These are letters written to his son Francis who was a Dr. giving the
story of his life. Example;
Chapter 1. I, John Rea DD was born in a small village in the county of Donnegal on the western coast of Ireland. My father and my mother, Joseph and Isabella Rea were full cousins, both brother's children. My mother's father, James Rea died when young or not far advanced in years, and left behind him a widow whose maiden name was Oliver and eight children, five sons and three daughters. His sons were John, James, William, Andrew and Francis, after whom you were called. The daughters were Elizabeth, Isabella and Nancy. Frances the youngest of my mother's brothers was a noble looking fellow of fine appearance; was appointed adjutant general of Lord Charlemonth's Irish Volunteers and won a wagoner bet made by two Irish noblemen which had the most expert officer in military tackticks at a general review near Londonderry.
I owe much to his memory. I am more indebted to him for my learning than to any other, living or dead. After I became capable of reading he supplied me with histories such as the seven wise mentors, fairy tales, Robinson Cruseo, Gullivers visit to Lilliput, Destruction of Troy, ect. The last I took much delight in declaiming, could remember the most of it, and was of much use to me afterwards in reading the classics, Virgil and Homer. It was he that first suggested to my father, that gave the first hint of sending me to the Latin School.
My father was first married to a respectable young women of the name
of Tate, near to a seaport town called Latterkenny, some distance off from
where he lived. A girl religiously educated. She bore him two sons,
James and William and died. His next marriage was to my mother, whose memory
is still, and ever will be while memory remains. She was a noble woman
of rather a dark complexion, high spirits and much respected by her neighbors.
She often told me I was the crossest child she ever raised, that often
in going to a spring for water, some distance off, she would have to tye
me on her back and I would kick and squeal all the way going and coming.
Yet withal she loved me the most of all her children, and took my leaving
her so much to heart that she sunk into melencholy and died in two years
after my coming to this country(- written late at night)