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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 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 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 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: 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: 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: January 24, 1858
Joseph Trego wrote from Sugar Mound, Kansas Territory, to his wife, Alice, at their family's home in Illinois. Trego described how, since the shelter being built around the mill equipment was not yet complete, the wind and rain interfered with their ability to work. Though the work was hard, he favored the milling business over other means toward income. Trego responded to a newspaper article from the Rock Island Advertiser that his wife had sent him, deeming their coverage of the Kansas troubles "sensational." He expected that Fort Scott would soon be destroyed by free state militiamen, as "Bourbon County Bandits" (proslavery supporters) had been harassing extensively free state supporters in the area. Despite all this disorder, the development prospects of Mound City, in Linn County, appeared favorable.


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: 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: 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: 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.


Saw Mill, Linn County, Kansas Territory

Saw Mill, Linn County, Kansas Territory
Date: 1857
A photograph of a saw mill built by Joseph Trego and the Smiths on Little Sugar Creek in Linn County, Kansas Territory.


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