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."

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Friend John

I have just received your letters of the 7th & 17th having arrived this P.M. from my town Beatrice!!! Your warning about exposing myself to the "night air and burning ^sun came too late, as on that journey I wrapt myself up in my shawl and lay down on the prairie. Day times the sun shown briskly upon us as you can well imagine it would on a broad prarie [sic] . But I never slept better nor enjoyed myself more then I did on that trip. As to the Country about Beatrice there is none to equal it in Nebraska and it will be better appreciated by you when I say it almost equals the Cedar River Valley in Iowa. The stream, the Big Blue is about 500 ft. wide, rock bottom clear and cool as spring water, well-timbered and full of fish upon which we lived while there. It is a fine farming Country and our town has no competitors and will outstrip any that may start. Your interests are identical with mine and you own one forty third of it about 30 lots (40 x 50 ft.) The Company have land for an addition which give about 15 lots more to each share-holder. You have also 160 acres timber land, so called (but only about 80 acres of real timber) and 160 acres prairie

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I have the same. The town is a fixed fact, mill on the ground, grist-mill attached, nearly ready for sawing. Three houses are built and as soon as the mill runs each mans (43 in all) must put up a house 14 x 14 ft. We have 30 men on the ground and have formed a claim club having stolen 10 muskets at Nebraska City that belonged to Jim Lane who had stored them there. We went back to steal more but were stopped Shares will sell now for $500 but as they have not cost much and it is too soon to sell I say hold on. Next year we [unclear] get including claim $2000 readily. I agreed with a substitute for you to go halves with him on our interest payig his expenses but on a division or sale the property was to stand all expenses balance to be divided. He will come away in a week or two and I will settle with him then. I shall try to buy him out for you. I have so much faith in it John that I think strongly of going there next year to live until I can enter the land &c. It is very hard to speculate in land here, as it all has to be pre-empted and then they charge round figures when you want to buy. A mans time expense and trouble has to be paid for and it makes farming land dear. If I can manage, and I think I can, to hold that until next spring and then pre-empt it we will do a good thing. My personal attention will be needed to hold it next year and I think I can make it pay better than at Omaha. But I will write more fully soon as I feel quite fatigued to-day. It would take a quire of paper to tell you all and have you understand things as well as I do. As our interests at present are mutual, you must rely in a great measure upon me and you may rest assured that I will do my best. The times are hard and speculations are dull, consequently it is more difficult to operate, as to day there will be one price and to-morrow another. There is nothing certain

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except that in the long run money will be made. No money is made now except by personal alternation and circumspection and when I say I have been worried and uneasy about our affairs, will express a meagre idea of the operations of my mind I do not feel that I can go East this fall and again I do not know that it is necessary for you to come West, only it would strengthen me to have you see and know all. It would cost you about $300# to come out and unless you indended to remain and if you feel satisfied not to come, I am agreed and will not think you are shirking, because I know we have been somewhat diasspointed in the nature of our transactions. I can do well here and make money, but must at all times be awake and sleepless. When I have invested my little pile I must set still and await a "rise." That is a gay business for a man but as long as it pays all right. I shall write the Times an account of my trip and you can gather some information from that. As soon as I get more easy in money affairs I will send you some to buy Warrants but if you wish to go in on the Columbus and that pre-empted land you will have little left. In fact you will be indebted to me, taking into consideration the addition to our Office, I supposed

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I had kept you well posted about Beatrice and other matters but it is hard to write everythig and easy to forget many.

Omaha is fast out strippig Council Bluffs and I frequently wish our money was out of those lots. I hardly expect Andrews will refund on that "East Nebraska," as all people get out here they keep, yet I will try. I shall avoid him hereafter.

We must wait until fall to know how things will turn, there is no alternative.

I answer your letters hastily out of the many I find on my return. Send some blank quit claim and bogus Warrants so that I can give Deeds if I sell anything. It is late and I am tired, having slept out doors and travelled 300 miles the past two weeks in a buggy, so good night Remember me to all



About this Document

  • Source: Letter from John McConihe to John Kellogg
  • 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 2
  • Date: August 2, 1857