Main content

Title: William Taylor, Nebraska, to George Hilary, Ireland.
CollectionIrish Emigration Database
FileTaylor, William/3
SenderTaylor, William
Sender Gendermale
Sender Occupationformer army officer / farmer
Sender ReligionProtestant
OriginYork, Nebraska, USA
RecipientHilary, George
Recipient Gendermale
SourceDonated by Mr & Mrs George Hilary, Belfast. Enquiries to Lorraine Tennant, 14 Somerton Close, Belfast.
ArchiveThe Ulster American Folk Park, Omagh, N.Ireland
Doc. No.9605258
Partial Date
Doc. TypeEMG
LogDocument added by LT, 20:05:96.
Word Count2257
TranscriptDirect to me
York, York Co.
Neb. [Nebraska?] U.S.America

York Co. Nebraska Jany 27/73

Dear Friend George
I received your kind
& welcome letter on the 24th inst dated Nov 28th I was
sorry to hear of your Mother's death, but I am glad to
hear of so many of her family being yet alive. time
glides by swiftly & changes are quick & rapid, & soon
we will be in the graves with our Fathers & our children
take our place in the busy strugle [struggle?] of life.
George I have been careless about writting [writing?] and
I have not got any letters from Ireland (but yours) for a
long time. I will send you a short account of my history
since I left the army. I was discharged on the 18 of Oct
1864 & I got married on the 8th of the following Dec,
my wife's name was Jane Downing of Londonderry She is a
Presbyterian was 18 when we married. we have three
children living Hester Isobella 7, Frank 4, Benjamin
Irenseus 2, and John Jamison who died in Nov 67 aged
eleven months, after I got married I farmed two years
for a man at Millersbug [Millersburg?] on shares, he
furnished team & feed also seed & farming implements. I
boarded myself & done all the work, gave him one half of
the crop ready for market, I raised 400 Bs of wheat one
year & 600 Bs of Indian Corn, next year I did not do so
well, I bought a team & waggon [wagon?] which cost me
about 500 Dollars I lost one of the horses & bought another
& in two years lost that one, crops were poor and times verry
[very?] hard I rented ground and gave one 1/3 of what I raised,
we could live verry [very?] well but save verry [very?] little
so I thought I would try farther west. Land in Illinois is
verry [very?] dear Improved land is worth from 30 to 50
Dollars per acre & Prairia [Prairie?] Land from 10 to 20
Dollars per acre. the land is good whether Prairia [Prairie?]
is wood land but the latter takes a great deal of hard labour
to get it in Cultivation I think that Illinois cannot be beat in the
states for raising Indian Corn, but for wheat & other
small grains this state will beat it. Illinois has all
the advantages of Religion & education. Churches of all
denomanations [denominations?] are numerous and well sustained
School Houses are abundant and suplied [supplied?] with good
teachers, Ministers are Paid from 700 to 1000 Dollars
a year in the Country & school Teachers from 30 to 50
Dollars per month, the climate on the high rolling
Prairia's [Prairie's?] in Illinois is healthy but along
River Bottoms & low lands People are subject to [Ague?] Ills
[Illinois?] is crossed in all directions by Railroads
& several Canals, it is nearly surrounded by River &
Lake navagations [navigations?], her woods abound, & her
coal fields underlye [underlie?] most of the State, her
summers are intensly hot (mercury up to 100 in the shade) & her
winters some times of the bitterest Cold (Mercury down
to 25 degrees below zero) Such weather is hard to stand
whether in summer or winter but it does not last long
Some seasons, fall weather is delightfull [delightful?],
you can raise & keep any kind of Stock in Illinois that
you can in Ireland, most of the large Farmers are seeding
down their farms in Cloves & Timothy & raising Cattle &
some few keep sheep, men with small farms Cultivate the
soil raise mostly Corn & feed Hogs in good Seasons wheat
will turn out 20 Bs to the acre (English Land Measurement)
Indian Corn 50 to 60 Bs, Oats 40 to 50, Rye 25 to 30, Barley
25 to 30, Potatoes 150 to 200, Sugar Cane is raised & men make
their own Mollasses the grain is cut by Reaping Machines which
generaly [generally?] cut 10 acres a day 5 men do the
binding. wages last year was 1¬ dollars per day, 62
cents per Acre for Cutting, Machines thrash about 400
Bushels per day, charge 5 cents per Bs for wheat & 2«
for Oats, thrash 1000 Bs of Oats per day it takes about
8 men to attend to a machine besides the owners, these
men who do the feeding, driving & keeping it in running
order, ten horses are used on such a machine the owners
suply [supply?] 6 & employer 4, the prices of grain vary
a great deal wheat from 75 cts to (sometimes) 2 Dollars
Oats from 15 to 50 cts Corn from 20 cts to 100 cts
Potatoes from 30 cts to 1 Dollar a good worker can tend
to 60 acres of land (some more) Plow [plough?] up 25 to
thirty acres in the fall and put it on small grain in
the spring, then plow [plough?] up 35 or 40 acres & put
it in Corn it requires to be plowed [ploughed?] through
three times, which will take about 4 weeks work, with a
two Horse Cultivation, one good hand will husk 50 Bs of
Corn each day, crop ready to gather from middle of Oct
to 1st of Nov, most of crops gathered before Christmas
Lands all require to be fenced in Illinois, such fencing
if put up with Posts of Timber will cost a little over
1 Dollar per Rod for the Material, if a man owns timber
land he can make rails & fence it cheeper [cheaper?],
good Horses in Ills [Illinois?] cost from 100 to 150
Dollars each. Waggons [Wagons?] 100. Double Harness 40
Dol. [Dollars?] Plows [Ploughs?] 20 to 25, Corn Plows
[ploughs?] 25 to 30 Harrows 10, Mowing Machines about 130
Doll [Dollars?] Reaping as high as 200 Dollars now George
I have given you a little information about Ills [Illinois?]
& I will tell you a little about this new state (Nebraska
which I have chosen for my new home.
Last Summer I raised 40 acres of Corn
on my Brother in law's Place I sold my house
