Salina Public Library Local History Collection

Thumbnail image of the 1st page   Title: Letter from Robert Muir, Jr., Salina, KS, to his brother, probably John, Randolph County, Illinois.
Author: Robert Muir, Jr.
Date: October 15, 1861
Type: manuscript
Physical description: 1 sheet (4 p.) ; 7.5 x 10 in.
Notes: John Muir was born November 26, 1842, and served with the Illinois Cavalry,
Co. K, 5th Regiment from December 8, 1863 to September 6, 1865. The letter mentions the enrollment of men for military duty and the death of William Bean, a settler who died in a train wreck in Missouri on September 4, 1861.

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


15 Oct 1861 Salina

Dear Brother

I received your letter a few days ago and was glad to hear that you were all well and that you are still enjoying peace and quietness at home. I hope and trust that you may still be permitted to pursue your peaceful avocation and not have to take up arms to defend your own fireside. War is bad enough when it is raging at a distance, but we know nothing of its evil effect until it comes amongst us. The governor of Kansas has issued a proclamation that all able bodied men over 18 years and under 45 must enroll themselves in some militia company and be ready to march at a moment's warning with all the arms they have in their possession. Any refusing to enroll their names are to be looked upon as Secesh [a secessionist] and treated as such. His reason for issuing such a proclamation was to find out how many men he could call out in case the state was invaded which was much feared would take place a short time ago, but the union men succeeded in driving them back so there is no danger on that score at present. I suppose you have heard by this time that W. Bean got killed on his way out here. It was a sad accident. It cast a gloom over the whole of the settlers here. He was a fine young man and was very much respected here. I was thankful that none of the other boys were on that train for they could not have escaped without injury and very probably would have been killed too. The boys seemed to enjoy themselves very well the time they stayed here. We went out on a buffalo hunt with them and was out 5 days. It was the first time I had been out, so everything about buffalo hunting was as new to me as it was to them. Tom Anderson said they were very scared, but we saw one herd with over 5 hundred in it. The boys did not appear to be very well pleased with the country. Their main objections were the scarcity of timber and the distance from market. The only objections that can be raised against the place are they are not quite as bad as the boys thought they were. We can get fencing for $2 a hundred and that is as cheap as it can be got anywhere. We done the first grinding yesterday that was ever done in Saline County. We grind corn for 10 cents per bushel. We are not quite ready to grind wheat yet but will be before long. We have had a good deal of rain in the last two weeks. The fall wheat is growing right ahead. The first 6 acres that Willie put in is covering the ground all over. The 6 acres that Tom and I put in is not so early but is plenty thick and looking first rate. I expect that by this time the boys are home and giving you a full detail. Tell Mother the things she sent with the boys has come on to Leavenworth and I will get them before long. Willie had a spell of the ague but he has got over it now. The next time you write tell me where Bryce is and to what regiment he belongs and all you know bout him. We are all well at present. I hope you may be enjoying the same blessing. Give my best respect to all my friends and be sure and not forget little Johnny and Robert. No more at present. Write soon.

From your brother Robert Muir

Adison's friends are all well. Tell Tom Anderson that ____________________ got up at Fort Riley and were not accepted on account of their horses not being fit to pass muster and that some of the boys went into the Second and the rest are on their way home.

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