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Immigration and Early Settlement

Immigration and Early Settlement > The Economy > Trails and roads
10 Topic Specific Items
Letter, [James Griffing] to [J. Augusta Goodrich]
Author: Griffing, James Sayre
Date: October 15, 1854 - October 25, 1854

James Griffing wrote from the bank of the Illinois River in Illinois and Milton, Missouri to his fiancee J. Augusta Goodrich in Owego, New York. Griffing, a Methodist minister, described the daily routine of his overland journey from Indianapolis, Indiana to Kansas Territory.

Keywords: Daily life; Emigration and immigration; Food; Griffing, James Sayre; Griffing, Jemima Augusta (Goodrich); Illinois; Missouri; Transportation; Travel; Wagons

Letter, W. E. G. [William Goodnow] to My Dear Wife [Harriet Goodnow]
Author: Goodnow, William E.
Date: November 22, 1855

William Goodnow, recently arrived in Shannon, Kansas Territory, wrote to his wife, Harriet, who had remained in New England. Goodnow related his experiences traveling from Westport, Missouri, where he received quality hospitality from a slaveholder, to Lawrence, and finally to Shannon, where he met his brother, Isaac, and sister-in law. Goodnow also mentioned his recent subscription to the Herald of Freedom newspaper, which would be sent to her; he implored her to save all of them, as he wished them preserved. He added that they expected a rush of emigrants in the following spring.

Keywords: Goodnow, Harriet; Goodnow, Isaac T., 1814-1894; Goodnow, William E.; Herald of Freedom; Lawrence, Kansas Territory; Riley County, Kansas Territory; Shannon, Kansas Territory; Slaveholders; Travel; Westport, Missouri

Letter, [Joseph H. Trego] to My Dear wife [Alice Trego]
Author: Trego, Joseph Harrington
Date: October 16, 1857

Joseph H. Trego wrote from his cabin in Sugar Mound, Kansas Territory, to his wife Alice in Rock Island, Illinois, about his journey from Kansas City to Sugar Mound. His friends, Thomas Ellwood Smith (Ell) and his brother Edwin (Ed), and himself were poorly prepared as they expected to stay in public houses during the journey, not camp outside as their wagon transportation preferred. As the road they took went right down the Missouri state line, Trego contrasted the well-established farms to the East with the "open, wild prairie" to the West. He and his brother, upon arriving at their cabin, found that they had "Hoosier" neighbors (from Indiana), who were pleasant but proslavery. Trego recounted the difficulty they had acquiring home furnishings and food, fighting adverse weather at every turn. He spoke at length of how he was comforted by writing to his wife, as he and his friends greatly missed their families.

Keywords: Daily life; Domestics; Hunting; Kansas City, Missouri; Linn County, Kansas Territory; Marais des Cygnes River; Merchandise; Proslavery supporters; Sugar Mound, Kansas Territory; Transportation; Trego, Alice; Trego, Joseph Harrington; Wagons; Weather

Photograph, Ford of the Little Blue, Kansas Territory
Author: Bierstadt Bros., Photographers, N. Bedford, Mass.
Date: 1859

A view of the "Ford of the Little Blue, Kansas," 1859, photographed by Bierstadt Bros., Photographers, N. Bedford, Mass.

Keywords: Bierstadt Bros., Photographers; Bierstadt, Albert; Fords (stream crossings); Horses; Little Blue River, Kansas Territory; Photographs and Illustrations; Stereographs

Photograph, Wolf River Ford, Kansas Territory
Author: Bierstadt Bros., Photographers, N. Bedford, Mass.
Date: 1859

A view of Wolf River Ford, Kansas Territory, 1859. Photographed by Bierstadt Bros., Photographers, N. Bedford, Mass.

Keywords: Bierstadt Bros., Photographers; Bierstadt, Albert; Fords (stream crossings); Horses; Photographs and Illustrations; Stereographs; Wolf River, Kansas Territory

Letter, Andrew J. Mead to Friend [John A.] Halderman
Author: Mead, Andrew J.
Date: March 14, 1859

In a letter marked "Confidential" and dated March 14, 1859, Andrew J. Mead of Manhattan wrote to enlist Halderman in his (Mead's) effort to get Russell, Majors, & Waddell to use a new Blue River ferry at Manhattan called Johnstons ferry when they began hauling freight over the "Great Central Route via Smoky Hill" to the gold mines. Mead was "deeply interested" in this ferry and wished to negotiate a contract with the freighters for its use.

