From the collections at the Leavenworth County Historical Society and Museum. Reprinted with permission from The Leavenworth County Historical Society and Museum and the Leavenworth Times. Donated by Debra Graden.
The Anthony Letters
Money Makes Money But It Is Helped By Willingness to Work
Leavenworth Times, 1956-57
Editors note: This is another in a series of letters written by Col. D. R. Anthony to his family in the east almost 100 years ago when Leavenworth was a new town and Kansas was still a territory. The letters give a clear picture of Leavenworth in its early period. The Times is publishing the letters each Sunday and Thursday.
15th Dec 1858
Dear Bro Eugene:
Am pleased to hear you talk of coming west. As to what you can do, must of course, be a subject for you to decide.
I have been anxious to get someone to assist me in my business and for one who could "fill the bill" could afford to pay $800 to $1,000 per annum. Have written Father but he is so well settled at home that there is little or no prospect of his selling out and coming west, and then if he could sell it is a question whether it would be for the best.
My business wants a good solicitor for outdoor work. My time is occupied constantly, so much so that I cannot devote the requisite time to soliciting new business which might be done to great profit.
Now whether this business would suit you or not is more than I can say. What think you? My business thus far has proved successful beyond my most sanguine expectations and from present appearances will continue good as long as our town continues to grow, and all things indicate a splendid future for Leavenworth. An immense emigration will probably flow into this territory next season and our town can't help what seems to be its destiny -- becoming the metropolis of Kansas and the west.
Could you realize from the sale of your farm, the west of all places money is needed to make money. You could do well on loans with undoubted security.
House rents are high, small houses 6 or 7 rooms $300 to $400 pr annum. Such a house as yours, $400 to $500 per annum. Provisions are low, all kinds of merchandise can be bought at fair prices. Day board is from $4 to $5 per week, board with lodging from $5 to $10.
Of course if you come here you will keep house. I think rents and board will both come down.
As to general business here I think that the grocery trade is a paying business. A first class dry good establishment with a stock of $30,000 would pay. A stock of $10,000 of carpets, house furnishing goods, and glassware would pay -- almost any kind of business if pushed would prove a good thing.
Have written Aaron about his coming out here and assisting me but don't think there is much prospect of his coming. He is not much of a hand to push out into a new world. I do not like to advise in such matters but think you would be pleased with life here providing you are willing to put your pants inside your boots and wade through mud to accomplish your business. It is money and hard work that will pay here.
The fare from Albany to Leavenworth, when the Missouri is open, is about $40 -- and $10 to $20 more when the river is closed, as it is at present. Now you stage 205 miles from Jefferson City.
As to M.D.s there are lots of them, say 25 to 50 in town, yet an A No. 1 man will get a good business at once and a paying one -- have thought of writing Henry K. McLean but dislike to advise anyone for fear they may not like it and their business may not prove remunerative.
Leavenworth has a population of 8,000 people; 150 to 200 stores; 5 or 6 hotels; 5 or 6 steam saw mills; 1 pork packing establishment; 1 large brick steam flouring mill; 4 rum stores; 2 iron foundries; 2 or 3 waggon shops; and endless numbers of boarding houses. Our streets present a very lively appearance -- looks like Rochester minus the brick buildings. I would advise you to sell your farm and loan the proceeds in Kansas.
As to marrying matters, I am inclined to take the subject into serious consideration, and if so situated that the case could be fully discussed, the question might be adjusted. I don't think there is any prospect my making any such arrangement west. Please write me fully about the marriageable ladies in Washington County. For reasons most satisfactory to myself I have remained single thus far -- and suppose no one regrets my course, or cares particularly.
My best love to Gean, Mother, and yourself and regards to Easton friends. Write on receipt of this telling what shape you can get your affairs into for a western life and when and how you prefer to come and live, etc.
D. R. Anthony