Note this proofing file displays all section chunks on one continuous page and links notes to text at the bottom of the page (rather than in pop-up boxes). This page was created using acls-hebook.xsl to transform text tagged in XML into HTML.


table of contents

21: James McCullough, 1748-1758 [para. 1-7]
1 Prior to the American Revolution, over 85,000 Ulster Presbyterians and other Irish emigrants settled in Pennsylvania, primarily as farmers and frontiersmen, and at least half again that number took up farms in the backcountry regions of the southern colonies. Since no letters that these pioneers sent to Ireland appear to have survived, the following diary or journal written by James McCullough, a Scots-Irish farmer and weaver on the[Page 156] Pennsylvania frontier, is extraordinarily valuable. Between 1748 and 1758, McCullough kept a random account of his farmwork, weaving activities, and economic transactions, interspersed with personal notes, religious reflections, and a record of local casualties in the early years of the French and Indian War (1754-1763), during which many of his closest neighbors were killed and two of his own sons, John and James, were kidnaped. Unfortunately, McCullough's diary is not complete and is difficult to decipher: pages are missing; some entries are illegible and many are undated; and, for reasons now unclear, McCullough compounded the historian's trials by writing a few entries in code, substituting numbers for letters of the alphabet. Nevertheless, McCullough's jottings, reordered chronologically and slightly abridged here, provide an unusually intimate view of the everyday life and concerns of a Scots-Irish pioneer on what was then the westernmost edge of the British frontier in colonial America.
2 According to family tradition, James McCullough was a native of County Londonderry. On 27 April 1745, he paid £6 to Arthur Burns of Belfast for his and his wife Martha's passage to the New World, although they may not have departed until December. Probably to avoid the Pennsylvania tax levied on Irish immigrants, McCullough and his wife apparently disembarked at the port of New Castle, Delaware, instead of Philadelphia. The McCulloughs evidently remained in Delaware for the next four or five years, probably renting farmland and engaging in weaving, for their first son, John, was born in New Castle County in May 1748. However, in or about 1750 James McCullough moved his wife, son, and daughter, Jean or Jane, westward into Pennsylvania's Cumberland Valley and purchased, at sheriff's auction, a two-hundred-acre tract near the west branch of Conococheague Creek, in Antrim township of the just-established Cumberland County, a mile or two from the present village of Upton. Apparently, he was accompanied by several relations, for the names of other McCulloughs, including his brother Archibald, appear in the diary.
3 The Scots-Irish had been settling in the future Franklin County (divided from Cumberland in 1784) since about 1730, their migration encouraged by Pennsylvania authorities—who wanted to secure the colony's southern border against Maryland claims—and led by Benjamin Chambers from County Antrim, who established the region's first farm and mill at Falling Spring, the future site of Chambersburg. In the mid-1730s, other Ulster families, attracted by the area's numerous springs and by the ease of clearing the relatively treeless “barrens” or prairies that dominated the landscape, began purchasing or, more commonly, squatting on farms in what became known as the Conococheague settlement. Within a few years, the settlers established several Presbyterian congregations, which in turn soon divided in response to the fervent revivals of the Great Awakening during the late 1730s and 1740s. [1] An adherent to the antirevival “Old Side” Presbyterians, James McCullough joined the Upper West Conococheague church, which had been established in 1738 but did not enjoy the services of a permanent pastor until 1754.[Page 157]
4 From 1748 through mid-1755, McCullough's diary primarily records the mundane events of Scots-Irish frontier life. As in contemporary Ulster, the agricultural cycle coexisted with a thriving local trade in yarns and textiles, and McCullough both employed poorer immigrants, such as Denis McFall, to work in his fields and at the loom and labored himself for earlier settlers like Thomas Montgomery. However, on 9 July 1755, General Edward Braddock's defeat at the Monongahela by the French and their Indian allies exposed the Scots-Irish in the Cumberland Valley to the vengeance of the Delawares and the Shawnees. Both local authorities and private individuals, such as Benjamin Chambers and Reverend John Steele, McCullough's minister, hastily organized militia companies and erected a chain of small forts to protect the settlers. Despite these efforts, during the next two years, while Pennsylvania's Anglican proprietors and Quaker-dominated Assembly bickered over how to finance frontier defense, [2] repeated Indian attacks—starkly recorded in McCullough's diary—devastated the Conococheagues and other backcountry communities. McCullough himself joined thousands of western pioneers who hid their possessions, temporarily abandoned their farms, and fled eastward to older settlements in York and Lancaster counties, but not before his own sons were kidnaped in an Indian raid on 26 July 1756. Not until late 1758, when McCullough's journal entries began to dwindle, did a renewed British military presence on the frontier reduce the danger of Indian attacks and enable the Scots-Irish to return and reestablish their decimated congregations.
James McCullough Journal, 1748-1758

James Ma Cullogh his Book [3]

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
a e i o u l m n r
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

3172s 7c C464gh h3s h18d 18d p28 38 h48 t4 728d    3f 7y p28 w292 1 63t26 b2tt29 3 C456d 72<nd> [4][Page 158]

a Cubit a fo<o>t  and a half…a peas [5] 5 fo<o>t    a furlong 125 peaces    a mile 1000 peaceses    a Sabath days jurney 600 paces    a firkin 4 gallans and a half…a Log [6] half a pint    a Span - 9 inches    a talant 62 pounds

2 Cronicls - 19 & 6 of Judges [7]

2 Chronicls - 18 - 0 22 of ly<ing> Spirits [8]

Judges—13-of ye birth of Samson

Hebrews 6 - 17 of an oath Confirm<ed> [9]

2 Samuel 21-20 of a gient man [10]

2 Kings - 13-21-a deed to live [11]

Judges - 9—53 - a milston Cast by a Woman at Abimelich [12]

Christ Coming riding on an ass    Zachariah - 9 - 9 [13]

against the man that is my fellow    Zachariah 13—7 [14]

1 March [15] 31
2 Apriel 30
3 May 31
4 Jun 30
5 July 31
6 Agust 31
7 September 30
8 October 31
9 November 30
10 Desember 31[Page 159]
11 Jenuary 31
12 feberwary [16] 28
in Leap year 29
in on<e> [17] year - 365 days
in one year is - 8775 <h>ours…

John ma Cullogh [18] was born may 27 - 1748 - it being friday about one o Clock and on the 12th day of the moons age

the red Sea is 15 mils broad and 35 fadom [19] deep…the wall of babl was 87 fot wi<d>th [20]

Alexander elder to [21]     two bushel of Ray [22] July 27 - 1749    mor [23] two bushels of Ray Agust 25…[Page 160]

Agust the - 16——1749    James Frier - to - 63 yeards of Linnen Woven [24] …on<e> pound Eleven Shillings and Six pence    James frier    8 bushels of ray…

1749 Sara mcCullogh forty yeards of bagin [25] and 9 yeards of lincy [26]     7 yeards Stript [27] and 3 yeards of Shirtin [28]     mor - 40 yeards of linin    mor 40 yeards of linin …

I ow<e> 7s and on<e> peny to James friers vendo [29]     John mcCullogh 15 Shillings and a 11 - pence [30] to James friers vendou…

an Account of Charges Laid out During our travel to ye BackCountry    31725 7c C4664ch [31]     loss £1-3-3…

John mc Collogh to    40 yeards of Linen    mor—43 yeards of bagin    mor—15 yeards of lincey    mor—72 yeards girthing [32]     more two bushels of ray and one peck of pretes [33]     mor on<e> bushel of ray and 3 yeards of Lincy Striped    more—on<e> peck of inins [34] 8p and - 4 pence to John goforth    more of Smith Work    more 20 yeards of bagin

Jeanwary ye - 7th 1750    Dines mc fall [35] 3 yeards of Linen at 2S and 6 pence per yeard to be payable the Latter End of march Next…

Jeneary ye 13 1750    avery great rain and a great frost and Sno<w>…

Peter Crall [36] to - 26 yeards of Wollen    Jenewary ye - 15 - 1750    13 Shill<ing>s…

I did Sow flex [37] march 31 and oats Apriel the 3 1750…[Page 161]

I had my house Covered may the 25 - 1750…

Chirly to bull [38] may the 26 - 1750

I Did Reap ray Jun 18 and Wheat Jun the 23 [39]

I did hall [40] in Wheat July the 3 and <s>owed flex and buck Wheat Jun - 28 and I Sowed buck Wheat July - the 11th—1750 and thrush [41] flex July the - 12th…

I did Sow turneps July the 4th and Rept [42] oats July the 5th…I did Sow turnips July the 23

I Did pay 10 Shillings to thomas Willemson July the 24th 1750…

I did begin to plow fother [43] agust 10    I did begin to Sow Wheat agust the 29 - 1750 and I had don [44] Sowing September ye 13th…

mary Patan - to    12 yeards of Wolling [45] Septr 14th…

I got in [46] all Corn and fother october the 20 1750…

october ye - 15 - 1750    Mary Harper Dettor to James ma Collogh 4 Shillings and - 8 pence being for one pece of Lincey Woven    Receved ten Shillings from Joseph Holland for Corn november ye 27th…

…an ACount of goods gotten from thomas montgomrey [47]

october the <…> - 1750——two y<ard>s and 3 quarters of Chaker [48]     9-2 [49]

2 handCurchies 5<s.> and 2 dito Cottin 3-0

one Wisted [50] Cap 2-4

1 half yeard of linin and one quarter and ahalf of Camrick [51] 0-3-9


to one new tes<t>ament 2-4[Page 162]

to one quarter yeard of green Cloth [52] 1-3p

Jenwary the 12 to    one gallon and on<e> half of melases [53] ——3s-9p

I did begin to the great Swamp to Clear [54] December the 3 1750 and I did finis [55] the Swamp at the barens [56] Jenewary the 5th 1751…

December the 11 1750    Willem Carson [57] to    Work don - 24 yeards of Lincey Woven 3 yd Striped with 2 Shitels [58] and 6 yeards and a half with 3 Shitels more—11S-5d / 7 yeards of baging

december ye 25    mor to—11 yd of hikrey [59]     mor to 14 ys of Strip<t>    mor to 12 yeards of blankets…

I had on<e> hog from mrs James——20 Shillings and 4 pence    John mc Cullogh to    n<e> hog from mr James — 16 Shillingss and - 8 - pence…

Willem Willson [60]     3 pence behind [61] of that first Lining [62] Web I wove to him    more 17 yeards of to<w> Clouth [63] betwen his wife and Widow Wormingtown Which the Sd willem wilsons wif<e> toke away Which I Receved no pay for yet - 5 Shilings and 8 pence and 4 pence for two tim<e>s Lining [64] because of work of filling [65]     more 9[Page 163]

yeards of bed Covering - 9 Shilings    more on<e> hors<e> paster [66] on<e> night - 6 pence  more two hors<e> paster two days and 2 nights - 2 Shilings    3 yeards of lining 18 pence    <total> 18-3…

I Did Sow flex march ye 20 1751…and finist Sowing flex march 29…

mathew paton [67] to    29 yeards of Shirtin march ye 23 - 1750/51…

I Receved 20 Shillings from Alexander Geddes and did give of Said money 10 Shillings to Widow mc Sorley and 8S and 3 pence to gets [68]     J173s 7c C464ch h3s h18d [69]

I did get twenty Shillings from patrick Cafrey [70] and I did pay - 11 Shillings & 8 pence of Said money to mr James [71] / and 6S and 6 pence to Samul [72] Killpatrick / I did get 6s-11d from Charity Cortney and 5S and did give Said money to James frier march the 28 - 1751…

Apriel 1 - 15 pence to tomas montgomry for wages…and 15 pence to thomas montgomrey Apriel ye 1 [73] for meloses and 22 yeards of Lining - Jun 29th…

began to plant Corn Apriel ye 23 1751 and finist 29…

June the 1-1751    Jane mc Collogh to    7 yds of Shirtin Woven…

Jun ye 1 1751    Sara mc Collogh to    7 yeards of Shirtin woven and 9 yeards of Lincey - 5 yeards Striped agust ye 24th…

James mc Collogh, Junier [74] Was born Jun ye 11th 1751…

in the year 1751 I Did begin to reap ray Jun the 17 and Wheat Jun 26 - and I got all in July the first    had on<e> hundred and 26 Shoaks [75] of Wheat and 23 Shoaks of ray and did thresh flex July ye 19—did Sow buck Wheat Jun ye 22 and 29th    I did Cut hey [76] July ye 11 and did reap oats & I Did Sow my New medo<w> Agust ye 16 and 17th 1751    We begin to Sow Wheat Agust 26 and finist September the 11th——…[Page 164]

Jean mc Collogh to    7S and on<e> penny to tomas montmogomerey [77]     Jean mc Collogh on<e> pound and three Shillings and Seven pence to thomas montgomrey in ye year 1751 November ye 5th

November ye 14 1751    gorg bennet to    1 bushel of Corn and a bushel & half of buck wheat & on<e> pound butter and half a Crown in Cash and 2 bushels of Corn november 26 and 2 bushels of Corn December ye 11th and 2 bushels dito December 28…

December ye 11th 1751    Charety Courtney to - 16 yeards of Lincey woven    3 yeards plane [78] and 8 yeards Striped with 3 Shitels and 2 yeards with 2 Shitels …

Joseph Holand to    5 bushels of Corn    Joseph Holand to 36 bushels of Corn Jenewary ye - 7th 1751/2…

feberwary ye 1 - 1752    Denos mc fall agreed With me for his boarding at 3s and 6 pence per week    first week - 7 meals    2<nd> week - 4 hol<e> days and 3 meals    and all ye rest of ye month in full    march ye first week 4 hol<e> days    2 week - 5 hol<e> days & one meal    3<rd> week - 2 days & one half bushel of Corn and 1s & 10 pence half peny in Cash lent    4<th> week onley on<e> day & 2 days in march Last…

