(I am duplicating these letters as I have time! None of them are complete at the moment.)
From Mr. Gray, Surgeon, Irvine, Ayrshire (William Wyllie Gray, M.D.); oldest son of Mary Willie and Neil Gray Sr.
To: Neil Gray, Sr.
Irvine 1st of October, 1832
Dear Father and Friends,
I have received your letters of the 7th of July and 26th of August. It was with much sorrow I learnt from them the death of our dear Aunt, but it was with much pleasure I learnt the fortunate settlement of the rest of my adventuring relations. We are all in good health. Our circumstances are very much as when you left us only we now live in the 3 flat above the shop. In this respect we are far more comfortable.
Perhaps you have heard reform has now become the law of the land. Trade is very flat- the weavers are again repairing the roads for want of employment. Oatmeal is selling for 10/-? per pack. Cholera kept us talking for several months. It has now nearly disappeared. We hear it is ravaging terribly the states of America. Dr. Millan has been employed as cholera physician in Kilw. for some months at 5 pounds per week. I have little communication with the Lochrig (?) people. I understand the house is well fitted up. The Rev. Mr. Campbell lodged with them for several weeks when cholera was severe in Kilw. Young John Reside is servant to them. Old John was engaged as (missing words) to them. I understand they have quarreyed a considerable quantity of limestones this summer. Professor Sandford has offered his services to the city of Glasgow as a member of parliament. The canvas is keen. Sandford has I understand, no chance to succeed. Oswald will now represent the county of Ayr tho' strongly opposed by Blair. The Earl of Eglinton has now taken his residence at Eglinton and strongly solicits the votes of his tenants for Blair. Mr. Kennedy is likely to carry our District of Burghs without opposition. People are often enquiring for you. It was currently reported you were all (?) but you can easily conceive with what joy I received your first letter. Mr. John Mackie (?) Kilw. died lately of cholera.
I beg leave to ask a few questions which I hope you will answer candidly in your next.
1. Was your luggage much trouble or expense to you?
2. Did it cost you much money to travel from New York to Rochester to your place?
3. What is the distance?
4. Under what circumstances did our aunt die? Was her corpse disposed of with my ?
5. Is there any village or city near your place?
6. Can you dispose of your products at an advantageous price?
7. When you speak of a man clearing 2 acres of land in a day what do you mean a man can do to 2 ? acres in a day?
8. What kind of goods or clothes can be carried to America with advantage? Do they examine strictly for the duty?
9. Since you have already 300 Scotch ? would 2000 more be of any use to you?
10. How much did Neil pay for his farm?
11. Is your land covered with trees?
12. Has it ever been laboured?
13. How far are you distant from say to neighboring houses?
14. What kind of grain do you intend to cultivate?
15. Is the Michigan Territory in the State of New York?
16. Is your land near any river, railway, or road?
17. Is it a healthy place? Where is F. Miller?
18. Have you seen or heard from W Wylie or any of his brothers?
19. Is J. Reside living with you or is he otherwise engaged?
20. Is New York the best landing place for Michigan
Mrs. Gray's best respects to you all, also Miss Barbara garland and the rest of my relations desire me to remember them to you.
From: Neil Gray, Sr.
We received your letter of the 14th Nov. 1832 with the greatest pleasure. I would have wrote you sooner but I knew you were hearing from this quarter and as our wheat last season was but a light crop I was anxious to see what the prospect was this season.
We are all in excellent health and have been so since we came here. I myself have not enjoyed so good health for a great number of years as I have since I came here and my stomach has not troubled me at all.
We have forty acres of wheat looking extremely well. We have saved some oats and intend to sow about 20 acres more. We intend to plant considerable corn, beans, potatoes, cucumbers, melons of various kinds and a great variety of other seeds too numerous to mention.
Our oats last season was a fine crop, the potatoes good, they need no dung here, only put them in the ground and hoe them a little and they will grow better than ever I saw them in Scotland.
We made 200 lbs of sugar this spring from our own trees with but little trouble. Our luggage was a great trouble to us from New York and considerable expense. We are 900 miles nearly west of New York, except 40 miles all by water. We are 20 miles from Mount Clemens, five from Romeo. A railroad is to be made from Romeo to Mt. Clemens where there is navigable waters to the Locks and from thence to New York. There is good market for all kinds of produce, wheat 75 cents per bushel, oats 30 cts. corn 50 cts. beans 1 dollar, potatoes 25 cts. cheese 7 cts. per pound of 16 ounces, butter 12 cts.
It would surprise you to see how we get along with the clearing of our land. We have two thirds of it with light brush which we cut with a small hook like a hedge knife. The rest is timbered. We have far better land than Lockridge is. We clear all the brush off from it far easier than we could lime the land in Scotland.
Clothes are generally about 50% dearer here than with your broad cloth particularly. They did not examine us very particularly for duty. There is 20 families within a mile and a half of us. We own 720 acres which we purchased from the US Government at one dollar and 25 cents and acre. There is plenty of government (land) within a few miles mostly very good. People are crowding in almost every day so that there will not be an acre of Government land within a great many miles in a short time. Lots of land cost a hundred dollars last year can be sold for two hundred this year.
I have built a barn 50 by 36 feet and 16 feet high. I am building a new house to contain four rooms and a cellar. I intend to build the house 12 by 36 feet. I do not need to go to the Laird now. When I want to build I just consult my own convenience.
I have three yock of oxen with which we do all ploughing. They do very well.
To: Hugh Wyllie
From: Mr. Neil Gray Surgeon
Maccomb County Romeo
Michigan Territory N. Y.