Keywords: Blue River, Kansas Territory; Ferries; Freight and freightage; Halderman, John Adams; Johnstons Ferry, Kansas Territory; Manhattan, Kansas Territory; Mead, Andrew J.; Pikes Peak gold rush; Riley County, Kansas Territory; Russell, Majors, and Waddell; Smoky Hill Trail, Kansas Territory; Transportation

Letter, J. S. G. [James Griffing] to Mr. Editor [William Smyth]
Author: Griffing, James Sayre
Date: July 27, 1859

James Sayre Griffing wrote from Topeka, Kansas Territory to William Smyth, editor of the Owego (New York) Times. Griffing described in some detail his family's overland journey to Kansas Territory in a "double waggon." He commented upon the quantity and nature of provisions to take on an overland journey, methods for crossing streams and rivers, and the advantages of a good "fowling piece" for hunting wild game. Griffing also observed that the amount of travel in and through Kansas Territory had increased during 1859, due in part to the Pike's Peak gold rush.

Keywords: Ferries; Griffing, James Sayre; Hunting; Owego, New York; Pikes Peak gold rush; Roads; Shawnee County, Kansas Territory; Smyth, William; Topeka, Kansas Territory; Travel; Wagons

Certificate of Appointment, William Bayless to Road Commissioner
Author: Bayless, William H. ; Taylor, A.
Date: August 29, 1859/September 12, 1859

This handwritten document appointed William Bayless to the office of Road Commissioner in Iowa Township, Doniphan County.

Keywords: Bayless, William; Doniphan County, Kansas Territory; Roads; Taylor, A.

Letter, Tho. Ewing Jr to A. J. Isacks
Author: Ewing, Jr., Thomas , 1829-1896
Date: March 22, 1860

Ewing addressed a number of issues in this letter to former territorial Kansas attorney general Andrew J. Isacks (1854-1857), who was in Washington, D.C. presumably lobbying Congress on behalf of Kansas admission, etc., but closed with some interesting comments on Leavenworth's interest in the promotion and development of the Smoky Hill route to the Pikes Peak region. Isacks was one of Ewing's principle partners in the Leavenworth, Pawnee, & Western Railroad venture and was undoubtedly busy lobbying for a railroad land grant from Congress.

Keywords: Admission, Kansas (see also Statehood); Colorado City, Kansas Territory; Ewing, Thomas, 1829-1896; Homestead law; Isacks, Andrew Jackson; Land grants; Lane, James Henry, 1814-1866; Leavenworth County, Kansas Territory; Leavenworth, Kansas Territory; Leavenworth, Pawnee, and Western Railroad Company; Pikes Peak gold rush; Railroads; Smoky Hill Trail, Kansas Territory; United States. Congress; Washington, D.C.

Letter, Tho. Ewing Jr to Dear Sir [A. J. Isacks]
Author: Ewing, Jr., Thomas , 1829-1896
Date: May 20, 1860

Mention was made in the Ewing letter to Andrew J. Isacks in Washington, D.C., of the development of the Smoky Hill route to the gold fields and railroad legislation. The Atchison & St. Joseph, as well as the "Pacific railroad," was specifically noted.

Keywords: Atchison and St. Joseph Railroad; Atchison, Kansas Territory; Elwood, Kansas Territory; Ewing, Thomas, 1829-1896; Isacks, Andrew Jackson; Pacific railroads; Pikes Peak gold rush; Railroads; Smoky Hill Trail, Kansas Territory; Washington, D.C.

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Letter, Tom [Tho. Ewing, Jr.] to Dear Father [Hon. T. Ewing]
Authors: Ewing, Jr., Thomas , 1829-1896
Date:  
Ewing, Jr., wrote from Leavenworth to inform his father about 915 acres of land, "near the Kaw river . . . three & a half miles north east of Topeka," that had just been purchased for him. "The land is beautiful & fertile--and is adjacent to fine bodies of timber in the Kansas Valley. The proximity of the land to Topeka (which will be the Capital, of the state) and to the rail road, which will undoubtedly be built in a few years is to be considered in estimating the value of the land." He also mentioned its proximity to the "great military road to Fort Riley."

