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.

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The farce of "The Legislation is now "played out" and is [[unclear]] by a graver and more earnest drama. It may turn out a tragedy. For two or three weeks back many men have been jumping valuable and improved claims in the immediate vicinity of this town. Last Friday a meeting of the Claim association was called and every body around here was present. They passed many stringent solutions such as hanging any one who had jumped a valid claim and would not back out. Many violent and bitter speeches were made by Gov. Cummings, Thayer, Moore, Hanscom, Seeley, Loor &c and then after the speech making was over proceeded to enroll a vigilance committee. 100 strong furnished them with U S muskets and went out to Catch the jumpers. When they found the cabin of any one on anothers land they burned it up and finding the jumper brought him before the committee and tried him and made him with draw his pre-emption file and promise never to jump any more. Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday and today they have been busy turning out jumpers. Great deal of whiskey has gone up There has been no liquor body killed as yet — only in talk. I think aside from jesting the proceeding has a very good effect on the stability of property here It renders them very secure. This township is now open for pre emption and soon I think, a man wishing to lend money or sell land warrants will be able to do something on a secure basis.

Now don't you think you have hit the single nail on the head if the reports are true of Congress granting $50,000 for the completion of the Capitol $30,000, for the erection of a De[unclear] and best of all $400,000. for road from here to the South Pass

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Of course you can see what effect a road with bridges capable of being travelled upon at any season of the year would have upon this place. I view it next to a rail road. I think that it would perhaps be your wisest course to come here as soon as you can prepared to buy any good chance bargain that you may see offered. Is it not your the best thing to buy for a year or two if your purse can stand it — doing in the mean time all the business you can with warrants for the purpose of making a living. I say this, throw out this suggestion that you may make some arrangements by which you can get money in abundance if needed It would undoubtedly be your wisest course to do so, Both you and Mac will make a large fortune here. I never shall Haven't got the nerve nor the inclination to have the nerve. I wrote to you or rather to Mac by Scott who was going to Pittsburgh Pa. I was mistaken about paying the taxes off with County & territorial scrip I had to come down with the blunt. I could not get any scrip to make any where [unclear] the change all too large. I have plenty of money however I think, and if I haven't I shall have to make some which will be better for me you kow, I haven't had any letters from either you or Mack in a very long time I don't know as there's any thing to write about but I wish you would let me know best when you are coming [Solo] I think will find many wishing to purchase I often wonder what the amount of the rise will be

Yours truly

John M Newton

About this Document

  • Source: Letter from John M. Newton to John B. Kellogg
  • Extent: 2 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: February 24, 1857