Mount Flathead Jan 21 1864
Dear brother and sister I take my pen to inform you that we are all well at presant and hope these lines will find you and your family enjoying the like blessing. So far we are much pleased with the country the land through all this region of country lays high dry and rolling and has every appearance of being ****tly [letters blurred]. the soil is extremely fertile after leaving the water corses a short distance. the soil is from one to two feet deep after going through that you come to a brownish yealow clay that is from eight to ten feet deep. after this you come to blue clay below this is gravel and pleanty of pure water. not quite as strong with lime stone as the water in your country. Rachel says it dose [sic] not take as much soap to wash as it did when we use to live along the water courses. the land is verry rich generally speaking. there is large quantities of first rate building stone such as the common lime stone and hydraulic or water lime stone and marble susseptible of a very fine pollish. This country is well situated for mill streams and mills. the Kankakee River, Oplane, Dupage, Osable and Foxe River & hickory Creek all the above name streams have water enough to keep up mill the year round except the Osable. for a rich and fertile country it is the best water of any I have ever seen. springs are tolerable plenty and water not surpassed anywhere. by digging we get water from 20 to 30 feet.
Grain is scrancer [sic] this year than usual owing to the draute during the summer. there was not rain enough to wet the ground thoroghly during the summer and fall. when potatoes was dug the earth was dry below them. Corn is selling at 31 cts oats 25 potatoes 25 to 31. Wheat 75 cts at Chicago butter is ready sale from 15 to 18 cts Eggs 12 1/2 pr doz in fact all that the farmer rases he can sell ready and at fair prices. Pork from $2.50 to 3.25 pr hundred. Beef is selling at $2.25 and more money made than you can make by rasing cattle and selling at $6.00 pr hd. the rasing cattle cost nothing but cutting prarie hay to winter on.
the weather since we have been here has been extremely dry and pleasant. there has not been more then five or six dayes but what a man could work comfortable. it is so dry the prairies have been burning. a day or two ago yesterday afternoon and today it has been misting rain. there has not been scarecly any snow this winter. snow fell about two weeks ago 3 or 4 inches deep. I hope we shall have more snow.
I have between three and four thousand nails to hard about 20 mile and a quarter. Any apples might be sold here at one dollar and fifty cents by the quantity if they could be brot before navigation opens. tel John Ryon or some of our friends to bring a load this winter while the ground is frozen.
Christian societies are tolerable plenty here in the town of Juliet three miles from here. there is a large Methodist church Babtest presbyterians New lights Episcopalians Universalits Unitarians and Roman Catholicks. the Washingtonians are doing wonders in this county as well as most other places. Joseph Beomalt that lives on brandywine has been living in this county 9 years. he says he would not give one acre of land in this county for five there. he lives about 2 1/2 miles from us and has a first rate farm of near three hundred acres.
We live on one of the publickest roads I ever saw during the fall four stages passed daily since winter 2 daily stages passes.
Rachel has her heath better than she has had it for five years and I am so hearty that I could eat a stone fence if it was made of Pie.
when you recieve this letter I want you to write. we have not Read a letter from any of our friends since we have been here. we hope they have not forgotten us. we think it is neglect we would be much pleased if you would come and look at the country and satisfy your self. the expense of comming is but small. James Yates moved to this country it only cost him about three dollars. tel Susan that Rachel would like to have her come and stay one year if she could. She is very lonsom without any of her relations here.
Direct your letter to Juliett [Wi]ll County Illinois.
Yours in haste
He is clearly writing "Juliett" with a U, but just as clearly they are near Joliett, IL. The names of waterways lines up, and that would make sense with the reference to Chicago (and the amount of stage travel).
He addressed them as brother and sister, so on a guess, this may be Jane Tharp's brother, or at least brother-in-law?
The Washingtonians were a temperance society.