As my friends are aware, I've been transcribing letters written by my third great uncles and their families, written in the mid to late 1800's. With this Indian Territory block, I could have chosen a letter from Uncle Lyman. a doctor who practiced medicine on the western border of Missouri (west of Neosho), and treated residents in the Indian Territory west of that. But since I have a log cabin for my block center, this letter from Uncle Abel dated January 2nd is my text, with Abel working on one to pay his bills. I particularly enjoyed the description of the furnishings in his own house, so I included that here. Abel had just moved to Kansas the summer before.
The letter is postmarked (hand-written) Elizabethtown, Kansas - which I have learned is a town that no longer exists. (Fernando is Abel's son, Sarah is Abel's wife, and Dor is Calvin's mother, Abel's sister.)
Dear Friends, Again I will try and scratch a few lines in answer to your kind letter which found us as usual (with the ague). Fernando had a chill yesterday for to begin the new year with. I think this not a very healthy place (for us at) any rate there has not been one week at a time but some of us have been sick. We have had a cold winter so far we had some six or eight inches of snow but the weather turned warm and most of the snow went off then new years eve it turned cold again. Fair again today the wind in the north and thaws but a little I want to commence a small job in the morning if not too cold finishing off a log house. I want to pay off my doctor bill at that and then if I can get work I shall try to get money enough to take me out of Kansas at least of this part of it. Land is higher here than with you partly owing to the Railroad excitement. The Galveston Rail Road will pass with in a mile of us and that makes a great difference in the price of land in this country. They are at work sixteen miles north of us and laying the track at the rate of one mile per day at this rate we will soon have a road. This county has voted three hundred and seventy five thousand dollars in bonds to the Rail Roads for which they get nothing but the fun of paying the interest for thirty years and besides this the company have every alternate section of land twenty miles wide across the state which will keep settlers out until the land shall have been appraised and brought into market again but at what price nobody can tell, but most all think that it will be from $3 to $7 per acre (I think I shant bite).... Sarah says tell Dor we have the nicest little stove for which we paid $27,60 cts our furniture consist of 1 table 4 home made plank bottom chairs no bedsteads but I have timber out the door to make two.
At that point, Fernando takes up the pen to write a couple of pages to his cousin Calvin, then Abel finishes with more discussion of local politics and prices - all very interesting but this is enough for today's post! But if you are interested, here is a link that tries to explain Elizabethtown's demise - the railroad did not go there after all. http://www.ghosttowns.com/states/ks/elizabethtown.html