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
There Were Four to Eight In Room at Planters House
Leavenworth Times, Nov. 21, 1956
Editor's note: this is the second 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 insight into conditions in early times here. They are being published twice weekly by The Times, on Thursdays and Sundays. Since tomorrow is a holiday, this letter is presented today.
Leavenworth City, K.T.
June 10, 1857
Here I am in the land of border ruffians. Arrived here Monday morning, June 8 at 10 o'clock, safe and sound. Stopping at the Planters House, a good five story brick building, but sleep 4 to 8 in a room; board $2.00 per day at that. Am going out to squat with A. C. Wilder and Scott T. Anthony an "old" resident of this city. I am going for the sovereignty principle.
Am well satisfied Leavenworth City is the most enterprising city in all Kansas, but lots are high, high, high and I wouldn't touch them at half what is asked for them. Lots as far from the center of business as Adams Street and Chatham Street in Rochester they here ask $30 per foot front 140 feet deep. Everybody is a land agent and most everybody owns land. I won't touch anything but lands at first prices or nearly so.
This town is very much like St. Paul, Minnesota. It has from 3,000 to 5,000 people, mostly young men and fast men. They call me an "old fogy," already. Scott T. Anthony is a first rate man O.K. and said to be perfectly reliable in all respects. Wilder has been making some money since he has been here. If I had invested $1,000 here six months ago it would have been worth $10,000 now, but that time is past.
I think city property will decline this winter and in the spring before the emigration commences. I think a good speculation can be made--money is worth from 3 to 5 per cent per month, but it can be used to much better profit buying lands, at least so I think. If Aaron wants to invest that $400 in the Union Savings Bank let him send on the gold at once, so it will reach here by the 10th of July. The sales are on the 15th July. Sell that $1,400 and that $600 mortgage if you possibly can. I think the money could be doubled in less than one year.
I shall not do anything at loaning money, but if I had it would buy drafts on New York and could make enough to more than pay express charges. The charge for expressing currency to Leavenworth City is $3.50 per $1,000 and less when you contract. Gold costs more. Gold is worth more than currency.
I have seen General Harney at Fort Leavenworth. Saw "Sheriff Sam'l J. Jones", the man who was shot. He is very docile now -- indeed many of the border ruffians now say Kansas must be a free state. When it was announced that Adams (free state) was elected mayor of this city they said property rose 25 per cent.
Judge Lecompte is holding court here. Charles Fugett is on trial for the murder of Hopps. They have been at work two days and got only 6 jurors. Over 60 had formed an opinion. Many were challenged by Fugett's counsel. They accept nothing but "B.Rs." [border ruffians], full blooded. Lecompte, Marshall and the district attorney have thus far acted fairly in this trial. But Lecompte is a thick-headed jackass and acts as though he was afraid of his own shadow. He is a coward. Almost every man says Fugett murdered then scalped Hopps in cold blood. One young man said to me that he would be cleared as he had only killed a damned abolitionist. The free state men speak right out plain. They will not vote at this election. Scott T. Anthony was driven out of town last summer for his free state principles and this spring the deputy marshall gave his revolver to Scott and wanted him to assist in arresting Fugett. Scott laid hold of him first--this shows a change--.
I shall go to see Merritt Anthony next Monday and stay there two weeks and attend the "Wea Trust Land Sales." Scott had done this day. Wilder goes with me Monday. Tell Mary to send her money also and I will buy her 160 acres which will cost about $300 to $325. These lands are priced at $1.50 to $2.50 per acres. Insurance is going to be a good business here. Many good buildings are already built and being built. I shall want to get that note discounted for $2,000 or $3,000--$1,000, $2,000 or $10,000 even is small to operate in city lots. The Planters House was sold for $50,000 a few weeks back--they are making money fast. I don't think trade is very good this summer. If you can get the agency at the Aetna for Lawrence you might move out. I write this on my knee in the hotel office. We now have a daily mail from and to this city.
D. R. Anthony