Letter from Anna R. Benedict to Samuel B. Reed, September 22, 1861

In this letter from September 22, 1861, Anna R. Benedict writes to her brother, Samuel Reed, discussing the drop in prices for farm products as a result of the "national troubles." She states that it "scarce seems possible that this war can last very long." She notes that her family has been practicing the "strictest economy," but still needs to hire help to accomplish all that is necessary on the farm. She expresses surprise at Reed's claim that he has been doing all the farm work himself, but advises him not to sell pieces of his farmland until after the "present panics have passed over."

Dear Brother Saml,

I have indeed thought it a long time since hearing from you & was exceeding glad to see your superscription once more. For weeks I have longingly watched the mails anxious to hear something from my distant brothers & sisters. A brief letter from Rollin a few weeks since is all I have had in a long time & the national troubles make me more than usually anxious to hear how all are prospering. Prosperity [noe] can scarce look for or comfort even. If we can manage to keep our friends shall be thankful. You speak of the exceeding low prices of farm products we have the same ills to hear to some some [sic] extent. But think prices some better than with you, but we have to pay for all we do not raise. We hope produce may be some higher but perhaps are to be disappointed. Our wool sold for 25 cts per pound a trifle more than half its usual price butter brings us 8 cts & has usually been from 14 to 20. As you say we have to practice the strictest economy. In order to meet expenses. We are obliged to hire as neither of us can do what must necessarily be done. Chas has not been usually well this season, from spring thus far. & I borrow a great deal of trouble about him but hope cool weather will improve his health. My health is better than when last in Joliet but cannot endure hard work long at a time. The children usually well. I did not suppose you were working so steadily on the farm & can hardly be reconciled to it. I have long felt that you were working too hard & now fear for you more than ever. But I do hope & trust times may change for the better ere another harvest. It scarce seems possible that this war can last very long. If you must do all the work of your farm do not wonder that you think of disposing of it when you can. & hope for your sake the time may come soon. But bands will not sell now. If you have it divided up as you mentioned doing would like to have you retain what would belong to me & sell it in connection with yours, if you sell. And should you conclude to keep it can pay me what it is worth when convenient for you to do so or when present panics have passed over. Until such time it would only be a source of trouble to me left otherwise.

Crops usually good excpt [sic] fruit we have apples enough for our own use but few to spare. No other fruit of any account. Potatoes are rotting some & should they continue to I should feel it to be a serious loss as we only raise for home use. But I have no patience to write I long to be with you & have a good long chat see Jennie & Annie & Aunt Ann, give you all a good hugging & kissing & have a good time generally.

This slow prosy way of spelling out feelings & thoughts is much better than none to be sure but then it is slow & unsatisfying. Still let us make the best of it & write a little oftener to one thether [sic] .

With much love and many good wishes to you all Affectionately
Anna R. Benedict

About this Document

  • Source: Letter from Anna R. Benedict to Samuel B. Reed
  • Extent: 4 pages
  • Citation: Yale University Library, Manuscripts and Archives, Samuel Reed Family Papers, Box 2, Folder 27
  • Date: September 22, 1861