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.

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Friend John

Yours of the 8th inst came yesterday. John McConihe of the 4th enclosing a $10 draft came the day before. I sent the left to Andrews by Moffat and wrote a letter to Mac which I do not sent for I think I will make one letter answer both. I have first been over to see Parker our Land Register and he stated that it would not be necessary for each warrant of Buells to have a separate power of Attorney but that you should have a general one to satisfy him and the Receiver that you [were] the attorney. What is the use of Buell's having his name in the Assignment's. Supposing you he^ wishes you to sell the warrants and not locate them. I think you he^ will have to make to you^ a power of attorney acknowledgements &c and endorse them upon the warrant. Maybe however he has his name already in. If the purpose is solely to locate one time it makes the owner of the warrant more secure against any rognery of his attorney and is undoubtedly the best ways it is the safest. The only efect that filling up the blank assignment is to make it in the matter of sale of warrant a little mre cumbrous. Enclosed you will find ex tracts from a circular from the general land office Washington DC to Registers & Receivers which it would be well for you to get from some one at Washington. The circular was published last May. Get it for it is very useful. I think I will send along what I have copied as it may afford some information to you if you can pick it out. The second question, you may ask about the size of warrants I should think that you might save on them the 3 cents per acre. I think that you can get rid of a large number of 120 acre warrants as read

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as if you had 160s You can enter in any size you like and it does not cost any more in expenses only a little more time and ink in making out the applications For that has to be an application for every warrant. The office Land Office is now opened for preemption but there is very little down at present. They only file their declarations and will not probably [prove] up and pay for their land until near the end of the year from the time of filing their declaration to preempt I can find out nothing soon about the time the land will come in market There has been a petition signed by all our influential citizens & myself among the number - and sent on to Washington for the speedy opening of the Land Office for the wholesale of Public lands in this district. Parker the Reciver frequently comes and asks me about the mode of procedure and places much dependence upon me for which for your sakes I am glad. I learn from Fremont that no one has not yet jumped our clamins though they are forfeighted nor will any one be fool hardy enough to do so now. The weather at present is the best protection of claims better than claim clubs. The snow is now and has been for more than a month two feet on the Platte bottom. The roads are impassible more than half the time. The mercury at times has been 16° & 20° below zero. A strong north wind will spring up and fill the air with drifting snow. Many have lost their lives Many more have frozen their feet & hands. More than anything else sold at Jones & Wood where I am staying on lotions & ointments for frozen limbs When the north wind is blowing stiff you can't see across the street. Will no one in such weather and it set in and has^ continued since the 1st of Dec will or does make any claims. A man would lose his life if he attempted it now. Well every winter may not be like this. The absense of timber is the only curse to this country. I see that by getting our Claims which we can early in the spring that much can be made

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from them. The emigration will be very large. Even now there is no place at any of the Houses in town for any more. The whole town is crowded What will it be when the Territorial Assembly meets here? What will it be when navigation opens and travel commences inthe spring? I am confident that the rise and progress of this place next summer will be larger than any other place town^ of tis size in the United States So much so that some of the old fogies of Troy will be sick at the thought of it. I suppose they would call this "blowing" but just wait and see Many strangers here are wishing to buy lots but it is hard to buy Many have withdrawn their lots from sale and there is a general disposition among owners to hold on until spring Bill Ruster wrote me a letter about Omaha &c wishing to come out I told him you were coming out had invested some [&c] I think he will come from the tone of his letter. I will do my best for Chenly just the same as I would for you. The team is all right with a good man, and I don't think I could sell it altogether for #300.— There are two men in the store now who are telling of four desperate attempts treach some companions out on the Loup Fork who are out of provisions God help those out on the prairie if they are not provided well with flour & meat. I tell you it is terrible. I am a little disgusted with this weather so much wind but never an exceedingly firm determination to make claims good in the spring and for that purpose would wish John McConihe or John Kellogg to be out here quite early in the spring either the one or the other. I have no doubt but that we can find plenty of men to do the necessary improvements without bringing any over. And then another thing I am not sure but that in the spring that beautiful valley will be overflowed I hope not however. If it does we'll find another spot Don't get down. You'll make a big pile here the next ear East Nebraska stock is selling for $400. and I have learned that your Council Bluff

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is very valuable and good property and I know that you have made on our purchases here not far from $2000. already That notice about the RR meeting at Rock Bluffs is all humbug There ain't 25 people there or in its vicinity. Your papers come very often and I am very glad to get them. There is a [con] of Randall Brown of Stephantown here a merchant with where I exchange letters papers. [I am ] [[unclear]] with Jones & Wood. They are going to dissolve partnership. Jones bad habits the reason Wood wanted I should buy him out I concluded however very quick that I wouldn't It would however be a very nice thing For they have the best retail drug store west of Chicago. They are located in that three story brick block opposite Jones & [Macons]. and the only drug store here. Their profits have already amounted to the rate of of $4000 per annum [unclear] Jones asks $2000. Wood will give it and I shall stay in the store and clerk if I will. I think I might as well be earning my living now. Wood offered to advance me money but as^ I don't know any thing about the business and he does not a great deal I thought I wouldn't be suf. I suppose I should write to some other of my Troy friends but I am getting lazy about it. Give my respects however to all of them

John B KelloggYour truly
John McConiheEsqrs
John M Newton

About this Document

  • Source: Letter from John M. Newton to John B. Kellogg and John McConihe
  • Extent: 4 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 1
  • Date: December 27, 1856