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Joseph H. Trego correspondence

Joseph H. Trego correspondence
Creator: Trego, Joseph H. (Joseph Harrington), 1823-1905
Date: 1862-1863
Joseph Harrington Trego was a physician and pioneer from Mound City. He came to Kansas in 1857 and became a "jayhawker." In this correspondence he talks of border warfare, formation of military units, politics, elections, crops, weather, military service in the Third Kansas Brigade Company D, 5th Kansas Cavalry, and life in Linn County, Kansas.


Joseph H. Trego to Alice Trego

Joseph H. Trego to Alice Trego
Creator: Trego, Joseph H. (Joseph Harrington), 1823-1905
Date: February 11, 1858
Joseph Trego wrote from Mound City, Kansas Territory, to his wife, Alice, at their family's home in Illinois. Trego responded emotionally to his wife's proposition that she would travel East in the spring to visit friends and come to the territory in the fall, instead of the coming in the spring, as previously planned. He conveyed great disappointment, but insisted that she go East if she really wanted. According to Trego, the structure that would shelter his mill would be raised the next day, and Fort Scott had been seized peacefully by free state men "as the villains fled to save their bacon." He doubted that the treaty drawn there would change the antagonistic conduct of the opposing sides.


Joseph H. Trego to Alice Trego

Joseph H. Trego to Alice Trego
Creator: Trego, Joseph H. (Joseph Harrington), 1823-1905
Date: February 28, 1858
Joseph Trego wrote from Mound City, Kansas Territory, to his wife, Alice, at their family's home in Illinois. Trego described his overland travels to an Osage Indian trading post and his encounters with the Osage people. He and his friend, Edwin, traveled through Fort Scott, Bourbon County, on their way back to Mound City. Trego recounted their tour of the town, describing its large homes, a plaza at the town's center, and a steam mill much like his own. Trego reported that, if they had stayed longer in Fort Scott, they may not have been allowed out, as free state men were collecting in large numbers to capture proslavery "thieves" and destroy the town in the process.


Joseph H. Trego to Alice Trego

Joseph H. Trego to Alice Trego
Creator: Trego, Joseph H. (Joseph Harrington), 1823-1905
Date: February 13, 1858
Joseph Trego wrote from Mound City, Kansas Territory, to his wife, Alice, at their family's home in Illinois. Trego expressed his continued disappointment that his wife did not plan to travel to the territory with him that spring. The change in plans did not seem to disrupt those of the Smith brothers, Trego's companions, as they planned to gather their own families. Trego supposed he would stay behind and conduct business at the mill and, perhaps, enter the market for land sales. He reported that the mill's shelter had been erected successfully the day before, so the mill's production would not be as dependent on the weather conditions.


Joseph Harrington Trego to Alice Trego

Joseph Harrington Trego to Alice Trego
Creator: Trego, Joseph H. (Joseph Harrington), 1823-1905
Date: January 9, 1858
Joseph Trego wrote from Sugar Mound, Kansas Territory, to his wife, Alice, in Illinois. Trego reported that the mill was finally up and running, leaving them to occupy themselves with housekeeping and construction of outbuildings near the mill; he had decided to delay building a new home for his family until the spring. Trego responded to his wife's concerns about free state and proslavery skirmishing in the area, conveying his confidence that "truly there is no probability of the people here at Sugar Mound being molested" by them.


Joseph Harrington Trego to Alice Trego

Joseph Harrington Trego to Alice Trego
Creator: Trego, Joseph H. (Joseph Harrington), 1823-1905
Date: Around September, 1857
Joseph H. Trego, en route via steamboat to Kansas City, wrote to his wife Alice in Rock Island, Illinois. Trego commented on the unpredictable and perilous conditions of steamboat travel on the Missouri River due to snags and sandbars, but despite these, admitted that the journey itself had "little to claim his attention." He feared that his wife might have an accident in his absence, and asked her to wait until he returned to "indulge her spirit." Trego, though he missed his family, was comforted by their miniatures (small portraits).


