This letter is dated June 1819 with the address of Rathedmond which is a townland in County Sligo.  The signature is that of Alex Hume, a descendant of the Hume family from Tully Castle , in Co. Fermanagh..  It is a reply to a correspondence from Gabriel Montgomery concerning a map which has been misplaced.

The writer of this item proposes to be in Donegal within a few days and promises to try and find out where the map is, if possible.

As the writer`s father was an old friend of Gabriel then Alex Hume states that he will do his very best to accommodate “any friend of his father`s.”

The letter is 28  by 18 cms, written on thin paper containing a Royal Arms watermark (crown on shield with 4 quadrants).  It is on laid paper (24 mms wide lines).  Both lines and watermark are visible in good light.

As previously stated, the family connection is descended from Alexander Hume who received 1000 acres in Fermanagh in the Ulster Plantation.  This family were forced to flee their lands in Fermanagh and take refuge in Sligo.  Recorded in the Tithe Applotment December 1, 1824, for the Parish of St. Johns in the Diocese of Elphin, Co. Sligo appears the name of Alexander Hume for several townlands.

John Hume had a son named Andrew who was described in 1794 as being a resident of Sligo Town. (Refer Glencolumbkille by Aidan Manning).

In the 1790s Alexander and Andrew Hume operated a spirit wine grocery store in Knox Street Sligo, and became engaged in the shipping trade for twenty to thirty years.

Andrew was survived by five daughters and five sons.

The sons were,Alexander, John, Andrew, William and James J.

The family had lands at Rathedmond, Strandhill and leaseholds in County Donegal.  In 1809 Alexander (Junior) was appointed Treasurer of the County Grand Jury.

Then in 1883 Alexander Hume was declared a bankrupt and his lands were sold.  His brother William emigrated to London in 1844.

(Information extracted from the Sligo Journal, kindly supplied by Mr John Tiernan, Sligo).

The postmark on the front of the letter shows Sligo 102 and the addressee is

Mr. Montgomery at Mr. Acheson Holmes Donegal.

Underneath the address and crossed out as if in error, is Strabane written in either as a replacement or as a correction.

The seal on the letter is obviously broken with the postal cost scribbled in but clearly legible. The postmaster of Sligo at this period of history (1819) was Adam Guthrie and his scribbled signature appears in cypher form, suggesting AG.

The Watermark

In addition to the manuscripted information on the letter itself, appears a watermark.  It is a shield with 4 quadrants.  The first is a lion on hind legs, two lions, a horse, and a harp in the fourth quadrant.  There is a crown on top of the shield.

It is likely that it is a Dusautoy & Rump mark from Lyng Papermill in Norfolk, England (1805).

(Perhaps the mill made this writing paper specifically for the Hume family or it could be just the manufacturer’s mark of quality).