Feberwary ye 13—1752    James John to 37 yeards of shirtin woven    more to - 17 yeards of hikrey feberwary ye-15—1752    more Apriel ye 27th to 12 yeards £1-10 & on<e> quarter of Lincy woven    5 yeards & on<e> half Striped With 4 Shitels & on<e> half yeard with 2 Shitels & 3 yeards and on<e> quarter plean wite linen 0-6-10…

feberwary ye 19 1752    patrick borns to    on<e> half bushel of Corn

march ye 16th - 1752    Willem Carson to 33 yeards of Shirtin woven— 13S-9…

feberwary ye 20 1752    Samul Enos detter to me 3S & 8 pence in boot [79] between Shoo buckls and 18 pence for back bands [80] and 3S & 6 pence for Straw    £0 8-10

Feberwary ye 22 1752    John Wats to 34 yeards of to<w> Cloath woven & 3 yeards Striped with 3 Shitels—0 11-10…[Page 165]

mathew paton vendu March the 2    Mathew paton - 44 yeards of Cloath…more to - 34 yeards of Shirtin woven    march ye - 5th - 1752…

March ye 23 - 1752    Patrick Born to    one half bushel of Corn one Shilling…

March ye 24th Samul Enos to    one bushel of potatous 3 Shill<ings> and one bushel & on<e> half of oats    2S - 3    I did plow Nine days and a half my Self in Corn…

Archibald mc Cologh to    amatick [81] 3S 2 pence and to a bel<l> - and to a wolat [82] —1s-6p and - 6 pence Lent to his wife in tomas mcgomeres and a hat 6-2p and […] bushels of ray [83] & a half of oats    march ye 25-1752…

Apriel ye 11th 1752    Willem Carson to    32 yeards of Linen woven——0 16s-0 Charety Cortney 20 yeards of Linen winding [84] and weaving    Jun ye 1 1751 Sara mc Collogh to 7 yeards of Shirtin woven and 9 yeards of Lincey - 5 yeards Striped and 15 pence to thomas montgomrey Apriel ye 1 for meloses and 22 yeards of Lining - Jun 29th . .

Apriel ye 17th Denes mc fall to    on<e> half bushel of Corn & one half bushel of oats & one peck of Corn…

Apriel ye 22d 1752    Willem mc mehen to - 8 yeards of Shirtin    0 3 4…

Apriel ye 27th    John Wats to    6 yeards <of…> and 3 yeards of Lincy Woven - 3 yeards & 3 quarters Striped with 2 Shitels    0-3-3½    John Wats to 27 yeards of hikrey woven July ye - 15th    0-9-0    more to - 30 yeards of Wolling September ye 27…

may ye 4—1752    Denes mc fall to 3 Shilings & 9 pence in Cash Lent    you r not to go to go [85]

I did Sow 9 bushels and on<e> half of oats 1752 & planted 2 bushels of Corn    I did finis [86] planting Corn may ye 7th & planted Potatous Said day    13 <days> plowing & hoing before planting & 3 Spels plowing in ye uper field    2 <days> plowing & 4 Spels in ye far field & 3 Spels in ye field over ye medow    2 Spels in buck wheat ground & 1 harrowing Corn over ye medow…

We had don moulding [87] Corn Jun ye 11th 1752…

I did begin to Cut hay Jun ye 15—1752…[Page 166]

My daughter Jean Did Enter to Skool [88] Jun ye 15th & did only 6 days at that time    July ye Last week 2 days    agust ye 1<st> week 2 days    agust ye 2<nd> week - 4 days    agust ye 3<rd> week 2 days—4th week - 4 days    5<th> week—5 days…

We Did Sow turnips July - 22…

Agust ye-15th-1752    Alexander Robison [89] to    21 yeards of Shirtin woven - 8S & 9 pence…

September ye 23    Dines mc fall indeted to me - 13 Shillings in ballance of aCounts & one Shilling for hay & 1 bushel of Corn 2s 6 pence & 4 pound and on<e> half of backon [90] & 6 pence in Cash    0-18-10

october ye - 5th - 1752    Willem man [91] to    one Cow hide - 42 pounds    mor to    a hide - 45 pounds…

october ye 5th 1752    Nethanel evens to    one pot of butter waying 22 pounds & a half…

october ye 17th 1752    James mc Ellot to    27 yeards of Shirtin woven    <£>0-…

November ye 27    Willem mc Maghen to    one pound of Candels    <£>0 9<s.>…

December ye 6 - 1752    Sara mc Collogh to    12 yeards of Lincey - 5 yeards Striped with 3 Shitels    £0-6-3…

James John Creadit - 36 and 14 yeards of tikin [92] and 13 yeards of lincey […] [93] wol and 41 yeards of ticky    I had a hog of James John at - 1 pound - 4 Shillings…

I had on<e> hog from Jams John at 1 pound - 4Sh    and one Dosen and 10 Cuts of yern [94] to Sara and 2 Cuts in the web [95] in Spring and one hank [96] to James frier 14 pence    to John mc Collough opon James acount and 3 yeards of Shirtin - 15 pence    and 69 pounds of Be<e>f at two pence half pen<ny> per pound…[Page 167]

Willem Carson to    9 yeards of Lincey    Mor to - 28 yeards of Shirtin and 31 yeards of Lining and - 16 year<ds> of Wolling and 4 ye<ards> of Covring [97]

Jenwary ye - 10th 1753    John Robison to    37 yeards of Lincey Woven    £0-15-5

O greatley blest

o greatley blest ye peopel are

ye Joyfull Sound that know    in

Brightness of thy face o Lord

that Ever on Shall go [98]

Jun ye 10th—<17>53    mary Kelley to    5 yeards of tikon 2-1-6 & in Cash lent —

0-3-6 at Crist[n]en [99] for Rum & on ye 18 of Agust —0-2-0 in Cash lent to hugh…

Jun ye 21 1753    Willem tomson [100] to    20 Shillings in Cash lent    Agust ye 17 to ten yeards of Shirten Woven…

Jun ye 21st Ch392y was b56d ye y219 1753 [101]

748dy J58-26    a g921t g5st [102]

Benjemen ye Son of ye Right hand    Barak Lightening    Biltiak old or feading    booz in power or Strenth    Calob as on<e> hart    Canan a marchent [103]     Seph a saltar [104]

… Cush black or Ethipone [105]     Damanies a littel    Daniel ye Judgment of God    David beloved    Enos m<e>an or misarbel    Ephraim frut full    Esaw working    Ezekel Strenth of ye lord    Ezra a helper    goliath a Captive    habakuk a wresler

Jun ye 28    David Anderson to    44 yeards of Shirten and 20 yeards of Shirten July the 8th—<17>53…

I Did S45 b5ck [106] Wheat July the 3…

Jean mc Coloch did Enter to [107] John Robisons Scol upon tusday ye 17th of July & Was 4 days ye first Week at Scull—— 2<nd> Week in full    3<rd> Week-5 days    4<th> Week 5 days    5<th> Week 4 days    6<th> Week 5 days    7<th> Week 1 days    ye 1753[Page 168]

o that men to ye Lord Would give prais for his goodness then and for his Works of Wonder unto ye Sons of men [108]

Agust ye 14 —    1753 Robert Warnok to    one Small pot of butter waying Eleven pound…

ye Belfast Ship did Land    Agust 25—1753

Neley tomson Departed this Life September ye 8th —— 1753…

September ye 11 1753    James Linsey [109] got one month in November & December & […] last [110] Week & ye 2<nd> Week in Jenewa<r>y in full & 4 days ye 3<rd> Week & ye 4<th> Week in full    ye first week in febery 1 day & 30 days at Scoll and 17 days at his own hand [111] & one day to Charety Cortney…

John Woods to    22 yeards of Lincey Woven Jenewary ye 21st - 1754    more to    41 yeards of girth web feberwary ye 29th    £0 18 0

Ephram Smith to    4 bushels of Wheat and one bag £1-3-6    to 16 yeards of Linen——1-12-0…to one Pek of Salt - 0-2-0    to one Shilen and 6 pence of old debt - 0-1-0…

Feberwry ye 29    John Armstong to 5 yeards and a half of Linen at 2 Shillings per yeard…

May 1754    Adam Armstrong [112] to    Weaving of Shirtin 15 Shillings    to 8 yeards bagin July ye 8th of    to 2 days Reaping ray    to one days Reaping ray    to one days reaping July ye 17    to one days reaping wheat    to 35 yeards of Lincey woven in feberwary 1755 [113] …to 20 yeards of Shirten in may to 26 yeards of too Cl<o>th…<total> £2 - 0 - 7…

Receved 2 bushels of Wheat & one bushel dito from AmStrong July ye 5…

June 1754    John Woods [114] to    15 yeards baging Woven    mor to - 16 yeards of to<w> Cloath & one day & ahalf Reaping & one dozen of to<w> yearn Spining…

Jun 1754    Archibald mc Coloch to    19 yeards of Linen Woven…[Page 169]

Peter Crall to    39 yeards of to<w> Clouth Woven Jun ye-15—1754

Cormick dorman to    3 days reaping wheat…

I did Reap ray at Samul torintines [115] & Cut my leg Said day July ye 6 - 1754    to one day & a half [116] reaping July ye 15 & 16th days…

7y Ch392y t4k b566 J467 ye 14—1754 [117]

I did reap ray Agust ye 8th 1754…

Ephraim Smith to 1754    25 yeards of Shirton Woven & on<e> days howing    to 7 yeards of baging woven    to 2 days reaping & howing    to 1 days reaping ray by Dark to 2 days reaping wheat    to 32 yeard of Lincey    £0 10-5    Receved 5 bushels of ray from Ephraim Smith agust ye 15th…

I did Begin to Clear ye Dear [118] patch Agust ye 15th 1754…

Agust ye - 16 — 1754    a verey great rain atended With thunder and Lightening…

had don Seeding Wheat October ye 22 - 1754…

Samul torintine    to 21 yeards of blankets Woven    December ye 25th 1754

A memerandum of Smith Work between Arter Lockert [119] and me in year 1754    and first a huk [120] to a littel pot of my own ir<o>n    one Coulter [121] 12 pounds weight and on<e> Likup [122] to a two hors<e> tree [123] of my ir<o>n and one Stepel [124] to a tree and [125] my ir<o>n & two plow pleats [126] of my ir<o>n & on<e> Cleavish [127] welded le<a>d a Shir [128] onst Lead and mend on the Shoulder [129] …3 Shillings    and a Shir onst Sharped and a Coulter twice Sharped…9 Shillings more    a Shir Sharped[Page 170]

£0-4-0 and mended -1-3    two plou pleats 0-1-8 a Shir and Coulter twice Sharped 0-1-0    <subtotal> 8-0…

Colen Spence [130]     60 yeds of Linen Woven in march <17>55 & 14 yeds of baging in Apriel & 10 yeards of Covering & 1 bushel of flexSeed & 2 yeards of girthing and 25 yerds of Linen - Jun<e>    19 yeards of hickrey in may £3-19-10    […] [131] yeards of hikrey    18 yerds of Lincey 9 0…

Ephram Smith to    3 yeards of Linen woven march ye 30th—1755…

Thomas Deveson [132] to 58 yeards of Linen Woven may ye 14 - - - - 1755…

94b29t 7c C99s [133] Whit<e> hefer did take bul<l> may ye 28th 1755…

I did begin to plow Corn Jun ye 12    had 803 Dozen in ye new Land    did get all in July ye 19…

I Did begin to reap ray July ye 2td    put all in July 19 1755

July ye first 1755    Widou Rortey to    12 yeards of to<w> Cloath woven…

July ye 12 1755    Was put to flight by a fals Alarm from ye Ingens [134] July yee 12

ye fort at ye meting hous Was begun July ye 30 [135]

Was put to flight by a false report of ye Indins agust ye Sixth…

Cornel Denbar and his Armey did Camp at henrey poulens agust ye - 13 - 1755 [136]

We did begin to <build> ye fort at John Alls house agust ye 14…

Cormick Derman to    41 yeards of Linen Woven Agust ye 27th - 1755 and 2 yeards of lincey & 11 yeards of Wollen Jenewary ye 12 <17>56…

I did begin to Sow ray September ye-3 1755 and Wheat ye—6th

<Ephram Smith> to    10 yeards of Wolen october ye 21    to one bushel of flexSeed    to one peck of potatous    4s 9p…[Page 171]

ye great Cove Was burnt Nove<m>ber ye first & our flight to ma<r>sh Creek was Novr ye 2 [137]

Cam<e> all hom<e> from marsh Creek December ye 17…

<Archibald mc Coloch> 4 yeards lincey Woven December ye 27 1755…

Colen Spence indeted to me 5 Shillings 10<d.> in ballance of acounts in ye year


John Creag [138] <and> Richert and John Cocks Was taken by the Indins feberwary


We did move all to Anttetem    Apriel ye 19 - 1756 [139]

I did hide Welingers [140] and Som<e> Shafts [141] in a holow tree upon ye top of ye hill above ye garden and a Wolen Reed [142] in a holow tree above ye barn amongst ye Wheat and a pitch fork and ge<a>rs and puley Stocks [143] in a tree over agginst ye Sheep hous East Ward and a [gune] and Salt unde<r> ye uper berreck next ye Corn Recks [144] and a great deal of other youtencels in a gume <tree> in the head of a prato furr<ow> [145] below ye Stubel [146] and a Plow Shear and Cleaves in a tree or loag before ye Calf house do<o>r Within ye field…

