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At a recent meeting a distant relative handed me an old letter. It was obviously typed many years ago and much of the letter was not easily read due to its age and condition. After deciphering and re-typing the letter I found the contents were full of the composers’ memories. Having being placed in charge of the letter I feel it only fitting to share its contents. I can think of no better way than on the Website of the very meeting she visited many years ago.      Derek Hobson.



Collections, written on 2nd September 1913.

By Jane Tolerton on her 80th Birthday.


In June 1846 Mother and I were at Coothill at my Uncle's house. I was not yet 12 years old and my cousin Ruth (afterwards Lockwood) was only eight, the weather was delightful and we were very much pleased when we heard we were to be taken by our Mothers to Grange Quarterly Meeting and that we were to be driven all the way on an outside car. We were to start our journey early on the Saturday morning preceding the meeting. How well I remember the light running yellow car, the quick little horse, the very civil driver, and the delights of the drive in the early dewy morning. We proceeded down Bridge Street, over the new bridge, Past one of the gates of the "Demesne", along the road to Rockcorry, passing the walls surround Dartry, through the Monagh hollow , which Aunt Jane made eerie to me by telling me of the Ghost of a murdered man which was said to walk there. At Rockcorry we saw "Joe Griffiths" Almshouses, then, I think, in the course of being built. Arriving at "Monaghan we drove up to a Hotel - the something Arms - a very imposing place it seemed to me - but I believe our elders thought it imposing in another way, and not too clean. Glasslough was our next town; I remember its large lake and the pretty view - on then through the long. Street of Benburb, our driver pointing out where the Castle stood, and into Blackwatertown where we asked our way to Moy. "You're going to the meeting' tomorrow" was the reply, and the way was pointed out. I thought this answer showed great insight, but four Friends bonnets on the car sufficiently showed its astuteness. Arriving in Moy, we engaged beds at the little hotel and proceeded along, the Dungannon road to Red Ford, where James Barcroft lived with his mother and sister. Here a rather large company was assembled for Dinner, among them Mary Richardson of Lisburn, Who, it is said, had been asked in marriage by Jacob Green. This subject had caused a great commotion amongst Friends, who were divided in sentiment, especially the Elders, some taking the side of Mary Richardson and blamed J.G. for his audacity in proposing to a Friend like her; he a poor farmer and she, not only very rich, but a strangman and the widow of a Richardson. Others took the part of J.G. who said he never proposed at all. I have seen various letters written by J.G. at the time, in which he tells how the report arose and now in 1889 we may read between the lines that his feelings were not quite cold to the portly widow. How well I remember her in a large black Friend's bonnet and a bright lavender coloured Thibet shawl that day. As she and Mother and W.J. Barcroft drove off after early dinner to a select Meeting. Mother thought the seat in the carriage was offered to her rather grudgingly, as she was known to be a Green partisan. I have not a pleasant recollection of my visit to Red Ford, though there was a pretty garden sloping to a stream at its foot. I think I was Glad when tea was over; we all set off again in our yellow car to our Hotel. Here Ruth was put to bed, naturally against her will, and I was allowed to go with the mothers to pay calls. We called on a Friend named Betty Hobson, who I believe kept a delf shop. With her lodged Henry Hoyland, an elderly Friend from the South. His mother was Margret Hoyland of Waterford, well known in her day as a mother of Israel. This, her son, being somewhat weak in intellect was generally placed by Friends where he could have special care. My impression of Betty was that her manner was flighty. Sunday morning, "the day of the great feast" was bathed in summer and sunshine. Before we mount, I must draw our pictures. Ruth's sweet little round rosy face was hidden under a Friend’s bonnet of a bright drab satin, it had a gathered crown and a frill at the back, and so it was somewhat smart. I do not remember her dress, but pinned at her neck she wore a rock spun silk handkerchief with a very short fringe, the handkerchief of a delicate cream colour. Our Mothers, of course, wore Friend's bonnets and shawls, my Mother's style somewhat plainer and denoting higher religious profession (I say this in perfect good faith for so the matter was looked on in those days), but she had a more dressy style never the-less than my Aunt. As for myself, I was a tall gawky girl with my frizzy hair clipped just below my ears all round. I wore a dark silk dress and I think a "Levantine" silk shawl of a pinkish-lavender shade, and a Friend's bonnet (and how detestable it was) of course. Lawrence Hobson's was a farm house with two gardens behind, where grew tall hollyhocks and old fashioned roses. Lawrence was a patriarchal old man I do not remember his having spoken one word all the time we were at his house. His daughter, Elizabeth Swan, did the honors, with the aid of her daughter Rebecca, a rather pretty girl of about 18, I thought her morose. There were also Lucy Gower, and two or three sons of our host, one of whom, I remember, kindly talked to us juveniles. After breakfast there was a long pause, but there was no reading of the Bible and no one spoke. I thought this very odd in the house of an Elder when a Minister. Elizabeth was present. The meeting House was crowded, but I do not remember anything particular except that Mary Richardson would not take her place in the gallery where sat Ministers and Elders because, she said, it was at such a height from the ground that it made her head dizzy. Others said she refused, because in the gallery she would have to sit by Jacob Green. We were entertained by Francis and Elizabeth Hobson in their roadside cottage