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Ellen Douglas Denison Goodnow to Harriet Goodnow

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Shannon Wild Cat Creek K. T. July 21st, 1855.
Dear Sister Hariett,
Really, I am in my new home, and it finds me in good health, and spirits, ready to tell the truth every word of it, and nothing but the truth, as I have seen things since coming into the territory. I started from Colerain the 12th of June my brother went with me to Springfield and saw me on board the carrs, we found fifteen aided by an agent of the E. Aid Company, five women, five children, three ladds, and two young men. I found we had a very pleasant company, and our aid one of the best, so made up my mind to have a good time, and we arrived in Albany after dark concluded to ride all night, and arrived in Buffalow about eleven, went to a tavern Called for a room and went to bed, got well rested before going on board the Boat, and had a very pleasant passage across the Lake as it was very smooth, we had fine singing and playing on the Piano, arrived in Detroit about two the next day. Went from the boat on board the carrs to pass through Michigan for Chicago. Traveled all night, but rested and slept some, liked what we saw of Michigan very much, saw beautiful prairie flowers as the sun was rising on the borders of Chicago, Did not like what I saw of the City and vicinity, it was so muddy and dirty, only passed from one Depot to the other, and took the Illinois Central Rail Road and traveled all day over the vast flat prairie without at times seeing any thing but grass and then there would be vast herds of cattle and horses, farm houses and groves. We reached Alton in the evening and took a boat down the Mississippi to St Louis, arrived at the tavern I should think by ten oclock. Had a good nights rest, and took a large airy boat and started up the Missouri about five oclock. We saw the contrast in the muddy water of the river and the clear of the Missippi as they unite although it was almost dark, also in the appearance of the vilages and houses. Banks of the river, and all seemed so changeable. Buildings looked light, and crumbling. No Granite hills nor rocky coasts, heavy loamy clay and sand seems to be on all sides, and the water thick with clay. Still all save one case were well and appeared to enjoy it. Our party all well. We arrived at Kansas City Wednesday only being on the river four days. Stopped at the Emigrant Aid Hotell had a good place to rest and refresh ourselves. The next day started in an open Stage for Lawrence, and never set my eyes on a finer country or better crops where it was cultivated. The Indians that we saw appeared civil and I never thought of fearing them. People say they are perfectly civil if treated civilly. We arrived at Lawrence six at night not as much fatiueged I have been in riding over Whitingham hills. Sent word to my husband the next day, and he received word and came after me in five days which was the fourth of July. We spent a part of the fourth in seeing them celebrate, I should think two thousand actual settlers assembled in a grove to hear an oratory and partake of a public dinner. You would be perfectly amazed at the extent of this country, and the real settlers that are all ready here, and making a real home of it, and well they may for with my own eyes I have seen a large extent. One hundred and thirty miles of the most beautiful road you ever traveled without working. It is only had a little work expended on crossing the Ravenes with a few bridges at this time of the year it is equal to any macadamized in the world. You must recollect I don’t know any thing about fall and spring. But what I have seen of Kansas if I should hear in a few years that somebody had a place that was cultivated so it was another garden of Eden I should be prepared to believe it. And when it is

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very dry I suppose the dust flies, and things look differently. And of course when it is wet it is muddy like all rich deep soil. If God fails us not with the early and latter rains, and seed time and harvest continue as he has promised, how can it be otherwise than one of the most desirable countries in the world. It is in the centre of the American continent, near one of the largest markets, as Ft Rily is to be the head quarters of the outposts of the armies of Nebraska, New Mexico, and all the forts before you get to California. From our house we have counted on the Ft Rily, or Government road forty seven loaded teams, each drawn by three spans of Mules, and again 25 drawn by six yokes of oxen, and over twenty at another time All these have gone in the two weeks that I have been here. Before this Mr Goodnow met 100 waggons past drawn by 6 yokes of oxen and the others by mules. 61 accompanied 450 U. S. Troops bound for Santa Fee. I merely mention this to show that we are far from the jumping off place, or from a land deserted by all but Indians. It is true there is many a weary mile between us and you, but I am confident if you were here, untrameled with care, and anxiety about your mother and should speak your honest feelings, and convictions of this land, you would say God had reserved it for his chosen people, It is two good for bondage, or for the oppressors rod ever to be raised over it. Owing to not getting sawmills going as they would like to had the river not been so low that boats could not run long, there are not so many buildings in the city as I anticipated. I went out and saw Williams frame yesterday. He has a fine spot and is now at work at his house. He does not seem quite as cheerfull as I expected. Has been here but little since I came, as we board with my brothers family, they are in our house untill they get theirs finished. My goods have not come yet, and we have not room for all untill my brother leaves. We have two houses joined by a roof between which furnishes a kind of Piazza our houses are one log, the other shaved, and do finely for the present. Our garden furnishes us with all the vegitables they have east, only much earlier. Green corn the first of July, and pumpkin pies the 22d, Our cows furnish milk and butter, and we have a pony and colt, and my brother has two horses and a waggon. I like my pony first best rode horseback to Church once, and expect to with a party a grapeing tomorrow. We have had one mess of ripe grapes. I wish you loved journeying and were as free from all care, and could shake off all attachments to business, and place and come out here, and see how you like as easily as I have. I don’t say to stay although I should like it as well as any one, save your husband, for I cannot see anothers duty. One thing I do believe I should not stand acquitted in the great day, had I not been willing to join my husband in labouring for the freedom of this territory. It cost me a great sacrifices, in parting with loved ones far away but I hope to find all of them, and an immeasurable multitude of

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others made free both in body, and in soul, made so by the feeble efforts of those that come here. I think if Satan influences the Missourians to do their best, God will eventually bring their counsels to naught by giving this land to the free. We had a letter from Lucinda saying that Ann was going swiftly to the grave with the Consumption. I was a Whitingham in May. She was not able then to take care of herself or babe, but thought as soon as she could get outdoors more she should be better. I think she must have improved or she could not have moved to Templeton, and gone to housekeeping. Emaline and mother were pretty much worn down taking care of here, nights and days before Mr French came home. It is hard to take care of the sick when you have to keep fire nights. How is your mothers health? When you write your husband, just put in a note for me. I have crowded

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my first into one half a sheet fearing We would not have room for a whole sheet. Mr Parkerson has sold out and he and L are about going up to see Ann and going to Whitingham. If it was not quite so new or if we had more houses, and better conveyances I should think they had better come here but hope they will not undertake it with those babies untill another spring. Lucinda is not fitted for to journey with or make the best of many things with babies. She says her husbands health is not good. I have been unusually well since last Spring. Stood my journey finely and am very well for me now. I think the water of our good cool spring is just fitted for myself and husband. You know we were troubled with a diarrhea in warm weather, and we have never been better than thus far, since here. I believe I have not given deffinition of a shaved house. It is made of posts covered with split and shaved clapboards, and shingles made in the same way. I wish you could look in upon us and see how you would like our new home. Give my love to your mother and accept a large share for yourself. Isaac sends love and says he is astonished that you should believe the bugbears about Kansas. Ellen
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Isaac says you had better advise those young men who brought such doleful reports about Kansas, not to leave the sight of their father & mothers dwelling again.
Yours, Ellen.

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