From the collections at the Leavenworth County Historical Society and Museum. Reprinted with permission from The Leavenworth County Historical Society and Museum and the Leavenworth Times. Donated by Debra Graden.

The Anthony Letters

Missouri River Runs Rapidly And Creates Steamer Problem

Leavenworth Times, 1956-7


Editors note: This is another in a series of letters written by Col. D. R. Anthony to his family in the east almost 100 years ago when Leavenworth was a new town and Kansas was still a territory. The letters give a clear picture of Leavenworth in its early period. The Times is publishing the letters each Sunday and Thursday.


Leavenworth, K.T.

June 29, 1858

Dear Father:

Have just received a letter from Aetna Company desiring me, at my earliest convenience, to go to Glenwood Mills, Iowa, relative to a loss which they have sustained there on a policy issued by an upriver agent at Nebraska City. I shall go on the 1st July--will be gone about ten days.

Weather intensely hot--no rain for two whole days, River the highest it has been thus far this season. The Missouri is so rapid that it never rises to do much damage. The water, whether high or low, runs like water at the tail of a mill race--4 to 8 miles an hour and it is against this that our steamers have to run, making only 100 to 150 miles per day upstream and 200 or more downstream.

Most of the eastern people seem to prefer traveling on those old-fashioned slow coaches which are liable to upset at almost any ditch or swampy place or creek. Instead, they could ride in a new velvet cushioned rail car at the rate of 30 miles per hour with almost perfect safety. (Editor's note: This must have been comment on some news in a letter received as there is no continuity of thought).

Another reason why this country is better than the east is the excellent climate. The air is so pure that you seldom meet with a case of consumption or "hip"--the latter disease is almost unknown.

I can get you or Aaron the agency of Aetna for any point in Kansas. When obliged to stop in St. Joseph for a few hours recently I went into the street and sold two risks--profit $20.75. Money can be made here, the only task is the saving of it.

Hope you and Mother are feeling as well as the portions of the family in Kansas.


D. R. Anthony

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