell Mary
MEANY and my mother [Catharine NOLAN COOGAN, immigrated 1867] that my
spirits are not sunk so low as to make me despair of ever seeing them.
It is my constant wish and I hope it will be accomplished.
- . . . .
- All your old neighbors wish to be remembered to you kindly and
pray for you a great deal. Mr.? / Wm? BYRNE came home from the sea. I
think he is better. That family sends their love to you. We had a little
son the very day [of] your leaving here, a very fine child as ever we
had. We took the liberty of getting him called after you. Believe me
William, to part with you leaned very heavy on me. If not for the
prayers you offered and got offered for me I could not be well so soon.
I am just getting strong, thank God. James [DOYLE] wishes me to let Hugh
know something regarding the Country. We had a very warm summer and left
the potatoes very little value from a second growth come on them. Hay
got very dear and put the prices of cattle about very much and then when
winter set in, it commenced with rain and never got much fine until now.
It is just clearing now. Notwithstanding all that, we are well provided
in hay, potatoes, turf and all necessaries for our family, thank God.
All I ask from you at this time is to write to me in due time. Tell ___
? the children all gives me their kindest and dearest love and wishes to
be remembered to their grandmother and Mary Meany.
- I conclude my dearest brother by wishing you all a happy New Year
and remain until death your loving and obedient sister
- Margret Doyle--------
The sentence that follows is from a preserved
letter written in late 1867 or sometime in 1868 from Ireland to her mother
in NYC by Margaret Coogan Doyle (b. 1827 in Ballyloughan; married James
Doyle, Carrickbeag; immigrated with husband and children to NYC 1869):
Darby Nolan of Curenree and Catherine Clony was married the other