Did You Know? 1843.

1843 – A Letter To The Major Of Monongahela Valley.

On Wednesday, February 8, 1843 – in Iowa City – a business man by the name of Niles Higinbotham sat down in his busy office and wrote a three-page letter, responding to Major Longbow – a friend from his old hometown of Waynesburg in Greene County, Pennsylvania. Apparently, the good Major – and another friend named Bird – were looking very seriously at relocating to Iowa Territory and had sent letters asking Higinbotham a series of intriguing questions about living in Iowa.

Here’s a small example from his letter –

Land is worth from $1.25 to $30 per acre, according to situation and improvement. You may pick out land belonging to the government that is worth 10, 15 or $20 per acre, and, if you establish a claim upon it you are sure of it at the government price – $1.25. No person being allowed, by what is called the claim, club, or neighborhood law, to bid against you. Claims are made by erecting a cabin, breaking up 5 acres, or fencing in a portion. Frequently, where timber is scarce, ditches are dug to answer the purpose of fence.


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