Letter from John McConihe to John Kellogg, September 4, 1858

In this letter from September 4, 1858, John McConihe writes to his business partner, John Kellogg, about potential legal problems with their land and the threat of claim theft in Omaha, Nebraska. He also informs him of the fledgling construction of a railroad near Council Bluffs, Iowa, and expresses his desire to leave Nebraska.

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Friend John

Yours from St. Regis was partly answered yesterday, but I take this opportunity to reply more fully, and to say that if the Land Sales are postponed I shall have no use for money, and shall probably desert this Western region this fall, even if our interests do suffer thereby. I can do nothing to pay expenses and you are well aware that I have been doing nothing this season, but straightening up last seasons operations.

I had supposed that our property was in good condition, and the titles settled, but late events have seriously endangered Lots 6 in 340 & 7 in 341, two first rate lots and one's that will be valuable if Omaha ever amounts to anything. I shall not undertake to describe the nature of the trouble, further than to say that the first titles were vacated & are to be vacated by Gov., and certain scamps concluded that we should steal non-resident lots, should go upon and improve them and get the deeds of them. I watched our lots

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closely, and gave notice of ownership and they are stealing lots all around them, but will not touch ours. A meeting was called and we formed an organization to protect rights. I do not fear for our lots as long as I live here, but am shaping my course to go away. I will send you a paper with an account of the meeting &c.

The original township has been re-entered, and I have now obtained an other, and I hope the final title to our lots therein. Such work as we have had with our titles in this Territory, I hope never to be in again, especially with our interests. All our lots, except the above mentioned two, are within the City pre-emption, and decided to be of good title under the Last entry, but Commissioner Hendricks of the U. S. land office. All the trouble springs from an original violation of law, which allows only 320 acres for a town site, whereas we have laid out here over 2000 acres in lots. All towns that have confined themselves to 320 acres in accordance with law have had no trouble but those that have

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gone beyond that have had great trouble.

Everything is very dull and you can have no idea of the hard times that exist in this the Missouri River Valley. The Engineers are placing grade stakes at Council Bluffs for theM. & M. R. R. and say they will commence work at this end of the road this season. I hope they will, for it will hasten the time when we can realize on our investments and I shall be ashore soon unless something happens. The Legislature meets here the 21st and then I Shall have a chance to see a Nebraska Legislature My health has been exceedingly good altho' fever & ague has been prevalent from the great amount of rain. Our crops are quite large and are coming in much better than was expected. Whether I shall leave here, return to Troy or go to some other point is a matter undecided as yet. There will be money made here when the Country brightens up, when our R.R. is built but whether to starve it thro' we'll pay, I hardly know. I wish you would keep

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the contents of my letters to you to yourself as you can readily see they are intended for no other eyes.

I was much disappointed in Martin I not coming to Omaha, as I know he would have been pleased with our City and the rich land about here

Hoping You are Well
I remain
Yours truly

J. McConihe

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 3
  • Date: September 4, 1858