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
'Postal Clerks Honest--Can't Say as Much for Postmaster'
Editors 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.
I have heard nothing from you since October 15th. Many letters are lost or stolen on the route somewhere. The clerks in this office I think are honest but I cannot say as much for the postmaster himself.
The money panic affects us here to some extent although nothing to what you describe. Tis mainly the want of currency. I notice by New York Tribune that Kansas land warrants have been selling as low as 60 to 65 cents per acre. I think you can find four or five of them in Rochester for a very low figure. I can loan land warrants here, for the purpose of which I want them, but I will have to pay $1 per acre and 3 per cent month interest on same. You will readily see a good business in buying them here at $1 per acre. I made up and sent my report to the company for October, yesterday, so you see I am prompt. All kinds of produce continues very high -- potatoes 75 cents, apples $1.00 and other things in ratio.
Perhaps I had better number my letters as many people are satisfied that their mail matter is tampered with at the post office here. Another mail boat has come up and shall get her mail tomorrow noon. We have to wait for slow men to distribute it--letters 1 1/2 hours and papers up to 48 hours. Tis very negligently conducted. I have been thinking some more about my visiting home this winter and cannot come to a conclusion. If I go home my expenses will not be less than $100 and then I shall lose over a month's business which will be over another $100, so you see by visiting home I am $200 or more poorer than I would be to stay here, and in these money panic times one must economize as much as possible in dress, traveling expenses, etc. My cigar, whiskey, and pleasure bills generally are mere nothing for the last two months and if I keep on improving in this way I see no reason why I may not one day be a rich man. But in this country one can most readily understand that it is far easier to make than to save money. I hope you will send on the funds to use in Kansas. I can invest for you as you may think best but I would rather have one dollar now than two after March next. I am not one to believe that all the country will be ruined by this panic. On the contrary now is the time for one having spare money and courage to operate.
Could you have the agency of the Aetna Company for Lawrence I would like to see you settled in that town. Lawrence contains the best population of any town in the Union and is destined to become a large town. I think I could get you the agency for any other except that, but then no place unless it is this city of Leavenworth will compete with it. But I suppose there is no chance to sell property in Rochester. I am sure Mother would be pleased with living in this country and particularly in Lawrence because there is such an unanimity of sentiment prevailing. I hope to hear by next letter that Mother is getting better, also that she will write me a few words as she has not written me sine I left.
D. R. Anthony