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
The West 'Is the Place for Me,' He Wrote to His Sister Susan
Leavenworth Times, Sunday, December 2, 1956
July 13, 1857
Dear Sister Susan:
Your letter of the 29th probably reached this city some days ago. I have just returned from the Grasshopper River where I went one week ago. I leave tonight for Osawkie, some 30 miles west from Leavenworth, with Mr. Wilder. I shall go to Topeka on Tuesday to attend the convention of the Free State Party, having been delegated by the people of Atchison County where for the present I hail from.
Lands here are very high and city property enormously high--the latter so high that I would not touch it. I think many people coming here will make money and many more will lose. I have one or two chances to invest your $300 but cannot yet decide--will see at Osawkie what is best.
The more I see of the west the more I am convinced that it is the place for me. Although I cannot say that the life I have had the past five weeks has been the pleasantest -- that I have had the most cream in my coffee and slept in the best of beds -- yet my living temporarily on bread, coffee, and ham -- sleeping on the ground or in the waggon[sic] many times and but once in a good bed, and ont once in a clean bed. I have now hired a room with A. C. Wilder and hereafter when in the city shall have a good room and bed, better than the Planters Hotel can offer.
My new cousin Scott J. Anthony I like very much. He is highly esteemed here, although quite young. Our party from here to Osawkie consists of A. C. Wilder, D. W. Wilder, C. P. Achilles, Brown, Coman and myself.
August 7, 1857
Since writing the above I have bought a piece of land for you, 81 acres of the Delaware Trust Lands adjoining the Kickapoo Preempted Lands. I have made arrangements to buy the fractional quarter east of it (33 acres) for Mary. Merritt and I have built cabins on the two fractional quarters on the Kickapoo lands so that you or someone else can preempt them at $1.25 per acre or buy 120 and an 80 acre warrant and get it for about $1 per acre. It is A number 1 prairie land but if you do not like the investment I will take it off your hands. I had to pay $30 to the man who built the cabin on Mary's land and which will make her 39 acres cost $78.70 and she will have 121 acres to preempt at $1.25 per acre. These Delaware lands are sold by the government for the Indians. They are appraised at from $1.25 to $4.50 per acre and actual settlers can have them at that price. Most everyone manages to evade the law of the Commissioner of Sales.
You speak of coming to Kansas. It may be best for you to come out and buy your own lands in the future on the preemption plan. Tell father that he has not answered my last three letetrs[sic]. Ask him to negotiate one of those bonds and mortgages, that I think something cold be raised from them without losing much. I would give 10 per cent off to get them cashed. Send a New York draft. Personal checks cost one half per cent to collect. I may want two or three of you to make Kansas a visit. The land office at Lecompton has not opened yet. I may want four land warrants in October or November. I hardly think further in Kansas. Governor Walker doesn't know what to do--he has surrendered himself almost entirely to the Pro-Slavery Party.
D. R. Anthony