17 February 2014

Letter From Eastern Nebraska

Forest City, N.T., Oct. 24, 1865.

Dear Sir: — According to promise, I now proceed to give you as true a description of this country, as my limited knowledge will allow.

Omaha, the Capital of Nebraska, is located on the West bank of the upper Missouri river, and on the edge of a very extensive prairie. It is rather a pleasant place, and improving rapidly. The soil in this section is of the very best quality, and needs only to be broken up to be ready to yield the richest harvests of corn and wheat, (the staples.) Sorgum also grow luxuriantly, and the raising of which is very profitable. For stock raising, this country stands pre-eminent among all the States and surrounding territories. Fruit also grows to great perfection, and if farmers are without it, they must blame themselves alone for a lack of this desirable portion of the "staff of life," for surely nature will do its part.

This prairie is some six hundred miles in length and about one hundred and fifty wide. Timber is plenty along the streams, and a fine bed of coal underlies the whole; but the coal lies at a depth of from eighty to one hundred and forty feet below the surface. It is, however, of good quality. The entire country is nearly level, — just sufficient fall for thorough draining, should draining be necessary; but the greater portion of land is dry enough without drainage. Frosts hardly ever occur in this territory earlier than the 15th or 20th of October.

Taken, "all in all," I think that the farmer who would remain in Clearfield county, and resign himself to the fate of having sore chins and bruised heels, only for the sake of having plenty of stumps and stones for his pains, when he could better his condition so much by coming here, deserve to eke out his life under the weight of debts and poverty, that are usually his lot. As, to sickness, there is not near so much here, as in the more healthy parts of Pennsylvania.

Game, such as Antelope, Squirrel, and Prairie Chicken, is plenty. In a short tramp over the prairie, several days since, I succeeded in bagging a fine lot of the two latter.

I will now close this epistle, with the promise of another as soon as I can find time to do so, and gain information of sufficient interest as to warrant my writing.

A Pilgrim.
November 15, 1865. Letter from Nebraska. Raftsman's Journal 12(10): 1.