Letter written by Leonard Thorp to Henry C. Miller, Oswego, NY
Published in the Kendall County Record, May 4, 1876
Edited and compiled by Elmer Dickson
Wages are low and produce prices are low. Wheat is 44 cents per bushel, corn 18 cents per bushel, oats 12 cents per bushel, pork from one to two dollars per hundred, and beef the same. Tallow is six cents a pound, salt $3.00 a barrel, and lard four cents a pound. Goods are very low, iron is cheap, and blacksmithing is good. The cooper's trade is good. Staves are from $7.00 to $8.00 a thousand. Pork barrels are worth one dollar, in any quantity, on contract. Flour barrels are 37 cents each, cash. The coopers pay journeymen 20 cents for making flour barrels and 50 cents for pork barrels, plus board them. They provide their own tools. There are ten flouring mills in this vicinity that pack flour. They have packed as much as 50,000 barrels of pork in Chicago this winter, and a great deal of beef.
Farming is very dull at present. Our wheat failed on account of the rust, corn was about half a crop but oats were very good. I think I should go into the cooping business if I understood the trade.
It is now the 13th of March. I commenced my letter in January. Since that time I have moved about sixteen miles down the Fox River. I am presently located on the north side of the river three miles from Bristol. I have taken a farm for two years, and have bought a span of horses and wagon. I took a job of building fence on said place. It has been a very hard winter in this state. You talk about rattlesnakes in this county; we have been badly bitten this winter. I have had my toes, nose, ears and face bitten very badly by the frost. That is the worst snake we have in this country.
If any of you come to this country, come to Bristol on Fox River, and inquire for Benjamin Smith's farm. He is a tailor by trade and works in Chicago. We have to go three miles to meeting. Signed Leonard Thorp, March 13th, 1843.
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