Keywords: Denman, Hamp B.; Ewing, Thomas, 1789-1871; Ewing, Thomas, 1829-1896; Fort Riley, Kansas Territory; Kansas River, Kansas Territory; Leavenworth County, Kansas Territory; Leavenworth, Kansas Territory; Military roads; Ozawkie, Kansas Territory; Railroads; Tecumseh, Kansas Territory; Timber claim; Topeka, Kansas Territory; Town site speculation


Letter, L. E. Carwell for Dr. Webb, Sec. to Dear Sir [James Abbott]
Authors: Carwell, L.E. ; Webb, Thomas H. (Hopkins), 1801-1866
Date:  September 22, 1854
L.E. Carwell wrote from Boston on the behalf of Thomas Webb, Secretary of the New England Emigrant Aid Society, to James Abbott, regarding travel arrangements for his family. Abbott, along with his wife and children, would depart by train the following Tuesday for Kansas Territory, where they would make their new home.

Keywords: Abbott, James Burnett; Emigration and immigration; New England Emigrant Aid Company; Railroads; Travel; Webb, Thomas H. (Thomas Hopkins), 1801-1866


Letter, Your Mary [Holliday] to My Dear H [Cyrus Kurtz Holliday]
Authors: Holliday, Mary
Date:  December 29, [1854]
Mary Holliday wrote from Meadville, Pennsylvania to her husband Cyrus K. Holliday in Kansas Territory. This, the second letter he received from her, reported the health of his brother George Holliday's family and mentioned her giving money, earned by selling a locket, to his mother. Mary Holliday eloquently expressed her love and the difficulty of their separation. After joking that her cooking skill should meet Kansas Territory standards, she mentioned the plans of Lowry Trowbridge and George Merriman, Pennsylvanians with Kansas fever.

Keywords: Food; Health; Holidays; Holliday, Cyrus Kurtz, 1826-1900; Holliday, Mary; Marriage; Meadville, Pennsylvania; New Year; Railroads


Letter, Tovey, R. [Robert] A. to My Dear Wife [Eliza (Matthew) Tovey]
Authors: Tovey, Robert Atkins
Date:  c. 1854
Robert Atkins Tovey, Sr., an Englishman traveling to Kansas Territory, wrote to his wife Eliza (Matthew) Tovey, at their home it Albany, New York. Tovey recounted his travel experiences by steamboat and rail. Throughout, he provided detailed scenic descriptions from New York, the Great Lakes, Detroit, Illinois, St. Louis, and the Missouri River. Tovey, coming into contact with slavery on his journey, included brief commentary on the subject.

Keywords: Diseases; Medicine; Missouri River; New York; Railroads; Slavery; St. Louis, Missouri; Steamboats; Tovey, Robert Atkins; Transportation; Travel


Kanzas and Nebraska: the History, Geographical, and Physical Characteristics, and Political Position of those Territories; an account of the Emigrant Aid Companies and Directions to Emigrants
Authors: Hale, Edward Everett, 1822-1909
Date:  1854
This volume is generally accepted as the first book on Kansas. It dealt with Nebraska Territory also. The author, Edward Everett Hale indicated that he had researched the various memoirs and exploration journals of the various white men who had visited the area before its creation as a territory. This research resulted in a narrative history that focused on Native Americans and events in the area prior to 1854. Hale also included information about emigrant aid companies and the volume included some printed letters from emigrant aid company agents. The volume included the charter and "objects" of the Massachusetts Emigrant Aid company, which was organized in March, 1854. Hale also provided some information on the Emigrant Aid Company of New York and Connecticut, which was organized in July, 1854 and the Union Emigration Society. The Appendices include the constitution of the Worcester Co. Kanzas League and a letter from George S. Park describing the Kansas and Smoky Hill river valleys.

Keywords: American Indians (see also Native Americans); Emigrant aid companies; Emigrant aid companies - Free state; Emigration and immigration; Exploration; Hale, Edward Everett, 1822-1909; Journals; Kansas River, Kansas Territory; Landscape; Massachusetts; Massachusetts Emigrant Aid Company; Native Americans; Park, George S.; Railroads; Settlement; Smoky Hill River, Kansas Territory; Thayer, Eli, 1819-1899; Union Emigration Society; Worcester County Kansas League


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