John Was [147] killed may ye 26 in yer <17>56…

John and James mc Coloch Was taken Captive by ye indins from Canagogige [148] July ye 26th - 1756…Weep ye not for the dead neither bemoan him but weep sore for him that goeth away for he shall return no more nor see his native country [149][Page 172]

John Coks Escaped from ye indins agust the 14 1756…

Agust ye 27    a verey great Slaughter at putmock [150] by ye indins Wherin was 39 persons killed and taken Captives    16 killed at a burring [151] and 7 killed loading a Wagon in ye field…and Indins did Carey away one prisoner from ye South mounten    agust ye-27th <17>56…

god bless King gorge wher ever he <be>…

Robert Clogston his son bettey Ramsey hir Son and Croper [152] Was killed Agust ye 28 <and> hir daughter taken away…

patrick mc intire [153] to    24 yeards of Linen woven September ye 23-1756    Receved from patrick mctire five Shillings said day…

tomas Deveson to    22 yeards of Stuf    to 3 days reaping    october ye 18 1756…

November ye 9    John Woods his wife and mother in Law and John Archers Wife Was killed and 4 Children Carried off and 8 or 9 men killed near mc Dowels fort [154]     <17>56…

Jenewary ye 21 1757 - Willem Heron to - 14 Shillings and 9 pence of Cash Lent…

Cullen Spence to - 18 yeards of Lincey Woven feberwarey ye - 10th

march ye 29th [155] 1757    ye indines made a breach at Rockey Springs Wherein was on<e> Woman killed and all Carried away Captives

Apriel ye 2    Willem mc kiney and his S48 Was killed near Car8ell Chambers fort [156] year <17>57

Apriel ye 17 or 18th    Jeremiah Jeck Near putomock Was taken Captive his two Sons killed and one man and a Woman drounded in putomock making ther Escape    year <17>57[Page 173]

Apriel ye 23    John marlen [157] and Willem blear was killed and patrick mc Cleland Wounded Near max Wells fort    year <17>57

May ye 11 [158]     mager [159] Cambel and tussey Was killed or Carried away Captives With 14 other persons near putomock <17>57

ye Isrelits Was onst Within 11 days treavel [160] of Canan but ther murmiring against god Caused them to Wander 40 years in the Wilderness…

may ye 12th    John marten [161] and Andrew paul taken Captive by ye indins from Canagogige  <17>57

May ye 13    two men killed near mc Cormicks fort on Canadeqnet [162] <17>57…

may ye 15 or 16th    11 persons killed at paxton [163] by ye indins - 1757…

may ye 17th 1757    David Stoner [164] Credit to 6s 6p for three yeards of Linen…

moved to ye Caben at Willem mcCreries    may ye 19—1757 [165]

may ye 28th—1757    the Reagelors did begin ther march from Langkester towards herrices ferrey [166]

Jun ye 6th    2 men killed and 5 men taken Captives near Shipistown [167] 1757…

Jun ye 8th    Willem baxter to    one pair of Shoes 0-7-6

Jun ye 9th    James Haledy [168] and 14 men killed and taken Captives    james Longs Son and one other man killed in a Quarey at fort fredreck and 19 killed in a mill on Quitapahcaley [169]     one man and a Woman made ther EScape throu ye mill[Page 174]

Wh<e>ells    and 4 men killed at Shear man velley / and 8 batto men [170] killed going to Shimoko [171] all in one Week / together With 2 men killed and 5 taken prisoners near mc Cormicks fort    1757

St21t62y t4k b566 Ju8 ye 16th 1757 [172]

Jun ye 17th one man killed at Culbertsons fort turning gees out of a medow    4 men Shot at him the ingen ye time [173] he Was Scalping him

Jun ye 22 Joseph Willem to    10 yeards and a half of Linen    £0 6-6    <17>57

ye men did begin ther march from Carlile    Jun ye 22 [174]

Jun ye 24th    Alexander miller [175] Was killed and 2 of his Children taken away Captives from Canagogige and John kenedy badley Wounded and killed [176] or taken and geret pendergras Daughter killed at fort Litteltown [177]     1757

July ye 1st - I did plow ye Corn at W36627 7c C9292s [178] 1757…

July ye 2    a Woman and 4 Children taken from trents [179] gape & ye house burnt…

July ye 2    one SpringStons killed Near Loagens mill Canagogig

July ye 9t - trouper Willsons Son killed Near Antitem—1757…

July 10    Solgers killed at Clapems fort [180] by pretended frend<ly> indins in ye -


B93862 t4k b566 [181] July ye 14 - 1757…

July ye 18 - 6 men killed or taken away from a field reaping

July ye 19 - 19 men killed and taken away reaping in a field Near Shipistown

July ye <?>    4 men killed near Bakers <fort> dr<i>ven [182] Wagons to fort fredrick    <17>57…

July ye 27th    one mc Kissen Wounded and his Son taken Captive from ye South mounten—1757[Page 175]

Agust ye 15    Willem manson and his Son killed Near Croses fort [183]     <17>57

agust ye 17th    Willem Waghs Barn was burnt in ye trak [184] york County by indines …

Agust ye 18 or 19    14 peopel Killed and taken away from mr Sinkeys Congregation [185]

Agust ye 19 - one man killed Near Herrices ferrey    <17>57…

Septemb ye 2    one man Killed Near bigers gape [186] and one inden killed

September ye 9th    one boy and a girel taken away from diney gall [187] - 1757…

Willem boyl to    3 days reaping and one day Staking grean [188]     more to 29 yeards and on<e> half of ten hundred Woven / [189] …more to 43 yeards of 8+ hundred Woven    September ye Eleventh £0 10 9 / 1757…

September ye 26th—1757    Robert rusk and Johnne Craken With five others killed and taken Captive Near Chamberses fort…

Willem bool to    15 Shillings in Cash Lent September ye 30th - 1757    receved de<b>t by his daughter mary…

october ye 2nd 1757 a very great Slaughter near opickin [190] in virginey 60ty od<d> killed and taken captiv…

I did get my money from fort fredrick    october ye 5th <17>57…

Willem Baxter to - 17 yeards of too Cloth Woven December ye - 20th 1757…December - ye 20 Receved one bushel of Corn from Willem Baxter…

December ye 30th 1757    Samul gettey [191] to    15 Shillinngs in Cash Lent by me James mc Colock…

Willem mc Crerey to - 11 yeards of Wolling woven in December - <17>57    more to <mc> Crery    Nine yeards of Stuf    jenew<ary 17>58…[Page 176]

Jenewary ye 8th - 1758    then Receved two bushels of Ray from Willem Boyl 2 days at rasing ye barn [192]

Feberwary ye 13-1758    Maren Love to    7S and 6d in Cash Lent by me James mc Colock…

Feberwary ye 24 1758    a Sor<e> [193] bloing Snow…

march ye 16th—1758    Willem moore [194] to    2 Shillings and Six pence in Cash lent by me James mc Colock

march ye 22d James gouley [195] to    3 Shilling in Cash lent by me    James mc Colock 1758…

Apriel ye 2nd - 1758    two men killed and one taken Near Shipes town

Apriel ye 5th    one man killed and 10 taken near bla<c>ks gape

Apriel ye 13    one man killed and 9 taken near Archibald beards at South mounten    1758…

did begin to plant Corn may ye 4t——1758 did Soo flex Apriel ye 28    had d48 7456ding C498 Ju8 ye - 15 [196]     James mc Collogh…

May ye 21st    one Woman and 5 Children taken Captive from yealou bretches [197]     1758

may ye 23d    Joseph gelledy [198] killed his Wife and one Child taken from Canagogige    1758…

We did so<w> oats may ye 24 - 1758…

Archibald mc Coloch to 19 yeards of Linen Woven may ye - 29th 1758    mor to 2 yeards of too Cloath Woven Jun ye 20th…

may ye 29th    one dinwodey and Crawford Shot by 2 indins in Carels trail    1758…[Page 177]

we ded re<a>p <and> Cut Corn may ye 31 - 1758…

1758 J58 [199] ye 15 Robert Erven and John Jeck [200] Was purshued [201] by indins near Antetim…

July ye 20 - one boy plo<w>ing at Swatara [202] was Shot at by indins killed one of his horses and wounded ye other  <17>58…

did Sow turneps Agust ye 2d 1758.…

5 In late November, 1758, General John Forbes's army forced the French to abandon Fort Duquesne (later Pittsburgh), a British victory that led to sharply diminished Indian assaults on Pennsylvania's borderlands. Shortly afterward, James McCullough exchanged his farm in Antrim township for another further west, in Peters township, a few miles from Mercersburg, where he lived the rest of his life. In 1763 Pontiac's Rebellion once more decimated the Conococheagues and other western settlements, and on 26 July 1764 a band of Indians massacred the local schoolmaster, Enoch Brown, and 10 of his pupils; only McCullough's nephew, Archie, survived, although he was bludgeoned and scalped. However, in December 1764 McCullough's grief turned to joy when one of his two kidnaped sons, John, was returned from captivity. The fate of James, Jr., was never determined.
6 In 1767, when the Upper West Conococheague church was permanently reestablished, the congregation comprised 130 families, and a year later Cumberland County's tax assessor listed James McCullough, his wife, and five surviving children as possessing two hundred acres, 32 of them cleared, plus three horses, four cows, and 10 sheep. McCullough lived to see two of his sons, John and Hance, fight in the Continental Army during the American Revolution, and, according to family tradition, he died on 19 December 1781—although his will was not proved until early 1786. McCullough's wife inherited his “large Bible, Whatsens body of devinity and Browns Explanation of the Romans,” [203] while John and Hance were to share their father's “plantation.” Hance apparently died in 1786, but John, the redeemed captive who had to relearn English and the white man's ways after more than eight years among the Indians, lived until 1823 on the family farm, became a[Page 178] ruling elder in his father's church, and had six children whose descendants still lived and farmed in Franklin County in the early twentieth century.


45: Mary Cumming, 1814-1815 [para. 8-23]
7 The last Irish emigrant in this section, Mary Cumming (née Craig), was the young wife of William Cumming, also from Ulster and a tobacco merchant in southeastern Virginia. Surprisingly, Mary Cumming's letters to Ireland have survived whereas her husband William's correspondence has not. This represents a reversal of the usual pattern which reflected not only lower literacy among Irishwomen than among their male peers, [1] but also the patriarchal custom whereby even literate married women often deferred to their husbands in communicating with Irish kinfolk. [2] For instance, although wives of wealthy Irish immigrants were more likely to be letter-writers than were the spouses of ordinary farmers and artisans, when Hannah Wright in frontier Ohio addressed her Irish relations, she wrote primarily on her husband's behalf—begging for money to fund his speculations. [3] [Page 362]

Figure 8
Portrait of Mary Cumming (1790-1815) of Petersburg, Virginia, painted in 1812 by an unknown artist. Photograph courtesy of Tom McDonald, Impact Printing, Ltd., Coleraine, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland.
8 Thus, Mary Cumming's letters are relatively unique. In general, they provide an affluent, married woman's perspective on emigration, on upper-class life in urban Virginia, and, most poignantly, on the problems of sickness and premature death that beset many Irish immigrants, particularly in the South. Mary's surviving correspondence was written to family members in Ireland, mostly to her older sister Margaret, in an intimate, conversational style—as if “I am talking to you,” she explained. As one might expect, its focus is primarily on domestic and family concerns—on husband and home in Petersburg, Virginia, but also on her father and siblings back in Ulster. Indeed, and despite her warm relationship with William, Mary Cumming's letters were riven with an almost inconsolable homesickness, so much so she could scarcely bear to end each letter—for, as she exclaimed to her sister, “it is like a second parting with you for me to quit writing.” [4]
9 Yet in spite of the intensely personal nature of her correspondence, Mary Cumming's letters indicate that her life was by no means confined to an exclusively private domain. In this era what would later be called “middle-class” families were in transition: family and work were no longer combined in patriarchal households, but they were not[Page 363] yet entirely separated into distinct “private/feminine” and “public/masculine” spheres. Thus, during their first year in Petersburg, Mary and her husband resided under the same roof with his clerks, and although they later moved their home to an élite suburb, Mary's letters continued to demonstrate her remarkably detailed knowledge of William's business affairs. To be sure, unlike her older contemporary, the twice-widowed Margaret Carey Murphy Burke, [5] Mary Cumming was never an independent economic agent (for that matter, neither was William), and the tobacco she marketed was a gift from her husband; however, it is clear that she was thoroughly engaged in her husband's commercial concerns and employed her own capital and family networks in Ireland to promote his trading ventures. Likewise, Mary's domestic production—of clothes and lacework, for example—contributed significantly to the Cummings family economy, as did also her reluctant management of William's domestic slaves. And, finally, even Mary's participation in affluent Petersburg's social whirl—its seemingly endless balls and dinner parties—served to reinforce her family's status and advance William's career, while her participation in élite women's charitable activities, such as the local Female Orphan Asylum, complemented her husband's more overt involvement in the “male” worlds of business and formal politics. Thus, it is the paucity of letters, such as those of Mary Cumming, that often gives the erroneous impression that the wives of affluent Southerners were not engaged in commercial and public affairs—although, admittedly, Mary's economic roles may have been enhanced by her and her husband's desire to amass sufficient capital, as quickly as possible, to enable them to return permanently to Ireland at the earliest opportunity.
10 The future Mary Cumming was born on 6 December 1790, the second child of Rev. Andrew Craig (1754-1833), a Presbyterian minister in the thriving linen-market town of Lisburn, County Antrim, and Mary McCully (1760-1807), daughter of “an ingenious experimental farmer” who lived near Newtownards, County Down. [6] Although her mother died when Mary was only 17, she and her siblings, Margaret (1789-1850), James (1793-1845), and Rachel (1798-1860), apparently enjoyed an idyllic life at Strawberry Hill, their father's country manse just outside Lisburn. It was at Strawberry Hill, on 8 August 1811, that Mary Craig, aged 20, married William Cumming. For several years Cumming had resided at Petersburg, Virginia, and the wedding took place during one of his trips to visit relations in Armagh town, where his elder brother was a clergyman. Cumming was employed in Petersburg as a commission merchant, purchasing tobacco, cotton, and flour for the export-import firm of Alexander Brown & Sons. The elder Brown (1764-1834) had been a wealthy linen merchant in Belfast before 1798, when he was implicated in the United Irish rebellion and emigrated to Baltimore—at that time the fastest growing seaport[Page 364] in America. [7] There he became a millionaire as his business expanded from commerce into ship-building and banking, with branches in Liverpool, New York, and Philadelphia. His Cumming cousins also prospered, as both William and his younger brother, James, served as company agents in Petersburg, while other members of the Cumming family represented the firm in Liverpool and Savannah.

