Papers of the Weir family of Stewartstown, Co. Tyrone, 1746-1854, including an exceptionally good group of emigrant letters sent to members of the Weir family in Stewartstown from relations and friends in and around Philadelphia, New York and Alabama in North America, May 1771-January 1854. In some there is a preoccupation with the organising of Presbyterian communities in the Philadelphia area and a general concern with religious matters and revivals among the African American community.
The Weir family had a strong background in the linen trade and this is reflected in serious discussion of business and trade matters in some of these emigrant letters. The remaining larger part of the collection is concerned with the business activities, mostly in linen and woollens, of friends and relatives of the Weirs in Dublin, Belfast and Liverpool etc., 1780-c.1850. This was a period of great growth in the Ulster linen trade and the estimates of annual sales in the Ulster brown linen markets rose from £231,040 in 1783 to £449,000 in 1803 and to £559,260 in 1816. In Stewartstown the annual sales rose from £41,600 in 1783 to £52,000 in 1803, and during this whole period it had the third highest sales of any town in the county behind Dungannon and Strabane. This prosperity is reflected in the correspondence.
William Weir and his wife, Sarah, had fourteen children, six of whom died in infancy. Not surprisingly, therefore, there is some surviving correspondence between family members.
A small but very interesting and important cache of letters relating to the Irish linen trade and Irish emigration in the late eighteenth and first half of the nineteenth century.
Approx. 70 documents, 1746-1854, which have been preserved in a guardbook.
See PRONI reference D/1140 for catalogue of the papers. The catalogue is available for consultation in PRONI's Public Search Room.