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16 October 2014
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A Lisbellaw Collection

Over the years we all collect things - usually not intentionally - things just, sort of, gather about us.

ML 1030

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A Lisbellaw Collection (P.2)

To give just one small example of the fascinating insight given by these letters in Sam Carrother's massive collection. Here's an extract from an 1897 letter sent by the landlord Rev. John Gravessey Porter to Mr Samuel Graham Carrothers (Sam's grandfather). The letter refers to a tremendous ongoing feud between the two about rights concerning the local river and wells.

Part of an 1897 letter from Landlord to Tennant
Part of an 1897 letter from Landlord to Tennant

Things were obviously hot and heavy with threats of court action being bandied about. And what local history to be gleaned from such a letter with place names mentioned and the industrial archaeology of a Butter Blending Mill?

Letters from the Front

One box is entirely devoted to the letters, cards and medals of Second Lieutenant John Samuel Carrothers (1898 - 1917) who was posted from the home farm of Farnaght to France in January 1917. After surviving many battles sadly he was killed in action at Passchendale 16th August of that same year.

John Samuel Carrothers
John Samuel Carrothers
A sad day for Ireland

Poignant letters that understate the horror of those times.. I forgot to tell you, Major Redondo fell beside me. When he fell a sergeant beside me looked at him and said to me "It's a sorry day for Ireland Sir"

And personal.... Please send socks, they are the most useful thing out here that I know of and soon wear out. The men get a clean pair every morning. It is the only way we can counter trench feet.

And the surprising.... I am in a new section now and it is a very quiet place compared with other places I have struck. The trenches are nicely covered with poppies and daffodils. Nightingales sing ceaselessly in No Man's Land every night, so we get plenty of good music

Sam has published a book chronicling those seventy or so letters John sent from France to his mother and sister.


Several of the family emigrated to Canada in the mid 1800's and Sam has copies of many of the letters sent home. Here's an extract from one (postmarked Montreal LC Oct 23rd 1847) describing their arrival in that country at their brother's who was already living in London Ontario. ...... Brother and cousins were rejoiced at seeing us all living. but on the 17th the child Margaret died been worn out on the journey and up the country in the boats and wagons the most fatiguing of all. James was the stoutest of us, we were worn to perfect weakness. I was sea sick all the way but my health is as good as ever and we are all doing well.

On to Page 3 of 'Lisbellaw Collection'

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