Herewith transcripts of two letters received here in New Zealand back in 1958. These were as a result of my father-in-law's efforts to re-make contact from family letters that had been received in New Zealand in 1881, 1893, 1911, and then a visit made to the area by his brother Jim when on leave during the Great War.
Our NZ McLaughlin family has continued the contact with family in Tyrone. My husband Peter and I visited the two elderly brothers back in 1979, and our nephew and also a niece have called on the next generation within more recent years. Enjoy!
Letter, dated 3 February 1958, from Andrew BODEN, of Lurgy (parish of Donaghenry), Newmills, Dungannon, Co. Tyrone to D.W.S. McLAUGHLIN of Dunsandel, Canterbury, New Zealand. This was written in response to an appeal by Mr McLaughlin for any information on his family who had farmed in the townland on Lurgy in the 1800s.
Lurgy, 3 Feby 58
A letter came to a neighbour farmer and he took it as it was to the name of HAMILTON. On opening it he did not know who it was for, as there was no one of that name in this district, the reason he took it was he bought a little farm in the district & it was Hamilton that lived in it. He gave the letter to my son and said he might know something about it. I did remember in the low side of Lurgy there used to be an old house belonging to the late John MILLAR, known as McLaughlin's old house. I contacted John Kells Millar the present owner & he told me he remembered W.J. HAMILTON, but he had no family. Then I made enquiries regarding James McLAUGHLIN & James had one son, Hamilton. He would have been your full cousin. He married and had a son James and Mr Millar and I got in touch with him today & gave him the letters & he is your nearest relative that I can find. He lives at a place called Tolvin Rock, Dungannon. He may have a half-brother William I am not sure, but he could tell us about his father's relations & even about the FLANAGANs & Eliza who married DOUGLAS. I thought I would have seen Bob MILLAR, that is James [sic ?John's?] son; he is a lot older than me & he could have told me more than Kells. But he has been in England this long time past & is not home yet. But when he comes back Kells & him & myself will discuss matters over. I told James [McLAUGHLIN] today to write to you & he promised faithfully to do so so I think he will. We all wondered how the letter from W.J. HAMILTON was preserved so long as it was written in Lurgy over 65 years. I think this is all the news at the moment I can think of & I hope you will succeed. Maybe you would drop a line some time & let me know did James write as I would not like to ask him. Wishing you all the best,
Letter from James Alexander McLaughlin [c. 1897 – after 1979] of Tolvin Rock, Dungannon, Co Tyrone, written 16 Feb 1958 to David William Seaton McLaughlin [1879 - 1962] of Dunsandel, Canterbury, New Zealand.
Tolvin – Rock,
Your letter to hand of the 8th January which I received from a Mr Boden of Lurgy as the postman could find no one of the name to deliver the letter to. So he gave [it] to him for to try and find out a owner for it. So with him and a Mr Miller that owns the McLaughlin old place but he dose not live there now. He knew of me but was not sure untill he had a talk with me as I do not live nere them.
Well your Father's brother James was my Grandfather and I am called for him James Alex McLaughlin. I live here with my younger brother William. My grandfather is dead since 1910 and all his Family id dead. My father was called Hamilton – he is dead since Dec 1938. The last of the family died last July. The man Mr Hamilton that you sent the letter to and his Wife are all dead – there was no family that O know of.
Now I want to ask you this – In the 1914/18 War there was a McLaughlin soldier from the N. Zeland Armey made a call here. He was on leave in England so he made across to Ireland to find out some of his people here so he had not long to stop. I was thinking many a time did he ever get home again as a lot of men fell that time. Was he a brother or a son of yours. I hope he came through safe.
My brothers and I farm here; times are not so good at present. There is a lot of trouble in the Country and I think it is the same the World over. Weather has been very bad since New Year, lot of snow rain and frost. You will be having your summer now, we are having our winter. Our summers now you could hardly call it summer, it is always so poor weather. You might get a few weeks of sun and that is nearly the whole of it. Well, I think this is all for the present – hoping that it finds you well and I wish you a prosperous year.
Mr James A. McLaughlin
Hope to hear from you later on.