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Submitted By: Carole French DiSoto

 The Interior Journal printed May 17, 1872 written by Lewis H. Bryant. April 23, 1872


Letter from Missouri - The Interior Journal, May 17, 1872

New Market, Platte County
April 23, 1872

Correspondence Interior Journal:  

Some time since I saw in some paper an announcement that you would start a paper in Stanford to be called the Interior Journal. I felt very much gratified to know that the people of

my old home, "my faderland," would have a good paper, for I knew that if you were at the pilot house to control it, the paper would be worth reading. I have, for some time, thought
of contributing a letter from the West, but have delayed on account of my fears of making it interesting to your readers. But like Bill Arp, I have felt like saying something.

I left Crab Orchard, Kentucky on the 24th day of September last, with my family, passing through Louisville when I crossed the Ohio River. The portion of Indiana through
which we passed was broken and somewhat poor. We had trouble in getting water for our stock.

We paid from 60 cents per bushel for corn up to 80 cents all the state. Crossed the Wabash river at Vincennes, one of the oldest settlements in the west, and a very nice town.

We fell in company with a lot of very nice young men at this place from Hustonville, which whom we traveled as far as St. Louis, through the most beautiful county on earth.

I do not think we had to use our breaks from Vincennes to St. Louis, a distance of 140 miles.  

We passed the residence of an old neighbor, Mr. P. H. Davenport. He was not at home, but we saw his wife and son and daughter.
He lives 18 miles from Vincennes.

We crossed the Mississippi at St. Louis, and I looked to see every wagon I had, smashed up, such jamming, smashing, whooping and yelling, I never heard, nor do
I want to hear again. We could scarcely get across. We were at the Middle ferry, each having four steam ferry boats making twelve in all, which were crowded from morning till night.

If one wants to see business let him go there, but don't take a family to cross in wagons in these ferry boats. They will, however, have a great bridge completed before a great while.  

We crossed the Missouri river at St. Charles, twenty miles from St. Louis, over the best Mc-Adamized road I ever saw, and one of the great beauties of it of it is that no toll is to pay.

We followed the North Missouri railroad from St. Louis to Liberty, in Clay county, where we stayed one night with an old citizen of Stanford, John Berry. He is living
in ease and comfort, having amassed a respectable fortune, and is quite a hospitable old gentleman. His kind hearted wife is a sister of W. G. Collyer [Collier], of Lincoln County.

The Kansas fever rages here. Lands are lower in Platte county than they have been for twenty years. Many persons who have been out in Kansas say that she is far ahead
of Missouri in improvements. Railroads running through the country in every direction, emigration pouring in, the like of which was never seen.  

I rented a good farm in the county, for this year, of three hundred and twenty acres, for which we pay one-third of the grain. We commenced planting corn the
19th inst., and will plant something over ninety acres.

Spring has been backward, but now very pleasant farming weather. The wheat crop is very much damaged by the severe winter, but the people have sowed a tolerable large
crop of spring wheat. We put in twenty acres, and it looks handsome. The fruit crop is promising for all kinds.

Some of the peach crop, in low, flat localities, is winter killed. The buds are now swollen and will be out in a few days. 

The people here do their own work, as there are but a few negroes in the county. I have not had a lock on my smoke house nor corn crib since I have been here. I want to go
out into Kansas this summer, on the Southern border. I have wonderful accounts from some counties about three hundred mile out. Montgomery, Howard, Cowley and Sumner are said
to be abound in fine lands and the best watered part of the State, with plenty of the finest timber on the water courses.

You look on the map and see that is  cut up by the tributaries of the Arkansas river and that portion through which the Atchison, Topeka and Santa' Fe railroad  passes
which will soon be completed. It does not take long to build railroad in West as the county is level and the soil loose  and but little stone. A horse scraper does the work very soon. 
About ten thousand dollar per mile is all it costs.  

I wish much for the colony from old Lincoln to go out with me. of such as you have an abundance. We are surprised to know that so many Kentuckians will remain in the old State,
as renter of land, which is not near so good as those in the Western States; and try to make a living; when, by coming out here they can purchase good lands for much less money,
and leave it a rich legacy to their children. 

This Western county is destined, in less that twenty-five years, to rule the nation; if, in fact, she does not already hold the balance of power.

We will gladly welcome all who come.

More anon. Yours & e. Lewis H Bryant. 

P. S. Tell Tom Varnon to move out here and get rich, and in due time we will send him to the State Legislature and then to Congress---and all this shall be done before he is fifty years old.

L. H. B.

[Note. -- A very interesting portion of this letter was mislaid, which we regret exceedingly -