Joseph Harrington Trego to Alice Trego

Joseph Harrington Trego to Alice Trego
Creator: Trego, Joseph H. (Joseph Harrington), 1823-1905
Date: October 16, 1857
Joseph H. Trego wrote from his cabin in Sugar Mound, Kansas Territory, to his wife Alice in Rock Island, Illinois, about his journey from Kansas City to Sugar Mound. His friends, Thomas Ellwood Smith (Ell) and his brother Edwin (Ed), and himself were poorly prepared as they expected to stay in public houses during the journey, not camp outside as their wagon transportation preferred. As the road they took went right down the Missouri state line, Trego contrasted the well-established farms to the East with the "open, wild prairie" to the West. He and his brother, upon arriving at their cabin, found that they had "Hoosier" neighbors (from Indiana), who were pleasant but proslavery. Trego recounted the difficulty they had acquiring home furnishings and food, fighting adverse weather at every turn. He spoke at length of how he was comforted by writing to his wife, as he and his friends greatly missed their families.


Joseph Harrington Trego to Alice Trego

Joseph Harrington Trego to Alice Trego
Creator: Trego, Joseph H. (Joseph Harrington), 1823-1905
Date: January 18, 1858
Joseph Trego wrote from Sugar Mound, Kansas Territory, to his wife, Alice, at their family's home in Illinois. Trego, tired of "keeping bach" (living a bachelor's lifestyle), he occupied himself with the milling business, which was sawing 4000 ft of lumber each day. A member of the town company in Mound City, he had also recently traveled to gain support for the construction of some new roads in the area; he was also interested in developing a school. At the end of the letter, Trego wrote personal notes to each of his three daughters.


Joseph Harrington Trego to Alice Trego

Joseph Harrington Trego to Alice Trego
Creator: Trego, Joseph H. (Joseph Harrington), 1823-1905
Date: December 11, 1857
Joseph Trego wrote from his cabin near Sugar Mound, Kansas Territory to his wife, Alice, at home in Illinois with their three daugthers. His friend Ell's trip to St. Louis had been aborted due to the freezing conditions of the Missouri River. The town company of Sugar Mound was meeting that day, in which the formal site of the town would be selected; Trego hoped to build their new home on a lot near his mill, which was in an especially picturesque area. His comments about the current "political storm" reveal the variation of perspectives among free state supporters, as he found free state supporters in his area were for a "free state government from politic[al] motives & not humane." He also reported that a group of armed free state men had passed by two days before, looking for a "nest" of pro-slavery men in Bourbon County. Trego added descriptions of their daily life and their struggle to keep their living expenses down.


Joseph Harrington Trego to Alice Trego

Joseph Harrington Trego to Alice Trego
Creator: Trego, Joseph H. (Joseph Harrington), 1823-1905
Date: October 25, 1857
Joseph Trego wrote from his log cabin near Sugar Mound, Kansas Territory, to his wife, Alice, in Illinois. Trego described the beauty of the fall foliage and his plans to build a new home for his family, whom he greatly missed. He worried that he had heard from Alice only once in seven weeks, while he had written every week. Trego showed that he was well connected to current events in the Territory and the county, as he and his friends took several newspapers, including two from Lawrence.


Joseph Harrington Trego to Alice Trego

Joseph Harrington Trego to Alice Trego
Creator: Trego, Joseph H. (Joseph Harrington), 1823-1905
Date: December 5, 1857
Joseph Trego wrote from Sugar Mound, Kansas Territory, to his wife, Alice, in Illinois. Trego described the furnishings and atmosphere in their "Bachelor's Hall" of a cabin. As he greatly missed them, Trego was eager to receive his family's daguerreotypes by mail; he also spoke at length about both business and domestic matters at home. His friend Ell (Thomas Ellwood Smith) prepared to embark on a trip to St. Louis to purchase a corn mill, which they hoped would translate into a business enterprise that would sustain the three of them.


