March 3rd /73
I read your letter of the 24th all yesterday. It found us in usual health except myself. I am some afflicted with rheumatism though not seriously I can be up and about. Catherine is about as usual. Wash Herrods family are well. Henrys folks are all well.
I have nothing to write that be interesting to you. the epizootic passed over without any great damage some few cases proved fatal. Wash Herrods mare lost a colt and also Henry's mare the same. There is some stir about Nebrasca in this part of Mo. some of our neighbors have gone to southern Nebraska near the junction of the rail road they report fine soil but very little timber and that the country is being very fast.
Well about wheat it will be quite a favor for I feel grateful. about shipping I have no other directions to give only do the best you can.
Well about them little folks you speak of. you certainly look upon them as a great treasure. I feel proud myself to hear of your good luck in that direction. Train them up in nu[r]ture and admonition of the Lord and educate them well and who knows but they make great the name of Tharp. I should be glad to see them and all the rest of my friends in Iowa.
I must bring this letter to close give my love to all the family.
your affectionate father
To W Tharp and family
epizootic--a disease of animals. Andrew is probably referring to the outbreak of equine influenza in 1872, which was called "The Great Epizootic" (this article talks mentions it; this one give more detail. I love the internet).
It sounds like Washington and Mary have had children. Twins, maybe, since I gather from Andrew's comments that there are grandchildren (in the plural) whom he hasn't seen, although it's possible that they're not newborns but young children of different ages. Anyone know when Frank Thorp was born?