From: William W. Gray
Irvine, 27th October, 1833
We are happy to know from the letters of others of our friends that you are well and still much pleased with America. We hope your circumstances are very nearly such as you would have them to be and that you feel happy and contented althou' we believe that no sublimary scene can make a man perfectly so. We think we may say your present condition has been purchased with much difficulty and much danger. But if you have adequate remuneration for all your toils it is as much as can be expected from any terrestrial undertaking. And we cannot forget the trying bereavement with which you were afflicted on your journey thitherward. In this matter we sympathize with you and the rest of our friends. At the same time hoping that this and every other bereavement of the sort will have a tendency to lead us and you to trust in the Author of every Good and perfect blessing without whose aid we lose the salutary effects of the warnings and admonitions as well as the corrections we receive.
From your never having written to any of us we are naturally led to the sad conclusion that you have entirely forgotten us and we are surprised that so near relations as we should have escaped your recollection. But though you are neglecting us we have not forgotten you. For we assure you we never meet without talking of our absent uncle or other friends who live on the other side of the Atlantic.
A notice in the Ayr Advertiser having been observed by your friend Mr. H. Wylie that a final dividend was to be made to the creditors of the late George Wylie, we enquired and found that by the death of the late Mrs. Mae Gorse (?) as much money has fallen to the share of his creditors as will afford to each about 1/- per pound. We suppose about ten pounds will fall to your share and as this will be a final dividend it will be necessay for you to appoint some person here to receive it for you and give the Trustees a discharge in your name. For this purpose we advise you immediately to give a mandate to some person written with your own hand for altho' the money will be kept for you yet we think it best for you to do it soon. It will not be necessary for you to appoint a lawyer.
To Mr. W.W. Gray, Surgeon- Irvine,
From: N. Gray
Romeo, 16 July, 1834
I take this opportunity to write to you by Mr. Balantine from Montrose, Scotland who had made us a visit and returns again to Scotland intending, however, to return again to this country next Spring. I expect he will call and see you. We are all in good health and about to begin our wheat harvest. We expect to be able to sell about #200 worth of this year besides we have both potatoes and corn. The wheat in this country is worth 4/6 bushel, oats 1/6, corn 2/-, potatoes 1/-, cheese 4d, for the butter 6d. There is now on the farm 9 horses, 7 oxen, 6 cows, 3 year olds, 6 calves, 8 sheep, a great many hogs, hens, turkeys and geese innumerable. Our land is now so well (?) that we can plant our potatoes with the plough. We can raise off the farm that we have now improved as much grain as we could raise off the Inkrigg (?) and now we have no rent to pay. You will see by this how many of the comforts of life we enjoy here. The country here is rapidly settling with inhabitants. There is almost no land for sale by government in this town (which is named Bruce).
To: Mr. William Gray
From: Neil Gray
Bruce, January 9, 1836
I received your letter of the 10th (of) May 1835. We are all in good health hoping you all enjoy the same privilege. Your brother Neil has not had ague except a few days after he came here at first. Our climate here is indeed very healthy more so than it is in Scotland. I have never known what it was to be troubled with my stomach since I have been here. I have not enjoyed so good health for a great many years as I have since I came to this part of the world. Your mother
is much the same as when you saw her.
There is considerable timber on some parts of my land but which I never intend to clear because I want to save it for fence and fire wood- it consists of oak beech maple black ash white ash walnut elm birch basswood (?) and various other sorts of smaller dimensions. The brush on the opening is cherry (?) basswood pigeon brush and small oaks but in general very thin.
To: W.W. Gray
From: Hugh Wylie
November 9, 1836
As I have heard nothing from you since I wrote to you I take this opportunity to address you again. I wrote to you authorizing you to receive the money due to me on the estate of the late George Wylie (?) about one year from this date and I have received no answer from you since that time. I expect that you have received the money and given the executors my receipt. If so be so good as to write to me soon and let me know.
From: Neil Gray and Mary W. Gray
Bruce, 10th Feb. 1842
To: Son (William?)
My Dear Son
I am happy to inform you we are all well and I hope by the blessing of God you are also well. It is long since we heard from you- I have not heard from you since April 10th 1841. I ever expect to see you here and if we should never meet in this world may we meet around the blood washed throng in singing the praise of God and of the Lamb. I was glad to hear that your son and Mrs. Gray has gone well... you have not let me know what the names of your sons is. You stated in your letter that you would like to know what country your brother Neil's wife belongs to.
To: Neil Gray, Sr.
From: William W. Gray
April 25, 1844
Dear Father and Friends
It is with much pleasure that I inform you we are all in good health. Also I sincerely hope and wish that you are also enjoying the same blessing. I may also state that we have been all well since I last wrote you.
To Wm W. Gray
Bruce Macomb County Michigan
March 24, 1847
My Dear Son,
We have not heard from you for a length of time. We wrote to you about 2 years ago but never received any answer. Since then nothing of any importance has happened to any part of my family. We all continue to enjoy good health.The only death among your cousins here is the death of one of your brother Neil's children- it was only a few months old- he has now 4 boys- your sister Mary has got another son- Hugh and his wife enjoy good health.
August 18??; written before March 1852
To: William W. Gray
(oldest son of Neil Sr. and Mary Gray who stayed behind in Scotland)
From: Neil and Mary Gray
Bruce Macomb County Michigan
My Dear Son
We embrace the opportunity of writing to you by Mrs. John Smith who is starting from here for Irvine. We have wrote to you twice without receiving any answer from you. We think it strange and feel somewhat uneasy not hearing from you.