Joseph Harrington Trego to Alice Trego

Joseph Harrington Trego to Alice Trego
Creator: Trego, Joseph H. (Joseph Harrington), 1823-1905
Date: January 2, 1858
Joseph Trego wrote from his cabin near Sugar Mound, Kansas Territory, to his wife, Alice, in Rock Island, Illinois. Trego briefly updated her on the status of the mill enterprise before expressing more personal sentiments. He felt it had been a mistake not to bring her to the Territory, as he could not devote all of his energy to the tasks at hand for missing her. Trego also discussed the length of time it took her letters to reach him via the postal service.


Joseph Harrington Trego to Alice Trego

Joseph Harrington Trego to Alice Trego
Creator: Trego, Joseph H. (Joseph Harrington), 1823-1905
Date: December 21, 1857
Joseph Trego wrote from Sugar Mound, Kansas Territory, to his wife, Alice, in Illinois. Trego, in addition to elaborating on hunting and mill work, described at length the skirmishing between local free state and proslavery men, which had been continuous throughout the summer and fall. He reported the manner in which Missourians had seized and occupied lands in the absence of their owners, who were free state men. "Bogus courts" had brought the free state men who defended their lands to court, which resulted in so many fees owed that the men had to sell their land to pay them; the new owners were usually Missourians. Trego accused proslavery supporters of fabricating stories about destruction caused by warring Abolitionists in order to draw the support of the U.S. troops. Controversy over the Lecompton Constitution flourished in free state circles; the Free State Legislature in Topeka had repealed the "bogus laws" of the Territorial Legislature and appointed James Lane the head of a free state militia.


Joseph Harrington Trego to an unidentified recipient [probably his wife, Alice Trego]

Joseph Harrington Trego to an unidentified recipient [probably his wife, Alice Trego]
Creator: Trego, Joseph H. (Joseph Harrington), 1823-1905
Date: September 10, 1857
Trego was in St. Louis, Missouri awaiting a boat trip to Kansas City. He describes his trip to that point as well as the weather. Trego was a doctor and he wrote about trying to locate his medicine chest for the second part of the journey. He also described his activities as he waited. It is not clear whether he had been to Kansas Territory before but he knew he was going to Sugar Mound in Linn County, Kansas Territory.


Joseph Trego's diary, 1857-1858

Joseph Trego's diary, 1857-1858
Creator: Trego, Joseph H. (Joseph Harrington), 1823-1905
Date: September 10, 1857 through July 24, 1858
Joseph Trego first came to Kansas Territory in June, 1857, and settled near Mound City (originally Sugar Mound) in Linn County, Kansas Territory. He returned to his home near Rock Island, Illinois, to prepare to move and moved to Kansas Territory in the fall of 1857. In March, 1858, he returned to Illinois to bring his wife and three girls to their new home. These diary entries start with his second trip to the territory in September, 1857, and describe the various trips to and from Kansas Territory and his various activities. The diary entries from March 17, 1858, to May 25, 1858, (15 pages) are not included. Trego, along with Thomas Ellwood Smith ("Ell" in the diary entries) and his brother Edwin Smith, constructed and operated a sawmill on Little Sugar Creek. Trego was involved in town company activities, and the sawmill furnished lumber and shingles for many of the buildings in Mound City. The diary entries provide information on the efforts of settlement including the furnishing of a cabin and construction of the sawmill. They document the operation of the sawmill and other activities in the area, including some of the border disputes. Trego was a free state supporter and this is reflected in some of the entries.


Joseph Trego diary, 1858-1859

Joseph Trego diary, 1858-1859
Creator: Trego, Joseph H. (Joseph Harrington), 1823-1905
Date: July 25, 1858 through December 9, 1859
Joseph Trego first came to Kansas Territory in June, 1857, and settled near Mound City (originally Sugar Mound) in Linn County, Kansas Territory. These diary entries start on July 25, 1858, and are a continuation of an earlier diary (see Kansas Memory item 90524). He describes various daily activities including the operation of a sawmill in partnership with Thomas Ellwood Smith ("Ell" in the diary entries) and his brother Edwin Smith. The diary entries provide information on the efforts of making a living and settling on a frontier. They document some of the border disputes and related activities. Trego was a free state supporter and this is reflected in some of the entries.


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