In 2015, I wrote about my furthest-flung relative, Edgar Douglas White, who immigrated to New Zealand from Nova Scotia. Since this week’s #52Ancestors prompt is “So Far Away”, I thought I’d share something that one of Edgar’s descendants shared with me a few years ago: a letter from my third great-grandfather Job R. White to Edgar.
Here are the images and transcription (spelling and punctuation errors not corrected):
Lynn January 3 1869
Dier Edgar I do not know whether I am writing to the living or the dead. but you knowes – my dier son we are all well. We have had no letter from you in nerely two years – and we have mourned for you as dead but still their is a ray of hope still sometimes in my mind so you are spared, so I thought I would make one more effort. The last letter that I wrote came back to me. I have been in Lynn about sick months I am doing pretty well I board with Fannie She is married here well off. Your mother and the famely will be here in the spring
Joseph lives in Glossester 30 miles from here – if you get this plese not fail to write
Direct your letters thus
Lynn, Mass United States of America
O Could it be possable for us all to met again before death parts us how happy we would be, but we are all in gods hands he knowes best what to do. I got letters from home last week stating that they were all well.
So you by Dier Edgar
Jobe R White to
Edgar D White his son
in piggen bay Canterbury
January 3 1869
How hard it was back then to try to communicate with people on the other side of the world! I really felt the desperation in Job’s writing. The happy ending is the fact that this letter exists, showing that Edgar finally did receive it. Who knows – perhaps he’d tried to write in the time that Job was writing for an answer and perhaps his correspondence got lost. He obviously wrote back eventually, which is evident in the fact that the descendants continued (and still continue!) to communicate.