Letter from Joseph E. Osborn to George S. Harris, February 15, 1872

In this February 15, 1872 letter from Joseph E. Osborn to George S. Harris, Osborn describes the results of a business trip to Norway, in which he tried to find favorable rates of passage for Norwegian immigrants who have purchased Burlington and Missouri River Railroad land in Iowa and Nebraska.

George S. Harris, Esq.
Land Commissioner B. & M. R.
Burlington Iowa,

Dear Sir,

Herewith I have the honor of enclosing account of Expenses for the month of February, which I trust you will find correct. It has become somewhat delayed owing to the fact that I have again been out, and but just returned.

This time my journey was to Norway, where I made as I hope a good arrangement with Mr. O. Svenson of the National Line and Mr. Sharpe Agt of Allan Line.

Both promised to be as active for the Co. as possible; and the circulars are already by them spread to all parts of the country both will send with the passengers letters and I have allowed them the usual Commission viz: 1% which I trust will be properly accredited to them. Our work here is hard.

There are many Agts. here for diverse States and Companies some offering exceedingly favorable terms, such as free lands, houses, implements and a subsistence for some time.

The only thing that I can boast of is the superiority of soil climate and low terms, considering that it is to be bought, but it does not take when others are offering so much. Could not the Company give some such assistance building material and supplements. I am confident of however that the company will reap material benefits of the Agency in the end. A great number of persons without means are going to seek R.R. labour, but intend to buy land as soon as they have acquired a little. Numbers of these are coming on in current time.

The lands have actually attracted much attention but I fear that I shall not be able to send you very large lots directly. I find that some are going without calling for letters. But it matters little only so that they go there from the papers which I have sent on you will see that I am advertising freely. Hope [?] are leaving Maine & coming West & to us & buying our lands with good affect.

Two persons have gone this spring viz: A. G. Norberg & C. O. Anderson, both have letters to you. Lincoln & [?]. Papers came on for a while but have now entirely ceased. Are they not being sent? I subtracted from them a good many points of value. Please send them on. I shall now remain here in Gothenburg subject to your orders answering letters and conversing with emigrants as they come in. This as you know is the principal embarkation for Sweden.

I draw on $250 Gold for current expenses on next week may make some flighty trips to the interior, if [?] of any larger parties, but my opinion is I will do best work here now.

Shall communicate with you as circumstances may demand.

Your Ob'd't Servant
Joseph Osborn.

About this Document

  • Source: Letter from Joseph E. Osborn to George S. Harris, February 15, 1872
  • Extent: 3 pages
  • Citation: The Newberry Library, Chicago, Illinois, Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy Railroad Collection, Box: "George Harris Letters, 73.1"
  • Date: February 15, 1872