Letter from John McConihe to John Kellogg, May 1, 1858

On May 1, 1858, John McConihe writes to John Kellogg about meeting with John Newton in Cincinnati, the behavior of the Indians in town, and the quality of the whiskey available in his town. Most of the letter focuses on the Panic of 1857 and its effects on land speculations and new construction.

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Friend John

I arrived in good health on the 27th ult., and find everything as dull as we predicted. I had a very pleasant talk with Newton the Sunday I stopped at Cincinnati and he appeared as natural as ever. It seemed like old times to be talking with him and we laughed heartily and talked much about Omaha the West and the panic. He is doing very well and gets a salary of $1000 in the bank but don't like C— because he has formed no such acquaintances as he had at Troy.

Omaha looks as well as any place West of the Mis-

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souri River, but they are all dead for the present. There is some building going on here, but of the small kind. Money is a thing that was, there is none here, nor none coming in. Our Currency is all Tekama Bank and that is redeemed nowhere. It is hard to exchange Tekama for Gold at 10 pr. ct. yet that is all the currency we have. The fact is that Exchange is worth 10 per. ct.

I find our affairs in a strainght position, taxes paid house and office in good order and rent collected up to May 1st 1858. Our Office property is the best in town and will bring a fair compensation some-day. If there is any trouble

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about our titles I will do the best that can be done. I think we will come out right.

Did we divid the $1845 taxes Mr Finch paid on Omaha City property? I have forgotten.

What shall I do with your portion of the rent? Shall I keep it for expenses that may arise (we may put down a cheap sidewalk on Farnham St. It is much needed in front of our office, but I will not do it as long as I can wade through the mud.) and until I can remit more advantageously. It is better to have a little money in hand than to be drawing on you. Our Office is the best rented taking into consideration that I have a stopping place in

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it. I am sleeping on the floor now but expect soon to obtain a Lounge The first night it was pretty hard on my bones but I am fast getting used to it. There is nothing like coming down to first principles in these times. The emigration amounts to nothing but is quite early yet. Boatmen are doing nothing on the river and many boats are tied up at St. Louis. At the Hamilton Hall (our old boarding place we have nine boarders. Last spring we had Severnty five! Everything has changed in that proportion. But, John, I do not like to brood over such facts.

The Country back and around us is being tilled very extensively by many who have been speculating before, having gone on their

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claims as the last resource.

At Council Bluffs affairs are in the same condition and many stores and houses are vacant.

Scrip is worth 20 cents Western Exchange 40 cts!!!!!!

All the banks and business men here loose from $1000 to 5000 by scrip. Dr Monell has some $6000 on hand and any amoung of bad debts. We hope and expect that the Land sales will relieve us and that the times will get better at the East. Business at St Louis is terribly dull, so at Cincinnati.

It is a great time to buy property if a man had the money and the courage. Money can be loaned on good farms the best

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of security at 5 pr. ct. p mo.

There has been three calls for Land Warrants since I arrived but I am not yet convinced that it will pay to buy them and send here. If the times improve it will pay, as the Lans Sales in the fall will enhance their value (Four feet from this desk upon which I write a squalling pappoose has disturbed my mind but the squaw is now sitting down under the window in the mud, suckling the poor thing. It is now very quiet but the lazy indian is flatt'ning his nose on the window pane staring at me. Pa-cha-chee! Pawnee!! (Leave Pawnee). And he strolls off from the window. There are some three hundred in town trading begging and loafing.)

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But again to the Warrants. If you will send five of six I will do the best I can, sell only for gold and at a profit or return them. I would like to have them on hand for sale (say one or two at a time) as it might draw other business, if you think there is no great risk. I will guarantee to return the warrants or Gold with 7 pr. ct. int and if any profits go you halves. I hope to square up Touseley's debt soon. Jones & Wood have dissolved. Jones carries on the business Wood has gone to New York. Gov. Richardson is here and boards at our house. I like him very much.

Remember me to all my friends and ask Frank about her friend Mary. Write often


John McConihe

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P.S. Do just as you wish about the Warrants, irrespective of me.

Say to Mart. that the Whiskey in my grocery is not as good as that in his.

About this Document

  • Source: Letter from John McConihe to John Kellogg
  • Extent: 8 pages
  • Collector:
  • Citation: Archives and Special Collections, University of Nebraska–Lincoln Libraries, John McConihe Correspondence, Archives and Special Collections, University of Nebraska–Lincoln Libraries, MS308, Box 1, Folder 3
  • Date: May 1, 1858