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Monday, July 26, 2010

Patrick Flanagan - Part 2

Grahamstown
Dec 6th 1867

"Dear Brother (Michael Flanagan)

I received your two letters and the slip enclosed in Kats two days ago I did not receive them in time to write by the same boat as the Mails very little delay at Auckland I cannot tell you what I felt when I heard the awful news from there a roomer was here for a week before your letters reached me those that circulated it were very positive as to the correctness of it and they having the names very Correct I was in a feaver between hope and fear until the arrival of the Charles Edwards confinned the worst fears I entertained I will not say any more about it at present but I think his father’s name was James I am not certain is there no letters left after him that would tell that I now more than ever regret my coming here as I would be clear of the debt by this time I do not know what to do about that I would go away cheerful and contented to California, but I should like to leave everything clear behind, do you think is there any chance of gitting anything from Mooney or Fleming....."

This is probably the first letter that I come across where Patrick is fairly articulate.  In many of his letters, you can tell that he is in a big hurry.  The letters that he wrote to Michael when they were separated in Australia and New Zealand speak mostly of people, places, and digging successes.  Patrick was definitely focused on mining and in this letter talks of going to California.

".............If we were down in America with Nicholas even though we were pennyles we would have only to work as we do here. I intended bringing the same subject up myself as Kate has but I did not intend to leave here for about two months for a variaty of reasons you could try to get some of that Money I might get a few pounds they would be few as this is the poorest place I have ever been in I have been working hard for a subcontractor last fortnight for 6-6 per day- the upper Thames will be opened I would like to have a look at it for about a week and if it be anything like what the others are I would leave right off the worst part of the going to america is the high rate of fare on the overland. I believe the fare over there after getting down would be more than the sea fare but no matter I believe it to be the best thing to be done if you think there is no chance of getting any of that Money we cannot do worse than we have been doing here I am writing to K at same time I think this will reach you about the 15th I have not assertained when any vessels will leave for S. Francisco I see none in the advertisements I am told there are some every month I will go to Auckland and assertam all particulars but I believe I woul lose the mail if I waited I will send a telegram about the 16th
or 17th and say when a ship leaves for America If you leave there pay John what I owe him if possible I suppose what I owe to Peter can ly a little while the Claim at Coromandle does not look anything nor any other Claims there

Your affectionat B
Patt Flanagan"

Patrick mentions Kate as they obviously already knew each other and were making plans to leave Australia for California.

Grahamstown
Dec 14th 1869

"Dear Kat

I hardly know what to say in this as I do not know whether it will reach you or not when I wrote last I could not tell about the shipping from Auckland since then I have found that there are no vessels goeing from here to California at present and the agents tell me the best way is to. go to Sydney The passage from there is 18 £ steerage and 32 £ Cabin if you got this before you started you could go to [word omitted] without coming here as going from one place to another costs a lot I am in a fix as I think if I were to go from here I might mis you I was expect a letter by last mail that might guide my actions a little but I got none as you know This place is getting worse the only hope the people here had was the opening of the upper Thames and that is fading from the view at present The Hero is I think the only Steamboat that trades direct to Sydney from here she sails again about the end of the present month most of the other ones go by Melbourne you would be booked through to Sydney at I think the same fare but of these things I am not quite sure as the go different ways however I am anxious to here from you again if you get this. I suppose I will get an answer for the other letters I wrote and I will know perhaps what to do then

Yours Patt Flanagan"

Michael Flanagan did most of the writing home to Ireland.  There is reference to letters that Patrick wrote.  I would imagine that some of those letters did not make it to their destination.  Patrick was in very rural areas of Australia and New Zealand digging.  I would think that the mail would be inconsistent and somewhat unreliable.  Yet, I am still amazed that so many letters found their destination.

I read a rather stern letter from Michael and Patrick's brother, Richard Flanagan, from London to Michael in New Zealand.  It do find it rather humorous too.


Hackney, London E

20th Aug 1870

"My dear Michael 

.................I have felt a good deal disappointed that you told nothing of your plans or arrangements for the future. Through Nicholas some three months ago I heard that Pat was in California. At first I could hardly credit it, as I thought he would not have undertaken such a step without letting some one at home know of it directly. Then came a second letter from Nicholas in which he repeated the news, and stated that he had it in Contemplation to go out to join Pat, I suppose with the intention of settling there. I was for a long time in expectation of hearing from Pat himself, but up to this time neither I nor any one at home has heard anything from him. I am astonished to find no allusion to his departure in your letter, but perhaps you thought that I was in full possession of all news concerning him. If he has gone to California with the intention of settling there, and has a little Capital I think he has done wisely, as it is most undoubtedly a splendid country........."

Patrick Flanagan and Catherine "Kate" M. O'Brien (Kate Flanagan) were married in San Francisco at St. Mary's Cathedral on August 15, 1870.  From there they moved onto to Napa, California.

To be continued............

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