Figure 9
Painting of “Strawberry Hill” Mary Cumming's family home near Listburn, County Antrim, made in 1934 by W. J. Carey. Photogragh courtesy of Tom McDonald, Impacr Printing, Ltd., Coleraine, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland.
11 Shortly after their wedding, Mary and “Mr. Cumming”—as she referred to her husband in her first six letters—sailed from Warrenpoint, County Down, to Liverpool, “encountering the danger of a tempestuous sea and the most dreadful sickness I ever endured.” [8] After crossing the Irish Sea, the Cummings resided temporarily in Liverpool with William Brown, one of Alexander Brown's four sons and business partners, and made a brief visit to London. Despite her stern Calvinist heritage, Mary enjoyed the London theatre and was entranced by the city's high fashions and “magnificent buildings.” However, she disliked Liverpool's dirt and bustle and, although she found the English countryside “charming”—and its cottages “so neat and clean” compared with their Irish equivalents—she missed the mountains of her “darling Ireland.” [9] After three weeks' delay, on 28[Page 365] September the Cummings embarked from Liverpool on the Lydia, sharing first-class staterooms with William Brown and his own young bride. Only six weeks later, on 7 November, they arrived in New York City, but despite their comfortable accommodations, Mary Cumming, already pregnant, had spent most of her short but miserable voyage confined to her berth. “Our passage… was very rough,” she related; “indeed it blew a constant gale… for most of the time.” “It would be impossible almost to conceive the delight I felt when again I set my foot on land.” [10]
12 After recuperating in the New York mansion of Robert Dickey—another Cumming-Brown cousin and United Irish exile who had become “immensely rich” in American trade [11] —Mary and William traveled by steamboat to New Brunswick, New Jersey, then by stagecoach to the Delaware, down the river by sail to Philadelphia and Newcastle, overland by stage to the head of Chesapeake Bay, and once again by sailboat to Baltimore. There they tarried for several days at Alexander Brown's mansion, where they met Robert Oliver, a Lisburn Quaker who had emigrated in 1783 and amassed a fortune in trade, and Rev. William Sinclair, who in 1787 had officiated at the wedding of Mary's parents and, like Dickey, had been exiled overseas in 1798. [12] Finally, on 17 November the Cummings embarked by stagecoach south to Alexandria, Richmond, and Petersburg. Mary found American cities “much handsomer than… expected,” and she enjoyed “travelling through the American woods very much,” but her long journeys left her “very much fatigued” and weighing only 105 pounds, 21 fewer than when she left Lisburn. [13]
13 Nevertheless, Mary Cumming's first impressions of her new home were very favorable. “[A]fter encountering the troubles and dangers of a sea and land voyage,” she reported, “here I am at last comfortably fixed in a very pleasant house which I may call my own”:

Oh, my darling friends, how I wish you saw how happily I am settled in this nice little place,    there is everything in it I could possibly wish for. The house is extremely neat and convenient.… The first floor is entirely taken up with the office and[Page 366] store and room for the young men [14] to sleep in. Above stairs there is a very neat parlour about the size of the sitting one of my own sweet Strawberry Hill, [plus] a very handsome drawing room in front with three windows… very neatly furnished indeed. You go out of the parlour into a little passage which leads to my sleeping room, which is a very pleasant apartment. On the same floor there is a very nice high dressing-room which I intend making a china closet of. Next to that there is a back stairs which leads you through a little shrubbery to the kitchen, which is at a little distance from the house. There is another little room with shelves all round it where the cold meat and bread are kept. In the third story there are three excellent sleeping-rooms all as neat as I could wish for. There are fireplaces in all the chambers except one.… Mr. Cumming has got plate, [15] china and glass, etc., in great plenty, indeed it does not look much like a bachelor's establishment. [16]

Mary Cumming shared the house not only with William and his clerks but also with at least six black “servants”—“I cannot bear the word slaves,” she admitted [17] —whom she managed, apparently, with both kindness and success: “the servants appear to be all regular and well behaved,” she wrote, and one of them, Nancy, “is so good a cook that I have only to tell her in the morning what I wish for dinner.” [18]
14 Superficially, early nineteenth-century Petersburg seemed an ideal place to be young, wealthy, and Irish. With 5,668 inhabitants (half of them slaves and free blacks), Petersburg in 1810 was Virginia's third largest town (behind Richmond and Norfolk), the leading tobacco port for the southern part of the state and for much of North Carolina, and a major flour-milling and manufacturing center. It was also a rigidly stratified society: in 1820 the top 10 percent of Petersburg's taxpayers held nearly 60 percent of all taxable property. To be sure, Petersburg's main streets were not paved until 1812, and religion was reportedly “at a low ebb”; the first permanent Presbyterian congregation was not established until mid-1812, which obliged Mary to endure “dry, uninteresting” sermons in the local Episcopal church. [19] However, the town boasted a flourishing social and cultural life, centered around what was reputedly the oldest theatre in North America, the race track, and balls and card-parties in the gentry's “elegant and well-built houses,” as one traveler described them. [20] Moreover, the Irish presence in Petersburg was especially strong: economically, as after the Revolution Ulster-born merchants largely supplanted the Scottish factors who formerly dominated the tobacco trade; and culturally, as resident Irish literati such as the 1798 exile, John Daly Burk, [21] published volumes of history and Irish music, and wrote plays for the town's theatre. Intelligent, charming, and well-connected,[Page 367] Mary Cumming enjoyed a prominent place in this society: “I like the country,” she enthused, “and I admire the people whom I have met with extremely. The American ladies are in general gentle and elegant in their manners, and most of those I have the pleasure of knowing appear to be accomplished and well-informed.” [22]
15 Most rewarding was her seemingly idyllic relationship with a devoted husband: “My dear William… is everything to me my heart could wish for,” she wrote; “the longer I know him I love and esteem him more.” [23] The Cummings apparently enjoyed what historians have called a “companionate marriage”—increasingly common among the genteel classes in Britain and America—that was based on free choice and mutual affection and respect rather than on patriarchal authority, parental compulsion, or purely economic calculations. Clearly, Mary and William delighted in each other's company: they attended parties together; read to each other on chilly evenings; and shared interests in gardening, politics, and William's commercial ventures, in which Mary herself invested. Thus, what she called her domestic “rapture” seemed complete when, on 1 May 1812, she gave birth to a “darling little daughter.” [24]
16 Yet, despite every comfort, Mary Cumming was desperately homesick. After she and her husband moved to an even grander house in Petersburg's upper-class suburb of Blandford, “William tells me sometimes that… I will get so fond of the place that I will not like to leave it”; however, she vowed, “there is not the least danger in that respect”: “a cottage in Ireland for me, before a palace in any other country.” [25] In part, Mary's longing for “dear Strawberry Hill” stemmed from her initial belief that, after merely a few years in Petersburg, her husband would make his fortune and return to Ireland—thus relieving her of the need to adjust psychologically to the possibility of permanent emigration. [26] Unfortunately, and despite William's assurances, on 18 June 1812 her worst fears were realized when war commenced between the United States and Great Britain. The War of 1812 not only imperiled transatlantic communications but also made going home impossible: “I now feel as if I was a prisoner in this country,” Mary lamented; “I much fear that the time for our return to my dear native land is now more uncertain than ever.… I cannot bear to think of it.” [27] The outbreak of hostilities also endangered the status of Petersburg's alien residents, and despite their families' many associations with United Irish refugees, both Mary and her husband were loyal “Britons.” [28] Thus, although she[Page 368] readily admitted that “[t]he people of this country certainly enjoy many blessings,” [29] she assured her father, “I do not feel pleasant when I hear old England spoken of disrespectfully.” [30]
17 However, most alienating and ultimately disastrous were the effects of what one early visitor called Petersburg's “extreme unhealthiness.” As another traveler wrote in 1786, the town “stands upon the River Appomattox,    the water thereof is almost stagnant… [and] the Vapors arising from it contaminate the air with the most pestilential disorders. Agues and fevers of Every kind prevail.” [31] Conditions were no better during Mary Cumming's residence, and the local Female Orphan Asylum—of which she was elected a director in 1814—was necessitated by the high mortality from malaria, yellow fever, and other diseases. Thus, more than conventional piety obliged Mary to preface her hopes for the future with the phrase, “if we live.” She was weak from the beginning and unaccustomed to America's climatic extremes, and Mary Cumming's health deteriorated rapidly during her first hot, “sickly season,” when she contracted “a bilious fever” and, more devastating, when her “sweet infant” died of a “bowel complaint.” [32] Mary never really recovered from this first major illness, and the following autumn another bout with “bilious colic” caused the stillbirth of her second and last child. [33] To make matters worse, if possible, “the severe remedies” prescribed by Petersburg's physicians were, she lamented, “almost as bad as the diseases themselves”: “bleeding, blistering, salivating, are three of the most favourite cures for bilious complaints,” she reported, and the doctors induced salivating by forcing her to drink calomel, a compound of mercury. [34] By January 1814, when she composed the following letter home, Mary Cumming had regained strength sufficient to observe, if not participate in, the events of the social season. However, her preoccupation with local funeral customs reflected her own precarious health as well as the shadow of premature death that fell over all Petersburg society.
Letter 1.: Mary Cumming, Blandford, Virginia, to Margaret Craig, Strawberry Hill, Lisburn, County Antrim, 2-9 January 1814

Blandford, January 2, 1814

Many happy returns of the year to my dear Margaret, and all the beloved inmates[Page 369] of Strawberry Hill. When or how this letter will be sent I know not, but as I intend it shall be a very long one I will write a little now and then till I hear of an opportunity of sending it. Occasionally I think of something which I wish to tell you, of which I forget when I am in haste to send off my letter. I wrote a very long letter to you in the beginning of November which has not left this country yet, and another to my Father last month which I expect he will receive before you get yours, as I sent it by another conveyance.

I have been very anxious to hear from home for a long time, and indeed if I did not know that vessels at this season of the year have sometimes very tedious passages I should be very uneasy. The last letter I had from home was from Rachel, dated June. The one she said you had written to me at the same time has not come to hand yet. Before I finish this letter I hope I shall have the happiness of telling you I have received a packet [35] from Ireland. I am now so well that I was able to be at no less than two balls last week,    one of them was at Major Taylor's, [36] a very near neighbour of mine,    the other was a public one held at the hall which is within a hundred yards of us. I danced a little but I have not the pleasure now I once enjoyed in that amusement. I get so soon tired owing to my want of strangth that it is rather a toil for me to go through a reel, and I feel more pleasure to sit and look at others than to join them in the dance. “How you are changed” you will say, but believe me I have no idea my dancing days are over. When I go home you will see me I hope as active on the floor as ever. I do not like the reels they dance here,    it is the same or nearly the same figure [37] over and over again. They seem to me to pay no attention to the music and begin at the last of the line as soon as at the beginning. Country dances are not much liked here. In Richmond and the Northward cotillions [38] are the most favoured dances,    balls are always well attended and young and old join in the dance. It would amuse you to see Mrs. Moore [39] going through a reel,    she is an uncommonly large woman, dresses very gay, and seems to enjoy herself more than anyone I know. The American ladies in general dress very well, a good deal in the French style, which I do not admire. There are a number of very pretty girls in Petersburg,    most of the American ladies I have seen are remarkably fair, with scarcely any colour, owing to the warmth of the climate, I suppose. My sweet little Agnes Freeland is an exception,    she is as blooming as any Irish girl,    she has beautiful hair and dark eyes,    I have not[Page 370] seen her here so often of late, owing to her mother's health, which I am sorry to say is very bad. She is now confined to bed, and I am very much afraid her disease will end in a consumption. She has been long threatened with it, and she has met with so many misfortunes lately that I fear it has increased the complaint. Within the last year she lost her husband and an only sister. Mr. Freeland died very suddenly,    her sister (who was a charming woman) died a few hours after the birth of her boy. Mrs. Freeland has an uncommonly strong mind, but I fear her health will suffer,    I do not know what I would do if I was to lose her,      she says she looks on me as if I was her daughter and she has always treated me as if I was really so, but I hope from my heart she will soon get better,    I cannot bear to think of losing her. I have attended four funerals since I came to this country, I believe. The persons all died during the last year,    they were all acquaintances of ours, and what is singular, all Scotchmen. I like the manner that funerals are conducted here very much,    I think they are extremely solemn and impressive. It is a mournful subject, but as this is Sunday I will therefore tell you as well as I can how they are arranged. The day after the decease of the person their friends send notes to as many of their acquaintance as they wish to attend, mentioning at what hour the funeral will take place. The ladies all go in carriages, the men on horseback    when you get to the house every place looks mournful, the coffin put on a large table in the middle of the room, covered with white, the ends tied with black,    all the pictures and mirrors are covered in like manner. When all the company have assembled the clergyman reads the funeral service, which is altogether the most affecting scene I have witnessed these many years. After he has finished six of the deceased's most particular friends bear the coffin to the hearse, the company attend to the place of interment, all alight and proceed to the graveyard where the clergyman again delivers a short prayer over the spot. No person could possibly help being affected during this solemn scene.

