Letter from Samuel B. Reed to Jennie Reed, September 21, 1860

In this letter from September 21, 1860, Samuel Reed writes to his wife informing her that he has arrived in Cairo, Illinois. He notes the poor state of crops there and offers a brief description of the landscape, characterizing it as "the most forbiding [sic] looking place I have seen in the west." He tells her that he and John R. Boyle will travel to Memphis by railroad that morning, and then proceed to Vicksburg, Mississippi by river.

Direct to Vixburgh MIssissippi [sic] Trip South
Cairo Illinois

Dear Jennie

We arrived here last evening all safe after a long tedious ride. I was just too late to meet the train on the Rock Island road & took the car on the Chicago & Mississippi road and arrived in Chicago just in time to make connections with the car on the Central road for this place. Mr. Boyle was on the car wondering what had become of me. Was very glad to have me get in in time to go on with him. We go by RRoad to Memphis this morning & from there by river to Vixburgh [sic] where we hope to arrive early Monday morning. The river is very low boats are often [delamed] on bars between this and Memphis below Memphis there is no delays on the river.

I was very much disappointed as we came through Illinois at the crops as seen from the cars. I have not seen any corn that looks as well as in our vicinity corn for the first 180 miles from Chicago appears to be dried up or killed by the frost. It all is as dry and dead as inmid winter. The last 170 miles there has not been any frost but the corn I am sure is not as good as on our farm. I am better satisfied with Joliet & vicinity than before I left home.

Cairo is the most forbiding [sic] looking place I have seen in the west. The tops of the levee is even with the tops of the smoke stacks of steamers on the one side and with the tops of buildings on the other. Low flat swampy land extends back from the river eight miles which in times of high water is inundated from one to ten feet.

I have no time this morning to give you a discreption [sic] of our trip thus far as we leave in a short time for the south. So good morning, & good by [sic] until you hear from me again. Kiss our darling Anne for Pa Pa and accept all the love I can send in this hastily scribbled letter.

Yours affectionately

About this Document

  • Source: Letter from Samuel B. Reed to Jennie Reed
  • Extent: 3 pages
  • Citation: Yale University Library, Manuscripts and Archives, Samuel Reed Family Papers, Box 2, Folder 26
  • Date: September 21, 1860