Letter from Henry D. Smith to Andrew J. Smith
February 04 1866

Transcribed by Erica Altschul, July 2008

[Envelope: Mr. Andrew J. Smith
Alden, Erie County
New York
If not called for within ten days
return to H D Smith Ottawa Kans]

Ottawa Franklin County Kansas
Febr'y 4th 1866
Mr. Andrew J. Smith

My Dear Uncle,

I will try and converse with you silently, but through asking medium (the sew) Etta has gone across the street to meeting to hear the old minister [?] deliver one of his good Sermons. But I am alone and did not nor do not feel very much like going to church. And I thought I could make it a very interesting moment to write to you. In the first place, Dear Uncle, let our Conversations one to the other be strictly Confidential, uttering truth and veracity, being honest and true to our trust, treating every Subject that may come before our observation or hearing with Justice and Prosperity to all. Too doubtless are our Correspondence comes to "finish" it will be interesting to both.

In the first place I wish to give you my Position and Circumstances in life, what they have been and what they are now and what I would wish to be in the future. As a young man in Business I am considered by those who have tried my facilities to be very good, honest, and prudent, and an eye to Business. My Circumstances when I cam out of the army were good. I had the means to have gone right along with anything. But my mother disappointed me Sadly and almost left me with poverty staring, staring me in the face. My wife when I first came here became very sick with Bilious intermittent fever and almost died. But medical aid restored her to very good health again, and when her Doctor Bill and my Bill of Expense in the Law Suit for my mules, I had 15 cents in Currency. I sat down and looked at the world and then at my wife and myself, and I concluded work was no disgrace, however talented, and I went to hard labor at a saw mill here. From that to clerking and now I have just finished a small building here on Main Street at an expense of $202. The lot I built upon is to be paid for within a Year from the time I came upon it, as for $150, I am to pay yearly $20.00 for rent of said lot. I have a choice to buy at what town lots are selling for or pay 20 a year for the lease of it. I desire to go into the Grocery Business and Tobacco & Cigar Business as I am a cigar maker by trade and also a Barber by trade. And I think by discreet management, I will in 40-50 years come out all right. My means are all in my house now. But if I can fill it by labor I will do so, and by the way if I should wish any of your assistance could you give it to me. I do not think I will need any assistance at present But in the Spring I may want more means than I will then have and if I should need ask it of you I will give you security if you desire it. But if I Borrow from you I will want 2 years time and pay the last cent on the money you furnish.

I may wish to Borrow $200 and with what I will then have I can open a good Business. But if I draw the $200 bounty the 161 [61?] soldiers or those who received only 100 I will need no assistance and if you know whether that Bounty Bill has passed let me know. I heard it had passed the house. I am working at my trade now and am doing very well considering I save about $5.00 per week a living beside. But I am going to make money faster soon if I have good success. I understand Mr. Donnbergh is agoing to move to this place but he can't do any better than I. one consolation at least his money does not trouble him any I guess. I am well and Etta also. She sends love to you and Aunt Mary. Have you any cousins to me left. Don't read this line only in the dark. I have no family left and a slim chance of if ever I have. Accept my love &c

Your nephew Henry.