Salina Public Library Local History Collection

Thumbnail image of the 1st page   Title: Letter from Robert Muir, Jr., Salina, KS, to his parents, Robert, Sr., and Jane Muir in Sparta, IL
Author: Robert Muir, Jr.
Date: March 16, 1873
Type: manuscript
Physical description: 1 sheet (4 p.) ; 5 x 8 in.
Note: Letter tells of a severe winter, bother James moving to McPherson County, and that William's family is fighting the "Epizootic," a general term for an ailment like the "flu bug." making the rounds.

View the original letter: pages 1, 2, 3, 4


16 March 1873 Salina

[Written on the top sideways] Write as soon as you can. I will try and do better the next time. Accept our thanks for socks and presents for little ones. Give our love to all not forgetting the little folks.

Dear Parents

It is a busy time since I wrote you a letter and have no good excuses to offer but will try and give you all the news now. We have had another very severe winter, which has damaged the wheat very badly, at least one-third of it killed entirely and all the rest considerably injured. It comes pretty hard after an entire failure last year and having the most of our seed to buy at 2 dollars per bushel. There is very little of the seed that came from Illinois that will do to stand. Of what I got only the Amber will do and nearly half of that is killed. I drove eight miles yesterday to buy some spring wheat for seed of which I will sow 20 acres and did not see but one wheat field looking well, that had been protected by timber. But there is always some way of getting through and we expect to weather through without much trouble. Brother James has rented his place to the Watson boys and has moved on the Gypsum Creek about 20 miles from here. He wants to get away from town and temptation. He has been drinking a good deal for some time and wants to quit. We think it is a good move for he seems to lack firmness enough to say no, and so long as he stayed there he was exposed to it every few days. While where he is going, he can quit if he tries as there will be very little temptation. I talked to him a good deal and think he intends to keep all right if he can. He is taking a herd of cattle to take care of this summer at 25 cents per head per month. The most of his wheat is pretty good, the Watson boys' nearly a total failure. Brother William and family had a pretty hard time with the Epizootic but are nearly well again. He was feeling considerably discouraged for awhile, but his wheat has improved in this last eight days and has cheered him up a good deal. He made a big effort last fall to get in wheat to be able to pay off what he owes. But while he won't be able to make a clean sweep, he will have wheat enough to reduce it some. He is a good deal like father. What he owes troubles him a good deal. Bryce and family are well and doing well, and his wheat is looking well with the exception of what came from Ills, which a failure or nearly so. Their little Jenny is just a little red-faced chunk and has got a good deal to say. The baby's name is Ellen and is nearly as big as Jenny now. Our own little chaps are well and think they have a good Grandma that sent them such nice things and said she would fill their pockets with apples if they would come back. Andrew says he is going when he gets bigger. The little fellow is going to school and learning to spell quite fast. Asa would like to go with him, but is hardly old enough to learn yet, and Mother needs him at home to play with An(n)y who is a stirring little thing but easy managed. Nancy has had good health all winter. myself not quite so good, been trouble with a pain in my breast, but not so much now as during the fore part of winter. Tell John I will send the money for the wheat pretty soon. I ought to have done it sooner, but money has been so tight I could not do it. I have a good deal of money owing to me, but cannot get it and not being able to sell my corn and having little wheat, I have been desperate for money.

Your affectionate son Robert Muir

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