There is always a quantity of what is called funeral cake, made on the occasion. It is like our Naples biscuits, each piece is rolled up in mourning paper and sealed with black. I think this is a curious custom,    even the baskets which it is handed round in are all covered with white. I shall now bid my dear Margaret adieu for the present.

Thursday, January 6th

I again take up my pen to have a little conversation with my dear Margaret, and to tell her we have all been on the tip-toe of hope and expectation for these last few days past. A cartel [40] has arrived at Annapolis and brought a messenger from the British Government, who is now at Washington. The general opinion is that the message is of a pacific nature and that peace is not far distant. From my soul I hope it is not. liam is in fine spirits at the good news. If it does take place I think I shall see my beloved friends sooner than I once expected. Do you know I am going to commence tobacco[Page 371] merchant? William gave me for my Christmas gift a quantity which I intend shipping off when peace takes place. If I succeed in my first attempt I shall go on in the same manner till I return to Ireland. William and myself were talking of a plan if we should have peace which he would advise my Father to think of. It is for him to get James Cumming [41] or some other person to purchase some fine and coarse linens, send them to W. Brown of Liverpool to be shipped to America. William will sell them for him and if he pleases lay the proceeds out in tobacco so that if all would turn out well my Father would make by [42] both purchases. William says if we had peace many merchants will be ruined,    some have speculated very largely [43] in tea and sugar when both articles had got [44] an exorbitant price in expectation that the war would last a long time. I am glad to say William never thought it would last very long. I have the happiness of telling you Mrs. Freeland is much better since I wrote last and I trust will soon be quite well. My acquaintance is now very numerous indeed,    my health has been so bad lately that I have not been able to visit any except my most particular friends. There are about eight families with whom I am very intimate, and those are quite enough for me. I do not care for a large circle of acquaintances, a great many of whom I do not care for. Several of my most intimate friends are as elegant accomplished women as I ever met with, so much so that I can find no fault with them, but I must give you some description of Mrs. Taylor, a lady who visited me about a twelve month ago, and who is my nearest neighbour, as I have nothing better at present to tell you. Perhaps it may amuse you. You must not say I am satirical,    I shall not exaggerate nor “set down aught in malice.” Often before I had the pleasure of knowing this lady I had heard of her. I was told she was extremely lively, witty, and sensible, [45] keen in her remarks, and will have her laugh no matter at whose expense. From these accounts I thought I should feel rather afraid of her, but my opinion changed the first time she came to see me,    I found her lively, cheerful, and agreeable, seemed very desirous. [46]

I really think this long epistle will try your patience, but I wish you to send me one just as long. Peace is still spoken of as not being far off,    I feel quite anxious now for William's return to hear all the news. If we have peace he will make a very handsome sum of money by a purchase of flour which he bought the other day,    it was quite a sudden thought;    he had heard some report of the good news, and therefore bought eight hundred barrels of flour at four dollars and a half a barrel. This was lower than it has been here for a long time, and yesterday he would have got six for it. If we have peace it will be up eight or nine dollars, so that at any rate he will make.[Page 372]

I have a delightful plan in view to expend the profits of this little speculation, and if all goes on well I hope to see it accomplished. I wish William to take me on in the gig [47] next summer to Philadelphia, spend some time there, and get the man who made the gig to exchange it for a handsome carriage, as the former is of very little use to us now, since William is so much engaged. I should like to spend some time in Baltimore also. Carriages are very necessary in this country in the Summer to protect you from the immense heat and in Winter from the cold. We have had some piercing weather lately, but I do not mind, as I am always better in cold weather. It is the sudden changes we have which are so injurious. You have not said anything of the Cairds in your letters lately,    I hope they are well. I do not know what all the Lisburn girls are about, [48]     not a girl of my acquaintance married since I left Ireland. Tell Margaret Byers I have not had a letter from her this long time. J.C. [49] deserves his ears boxed. Oh, my beloved Margaret, how happy we shall all be when I return to Ireland. I suppose Dublin will be our place of residence, and then I will have you and Rachel always with me, or I will be with you. My dear Father must come very often and stay with me. I fancy Rachel will be his housekeeper before that time comes. I should like M. Cumming to be mistress of the house at the bridge,    as for Miss Rachel I want her to be planted beside me. What do you think of these plans?

This is a great day in Petersburg,    the inhabitants are to give a dinner to the volunteers. [50] I was awakened this morning by the firing of cannon,    some of the democrats [51] have styled them “the Spartan band.” I suppose it will be “Much ado about Nothing.” William subscribed, but he would not dine with them. The suppers we have at the public balls are very superb. The ladies never pay,    each gentleman's ticket is four dollars, and he may take as many ladies with him as he chooses. I like this plan,    it is considered enough for them to honour the balls with their company without paying anything. The girls in general strip [52] very much at these places,    the frocks are made very low, without very often a shoulder strap; their hair, ever since I came to this country has been worn in what is called an Indian knot. It is twisted in this form as close to the neck as possible,    I did not like this fashion much at first, but I am reconciled to it now. The Americans dress much more in the morning than is customary in Ireland,    I have seen ladies fine enough to go into a ball-room paying morning visits. Perhaps this is owing in some measure to their using carriages so much. There is a beautiful kind of silk to be got in this country, called the French Levantine    it is much richer than the English sarsnet, [53] as soon as I have an[Page 373] opportunity I will send you and Rachel frocks of it, for it is not to be had with you. [54] I got a very handsome figured [55] pink one for the last birth-night ball, which I paid fifteen shillings a yard for. Mercy upon us! how the cannons are firing! If they were going to give a dinner to Lord Wellington [56] there could not be a greater fuss. I think they had better not waste any more powder, as they are very often at a short for [57] some when they are fighting. I believe in my soul many Americans wish old England was sunk in the sea, but she will flourish great and free, the dread and envy of them all.

You cannot conceive how very much my white tippet [58] is admired,    it is the only one in Petersburg of the kind. I have told many people how it was done, but they are afraid to begin so troublesome a job. Pelisses [59] of fine cloth trimmed with gold and gold buttons are very much worn here. This I think is too showy a dress for the street. I have never seen any velvet as handsome as mine. I send you a little bit of the trimming Agnes Freeland taught me to do. Perhaps Rachel or you will find out the way to do it,    it is very easy, but I fear unless you saw it done you will not succeed. However you can try, and I will endeavour to give you the best description of how it is done that I can. You take a piece of cotton (the kind we used to knit with will do) about a yard long, put the one end of it between the first finger and thumb of the left hand, put the thread once around the left hand, and with the right take the other end and work the cotton which is over the left hand something like the way you make a button-hole. When you have about sixteen stitches on try if it will draw, [60] which forms the little loop, which you may make large or small by putting more or less stitches on. The only trouble is to learn to make it draw, which you may be able to find out from what I have said, though I wish I could make it clearer to you. Do not be discouraged if you do not succeed at first, for I am sure I tried forty times before I could get it to draw with me. There are a great variety of ways of making it, but this is the most simple kind I have sent you. I will with pleasure teach you all the others when you can do this, but you must learn to make it draw before you can do any kind,    It is called tatting [61] and makes a very neat trimming. I have done a great quantity of it. When your cotton gives out you must knot it close to the little loop.

January 9th, Sunday.

This is a very wet day. William is gone to town and I have been engaged writing to Mr. Gilmour. We had a snow storm last week, but if this rain continues it will soon[Page 374] disappear. I did a little bit of the tatting last night, which I send you,    you will find if you draw the long end of the cotton which I have left it will form the little loop. The trimming makes a handsome finish to any kind of work,    it always looks well round the sleeve or neck of a morning gown. If you cannot find out the manner in which it is done, as soon as I have an opportunity I will send you and Rachel some. Perhaps she could describe something she learned at school to me, so that I could find it out. What pleasure I shall take in teaching my beloved sisters all the little things I have learned during my stay in this country. I never saw such elegant baby-clothes as the ladies make here. I took much pains making mine the last time, but alas! I had no occasion for them. Tatting done with fine cotton looks very well round the ruffle of little shirts. You see I am telling these things as perhaps you may have use for them some time or other. I have got some beautiful patterns for working, which I would like to send you. Does Rachel make her frocks?

And now my beloved Margaret, I shall bid you adieu! having told you everything I could think of, and I hope I may soon receive a letter from you, as long as this is. I shall write to Rachel very soon. God bless you my darling sister, and grant you every happiness, is the sincere prayer of your

Mary Cumming

William sends a thousand loves to you all.

18 Mary Cumming's hopes for Anglo-American peace and a speedy return to Ireland were continually frustrated. Thus, in summer 1814 William tried to console her with what she hoped would be “a charming excursion, from which I hope to enjoy health and a great deal of pleasure,” [62] to the fashionable medicinal springs at Balltown (now Ballston Spa), near Saratoga, New York. Unfortunately, she reported after her visit, “whether it was owing to the fatigue of travelling or some other cause I did not derive the benefit… which I expected; on the contrary I think I got weaker during my stay.” [63] Indeed, by the time Mary and William reached Baltimore on their return journey, she was too ill to travel further and was forced to remain at Alexander Brown's house while her husband continued to Petersburg. She rejoiced that William “has now determined on returning to Ireland,” as “I suffer so much from the climate that he will not run the risk of keeping me longer in it.” [64] Yet despite the ministrations of the city's “most skillful physician,” Mary Cumming never left Baltimore, and by mid-March 1815, when she penned her last letter to her sisters in Lisburn, her joy at the “most wonderful news” [65] of[Page 375] peace between the United States and Britain was canceled by the certainty of her impending death.
Letter 2.: Mary Cumming, Baltimore, Maryland, to Margaret Craig Ward and Rachel Craig, Strawberry Hill, Lisburn, County Antrim, 15 March 1815

Baltimore, 15 March 1815

My ever beloved and darling Sisters,

As I have been getting weaker every day since I wrote to my dear Margaret, I again take up my pen to try to write a few lines. [66] Thank God that I feel a little stronger today than I have done for some time past. Oh my beloved Sisters, I too well know what you will all feel when this letter reaches you, but I hope and trust that Providence will enable you to bear the mournful news with composure. I hope I shall be quite so before Providence thinks fit to remove me out of this world of care and sorrow. I do all I can to be so. I find it a hard trial to think of leaving this world with all the prospects of felicity which I thought I had to find in it. These are now all over and I must try and prepare myself for another and better state where I believe I am now soon going.

My dear dear friends I have a great deal to say to you. I wish I had strength sufficient to write to you all but that I have not at present.

It is possible that this letter will be given you by my beloved darling William. Oh my friends, if ever you loved your poor Mary, show it in your attention to one that was dearer to her than life. Try to cheer and comfort his dear heart which I know will oppress him for the loss of one whom he always treated with the most unremitting affection, kindness and regard, but I know you will do this with the greatest pleasure. His own worth will secure him the regard of all who have the happiness of knowing him. Talk to him of me for this will please him. He has been my comfort and support during all the sickness and sorrow which I have had and he is now the soother of every moment of my life. I hope and trust we may be united in a better world, never more to part. I cannot speak of the happiness I promised myself on my return this Spring to my native country and to the beloved friends I left,    that is over now.

William will take you a few seeds and roots. My dear Rachel will show him what I once called my garden where I want them to be planted. Let him have it to cultivate when he is with you. He is fond of flowers and this will help to amuse him. Try and keep him with you in Ireland,    I think he would be much happier than here. I know my ever dear and beloved Father will do all in his power to comfort and amuse one so every way deserving of his kindness and affection.[Page 376]

My illness has not been a severe one. I hardly suffer any pain as yet. It seems to be a kind of gradual decline. For this I am, I hope, very thankful and it will be a consolation to all my friends to know that I have had the very best advice that America could give. I have met with every attention from this family that I could have had even at home and if an All Wise Providence now thinks fit to take me, I trust to a better world, I must endeavour to be resigned to his Will. My attachment to this world was very great, it is so still, but my dear friends, I look forward to a blessed reunion. Any and every circumstance you may wish to hear, my dear William will take pleasure in telling you, if you ask him. There are a few little trifles which it is my wish should go to you to be divided between you in any way you think right. It is not for their value but that there is a good deal of your poor Mary's work on them.

I send back my dear James's brooch which I have always kept with great regard. Give him now a sister's blessing who always adored him. Tell him I hope he will prove an ornament to his family and name. Give him some of my hair which you will receive by my love.

But what shall I send to my adored Father, that father who took such pains with me? Oh that I could think of something. He will require nothing, nothing to remind him of me. I hope all his good instructions have not been bestowed on me in vain. I can leave him nothing but my blessing, and may every blessing this world can bestow light on his beloved head. God bless him.

You would wonder if you saw how thin I am, that I could write with such a steady hand, but so it is. You will give my most affectionate love to my dear and very kind friends in Armagh, to my ever kind and most attentive relation Miss McCully, and to my once lively and dear early companion and friend Margaret Byers. I think with great affection and regard on the many many friends I have left in Lisburn, please remember me to them all.

