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
'Squatters Overrun the Land, And Speculation Rages High'
Leavenworth Times, Nov. 25, 1956
Editor's 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.
35 miles west of Leavenworth Delaware Trust Lands, Kan.Territory near the SA corner of the Kickapoo Reservation.
5 PM thursday, June 11, 1857
These lands are coming into the market July 15th. Send on the $800 or $1,000 in the Union Savings Bank or get $1,000 discounted for three months. Send gold. There is money in these lands. Speculation among the squatters rages high. I shall go down to the Wea lands near where Merritt is about next Monday -- those lands come onto the market at that time. I have made a small investment and expect to make a claim good. The whole land is overrun with squatters. The lands here are as good as any in the country. Claims are selling for from $50 to $2,000 each, and nothing but a squatter's right at that. Make a note payable as Mr. Erickson may direct for $2,000 and express his bank notes to me at Leavenworth, K. t. via American express to St. Louis, thence by Richardson's Missouri Express to Leavenworth. Money will have a good circulation here. I am fully convinced that money is made here in buying lands at first prices. If Mr. Erickson is unwilling I can get a note discounted at the Canajoharie Bank. I know you are not posted in regard to these land speculations but I am pretty well acquainted already.
This letter is written in a log shanty, cracks all open, hay for flooring, one small box for furniture and blankets for bedding. I am writing on my memorandum book which rests on my knees while I am sitting flat on the ground. Wilder is sitting on the door sill (no door) making a memorandum in his book. He will take this letter to Leavenworth City on Friday. He returns on Monday when I go with him and Scott J. Anthony to the Wea lands. I hope you won't fail to send me at least $2,000 by July 11th. Missourians, Virginia, Indianans, and three New Yorkers are staying in this hut. We live on crackers, ham, tea, sugar, molasses, and whiskey. The latter is the only staple article. It is said no squatter can have his claim unless he has flour and whiskey in his cabin. I am on the Grasshopper Creek (east bank) about 11 miles north of Grasshopper Falls town.
D. R. Anthony