Charles Francis Himes to Helen Himes, March 14, 1857

    Source citation
    Charles Francis Himes to Helen Himes, Lexington, KY, 14 March 1857. MC 2000.1, Charles Francis Himes Family Papers, Archives and Special Collections, Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA.
    Author (from)
    Charles Francis Himes
    Recipient (to)
    Himes, Helen
    Date Certainty
    Matthew Dudek
    Transcriber's Comments

    Additional Tags:

    Reeder, Gov., Walton, Col., Shannon, Gov., Robinson, Gov., Buford, Maj.,

    The following text is presented here in complete form, as true to the original written document as possible.
    March 14th. 57 On board Morning Star— 2 miles above Lexington and 370 above St. Louis

    Dear Sister,
    As I expect to land in Kansas city soon I will begin a letter to work off the matter on hand then to begin with the new when I reach Kansas City. I got on this boat at Glasgow yesterday and sent a letter to Uncle Alex, immediately before I started. All the other boats are aground about Jefferson. We are densely crowded and although the cabin is filled with double cots at night many have to sit up I among the nest, I managed to sleep on some chains last night. there are many Kentuckians on board some of them free-state men but it would be a pretty close vote on the boat, I rather think it has a Pro-slavery majority. Some have slaves on for Kansas. I begin to think that its rather a doubtful question whether K. will be free. One of the judges of K. came on board at Lexington and is going up. I stood close by overlistening a confidential chat with a Virginian just going up; he feels confident in the success of his party as according to the late act of the legislature they must be registered in the territory there months before the election (which takes place in June) of delegates to form a constitution. 800 missourians have gone into one county alone and in like proportions bona-fide citizens of K. T. they expect encouragement from next Congress are very lenient toward the Topekans and think the free state movement has fizzled out. Many are coming from Virginia soon and they are looking for 2000 free state men. The two parties are Democrats and Republicans or Nationals as the Democrats are beginning to call themselves in contradiction to Binton democrats – the democratic party here is the pro-slavery anti-emancipation party. There may be fighting there yet but don’t be alarmed, I am on the safe side. – - Perhaps [illegible] have any Tribune correspondent on board Greely may have another startling border-ruffian tale to tale headed this wise – “Kansas still bleeds, boat Morning Star fired into at Lexington Mo”. Well it’s a fact one crazy pro-slavery man came near raising a row and he fired a pistol into us and brandished his bowie but he was at a safe distance. We were borded by a Sherrif I think and several others, they were told there were nigger thieves on board, they looked rather cheap when they found they were sold. A lot of Kentuckians pro-con. were crying Hurrah for Fremont, free-speech, Free Kansas, etc., just to annoy them. Col Walton told the captain that if they found it necessary to blow up a boat there some time he should not take exceptions to it.

    It was a rich affair originating in pure sport but all are glad it ended as it did in no damage. This is the same place the Beecher’s rifles were taken and boat overhauled last year - it was done under writ though under colour of law as the bands were in one box, breeches in another and the triggers went around [illegible] therefore the could not be protected as arms by the constitution. The Pro-slavery men took theirs in their berths hence they were unmolested Property is very high in Kansas T. especially at Leavenworth – princely fortunes have been made Gov. Reeder sold his interest in Leavenworth for $200,000 which did not cost him a cent and other similar instances. Titles had to be risked however and only reckless men have done well, there, titles are now perfect. One man made $75,000 buying fat cattle and sending to St. Louis. etc., etc. The best lots in Leavenworth sell at $150 per foot but it only comprises not quite a section (640 acres). land immediately adjoining sells for $500 and 600 per acre, it will bring a thousand next spring if laid out in lots. It could have been bought last fall for $25. - Buyers were several men who know Adam Hendrix and are good business men they say he is as good or the bestfinancier and speculater they know of and does make money and could more if he had a more extensive field than Fayette, he is clearing from $3000 to $4000 per year now and I am told handles more money any man in the county. I have no idea what I’ll get at yet. We have a grand yet tedious time on boat frequently sparring over sand bars, landing at ports, eating and those who can sleeping. We have a piano, two violins and guitar and had a dance last night. Ladies play cards a great deal, gentlemen ditto, I have not touched one on the boat there is too much gambling done, it has degraded the amusement. They set down with gold notes and silver piled together and shuffle and cut from morn to night. We have about 300 passengers on board. It is snowing a perfect squall but thank fortune we have a pretty good river from here to Kansas City and I expect to land there about tommorrow noon. When I will finish please excuse paper and pencil. Best respects to all Your afft. [illegible] Chas. F. Himes
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