covered with beautiful roses. I think they had several children. The mother was a pale shrinking woman, as I remember her. The afternoon meeting was very crowded, some of those present not belonging to the Friends were rather disorderly, and one woman brought a basket of eatables for sale. We went for tea to William and Susanna Hobson, who kept a shop in Moy. The latter is still, at the time I write this, living, in the same place, a beautiful old lady. Her children were young then, and during the "opportunity" after tea - they cried for gooseberries, and had to be taken away, Ruth and I thought them very naughty. James Green was there, he had not long been acknowledged a Minister. He preached with his feet raised on a chair, probably owing to some infirmity. Benjamin and Jane Mackay were also guests, she being a bride, was seated on a sofa in all the glory of her wedding dress in grey silk. Monday morning brought round the car for another going out to breakfast. We drove to Trewmount, the house of James G. and Charlotte Richardson. I have a very pleasant recollection of this visit, for there were children with whom we chatted and played in the garden, later these children grown to beautiful girls were known as "the doves of Trewmount". Jane the eldest married a Fox of Plymouth and Harriet died very young. Little Johnnie, I saw lately, a middle aged man, a militia captain. There was Sophia also, but at the time of our visit she was in the nursery. Jane was very pretty, there was much resemblance between her and my cousin Ruth. The meeting held that day I forget, but dinner I remember very well. It was at John Barcroft's Stangmore House, where there was a very large company of old and young. The beauty and fashion, so to speak of the Quarterly Meeting was there. An Abraham Bell of New York, a man highly thought of, was present with his daughter. I remember the back of her head as she sat at dinner, her dark hair fastened with a silver comb. Elizabeth Greer of Milton was, I think, the sister of A. Bell. Of that Quarterly Meeting the two belles were Jane and Sarah Malcomson who made a great figure, at least I thought so. I Can now distinctly see them as they stood on the lawn, most elegant looking, and, as I thought, extremely stylish. Their Friend's bonnets of the most fashionable style of that time were of pale grey silk, their hair (Jane's was golden, Sarah's dark) was waved and worn, Madonna fashion, over their ears. Their dresses were of shot silk and their shawls of Barcelona silk with a fringe a finger long. Oh, If I could have been dressed like them But I consoled myself with the thought that my shawl was of somewhat the same colour as theirs. A large weighing machine somewhere in the grounds led to much fun over weighing the young ladies. The Misses Pim from Cork (daughters of Joe Robinson Pim) were very tall girls, and there was much laughter as one after the other stepped on to the scale and the beam went down. I suppose there was a Meeting in the afternoon but I do not remember it. We went for tea to Bernagh on the Dungannon road where Rachel Greeves lived. I think her husband, Thomas Greeves had died shortly before, and her mother, an old lady named Ann Malcomson was with her. Ruth and I had much fun playing in the hay on the lawn with the three daughters, Anna, Lizzie and Margretta. I do not think Anna joined much in our play, I thought her quite old. She was probably about sixteen. From this house we drove some miles to Derry Vale, near Coalisland where William Creeth lived, and there we spent the night. Maggie was ten, a little girl somewhat older than Ruth, very shy and very pretty. She and Ruth played together while I went with Mother to Beech Grove to call on Sarah Pike. I do not think she was at home, but I have some remembrance of seeing Jonathan Pike there. The loud barking of a dog frightened me, and I wished I had been with Ruth visiting a neighboring lake with Maggie. We slept in a room in which was two beds closely curtained with some blue check material. I remember there was in the window a little orange tree grown from a pip and as a curiosity we children were shown a tumbler apparently filed with wine which could be turned up, and not spilled. It rained next morning as we again drove to Meeting, passing by Killyman, a name I thought very diverting. After Meeting we went to Dree Hill, where we spent the rest of the day. John and Anna Johnston lived there, and with them that day were their daughter Sarah and her sons John and Hugh. There were also two Aunts, one of whom, Mary Patrick was almost if not quite blind. There were other visitors besides ourselves, Richard Bell of Belfast sat at the foot of the table at dinner and carved a large joint of beef. I thought his accent and manner of speaking very peculiar. His daughter Eleanor was with him. I thought her very magnificent and stately. She wore a grey figured silk apron and complained a great deal of rheumatism in her head, from affectation some people thought. Other visitors were Rebecca Thompson (now Halliday) and I think one or two of her brothers, also Sarah Johnson and R. Thompson. I remember little except that she was a nice quiet young person, Sarah Johnson I thought lovely, her figure was so lithe and her dark eyes so beautiful. She gave me a recipe for making Shrewsbury cakes. After dinner we young people went out for a walk and I well remember it rained, so we returned to the house and we girls recited poetry. Elanor Bell gave us an Isle of Man Leg and verses. In one of the rooms was a spinning wheel, used, I think by Mary Patrick. It was here that Father and Mother had dined on the occasion of their 'Presentation' at Grange Quarterly Meeting, so there was an old feeling of regard for Mr. and Mrs. Johnson. We diverged from the direct road after leaving Moy, to stop at one of the back gates of Roxboro, Lord Charlemont's park to speak to Joe and Jane Wilson (the latter from Coothill) who lived at the gate lodge. Then we drove on, taking the Caledon road from Benburb. At Caledon we had breakfast, more satisfactory the Mothers thought then at Monaghan. We reached Cooth1ll on the 6th day of this too memorable excursion