Do not you remember, my beloved Sisters, some kind of Spring Evenings I used to be particularly fond of? They were in the latter end or beginning of April. On some such evening as I shall attempt to describe take a walk to Charles Grove with my dear William and talk of me. Soft, mild and calm, the twilight stealing on, the Bat flittering about and the Beetle humming through the air. You will think then of me.

I gratify myself writing these lines and this moment I feel quite composed and perhaps I am more fanciful than usual.

May God bless, protect, help and support you all through this transient world and grant us all a happy meeting in a better beyond the grave, is and will be, the last prayer of

M. Cumming

19 Mary Cumming died in Baltimore in early April 1815, so beloved that relatives as far away as Londonderry and Genoa named ships after her and composed elegies in[Page 377] her honor. After her death, William Cumming visited the Craigs at Strawberry Hill [67] but returned to Petersburg in December. According to one source, William died of fever or a broken heart in April 1816, but the fact that his will was not recorded in Petersburg until 17 March 1825 suggests that his death occurred shortly before the latter date. Cumming's real and personal property was valued at $23,000, including 134 cotton bales ($7,814), eight slaves ($2,210), his and Mary's pew in the new Presbyterian church ($75), and all their household goods. William generously bequeathed £500 each to Mary's father and two sisters in Ireland, and the same to his Cumming relations in Dublin and Armagh. The final tragedy, however, was that to yield those sums the entire estate had to be sold—including the slaves for whom Mary Cumming had had such sympathy and affection.[Page 378]


21. James McCullough, 1748-1758.

1. On the First Great Awakening among the Presbyterians in the Middle Colonies, see chapters 46 and 47.

2. On the political struggles between Pennsylvania's Proprietary and Quaker parties, see chapter 53.

3. To the best of the editors' ability, McCullough's diary entries have been rearranged in chronological order, with ellipses indicating that entries have been reordered. This is an abridged rendition of the original diary: entries that were largely undecipherable, had little or no contextual significance, or predated 1748 or postdated 1758 have been omitted. In the original manuscript, the earliest and latest entries are dated 1745 and 1767. However, the overwhelming majority of diary entries are dated 1749-1758 and are reprinted here.    ¶The rows of numbers and alphabetical letters at the beginning of the text constitute McCullough's own key to the code that he employed sporadically. Discerning readers will note that McCullough used his code most consistently to record the matings or “bulling” of his cows, but whether he did so out of prudishness or because he perhaps utilized the services of his neighbors' bulls surreptitiously, without their owners' consent or reimbursement, can only be conjectured.

4. 3172s 7c C464gh h3s h18d 18d p28 38 h48 t4 728d    3f 7y p28 w292 1 63t26 b2tt29 3 C456d 72: Iames mc Colagh his hand and pen in hop<e> to mend    if my pen were a litel better I Could me<nd>.

5. peas: i.e., pace (also peaces, peaceses, paces “paces” below).

6. Log: “about three quarters of a pint” (OED).

7. MacCullough's lists, here and later in the diary, of biblical passages, names, and stories suggest that, for him and other eighteenth-century Ulster Presbyterians, the Bible not only was spiritually inspirational and even historically accurate but also provided a series of examples, types, or analogies that paralleled and could guide contemporary, individual behavior.

8. 1 Chronicles 18:22: “Now therefore, behold, the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of these thy prophets, and the Lord hath spoken evil against thee.”

9. Hebrews 6:17: “Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath.”

10. 2 Samuel 21:20: “And there was yet a battle in Gath, where was a man of great stature, that had on every hand six fingers, and on every foot six toes, four and twenty in number; and he also was born to the giant.”

11. 2 Kings 13:21: “And it came to pass, as they were burying a man, that behold, they spied a band of men; and they cast the man into the sepulchre of Elisha: and when the man was let down, and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived, and stood up on his feet.”

12. Judges 9:53: “And a certain woman cast a piece of a millstone upon Abimelech's head, and all to brake his skull.”

13. Zechariah 9:9: “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.”

14. Zechariah 13:7: “Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the Lord of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones.”

15. McCullough lists the months according to the Old Style dating, by which March 25 was the first day of the new year. The British empire's official conversion to the New Style occurred in 1752; at the same time the Julian Calendar was replaced by the more accurate Gregorian, which added eleven days to the Julian reckoning. The shift from Old to New Style explains the dating of some of McCullough's diary entries as, for example, March 1750/51 and 1751/52.

16. The spelling of some of the months in this list indicates Scots pronounciation: Apriel [upreyl], Agust [aaagust], Jenuary and Jeneary/Jenewry hereafter [jeni(w)eri], feberwary [febuweri].

17. on<e>: on is the more frequent spelling of one in the ms., but because its formal identity to the preposition on is distracting to the reader, the editors have normalized to the modern spelling throughout. Conversely, the preposition on is often spelled one in the letters, reflecting the Scots pronunciation (rhymes with own).

18. John ma Cullogh: James McCullough's eldest son.

19. fadom: fathom (six feet; Scots form).

20. wi<d>th: for the loss of [d] in the cluster [dth] see John Craig's breath “breadth” (chapter 46).

21. Alexander elder to: Most of the entries in McCullough's diary can be classified into two broad categories: (1) narrative and (2) commercial. The first type records events, while the second lists transactions involving goods, services, and money. The second category is by far the more numerous and falls into three subtypes, as follows: ¶1. Notations of money or goods received (eight instances), e.g., Receved ten Shillings from Joseph Holland for Corn November ye 27th. ¶2. Notations of accounts payable or disbursements (14 instances), e.g., I ow<e> 7s and on<e> peny to James friers vendo (i.e., vendue “sale”), Jenewary the 12 to    one gallon and on<e> half of melases——3s-9p. ¶3. Notations of accounts receivable (91 instances). These are mostly expressed in terms of a formula: NAME OF DEBTOR (+ to)+GOODS/SERVICE (+ AMOUNT DUE) (+ DATE). The parentheses here indicate an optional component and the italics indicate a moveable component. E.g., Agust the——16——1749  James Frier—to—63 yeards of Linne<n> Woven…on<e> pound eleven Shillings and Six pence, and feberwary ye 19 1752    patrick borns to    on<e> half bushel of Corn. This formula continues in use today—minus the archaic to (see OED, s.v.) but otherwise unchanged in form and content—as the standard format for accounts receivable in bookkeeping entries, with the specific shape: Date+Name of debtor+Goods/service+Amount due. ¶It is clear from a reading of the accounts receivable entries in McCullough's diary, as well as the notations of goods and money received, that besides being a farmer he was a craftsman and businessman, primarily a bespoke weaver (the very large amounts of cloth involved in the various transactions alone support the conclusion that McCullough was selling woven cloth rather than buying for his own needs) but also a general provisioner, hardware merchant, and (not least) moneylender. The importance of weaving for sale in McCullough's economy is seen in his anxiety to conceal the expensive and hard-to-replace parts of his loom from marauding Indians. McCullough's business activities and the products involved, as mentioned in his diary (there were probably others) are as follows. Weaving: linen, bagging, shirting, linsey-wolsey, girthing, woolen cloth, hickory, blankets, tow cloth, bed coverings, winding (or winnowing) cloth. Produce: rye, potatoes, onions, corn, buckwheat, oats, butter, pork, straw. Hardware: buckles, backbands, mattocks. Services: moneylending, “bulling,” fulling, farm labor, pasturing. Outfitting: wallets, hats, shoes.

22. Ray: i.e., rye; the spelling is archaic (early Scots) and is seen mainly in a small number of monosyllables that rhyme with “eye” (e.g. pay, way, now usually spelled pey, wey, like hey “hay”).

23. mor: i.e., more; in bookkeeping style “in addition, plus.” Used optionally in multiple entries of accounts receivable to introduce the second and subsequent items (mostly replaced by item, itself now quite obsolete). E.g. John mc Collogh  to 40 yeards of Linin  more——43 yeards of bagin  mor——15 yeards of lincey  more——72 yeards girthing. The use of more and item (and both together) have a long pedigree; see Muriel St. Clare Byrne, ed., The Lisle Letters, vol. 6 (Chicago, 1981), no. 387 (from 1535): first    vj pair of hosen…item ij caps…more    a yard and a half frisado (“fine frieze”).…    However, McCullough's employment of the form more betrays some education; one expects the Scots form mair, as found for example in the Glasgow burgh records of 1589 (OED, s.v. more): item    fyvetene schillingis for the price of ane hogheid    item mair    twentie sex schillingis viijd. for ane lang courchay.…  

24. 63 yeards of Linnen Woven: “the weaving of 63 yeards of linen.” This formula, which occurs very frequently in McCullough's diary and is probably a bookkeeping cliché, corresponds closely to the Latin formula exemplified by ab urbe condita, literally “since the city founded,” i.e., “since the foundation of the city.” The spelling yeards indicates Scots pronounciation (yerdz); see yerds hereafter.

25. bagin (below also baging): i.e., bagging (a coarse woven fabric used to make bags).

26. lincy (below also lincey): i.e., linsey or linsey-woolsey “a coarse, sturdy fabric made of wool and linen (or cotton).”

27. Stript: i.e., striped.

28. shirtin: i.e., shirting “cloth used to make shirts.”

29. vendo (below also vendou, vendu): i.e., vendue “sale of goods, especially by auction.”

30. a 11 - pence: i.e., “a leven” (=eleven) pence.

31. 31725 7c C4664ch: Iames mc Colloch.

32. girthing (hereafter also girth web): woven material used to make horse girths.

33. pretes: i.e., praties; this and its many variants are the most common designations for “potato” in Hiberno-English, as well as in the speech of Scotland and the north of England.

34. inins: i.e., inions “onions” (Scots form).

35. Dines mc fall: i.e., Denis McFall.

36. Peter Crall: Peter Craul, in 1751 a taxable inhabitant of Antrim township, Cumberland Co.

37. flex: i.e., flax; spelling shows the frequent Scots raising of [a] to [e], e.g., [nestay] “nasty”, [shedday] “shadow”, [jekk] “Jack”. [eftur] “after.” See chapter 43, n. 13; chapter 29, n. 12.

38. Chirly to bull: Chirly (Shirley), one of McCullough's cows, was sent to and mated with a bull that probably belonged to one of McCullough's wealthier neighbors, although later McCullough's own farm seems to have been able to provide this service (see herefter Robert Mc C<a>rrs Whit hefer did take bul may ye 28th 1775).

39. the Jun ms.

40. hall: i.e., haul.

41. thrush: Scots past tense of thresh.

42. Rept: i.e., reaped (rhymes with gaped).

43. fother: fodder “cattle feed” (general Hiberno-English form).

44. had don: was finished; see chapter 65, n. 20.

45. Wolling: i.e., wollen (any cloth or fabric made of wool).

46. got in: gathered in, secured (the harvest), “saved” (in Irish usage).

47. thomas montgomrey: Thomas Montgomery, in 1743 a tax collector in Hopewell township, Cumberland Co.

48. chaker: i.e., chequer or checker “a fabric with a checkered pattern”; also=checkery “checked cloth.”

49. 9-2: sequences of two numbers of the pattern x-y or x y are to be read “x shillings, y pence.” Whenever this is not the case, the exception will be noted. Sequences of three numbers of the pattern x-y-z (or x y-z or x y z) are to be read “x pounds, y shillings, z pence.”

50. wisted: worsted “a smooth compact yarn made from long wool fibres used especially for firm napless fabrics and knitting.” Wisted is an Ulster variant of the more common Scots form worset.

51. camrick: i.e., cambric “a fine thin white linen fabric.” The spelling shows the Scots preservation of the cluster [mr]; see timmer “timber.”

52. green cloth: i.e., green cloth or greencloth “a kind of linen.”

53. melases: molasses; occurs also below as meloses (transposed spelling of “moleses”).

54. I did begin…: the sentence reproduces Irish syntax exactly (Irish pattern: BEGIN+to+[Object+to+Verb]=McCullough's sentence: I-did-begin+to+[the-great-Swamp+to+clear]), but it is difficult to understand why McCullough would resort to such syntax, when he otherwise (naturally) employed the English and Scots pattern (e.g., the foregoing I did begin to plow fother), and his speech does not betray a strong presence of substrate phenomena.

55. finis: finish (Scots form; rhymes with Innes); see Inglis “English” and, with reverse spelling Cleavish “clevis” (see n. 127).

56. barens: i.e., barrens (prairies or clearings, unforested land).

57. Carson: the Carsons were among the first settlers in the vicinity of what became Greencastle (laid out in 1782), in Antrim township, Cumberland Co. The spelling Willem indicates the Scots pronounciation; see n. 72.

58. shitel: shuttle, an instrument containing thread wound on a bobbin, used in weaving to carry the thread back and forth through the threads that run lengthwise (the warp), thus creating the weft; in the case described here each shuttle used contains a different color of thread, and alternating the shuttles produces striped cloth.

59. hikrey: compare hickory shirt “a coarse and durable shirt worn by laborers, made of heavy twilled cotton with a narrow blue stripe or a check” (OED, s.v. hickory).

60. Willem Willson: William Wilson, in 1751 a taxable inhabitant of Peters township, Cumberland Co.

61. behind: in arrears, overdue.

62. Lining: i.e., linen (and elsewhere hereafter).

63. to (below also too) clouth: i.e., tow cloth (cloth made from the shorter, lower-quality flax fibers, called “tow” or “hurds,” separated by heckling from the longer, higher-quality fibers, called “line”). The spelling clouth here and cloath below indicates the pronunciation [kloth], which alternates with the more common Scots form claith [kleth].

