Friday Morning June 22nd 1855
Day before yesterday we received a letter from you dated at Rockford, Illinois 24th May, which for some unaccountable cause has been very long delayed on the Road. We are exceedingly glad to hear from you and that you still intend coming on. Our health is now excellent, and our crops, cattle and Horses look finely
We have now about 12 acres sod corn in the ground, more than 1/4 acre White Beans, 2 1/2 Bushels seed Potatoes Beets Cabbages, Turnips, a few Onions, some peas, cucumbers melons Squashes, etc. Jason’s fruit trees, grape vines etc that survived the long period of transportation look very well probably more than ½ of what he started with are living with the exception of Peaches, of these he has only on or two trees. As we arrived so late in the season we have but little expectation of harvesting much corn, and but few potatoes. The rainy season usually commences here early in April or before and continues from six to eight weeks, during which a great amount of rain falls. This year we had no rain of any consequence before the 12 or 15th of May. Since then have had two heavy rains accompanied with some wind & most tremendous thunder & lightning. Have also had a number of gentle rains continuing from 2 to 24 hours, but probably not more than half the usual fall of rain has yet
come. As the season last year was irregular in this respect probably this will be to some extent. We intend to keep our garden, beans and some potatoes, watered if we can , so as to have something if our corn should be a failure. As it is the prospect is middling fair and the ground is plowed ready for early planting next year. Old settlers here say that people should calculate on having the springs sowing and planting all done by the middle of April. In that case, their crops are most abundant. The prairies are covered with grass which begins to wave in the wind most beautifully. Shall be able to cut any quantity of this and it is of far better quality than I had any idea. – In answer to your questions. Good Oxen are from $50 to $80 pr pair Yoke. Have been higher. Heifers in proportion. - limited demand as yet for fine stock
Very best Horses from $100 to $150 each. Average to good fair $75 to $80. – No great demand now for cattle or Horses. A good strong Buggy would sell well, probably a Lamberee best. Mr Adair has had several chances to sell his. – Very few Lamberee Buggies among the settlers – White Beans, $5 pr Bush, Corn Meal $1.75 pr bush, of 50 lbs, tending downward. Flour $7 pr hundred lbs Dried Apples 121/2 pr lb. Bacon 12 to 14 c here, fresh beef 5 to 6 c pr lb. Enclosed is a slip cut from a late [xxx] of the “Kansas Tribune” giving the markets there. It differs some from what it is in this section. It is the paper published at Lawrence by the Speers. I have no doubt it would be much cheaper and healthier for you to come the way in the way you propose, with a “covered lumber Buggy and one Horse or Mule,” especially from St. Louis here. The navigation of the Missouri River except by the light draft Boats recently built for the Kansas River is a horrid business in a low stage of water which is a considerable portion of the year. You will be able to see much more of the country on your way, and if you carry some provisions along, it is altogether the cheapest mode of traveling besides, such a conveyance is just what you want here to carry on the business of surveying. You can have a good road here “Withersoever” you may wish to go. –
Flour, White Beans & dried fruit will doubtless continue for some time to come, to be high. It is believed that a much larger emigration will arrive here this fall than before. Should you buy any thing to send by water you can send it either to Lawrence 25 miles north of us or to Kansas City Mo (Care of Walker & Chick) – 60 miles north East of us
The land on which we are located was ceded by the Potawatomie Indians to Government. The Ottaway lands are soon to be sold each person of the tribe reserving and choosing 200 acres the remainder open to preemption after their choice is made. The Peoria lands have been bargained for by Government and are to be sold to the highest bidder, without reservation. But Missourians have illegally gone on these Peoria lands intending to combine and prevent their going higher than $1.25 pr acre and then claim if they go higher a large amount for improvements, thus cheating the Indians. The Ottaways intend to divide into families and cultivate the soil and the habits of civilized life as many of them are now doing. They are a fine people. The Peorias are well advanced and might do the same but for a bad bargain with our Government.
There is a town site recently laid out on the space marked Village Plat, as there are two or three in view it is uncertain which will be taken – The semicircle is over ground sloping every way and affording a view in every way of from 20 to 30 miles in every direction, except one small point in the direction of Osawatomie. The view from this ground is beautiful beyond measure.
[the following are isolated comments made by the author in relation to a map of Brownsville drawn on page 3 of this document]
1. The timbered lands on Middle Creek are covered with claims, the claimants many of them from Ohio, Illinois and the east and are mostly free state folks. There are probably 20 families within 5 or 6 miles from us
2. A survey would soon find that great numbers are holding more land and especially timber than can be covered by 160 acres or even 320- that great numbers are holding claims for their friends, so that I have no doubt people will find a sufficient amount of timber yet for a long time Owing to rapid settlement of this country by Squatters it does not open a good field for land speculators.
3. Day before yesterday Owen and I ran the Peoria line East to see if there might not be formed a patch of timber on some of the numerous small streams which put into the Osage and which would be South of the Peoria line: we found on a clear little stream sufficient timber for a log house and wood enough to last a prudent family for 2 or 3 years! perhaps more, and until he could buy and raise more. Here a good claim could be made by someone. The prairie land which would be included is of the very best I have ever seen. – plenty of excellent stone by and adjoining it. Claims will soon be made here that will have no more than 2 or 3 acres of timber and after these are exhausted, prairie claims will be taken the claimants depending on buying their timber. Already this is the case, and many are selling off 20, 30 and 40 acres from their timber claims to those who have none.