“... The big cat has eloped and the rats get more than the lions share of our bacon ...”
Jo Daviess County Illinois
~ 1847 ~

© 2004, Frederick Smoot. All Rights Reserved.

Galena  Illinois cover.

Red Circular Postmark:
       Galena ILLs
       FEB 8
Manuscript Rate:
       John W. Sheldon Esq.
       Care of U.U. Hawley
       New York

Galena Feby 8 1847
Dear John
I have been rather negligent in not writing to you sooner. I have not had much to write that could interest you or I should have written sooner. Everything here jogs on about as usual. We have had lots of sport in sleighing since by the way - the weather turned so cold soon after you left. I fear you must have had rather an unpleasant trip up the Ohio. Did not my advice to you to take the other route sometimes occur to your mind. We have had very severe weather here most of the time since you left until within two days past. It is now warm and pleasant and has much the appearance of spring. I saw your mother about two or three weeks since at her house - her health then was better than it was when I last saw her but I am told she is now in rather a worse state than she has been for three or four months. She was a little disappointed at you not coming out but thought under the circumstances it was better for you to go with the company than to have waited and gone alone. Of dancing and frolicking there has been but little since you left. One small part at the Amn given in honor of the DuBuquere[?], at which they did not attend. We had a little dance at our House last week which went off well. No weddings - no deaths since you left - a complete dearth of all news. Our good folks Messrs. Stone & Elendonin have fully resolved I believe to quit in the spring. I am endeavoring to get Mr. Eddowes to take the house - do not _____ whether I shall succeed or not.
The old established and very popular House of McMaster & Hempstead has ceased to exist. Our dissolution dates from the 1st of Feby. This may somewhat astonish you but it is a fact nevertheless. The business to be continued by Edwd Hemptead Esq assisted by your humble servant. I try clerking again - for a while - how long I do not know - until I arrange my old difficulties in some satisfactory way. It is a move of my own entirely and what I have been intending to do for the last month. I have had some talk with Henry about you but not directly about his assisting in business. I thought I would sound him _____. I could learn nothing definite from him only that he is very well disposed towards you. He thinks some of going to N.O. and commencing business there - of this there is no certainty however. What the boys intend to do I cannot tell. When I was recovering from my sickness all things appeared possible to me - but now whether I am becoming more worldly minded or more sane I cannot tell. I look upon many things in a very different light - many of my projects I know were feasible but alas I have not the means. I am crippled and hampered on every side. My proposition to you about business would be a good one. I have no doubt for both of us were I in a situation to follow it up. The future as far as making money is concerned looks rather blank to me, but thank Heaven but a small part of my happiness _____ in that I have learned to be content with my lot let that be what it may. You I suppose are enjoying yourself among your friends. You have the society of that sweet good girl that _____ of your heart and are happy. Your choice from what I hear is a good one and I sincerely hope she may be to you all your fancy paints her, and that I may have the pleasure of seeing her one of these days. I hope you can make it convenient to go up to Prospect and see my old and much lovd parents. You will find them in lowly but tolerable circumstances. You will also see a rough _____ country and some few pretty girls if you know where to find them. My good wife sends her regards to you.
W.S. Salingro has made an assignment to W.H. Brown of Elizabeth into us a little _____ can next time. Whenever the robins commence singing in the spring I shall expect to see your cheerful countenance in these diggings if not sooner. The old commodore and myself are deep in the pork business. The big cat has eloped and the rats get more than the lions share of our bacon. Hoping soon to hear from you. I remain yours truly, S. W. McMaster

From the Collection of Frederick Smoot

Main Letters Page

Illinois Letters Page