64. two tim<e>s Lining: i.e., double lining (see n. 65).

65. work of filling: work conjectural (ms. blurred); filling: i.e., fulling, here probably referring to the process of cleaning newly woven cloth, which would normally still contain oils and dirt, by beating it with wooden mallets and washing it with fuller's earth; see Piers Ploughman, B.15.445 (ModE trans. of quotation in OED, s.v. full): “Cloth that comes [directly] from being woven is not fit to wear / until it is fulled.” The expression two tim<e>s lining (i.e., double lining; see n. 64) probably refers to strengthening (lining) the cloth to undergo this process. The spelling filling has its origin in the fact that a preceding [f] often causes [i] to change to [u] in Scots, which allows a reverse spelling of [u] as if it were an original [i].

66. on<e> hors<e> paster: pasturing for one horse; for the significance of the spelling paster see chapter 1, n. 83.

67. mathew paton: Mathew Patton, settled or patented Pennsylvania land in 1737; in 1751 a taxable inhabitant of the Great Cove settlement in Peters township, Cumberland (later Bedford) Co., to the west of the Scots-Irish enclaves at Conococheague Creek.

68. gets: Geddes (a neighbor).

69. J173s 7c C464ch h3s h18d: James mc Coloch his hand.

70. Cafrey: conjectural (ms. blurred).

71. mr James: mr conjectural (ms. blurred).

72. Samul: the spelling shows the loss of [y] before an unstressed vowel in Scots pronunciation: [samyul]→[samul]. The same change has taken place in the Scots form Willem “William” [weelum]; see chapter 1, n. 83.

73. 1 conjectural (ms. blurred).

74. James mc Collogh, Junier: the writer James McCullough's second son.

75. shoaks: i.e., shock, a gathering of sheaves stood upright against each other to dry and ripen. The spelling indicates Scots pronunciation with unlowered vowel (rhymes with oak); see loag “log” hereafter.

76. hey: hay (Scots form, rhymes with high); see n. 22.

77. montmogomerey: a “running” correction from the written form (Montgomery) to the spoken, which has been reshaped to fit the Irish pattern of surnames beginning with M(a)c (as if McGomr(e)y); see the form mcgomeres “Montgomery's” (hereafter).

78. plane: plain white cloth (e.g., below plean wite linen).

79. boot: the difference in value between items exchanged in barter, usually settled with a cash payment (Scots usage). The amount due is said to be “in boot.”

80. back band: i.e., backband (a leather strap or iron chain, used to hold the shafts of a cart or wagon; fits over a pad or “cart saddle” placed on the horse's back).

81. amatick: i.e., a mattock “an agricultural tool used for loosening hard ground, grubbing up trees, etc.”

82. wolat: i.e., wallet (not a billfold but a bag similar to a knapsack).

83. […] bushels of ray: ms. blurred; numeral illegible; ray conjectural.

84. winding: winding cloth, used either for wrapping a corpse or for winnowing.

85. r: i.e., are; one or more words illegible after go.

86. finist ms.

87. moulding: cultivating by covering with earth (“mould”).

88. Skool: i.e., school; also Scol, Scoll, Scull hereafter.

89. Robison: the usual Ulster form of Robinson (pronounced as if spelled “Roabyson” or “Robbyson”). An n between an unstressed vowel and s is regularly lost in Scots; see hereafter Shipistown and Shipestown “Shippensburg”; see also Chrissenmas “Christmas” (pronounced “krissymas”).

90. backon: i.e., bacon.

91. man (i.e., Mahon) conjectural (ms. blurred); see mc mehon, mc meghan hereafter. For the loss of M(a)c see such doublets as Cafrey (hereafter): McCaffrey; El(1)iot(t): mc Ellot (hereafter); Carr: mc C<a>rr (hereafter); Crery: mc Crerie, mc Crere, mc Crery (all hereafter); Enos (foregoing): McGuinness; gouley (i.e., Gawley; hereafter): McGawley.

92. tikin (also tickon, ticken, tick hereafter): tick or ticking (a strong, hard linen or cotton material used to make pillows and mattresses).

93. One word illegible.

94. Cut: quantity of yarn, usually containing 12 hanks (see n. 96); yern: i.e., yarn (Scots form).

95. web: the fabric produced on the loom.

96. hank: a definite length of yarn, varying according to material (e.g., for cotton, 800 yards; for worsted, 560 yards).

97. covring: i.e., covering “cover-cloth, cloth used as a cover”; see the foregoing bed covering.

98. Psalm 89:15, Scottish Psalter, 1650 ed., repr. in The Psalter in Metre, rev. version (London, 1929).

99. Crist[n]en: i.e., christening.

100. Willem tomson: William Thompson, in 1745 a tax collector and in 1751 a taxable inhabitant of Hopewell township, Cumberland Co.

101. Ch392y was b56d ye y219 1753: Chirley [i.e., Shirley] was bul<le>d ye year 1753; see n. 38.

102. 748dy J58 - 26  a g921t g5st: Mondy Jun<e> - 26 a great gust (“wind storm, cloudburst”).

103. feading  booz…Strenth…marchent: i.e., fading…Boaz…strength…merchant.

104. Several words illegible after saltar; saltar: i.e., psaltar.

105. Ethipone: i.e., Ethiopean.

106. S45 b5ck: Sou (i.e., sow) buck.

107. Enter to: start, begin.

108. o that men…: occurs as verses 8, 15, 21, and 31 of metrical Psalm 107, corresponding to the same verses in the original psalm; see any edition of the Presbyterian Psalter and Church Hymnary. In the King James Bible, the psalm reads: “Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness and for his wonderful works to the children of men.”

109. James Linsey: James Lindsay, in 1751 a taxable inhabitant of Guilford township, Cumberland Co.

110. […] last: first word or numeral illegible; last conjectural (ms. blurred).

111. at his own hand: free, at his own disposal.

112. Adam Armstrong: in 1751 a taxable inhabitant of Peters township, Cumberland Co.

113. 1755: last numeral in date conjectural (ms. blurred).

114. John Woods: in 1751 a taxable inhabitant of Peters township, Cumberland Co.; killed, along with his wife and mother-in-law, by Indians on 9 November 1756 (see hereafter).

115. torintine: i.e., Torrington.

116. & a half: conjectural (ms. blurred).

117. 7y Ch392y t4k b566 J467 ye 14—1754: my Chirley to<o>k bull Joly ye 14—1754; see n. 38.

118. Dear: i.e., deer.

119. Arter Lockert: Arthur Lockhart; Arter represents the Scots pronunciation of the name.

120. huk: i.e., hook.

121. Coulter: the knife-like part of a plow that cuts the topsoil.

122. Likup: i.e., lick-up, part of the tackle that attaches the horse to the plow; specifically, a clasp fitted to the swingletree to hold the traces.

123. a two hors<e> tree: a swingletree for a two-horse plow.

124. Stepel: i.e., staple or steeple (part of the horse tackle).

125. and: conjectural (ms. blurred).

126. plow pleats: i.e., plow plates, the metal plates that comprise the plowshare and/or the mould board (see hereafter).

127. Cleavish (cleaves hereafter): clevis (a U-shaped piece of iron with a pin or bolt, used to connect a plow with the horse tackle). See n. 55.

128. Shir (also Shear hereafter): [plow]share, the part of the plow that cuts the earth below the top soil; the share is positioned between the coulter and the mould board. (The mould board throws up the soil and casts it to one side.) The spelling shir reflects the Scots pronunciation; see cheer “chair”; the more common Scots term is sock.

129. a Shir onst Lead and mend on the Shoulder: “a share once laid and mended on the shoulder.” When the plow plates, comprised of the plowshare and mould board, become worn with use, the addition of new metal is known as laying; when the new metal is added, the share of mould board is said to be laid. The shoulder is the top edge of the share. The significance of onst (once) is simply that during 1754 laying had to be performed only once. The pattern mend (infinitive) : mend (past passive participle) is modeled on send : send.

130. Colen Spence: Collin Spence, in 1751 a taxable inhabitant of Peters township, Cumberland Co.

131. Numbers illegible.

132. Deveson: i.e., Davidson (Ulster Scots form).

133. 94b29t 7c C99s: Robert Mc C<a>rrs.

134. Ingens: variant pronunciation of Indians.

135. ye fort at ye meting hous: Fort Steele, commanded by Rev. John Steele (1716-1779), Ulster-born pastor of McCullough's Upper West Conococheague Presbyterian church (“meeting house”).

136. Cornel Denbar and his Armey…: after the French and Indians defeated General Braddock's army near Fort Duquesne (Pittsburgh) on 9 July 9 1755, Colonel Thomas Dunbar led the surviving soldiers eastward through the Conococheague settlement to Philadelphia. Dunbar's retreat exposed the Pennsylvania frontier to the merciless attacks that followed. henrey poulens: Henry Pauling (or Pawling), in 1751 a taxable inhabitant of Antrim township, Cumberland Co.

137. great Cove…ma<r>sh Creek: the Indians' massacre of the Scots-Irish settlers at Great Cove (see n. 67), just west of Conococheague, panicked McCullough and most of his neighbors. The Scots-Irish settlement at Marsh Creek was about 35 miles east of Conococheague, across the South Mountain in present-day Adams (then York) County. James McCullough may have sought shelter with a relation, as a Samuel McCullough had farmed at Marsh Creek since 1741.

138. John Creag: John Craig, in 1753 settled on land in Peters township.

139. Anttetem: on this occasion McCullough's family fled southward to the Scots-Irish settlement on Antietam Creek, near the Maryland-Pennsylvania line.

140. Welingers: i.e., willying gears (gears of a willying machine, a device for cleaning wool, flax, or cotton).

141. Shafts: part of a loom; the shafts each lift or depress one half of the warp threads so that the shuttle carrying the weft threads can be thrown across the warp.

142. Wolen Reed: i.e., wooling reed; in a loom, the reed is an iron bar across which the warp is threaded; the reed regulates the space between threads, thus allowing fine or coarse weaving. A wooling reed is one specifically used for weaving woolens.

143. puley Stocks: i.e., pulley stocks (the cases and wheels through and over which the ropes are threaded).

144. Reck: i.e., rick (large stack of hay, wheat, corn, etc.). The spelling reflects the Ulster lowering of i to e or a.

145. prato: potato; the spelling may reflect either prata or pratay or prato (see the varying Scots pronunciations of window: windo, wanday, winda. furr: furrow (Scots form).

146. Stubel: i.e., stubble.

147. McCullough's failure to provide John with a surname suggests that the murdered man was a close relative; however, the author of one, old published transcript of this part of the diary substituted Watson for Was, perhaps basing his change on other local records or memories.

148. Canagogige: Conococheague.

149. Weep ye not for the dead…nor see his native country: according to viewers of the diary in the early twentieth century, this passage from Jeremiah 12:10 was written by McCullough immediately following the entry noting his children's capture by the Indians. Today, the page on which the passage was written is missing, as are many others, from the diary. The passage was also underscored in the McCullough family Bible.

150. putmock (also putomock hereafter): i.e. Potomac.

151. burring: i.e., burying “burial.”

152. Croper: i.e., cropper (tenant farmer or farmer on commission).

153. patrick mc intire (also mctire, McIntire, McTier hereafter): Patrick McIntire, in 1751 a taxable inhabitant of Antrim township, Cumberland Co.

154. mc Dowels fort: built by John McDowell at the site of his mill in Peters township, Cumberland Co.; in 1754 its fortifications were improved by Lt. Col. John Armstrong of the Pennsylvania Militia. Many of the “forts” mentioned in McCullough's journal were not constructed by the British or by the Pennsylvania government, as was Fort McDowell, but instead were small, ephemeral, and privately built blockhouses.

155. 39th ms.

156. S48…Car8ell Chambers fort: Son…Carnell (i.e. Colonel) Chambers fort: a private fort built by the Antrim-born Benjamin Chambers, one of the first settlers west of the Susquehanna, and the site of the future Chambersburg.

157. John marlen: John Morlan, in 1751 a taxable inhabitant of Peters township, Cumberland Co.

158. 11: conjectural (ms. blurred).

159. mager: i.e., Major.

160. treavel: i.e., travel; spelling indicates Scots pronunciation (travyl or trevl).

161. John marten: John Martin, in 1751 a taxable in Peters township; in 1771 a taxable at Little Cove, Cumberland (later Bedford) Co.

162. Canadeqnet: Conodoguinet (or Candoquinette) Creek.

163. paxton: Paxton township, Lancaster (later Dauphin) Co.; see chapter 19.

164. David Stoner: a German settler in the Conococheagues; ancestor of the present owner of McCullough's diary.

165. This entry and that of 1 July 1757 indicate that McCullough and his family fled eastward a second time to the Marsh Creek settlement, where William McCreary had lived since 1740. However, this was their third move in all, as they had fled to Antietam on 19 April 1756 (see earlier).

166. the Reagelors…herrices ferrey: Regulars (British soldiers). This was the vanguard of General John Forbes' British army, marching to the frontier from Lancaster (Langkester), across the Susquehanna at Harris's Ferry (herrices ferrey; the future Harrisburg), and on to Carlisle (Carlile hereafter; see entry of 22 June 1757) and beyond. Eventually, the presence of these troops would sharply reduce French and Indian attacks in the Cumberland Valley, but the main British campaign did not get underway until July 1758. The spelling Reagelors reflects the loss of [y] before an unstressed vowel, as in jointure [joyntyoor] → joynter [joyntur] (chapter 1, n. 83).

