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Immigration and Emigration
pen and diary
Hillbillies in the White House

The diary of James Black

1838

20th August Nearly a month had elapsed since I last noted any occurrence. Since then I have been in Randalstown to meet Alexander Mackey about the sale or renting of the mills for a Mr Smith of Stockport near Manchester. Nothing has yet been done in the matter. I was at Liverpool for five days to see business people and look for ships, consignments and orders, without success.

Looked and enquired about a house and lodgings in the neighbourhood; a comfortable house could then be got at 28 per year and taxes about 6, furnished lodgings at 1 per week at Watree and all round the country. Made Lord O'Neill another offer of the mills at 3,500 without a reply. A person in Belfast wants them also the Muckamore Mill Company. I am as dull as can be and do not know now I am to get along until I hear from Pringle and Short which I expect to do about the 15 October

30 August Thursday. The Millbrook Cotton Company have been looking at the Randalstown mills.I met one of them in Belfast but came to no decision; I intend to go to Larne tomorrow to see them.

12 September Wednesday. On 31st went to Larne with Archibald Barklie; stayed with him all night and was kindly entertained. Went next morning to Millbrook to see Messrs. Giffin Robinson and Co. about the Randalstown mills met Mr William MacLean, a partner,but came to no decision. I found they wanted only the Cotton Mill with the whole of the water. I made several propositions but fear nothing good will result from them. The weather has been very wet and uncertain all summer, consequently late harvest; it is now fine and the reaping here going on briskly, crops generally fine.

15 September Saturday.Left Bangor yesterday morning with H. Swan. Stopped at Craigavad and took a cup of tea with Mrs Mitchell; walked into Hollywood and looked at several houses. Saw two opposite the post office half furnished but otherwise neat and comfortable at 6 to 8 for the six months. Got to Belfast at 1/2 past 12 o'clock.

Saw C.McAuley, Robert Alexander and others on business. Got to Randalstown at 7 o' clock; I had considerable conversation with John Brown, Courtney, Neison and others about the mills etc. Met Mr George Handcock this morning and he advised me to write to Lord O' Neill about the Ballygrooby tenement and field. Sent a bailiff to McAteer wishing to see him about his rent and said he would be ejected if he did not pay soon.

24 September Monday.Returned from Randalstown where I met Mr. James Adger and his sons John and James, very fine young men. I went to Ballymena with them. Lunched at A. Gihon's and called with Dr Patrick and went to James Henderson's for tea and got to Randalstown at 11 o'clock p.m. I have done nothing in the sale of the Randalstown property.

22 October Monday.I got to Hollywood today from Bangor and occupy Mr. Hodgson's house until 1 May for 10 10s; it is neatly furnished and very comfortable, a good sized parlour, drawing room, four bedrooms, kitchen, pantry, scullery and nice garden, and a genteel neighbourhood.

I have written to Mr Hancock as agent for Lord O'Neill about the tenement in Ballygrooby without having a reply, which I think strange as it was by his own desire and I only asked 200 for the right the heirs of Wm Dickey had to it. I am now thinking of a Joint Stock Company for spinning flax with a capital of thirty thousand pounds, in one hundred pound shares; how it may succeed I know not.

12 November Since I last noted I have received reply from Mr. Handcock saying Lord O' Neill would not give 200 for the Ballygrooby tenemet.Immediately wrote him requesting to know what would be given, and he replied through John Brown for information regarding the rental and tenure to which I replied that my letter of 26 contained all the office required, and gave him a copy of the statement. Finding no person coming forward as I could wish to take or buy the mills, I have advertised them for sale at auction on 30th at Hyndman's Rooms. If that fails I may possibly try the Joint Stock Scheme.

I have a letter today from G Pringle of 12 October stating great mortality in Charleston, C.S. Simonton was taken off suddenly; Wm L. Banks had entered into partnership with the young Simonton's and Mr Pringle had made him my attorney as he was going into the country, and also declined accepting my proposition for future business, but would recommend A Short to accept it on his return from Greenville.

31 December Since I last took note I have written to Lord O'Neill respecting a watercourse from the Hollybrook tail-race, and to his agent about the sale of the corn mills and kilns, and the tenement in Ballygrooby. To the former I had a reply through Mr. Handcock, saying his Lordship would not allow any cut to be made for water. The latter has not yet been noticed although I had several communications regarding the tenement through J. Brown at the agent's request, and I have understood that 80 would be given for it.

The mills are still on hand; no person came to the auction. Several are still looking after them, T. Hughes, L. Reford, Davidson's Larne Co., and Muckamore Flour Mill Co.What the result may be is uncertain; I am determined to try all schemes to put them in motion. I have submitted a plan of cotton spinning to John Currell and think he would be convinced if his friends would join us.


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