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  • | Letter

    Letter from John McConhie to John Kellogg, September 23, 1857

    John McConihe writes to John Kellogg on September 23, 1857 about the loan he has made to John Newton to enable him to leave town and provides an account of their business expenses in settling Beatrice, Nebraska.

  • | Letter

    Letter from John McConihe to John Kellogg, August 15, 1857

    On August 15, 1857, John McConihe writes to John Kellogg about their shared land transactions in Nebraska and news of others who have fallen on hard times. Though the real estate market is not as hearty as he had hoped (which he attributes to "Kansas Shriekers," "Emigrants", and "the tight money market at the East"), he is still confident that the market will improve. McConihe envies Kellogg for enjoying "cool sea breezes" on the coast, while he has just endured a 70-hour dust storm, and predicts that Omaha will become "the town" in Nebraska.

  • | Letter

    Letter from John McConihe to John Kellogg, August 2, 1857

    On August 2, 1857, John McConihe writes to John Kellogg about their shared business interests in Nebraska. McConihe rejoices in the rapid progress Beatrice is making as a town, but regrets their investments in Council Bluffs, IA, as he feels Omaha, Nebraska is becoming the more prosperous city. He writes of the difficulties of speculation, resting in the certainty that "in the long run money will be made."

  • | Letter

    Letter from John McConihe to John Kellogg, June 21, 1857

    On June 21, 1857, John McConihe writes to John Kellogg about their investments in southeast Nebraska, particularly in the town of Beatrice. McConihe tells Kellogg that he does not know why it takes mail longer to arrive from the East than it does to be sent to it, though he blames road and weather conditions in Iowa for much of the delay. He rounds out the letter with news of the first circus in Nebraska, their friend Newton's regrettable foray into bookkeeping, and statements of optimism about the West.

  • | Letter

    Letter from John McConihe to John Kellogg, June 15, 1857

    John McConihe writes to John Kellogg on June 15, 1857 about his efforts to incorporate the town of Beatrice, Nebraska and organize the political structure of the county. He praises the town's location next to the Big Blue River, and predicts rapid settlement, since "the emigrants are following in our tracks daily". He expresses the wish that Kellogg could arrive soon with "lots of money" because of all the potential for investment and development.

  • | Letter

    Letter from Francis Sim to Mother and Father, May 5, 1857

    In this May 5, 1857 letter, Francis Sim writes to his parents and describes the details of his wife's mental illness. Apparently triggered by the death of their son, Sarah Sim's depression causes her to try to kill herself and her remaining children. Francis laments her condition and the loss of his son, as well as his struggle to try to maintain his farm while protecting his wife and children from physical harm.

  • | Rate Tables

    North Western Virginia Railroad Passenger Rates, March 1, 1857

    This March 1, 1857 rate table for the North Western Virginia Railroad shows the distance between stations, lists the entire distance of the line, and gives passenger rates to and from various stations.

  • | Letter

    Letter from John M. Newton to John B. Kellogg, February 24, 1857

    John M. Newton writes to John Kellogg on February 24, 1857 about the problem of claim jumpers in the area. He describes local efforts to curtail claim jumping and the penalties facing those wrongfully inhabiting land. The funding of a capitol building and road improvements are also discussed, with Newton effusive about the positive impact of roads with good bridges, comparing it to a railroad.

  • | Letter

    Letter from John M. Newton to John B. Kellogg and John McConihe, December 27, 1856

    In this December 27, 1856 letter, John M. Newton writes to John B. Kellogg and John McConihe about their land claims in Nebraska. He notes that the leading men of the area have petitioned Washington to open the Land Claims Office so that land can officially be purchased. He assures Kellogg and McConihe that their claims are safe from claim jumpers because the snow has been two feet deep, the roads impassable, and the temperatures 16-20 degrees below zero for the past month (unsurprisingly, he views the lack of timber as a serious downside to the land). Newton assures the other two men that their land claims are an excellent investment, and predicts rapid settlement of the region once land is officially available and the weather clears.

  • | Annual report

    The Mountain Top Track

    This December 1, 1856 report details the high maintenance costs for track running through the Blue Ridge mountains.

  • | Letter

    Letter from Sarah Sim to Wealthy Hathaway, November 16, 1856

    In this November 16, 1856 letter to her sister, Wealthy Hathaway, Sarah Sim gives the details of her new home, the land, and the health of her family. She mentions that though the land is filling quickly, there is still no church or school in her area, and that Indians lived on their land as recently as the past winter. She ends by expressing her thankfulness for several newspapers sent to her and the receipt of the rest of her long-delayed possessions.

  • | Letter

    Letter from Sarah Sim to Electa, October 12, 1856

    In this letter from October 12, 1856, Sarah Sim writes to her sister, Electa, and details her family's small home and the favorable land they have purchased. Though she describes the roads in southeast Nebraska as "first rate", she notes her disappointment in not yet receiving any mail or the remainder of her family's possessions. She remarks that the country is "filling up very fast" and that most of their neighbors are "eastern people".

  • | Broadsides

    Broadside Publicizing the Town of Nevin, Iowa, April 15, 1856

    This April 15, 1856 broadside details the benefits of the "New England Colony of Iowa," in the town of Nevin. This community, "consisting of persons from the New England States," has two railroads, a school, a hotel, and, of course, tracts of land and town lots for sale.

  • | Contract

    Receipt for Purchase of a Slave

    This 1855 receipt describes the purchase of a young female slave and her two children.

  • | Contract

    Contract Between the Illinois Central Railroad Company and Pinkerton & Company, February 1, 1855

    In this February 1, 1855 contract between the Illinois Central Railroad and Allan Pinkerton's Detective Agency, Pinkerton & Company agree to establish a "Police Agency" in Chicago to assist the Railroad in the "prompt and efficient performance of their business."

  • | Time Table

    Illinois Central Railroad, Time Table No. 1, January 8, 1855

    This Illinois Central Railroad time table, in effect starting January 8, 1855, notes the arrival and departure schedules for freight and passenger trains between Galena and Cairo, Illinois.

  • | Book

    My Bondage and My Freedom

    In this excerpt from My Bondage and My Freedom, Frederick Douglass recounts the segregation of Northern railcars and the attitudes of Northern passengers.

  • | Letter

    Letter from Claudius Crozet to the Virginia Board of Public Works, December 28, 1854

    In one of his regular reports to the Board of Public Works, Claudius Crozet comments on the use of enslaved labor and the use of "time" that its employment enables. Because slaves were worked longer hours, often in gangs, and not paid by the hour, unlike whites, they could be transferred from one task to the next until their annual hire was renegotiated with the slaveholder.

  • | Letter

    Letter from Claudius Crozet Reporting the Condition of Work Under his Charge, December 1, 1854

    Commenting on the unreliablity of Irish labor, Claudius Crozet recommends to the Board of Public Works that they hire black enslaved labor instead.

  • | Letter

    Letter from Claudius Crozet to the Virginia Board of Public Works, November 5, 1854

    Claudius Crozet comments on the problems with white labor on the Tunnel project, and the possibilities for increasing the use of black slaves.