Saturday, February 26, 2011

1857 Jan. 30 Letter to William Chandler (3562) from Rebecca C. Bell (3559)

The letter is written on three pages of a single folded sheet of paper. It is dated January 30, 1857. It is written by Rebecca Bell (3559) and is addressed to William Chandler (3562) (her brother) in Chillicothe, Ohio.

Grundy County, Missouri 1st month 30th day, 1857

Dear Brother (3562),

I take my pen in hand to write a few lines to let you know that we are still on the land of the living and are enjoying common health. Except Alexander has been not so well for a few days but seems to be better again. The health of the neighborhood is very good. I have not heard of a case where a doctor has been called this winter. We have had three letters from our children in Iowa this week. They were all well, except Joel Paxson was complaining for about two weeks.

Anna (3703) received a letter some short time since from Sarah C. Blain (3705). It was a satisfaction to hear that you were all well. Sister Sarah (3563), we understand, has left the Scioto to try the prairie country. Does it not make the red of you to think of trying some other part of the world? Me thinks that you might find a county that you would enjoy yourselves as well as in that bottom. Take a trip out to the west, Brother (3562), and see the country.

Sarah (3705) mentioned in her letter that thee wanted to know what made Alexander sell and go to Missouri. He has never been satisfied in Iowa. He had a wish to try a warmer climate and talked a good while of Kansas. But the difficulties there seemed to be in the way. And thee may think from reports that Missouri is not little better. We know it bears the name of a land of oppression, but there is not many colored people in the north part. It is settling in with northern people and all is peaceable and quiet and minding their own business. I have not seen but three darkies since we came here. There is one man two miles away that has a few, and one three miles has two. We know but little more about slavery here than thee does their. But I would be glad to see the time when America would loose the bands of oppression and set the captives free. But I fear they will stout it out until the judgment of an offended god will be poured upon our favored land.

We sold our land in Iowa - 200 acres for 20 dollars per acre - and left 40 acres of timber yet unsold. I expect it will sell any time when offered for sale. Alexander has bought a farm 200 hundred and 7 acres. There are between 80 and 90 acres in cultivation and some bearing fruit trees. It is timber and prairie joining. It lies on Medicine Creek about 12 miles east of Gravel River and about 12 miles east of Trenton, the county seat of Grundy County. Timber is rather scarce, but the prairies are dry and rolling. Thee can come and see the country, and us too. We are six miles southwest of Linley, a little town known by the name of Stringtown, and three miles northeast of Nevada.

Alexander bought old corn in the fall for 20 cents per bushel and has not given more for any yet. But it is rating now from 25 to 30 cents; wheat from 80 cents to one dollar per bushel; flour from three and a half to four dollars per hundred; buckwheat three dollars per hundred; pork three and a half per hundred.

The weather has been changeable. The forepart of the winter there was considerable of rain and some snow, but we have not had much snow this winter. The old settlers say it has been colder this winter than for five or six years before - but not so cold as Iowa is some times.

I did not mention in its proper place what our own land cost. It cost a little over 11 dollars per acre. The land here is about all taken up, but there is many wanting to sell. They are asking five dollars per acre for unimproved land.

There is a railroad laid out from Hannibal on the Mississippi to St. Joseph on the Missouri River. It is to go by Chillicothe, about 18 miles southwest of us, which will be nearest point to us. It is said they have about 30 miles of the east end finished and the cars running and it is to be finished in 12 to 18 months through out. We are 40 miles from the Missouri river.

Martha (3700) is teaching school about a quarter of a mile from home. She has quite a large school. Some days over 40 scholars.

When this comes to hand write soon and direct thy letter to Alpha, Grundy County, Missouri. The name of the post office is changed. No more at present but remain thy affectionate Sister.

Rebecca Bell (3559)

NB Alexander’s general health is improved. It has been better from two years past.

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