Margaret Abbott of Troy
to her cousin Julia in Ireland
About the people in the letter: Ita Smyth writes that the letter writer is Margaret E. Abbott, born in September 1878 in NY state and known as Maggie. Maggie was about 14 when she wrote the letter. Maggie was a daughter of Andrew Abbott and Mary Grey or Gray (both born in Athy who met later in Troy). Maggie later married Delor J. Duval, a French Canadian, and resided in Cohoes, Albany County, NY. In this letter, Maggie is writing to Julia Moran, her first cousin on her mother's side. Julia is a daughter of Thomas Moran and Elizabeth Grey. Julia was born in about 1780 and therefore was about 12 when she received the letter. Julia died young, at about the age of 17 years, in about 1897, while sleeping in the same bed as her sister Catherine Moran. Catherine was the mother of Denis Smyth of Athy, who is the present owner of the letter; Catherine died in 1977 aged 87 years. The maternal grandmother of Catherine Moran, Julia Moran and Maggie Abbott - and the "Grandmother" mentioned in this letter - was Margaret McNamara Grey (1826-1901) of Ardreigh (where the Abbotts also lived), Athy, County Kildare. This Margaret McNamara had married James Grey or Gray of Bray, Athy, County Kildare in 1846. Among the children of James Grey and Margaret McNamara were Michael Grey (baptised 18 February 1847 at Athy, emigrated to America, married in America, corresponded for a short time with his relations in Ireland; was presumably the "Uncle Mike" mentioned in the letter); Mary Grey Abbott (baptised 11 February 1849 at Athy, emigrated to America, married in Troy, Rensselaer County, NY to Andrew Abbott; was the mother of the letter writer); Elizabeth Grey Moran (baptised 25 May 1851 at Athy, married Thomas Moran, remained in Ireland; was the mother of the letter recipient Julia Moran and of Catherine Moran, who was the mother of the present owner of the letter, Dennis Smyth, of Athy); Edward Grey (baptised 25 February 1855 at Athy, emigrated to America, died in an accident in America); Sarah Grey Abbott (baptised 3 May 1857, emigrated to America, married Patrick Abbott in Troy; was presumably the "Aunt Sarah" mentioned in the letter); and Ellen Grey Brennan (baptised 15 June 1859, lived her life in Athy at Meeting Lane, married James Brennan, a tailor; all her descendants are deceased).
Date: The date of this letter is given only as "Thursday Dec. 15"; the year is not stated. The grandmother mentioned is known to have died in 1901, and the letter is known to have been written during the 1890s. There were only two years during the 1890s in which 15 December fell on a Thursday: 1892 and 1898. Ita indicates that the addressee, Julia, died in 1897 at the age of 17, so that rules out 1898 as the year of the letter. Therefore, the letter would have been written on Thursday, 15 December 1892, when Julia was about 12 and Maggie was about 14.
Irish genealogical research: If you would like to learn more about researching your Irish ancestors, there are Irish-related genealogical resources at the Troy Irish Genealogy Society, and you are warmly invited to visit the Irish section of Genuki, the GenWeb for the United Kingdom and Ireland.
Thursday Dec. 15 Troy N. Y. My dear cousin Julia I hope you will excuse me for not writing before this but of course it is the same thing over again my own carlessness I hope you are all well and my Grand- Mother I did not hear from her since the last time you wrote to me I hope you go to see her often and try to comfort her I would like very much if I had the same chance as you have. I would try and cheer her up a little she must be very lonsome we are all well and getting along just the same as ever I suppose all [second page] my cousins are have a great time getting ready for Christmas and New Years and wondering what they shall receive off the Christmas Tree I am sending you a little gift which is not very much but I hope you shall like it and remember me when you are using it in church as I did not forget you even though I was careless about writing. Aunt Sarah and her family also Uncle Mike and his family are all well I shall now close my letter which does not seem very much after such a long delay but hope to have more to tell you the next time. We all join in sending are best love and wishes to you and my [third page] uncles and aunts also all my cousins and my poor Grand- mother wishing them all a merry Christmas and a happy New Year hoping to hear from you very soon Good Bye from Your Loving cousin Margaret E. Abbott write soon. address your letter to Miss Maggie Abbott Miller Hall and Hartwell Laundry Dept. Troy N. Y.