167. Shipistown: Shippensburg, Pa. For the significance of the spelling, see n. 89.

168. James Haledy: James Holiday, in 1751 a taxable inhabitant of Peters township, Cumberland Co.

169. Quitapahcaley: Quitapahilla (or Quetapahely) Creek, in Lancaster Co.

170. batto men: i.e., batteau men “boatmen.”

171. Shimoko: the Indian “capital,” on the Susquehanna, below the mouth of the North Branch; near the present site of Sunbury.

172. St21t62y t4k b566 Ju8 ye 16th 1757: Steatley (i.e., Stately) to<o>k bull Jun<e> ye 16th 1757; see n. 38.

173. ye time: while.

174. See n. 166.

175. Alexander miller: in 1751 a taxable inhabitant of Antrim township, Cumberland Co.

176. Words scratched out between and and killed.

177. fort Litteltown: Fort Littleton (or Lytleton), at Sugar Cabins, Cumberland Co.

178. W36627 7c C9292s: Will<i>am Mc Creres (McCreary's).

179. trents: conjectural (ms. blurred).

180. Clapems fort: Clapham's Fort; probably named after Col. William Clapham of the Pennsylvania Militia.

181. B93862 t4k b566: Brin<d>le (cow) to<o>k bull; see n. 38. McCullough's coded spelling (Brinle) reflects the Scots preservation of the cluster [nl]; see kennle “candle.”

182. dr<i>ven: i.e., driving.

183. Croses fort: Cross's Fort, in the Conococheague settlement.

184. ye trak: the Tract. The spelling shows the Scots loss of final t following a consonant; see effeck “effect,” attemp “attempt.”

185. mr Sinkeys Congregation: the Irish-born Rev. Richard Sankey (1736-1790); in 1737-1760 his Presbyterian congregations were located at the Hanover church, on Manada Creek, and at the Old Stone church at Carlisle, Cumberland Co. Sinkey is a reverse spelling based on the Ulster lowering of i to e or a; cf. sank/senk “sink.”

186. bigers gape: Bigger's Gap.

187. diney gall: Donegal township, Lancaster Co. The spelling represents the Scots pronunciation of Donegal, which of course is also the westernmost county in Ulster.

188. Staking grean: i.e., stacking grain.

189. Several words illegible after Woven.

190. opickin: Opequon, a Scots-Irish and German settlement in the northern (lower) end of Virginia's Shenandoah Valley.

191. Samul gettey: Samuel Getty, settled at Marsh Creek in 1739.

192. Perhaps to be read as then <I> Receved two bushels of Ray from Willem Boyl <in return for> 2 days <work/help> at rasing ye barn.

193. Sor<e>: severe.

194. Willem moore: William Moore, in 1751 a taxable inhabitant of Peters township, Cumberland Co.

195. gouley: (Mc)Gawley; conjectural (ms. blurred); for the spelling see poulen (Pauling/Pawling) earlier.

196. had d48 7456ding C498 Ju8 ye - 15: had don<e> moulding Corn Jun<e> ye - 15.

197. yealou bretches: Yellow Breeches Creek; the spelling bretches reflects the Ulster lowering of i to e or a.

198. gelledy: i.e., Gildea.

199. J58: Jun<e>.

200. Robert Erven: Robert Erwin (or Irvine), in 1751 a taxable inhabitant of Antrim township, Cumberland Co. John Jeck: John Jack, in 1751 a taxable inhabitant of Hopewell township, Cumberland Co.

201. purshued: pursued; Scots form.

202. Swatara: Creek and township, also Fort Swatara near Swatara Gap, in Lancaster Co.

203. Will of James McCullough, signed 2 May 1778 (Will Book A, p. 66, in Kittochtinny Historical Society, Chambersburg, Pa.; courtesy of Lillian Colletta). Whatsens body of devinity: A Body of Practical Divinity: Consisting of Above One Hundred Seventy Six Sermons on the Lesser Catechism Composed by the Reverend Assembly of Divines at Westminster: with a Supplement of Some Sermons on Several Texts of Scripture (London, 1692), by Thomas Watson (d. 1686), an English Presbyterian divine, who at the Restoration (1660) was ejected from his church, St. Stephen's, Walbrook, for Nonconformity, although in 1672 he regained a preaching license. Revised editions of Watson's most famous work were published as late as 1855 under the title A Body of Divinity. ¶Browns Explanation of the Romans: An Explanation of the Epistle to the Romans (1679), by Thomas Brown (1610?-1679); born in Kirkudbright, Scotland, from 1655 Brown was minister of Wamphray in Annandale, in Dumfriesshire, but in 1662 he was arrested and banished for opposing Charles II's interference in Presbyterian church affairs; exiled in Holland, Brown became minister of the Scots church in Rotterdam.


45. Mary Cumming, 1814-1815.

1. See chapter 6.

2. E.g., see chapters 24, 26, and 27. Similarly, see Charles O'Hagan's petition on behalf of Mary Dunn (chapter 37).

3. On Hannah Wright, see chapter 25.

4. Mary Cumming, Liverpool, England, to Margaret Craig, Strawberry Hill, Lisburn, Co. Antrim, 30 August 1811. Strawberry Hill, the Craig family home, actually lay about a mile outside Lisburn, on the Co. Down side of the Lagan River, which separates Antrim from Down.

5. See chapter 44.

6. Lisburn town is located on the Co. Antrim side of the parish of Blaris (or Lisburn), which is divided between Co. Antrim's Upper Massereene barony and the baronies of Lower Iveagh (Upper Half) and Upper Castlereagh in Co. Down. For demographic data on Blaris parish and its environs, see appendix 2.1c, chapter 45. Quotation cited in J. Irvine, ed., Mary Cumming's Letters Home… , 28; see Sources, chapter 45.

7. Between 1790 and 1820 Baltimore's population rose from 13,503 to 62,738, and before the War of 1812 the city surpassed Philadelphia and rivaled New York in prosperity and trade with Europe and the West Indies.

8. Mary Cumming, 30 August 1811.

9. Mary Cumming, Camden Town, London, to Margaret Craig, Strawberry Hill, Lisburn, Co. Antrim, 7 September 1811.

10. Mary Cumming, New York City, to Margaret Craig, Strawberry Hill, Lisburn, Co. Antrim, [8 November 1811].

11. Robert Dickey was a native of Ballymena, Co. Antrim; his brother, James Dickey, had been less fortunate, forfeiting his life on the gallows for his involvement with the United Irishmen and the 1798 Rebellion. Quotation from J. Irvine, ed., Mary Cumming's Letters Home… , 41; see Sources, chapter 45.

12. Rev. William Sinclair: a graduate of the University of Glasgow (1775), in 1785 he was ordained as Presbyterian minister of Newtownards, Co. Down; Sinclair was associated with other New Light and nonsubscribing clergymen in the Presbytery of Antrim, and in the 1790s he became a major figure among Co. Down's United Irishmen; in 1798 Sinclair was found guilty of treason and transported to America, sailing on the same ship that carried John Caldwell of Ballymoney (see chapter 68); because of Sinclair's doctrinal liberalism and political radicalism, he was “embargoed” by the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States; however, the Presbytery of Baltimore accepted him, and he spent the rest of his life ministering to a congregation in that city, as did another United Irish exile, the Rev. John Glendy from Maghera, Co. Derry.

13. Mary Cumming, Petersburg, Va., to Margaret Craig, Strawberry Hill, Lisburn, Co. Antrim, 25 November and 6 December 1811.

14. the young men: William Cumming's two clerks.

15. plate: dinner utensils or vessels made of silver.

16. Mary Cumming, 25 November 1811.

17. Mary Cumming, Petersburg, Va., to Margaret Craig, Strawberry Hill, Lisburn, Co. Antrim, 24 February 1812.

18. Mary Cumming, 25 November 1811.

19. J. G. Scott and E. A. Wyatt III, Petersburg's Story… , 100; see Sources, chapter 45. Mary Cumming, 6 December 1811.

20. Scott and Wyatt, 42.

21. On Burk, see chapters 63 and 64.

22. Mary Cumming, 6 December 1811.

23. Mary Cumming, Petersburg, Va., to Margaret Craig, Strawberry Hill, Lisburn, Co. Antrim, 9 January 1812.

24. William and Mary Cumming, Petersburg, Va., to Margaret Craig, Strawberry Hill, Lisburn, Co. Antrim, 2 May 1812.

25. Mary Cumming, Petersburg, Va., to Margaret Craig, Strawberry Hill, Lisburn, Co. Antrim, 26 May 1812.

26. Mary Cumming, 30 August 1811.

27. Mary Cumming, Petersburg, Va., to Margaret Craig, Strawberry Hill, Lisburn, Co. Antrim, 24 June 1812.

28. It is intriguing that, despite her own Ulster childhood during the 1790s, and despite her family's close ties to former United Irishmen, in none of her letters did Mary Cumming ever allude to the 1798 rebellion, even when she encountered its exiles in America. Since she wrote freely and informatively on other political issues, her reticence cannot be ascribed to conventional gender roles but rather to the loyalism of her own immediate family (one of her brothers-in-law was a Church of Ireland minister) or, more broadly, to the self-imposed silence on the subject that characterized much of Ulster Presbyterian society after 1798.

29. Mary Cumming, Blandford, Va., to Rev. Andrew Craig and Margaret Craig, Strawberry Hill, Lisburn, Co. Antrim, 29 January 1813.

30. Mary Cumming, Blandford, Va., to Rev. Andrew Craig, Strawberry Hill, Lisburn, Co. Antrim, 20 December 1813.

31. Cited in J. G. Scott and E. A. Wyatt III, Petersburg's Stoy… , 24, 41; see Sources, chapter 45.

32. Mary Cumming, Blandford, Va., to Margaret Craig, Strawberry Hill, Lisburn, Co. Antrim, 17 November 1812.

33. Mary Cumming, Blandford, Va., to Margaret Craig, Strawberry Hill, Lisburn, Co. Antrim, 7-14 November 1813.

34. Mary Cumming, 7-14 November 1813. Mercury, of course, is lethally poisonous.

35. packet: package or parcel (of letters).

36. Major Taylor: George Keith Taylor, Petersburg's leading attorney and a Virginia state legislator. His wife (Mrs. Taylor hereafter), a sister of the U.S. chief justice John Marshall (1755-1835), was primarily responsible for establishing the local Female Orphan Asylum.

37. figure: dance movement.

38. cotillion: a dance of French origin, now a variety of quadrille.

39. Mrs. Moore: in her letter of 6 December 1811, Mary Cumming had described Mrs. Moore as an Irishwoman who, although she had lived 20 years in America, was still “completely Irish in her manners, which I like very much. She is a great, large, fat, bouncing-looking woman, appears to be prefectly good-natured, and extremely obliging to me indeed, but I come from Ireland, and that is my recommendation with Mrs. Moore.… She is a complete national character.”

40. cartel: a ship commissioned in time of war to exchange prisoners.

41. James Cumming: William's brother, who had left Petersburg and returned to Ireland shortly after Mary and her husband arrived in Virginia.

42. make: profit by.

43. largely: widely, heavily.

44. got: commanded, sold for.

45. sensible: endowed with good sense, intelligent, judicious; also, possessed of sensibility (“romantic”).

46. desirous: (socially) desirable “eligible.”

47. gig: a light two-wheeled one-horse carriage.

48. about: engaged in, “up to.”

49. J.C.: James Craig, Mary's younger brother, who was studying law at Trinity College, Dublin.

50. the volunteers: i.e., the officers and members of Petersburg's militia company.

51. the democrats: i.e., local leaders of the Republican party.

52. strip: expose/bare a fair amount of flesh (see very low hereafter).

53. sarsnet: var. of sarcenet: a soft thin silk of oriental origin.

54. it is not to be had with you: it is not available where you are (i.e. in Ireland).

55. figured: patterned.

56. Lord Wellington: Arthur Wellesley (1769-1852), of Dangan Castle, Co. Meath: victorious general in the Napoleonic Wars, first duke of Wellington, and Tory prime minister (1827-1830) during the crisis over Catholic emancipation, which he opposed; his more liberal elder brother, Richard Colley, Lord Wellesley (1760-1842), was governor-general of India in 1797-1805 and Ireland's lord lieutenant in 1820-1828 and 1832-1834.

57. are at a short for: lack an adequate supply of.

58. tippet: a shoulder cape of fur or cloth.

59. pelisse: a long cloak or coat made, lined, or trimmed with fur.

60. draw: in tatting (see n. 61) to pull on the thread to cause the stitching to form into a ring.

61. tatting: a kind of knotted lace, used for edging or trimming.

62. Mary Cumming, Blandford, Va., to Margaret Craig Ward, Lisburn, Co. Antrim, 4 June 1814 (in March 1814 Mary's sister, Margaret, had married James Ward of Lisburn).

63. Mary Cumming, Springfield, Md., to Rev. Andrew Craig, Strawberry Hill, Lisburn, Co. Antrim, 14 October 1814 (Springfield was the rural suburb of Baltimore where Alexander Brown's country home was located).

64. Mary Cumming, 14 October 1814.

65. Mary Cumming, Baltimore, Md., to Margaret Craig Ward, Lisburn, Co. Antrim, 9 February 1815.

66. This letter is a contemporary transcript of Mary Cumming's letter, made by her brother James.

67. “Go to our beloved country,” Mary Cumming had written to her husband, in her last letter of 24 March 1815; “there you will find peace. Talk to my beloved friends of me. Tell them we will all meet in a better world. If I can I will hover round and bless you wherever you go.”


Site created by the Scholarly Publishing Office of the University of Michigan Library
for the ACLS History E-Book Project
© American Council of Learned Societies
For more information, please contact