Letter from John R. Boyle to Samuel B. Reed, March 8, 1861

In this letter from March 8, 1861, John R. Boyle writes to Samuel Reed discussing the prospects for employment on a railroad in the near future. He states that he would prefer working for Mr. Thielsen to working on the Mississippi and Missouri Railroad as he does not believe that railroad will be capable of "doing anything as long as those troubles between the north and south exist." Boyle also notes that he rejected an invitation to work on the Cedar Rapids Railroad, believing it would be better to "stay on our farms than work on a R Road that has no money." He declares that if the troubles between the North and South were settled, there would be more work available.


Washington Iowa

Saml B. Reed Esq.
Joliet Ill
Dear Sir

Your very welcome letter of the 5th of March has been received yesterday, and both Mrs. Boyle and myself are proud to know you. Mrs. Reed and Annie are all well.

Mr. Thielson [sic] writes you a verry [sic] nice letter and I would prefer getting work from him to getting it on the M & M Road. There is no prospect of the M & M doing anything as long as those troubles between the north and south exist. And I am a little inclined to think they will exist for a while.

I sent two foremen to my brother in Ala. Stilly of Iowa City and Smith who used to work for Groendycke.

Stilly will keep me informed about roads and work down there. I had a letter of invitation to go on the construction of the Cedar Rappids [sic] Road, but I declined accepting the invitation. Because they no money we had better stay on our farms than work on a R Road that has no money. The Co has not fired Mr. [?]. Or won't until the middle of June that's when their paper becomes due. I am going to do what I can on the farm this season in pigs and sheep mostly. Mr. Reed I will have to intrude on your generosity again. I want you to send me about 2 bushl [sic] of those cactus not too large. I will try and make it right with you by & by. I am sorry your potatoes are not worth more money they are worth 20 with us.

There is nothing doing in this place prices are so low the farmers are holding on and will not sell pigs and sheep are the only things that bring a good price. I don't think I will do anything about buying real estate until I can dispose of some of what I have now on hand. Money is now the thing I have not been able to collect a dollar this spring. When I expected to get considerable. I am of opinion if those troubles were settled there would a large amt of work start up and be done. That would be good work enlarging the [land] and improving the river. I am of the opinion the southern states will keep out unless those compromises are effected.

Mrs. Boyle says she thinks it is yours and Mrs. Reed's turn now to see us. I do not hear of a road any plan being in operation of contruction unless what is doing in the south. My bro has three roads in operation.

I am looking out for a road that has some money to do the work with.

Mrs. Boyle & Peter wishes to be remembered to you all most affectionately.

Yours with much respect
John R. Boyle

About this Document

  • Source: Letter from John R. Boyle to Samuel B. Reed
  • Extent: 3 pages
  • Citation: Yale University Library, Manuscripts and Archives, Samuel Reed Family Papers, Box 2, Folder 27
  • Date: March 8, 1861