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Cumberland, August 1839
Dear Madam: (Catherine Marmion)
     With what pleasure do I take up my pen to inform you that I have just received a letter from your dear husband.
     He tells me that he and the beloved little boys are well.  I suppose
that you know before this, that Mr. Marmion has been to the East.  He spent the Spring in New York hoping from day to day to see his beloved Catherine.  On his return, a few weeks ago, he kindly stopped a day with us.  We could prevail with him to stay no longer, so anxious was he to get home to see the boys;  and still more your dear self;  for he hopes you had gone home by New Orleans;  and that he would meet you in St. Louis.  On his return to St. Louis, he received two letters. one directed to himself and the other to your son Lawrence.  They were dated the 1st of February and you had received no letters up to that date.  For this, Mr. M. knows not how to account as he had written several letters to you previous to that time.  He hopes that you have received some of his long epistles ere this.
     Mr. Mamion bade me say to you that if' you returned in October, by way of New Orleans, that by letting him know by letter, he will meet you there, and by Baltimore to come overland, and stay with us until you hear from him.  You must keep your baggage also here.  Let me beg of' you, my ever dear friend, to do this last;  do come by Cumberland.
     Oh! how delighted we will all be to see you, and converse, and the dear little girls.  Oh! this is too much pleasure for me to hope for on this world.  I am almost afraid such happiness can not be realized.  How often do I think of you my beloved Catherine (permit me to call you so).  How often do I ask myself am I yet remembered.  Oh!  yes, I know I am, and the very thought gives me pleasure.
     I have much to say.  But I believe I will wait till I have the pleasure of seeing you.  I have truly grieved to hear of the death of your amiable sister.  I do most sincerely sympathize with you my dear Madam on melancholy occasion.
     I rejoiced to hear that your venerated aunt Digby was yet alive and well.  Let me wish health and happiness to you and every member of your dear family.  We are all well, thank heaven.  Mother and sister send much love to you and your dear little girls, give many kisses to each for me.  Accept much love from your Esther.
     Write to me immediately and let me know when to expect you. Perhaps your letters may come more safely to me than Mr. Marmion.  I can say no more.  Pardon this hurried and very badly written letter.  Farewell, may heaven send propitious gales to waft you to the bosom of your family,
and to your,
Esther M. Kirney


P.S. I shall be impatient until I hear from you.  Should this reach you in Ireland, do me the favour to bring me a few Irish and Scotch songs set to music for the pianoforte.  They will be better if set in Ireland.  I should like to have the likenesses of O'Connell and T. Moore, but perhaps you cannot easily get them.  Be sure to return this way and stay a few months with us.   We will all be much disappointed if you do not come this way.  Pray for us.
I have been trying to find out how Esther and her Mother might fit into the family, and if they are related. I also wondered what happened to her. A big thank you to James, who has provided us with the answer:
This family resided in St. Patrick's Catholic parish, Cumberland, Allegany Co., Md.  I have the following records:

1)  Marriage on 29 January 1840.  "On the 29th of January 1840, was married William Herd to Esther Kearney in presence of her mother, sister and brothers.  H. Myers, priest."

2)  Death on 22 May 1841.  "Convert.  22 May 1841.  William Herd converted on his death bed."

3)  Baptism on 3 October 1841.  "Mary Ellen Heard, born on 30 September 1841 and baptized on 3 October 1841.  Daughter of William (deceased) and Esther.  Witnesses: James Kearney and Margaret Kearney.  L. Obermeyer, priest."

4)  Death on 19 January 1842.  "Mrs. Esther Herd (widow) died [or buried] on 19 January 1842 after a long sickness."

5)  Death on June 1842.  "Several small children and child of Mrs. Herd [Mary Ellen?]
playing: THE MINSTREL BOY
by Thomas Moore

The Minstrel Boy to the war is gone
In the ranks of death you will find him;
His father's sword he hath girded on,
And his wild harp slung behind him;"
Land of Song!" said the warrior bard,
"Tho' all the world betrays thee,
One sword, at least, thy rights shall guard,
One faithful harp shall praise thee!"

The Minstrel fell! But the foeman's chain
Could not bring that proud soul under;
The harp he lov'd ne'er spoke again,
For he tore its chords asunder;
And said "No chains shall sully thee,
Thou soul of love and brav'ry!
Thy songs were made for the pure and free,
They shall never sound in slavery!
"

The Minstrel Boy written by Thomas Moore (1779-1852) was composed it is believed a memorial to several of his friends  from Trinity College and who had participated in the 1798 rebellion of the United Irishmen.
view info on Catherine's return from Ireland
the overland route Catherine would have taken
Click here to read about Night of the Big Wind
while Catherine was visiting Ireland
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