Poughkeepsie Nov: 22 1819
Your favor of 20th inst. came safe to my hands just one month after it was
written-- Your letters always please me. Continue, my dear child thus to solace
& cheer your aged grandsire. Go on my beloved descendant to improve your
mind-- confirm your morals & increase in Religious aspirations. My fond
wishes look forward to a day, not far distant when you will conspicously
appear in the front rank of the first & best citizens of Illinois. My
beloved Charles & you start almost at xx in the xx of fame & independence--
Your courses a little dissimilar, but your object the same. On my bended
knees I pray for happiest success to you both.
I am solicited by one and another to beseech either you or Charles to write
me a long, plain & diffusive emigrant letter. The eyes of many are turned
to the far-famed Illinois. I will indulge in a prospectus.
The expose of a simple gentleman from NYork to Kaskaskia via Philadelphia
Pittsburgh-- then Ohio & Shawnee.
The expense of a 2 horse waggon xx his wife & 5 chubbed children, from Pitsburg
to Kaskaskia: Whether near the Ohio to Cincinnati & so a southern route to
Kaskaskia? or from Pitsburg to Vincennes & so on to you? Which of these 2 routes
the best-- or -- are either feasible. In 4 years from this day, the
Erie canal will unquestably solve all these difficulties. But in the interim
please to inform us.
xx of Illinois almost at a point on the Mississippi say 6 miles north of
the mouth of the Kaskaskia. Missouri then 6 miles east. Again 6 miles
north, & then 6 miles west to the banks of the said Mississippi river & along
the shore southerly to the place of beginning containing say 21 thousand
acres. What porportion of this trail would be prairie ground & free from
timber & how much uneven or highland-- How much in timber? Is there a border
of land next your rivers which might be termed inter vale but still not of the
prairie form? What is the price of 200 acres of land within the limits I
have here mentioned? Say in the unimproved state? What facilities in the
payments. What houses do the midling class of settlers erect & of what materials?
Do small fountain brooks abound as in Dutchess & Putnam counties? When wells
are dug at what depth is water found? When procured is it cold & pure,
brackish or otherwise. Are field enclosures of wood, hedge, stone, or earth.
Is winter wheat & rye grown-- if so, how many bushels to the acre.
The month & day of the month when Indian corn ought to be planted.
The number of bushels (shelled) to the acre? Can the stock swine get their livings
in Winter without being fed from the grainery? Are cows & horses
I go on to torment you. Suppose this 6 miles square of land carried
20 miles east of the Mississippi. Then what would the proportion of
prairie be to the upland. & & & Is your prairie in fact more estimable than
the higher grounds? We make ourselves believe here that every inch of your
territory is paradisaical-- that your loaf has no crust. You on the
spot doubtless know & think otherwise. It may be good but all cannot be best.
I groan with my emigantical query. What is bar iron worth per lb at Kaskaskia?
Can a good common farming waggen be fabricated in your place & at what
price? Plows & made reasonably. Ought a new settler at all to depend
on his gun, his xx, or his need for a supply of provisions in any part
of your region? Can salted beef or pork be purchased all the year round?
Is the winter severe there or not so? Do your people so much expect
snow as to provide themselves with sleighs? Is the Mississippi where you
are, or even the Kaskaskia ever frozen over? What was the highest show
of the thermometer? Do your farmers at all plough in March?
You are fatigued with the endless string of interrogations & so am I-- I
fear you or Charles will not reply to half of them. Tell Charles that
Stephen Mitchel is one of those who [wants] information. S.M. has 7 sons & 2
Charles in his acceptable letter to his mother of the 7th inst, among other
things mentioned a half formed determination to purchase 2 1/2 sections
of land. How many acres are there in a section of land? How far from
your door does this parcel lye? What price xx & periods of payment?
My advice to my son is -- ponder-- do not be in a hurry to be in debt-- Lands
may slumber long before they give xx-- not
so know all men. Interest there immediately follows signature. Before he
dreams of land he must first think of a Wife. I fear your country is unhealthy.
I judge so from the extensive practice of Miss Bettx Livingston.
I never will
xx xx in any, but I beg of Mr. Kane, Mr. xx & the two physicians to be careful.
Next to Eternal concerns, a sound body is the one thing needful. Charles has told
his mother that his books, boxes & xx will not be with him till next spring on account
of the xx of water in Ohio: Pityful stream that for 6 months in succession cannot
float an xx full of baggage! The Belle-Rivierre I believe has been much xx. Your
Grand-mamma, Jane, Susan & Sidney are on a visit to Paterson: We expect them back
tomorrow. Helen, Eliza & Edwin have twined a wreath of love for you & Charles &
begged me to cast it in your laps. I throw in my own boquet with theirs. Our
autumn is fine - dry, but healthy.
Adieu my dear Sidney-- Tell Charles I love him
Sidney Breese Esq.