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
He Spent a 'Pious' sunday; Had Roast Goose for Diner
Leavenworth Times, Sunday, January 20, 1957
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.
22 Nov 1858
Well I am back from Omaha, Bluffs, and other places north and was very fortunate in all my business arrangements. Made money for the company (or rather saved.) Have had three boats snagged on the Missouri this fall. I brought $7,200 of insured goods from one snagged boat (mostly dry goods) to Leavenworth and hand jobbed them off in 5 days. The company wrote me "The result shows your course was highly judicious and is most heartily approved."
I spent Sunday in a pious way. It cost me only 25¢. Church is cheaper than the theater although the acting is not near as good.
Got out of bed at 7 A.M., washed, put on a clean shirt, and went to breakfast at 8½. Our family now consists of Mr. and Mrs. Hamlin (the proprietors), Mr. and Mrs. Drake (he is agent of the telegraph company and Associated Press), a young married couple, and Wilder and myself.
We had a good steak 1½ inches thick -- tender and juicy, sweet potatoes, nice white also brown bread and hot rolls, with A No. 1 coffee. At 10¼ A.M. I waited on Mrs. Hamlin (her husband is absent for a few days) and Mr. Palmer waited on her mother, Mrs. Knight.
We went to the Democratic Episcopal Church. Mrs. Hamlin is one of the finest women in town; dresses as well and in as good taste as anyone in Rochester (not excepting yourself). She had on a $25 bonnet, a $50 silk (not black) and hoops and white skirts of the finest muslin which in contrast with the mud in the streets looked elegantly.
Mrs. Knight, her mother aged about 38, is a noble good woman full of life and is worth some thousands in her own right. Her husband was formerly worth $300,000 but lost most of it in N.Y. He brought $25,000 hard cash to Kansas and made poor investments here and is now down right hard up.
Palmer is a tiptop young man, 27 years, been to California, is steady, temperate and honest. So you see we made a respectable party, particularly so as the ladies belong to the Democratic Party (Douglass, of course).
They came around with the offering box and I put in a quarter--got roasted--heard the old story and went home. It had thawed and white skirts were no longer white, but all mud.
Palmer took dinner with us and we had roast wild goose with dressing, baked potatoes, fried apples, cranberries, pickles, white and brown bread, tea and mince pie. Cattle are much cheaper here than cats and dogs so our mince pies are genuine. All, cooked as fine and nice as Mrs. Wollcott's dinners.
Visited awhile after dinner, went to office, ate apples, called on two school marms with Mr. Palmer, took tea with them and stayed until 7½ o'clock. Then went to office again. There we had Mr. McLanathan, one of our leading merchants; Vaughan, editor of The Times; a Mr. Weld of NY (nephew of Theodore R. Weld, come to located this city as atty) Wilder and myself. We talked until 10 o'clock against the church and the Democratic Party, then separated and went to bed.
Now you have an idea how I passed one Sunday, tho this Sunday was an exception as I have been to church but once before since my return to Kansas. I expect to have a call today to give funds to support the church.
Have written, you so long about dinners and pretty women and Episcopal Churches that you must be well entertained. The spiritual and the physical are so intimately related that that which promotes the comfort on the one -- must interest the other. You of course would rather hear about dinners than anything else save hanging one by the neck until they are dead, dead, dead. Will write again soon.
D. R. Anthony