for 222« Dollars, I had to give one year's time
on part of the payment, I sold my furniture & stock
& Started on the 22nd of August for this State bought
a team of Horses Waggons [Wagons?] also a team of two
year old mules which I tied behind the waggon [wagon?]
along we had a heavy load for such a journey (nearly a ton)
we traveled [travelled?] from 20 to 25 miles a day we
had [bars?] and a cover on the waggon [wagon?] so that we did
not suffer much with the heat, the roads were dry
though very rough for nearly 300 miles when we got near
the Missouri River it commenced to rain and rained for
nearly a week the roads became very muddy and our
progress was very slow, we got out here about the
middle of Sept. I homesteaded a quarter Section of land
the government gives to every Soldier who served in
the Union Army 160 Acres of land, Said Soldier has to
come where there is vacant land, Pick out his quarter
Build a house on it & live on it 2 years that is if he
served 3 years in the army if he only served 2
years he has to live on the land 3 years, so that the
time he Served in the army & time he has to live on the
land amounts to 5 years. Some served 4 years &
consequently has only 1 year to keep possession of the
land till he get a deed from Goverment [Government?],
when a soldier homesteads his land he pays 18 Dollars,
& gets a Receipt for the money with the land described
& when he goes for his deed has nothing more to pay, Pays
no taxes on the land till he receives his deed, & need not
take said deed till five years after he enters his land,
Citizens of the United States who are not Soldiers can take
80 Acres of land by paying 14 Dollars & living on the land five
years when the [they?] will get a deed, their land same
as Soldiers exemp [exempt?] from taxes till a deed is
given, this land is free to Citizens of every Country
who come here and Swear alegiance [allegiance?] to the United
States & become Citizens, the [they?] can homestead 80 acres of
land as soon as the [they?] can get though the [they?]
cannot vote for five years but should the [they?] die before
that time their wife & Children Can hold the land, the
land here is very good, high rolling Prairies as far as
the eye can reach bounded by the horizons & seeming like
a vast ocean one thing is lacking, timber, which is
very Scarce also Water, we have to dig sixty feet for
water, & a great many has to burn Indian Corn for fuel
it makes a splendid fire & 200 or 300 Bushels will do a
family a year I have got wood enough to last me till
harvest. the water here is good 'tis [it is?] found
generly [generally?] in quicksand at the above depth
though vary's [varies?] according to high or low
Prairias [Prairies?], there are Some good Streams of
Clear running water Skirted with timber such as Elm, Ash, &
Willow the land is surveyed in Sections Comencing [Commencing?]
to count from the North East Corner of the township &
Counting west Six sections then back to 12 then west &
back till the Plot is square which makes 36 Sections in
a township every odd number from one to 35 belongs to
the Railroad Company's even numbers's homestead land
this division is only made when Company's have as will
make a road, & extends 20 miles each Side of the road,
I live inside of Railroad Limits, & ten miles from
County Seat which is York Center [centre?] a Small town
with a court House, school house, Presbyterian & Methodist
Churches, 4 Stores & a few dwelling houses, town about
1 year old I think it will grow rapid when Railroad
Comes to it there is two whole Sections out of every
township given for school purposes which I think is
more than any other state has done, if you will run
your finger on the Parallel of 41 North Latitude &
follow it to the Meridian line of 97 West from
Greenwich & crop it 25 miles you will see on the map
nearly where we live I hope you may yet see the Soil &
own Some of it if you come to America I think that this
would be a good Country for you there is no fencing
to be done in the [this?] State every man has to take
Care of his own Stock & People raise their crops on the Open
prairia [prairie?], & it can be broken up with one team of
Horses, & will raise abundance of anything that a man will plant,
there will be plenty of timber here in 3 years, People
are turning their attention to raising it & several
kinds will grow rappid [rapidly?] such as Cotton Wood,
Maple & Box Elder [A?] sage thorn grows rappid [rapidly?]
& people will set out hedges for shelter & to save herding Stock,
Cows here are worth from 35 to 40 Dollars Other Stock
the same price as in Illinois, Crops about the Same
price Wheat from 73 cts to 1 Dollar Bs flour 3 Dollars
per 100 lbs Corn 18 cts per Bs. Potatoes 30 cts Pork 4
Dollars per 100 lbs net Buter [Butter?] 20 cts per lb
Tea from 150 cts to 2 Dollars per lb Sugar 16 cts per
lb Coffee 25 cts per lb
Now George I will conclude this Scribble & if there
is anything you want to know more about this country
write & I will answer you to let you know if it is in my
power to do so My Brother Thomas lives in [Keithsburg?]
[Misses?] got married 1 year ago last fall my Sister Hester
& Husband also live in Keithsburg he has had verry [very?] poor
health for several years with Rheumatism the [they?] are
well off there, though the [they?] talk about coming
out here in the Spring I was surprised to hear of
William Logan's death please send me the Particulars in
your next letter
George I want you to write me a long letter I
would like to hear of the changes in Anaghmoon [Annaghmore?]
Sands' town, Ballylough & Donaghcloney, how are your
friends the Adams' doing why could not some of them
come out here with you, this is a very healthy State
a dry bracing air, free from fever & Ague. George I
have had good health since I left the Army & I feel as
strong today as when I headed you up Slieve Donard, I
will close least I weary you making out my Scribble, I
wish to be remembered to William & John also your
Brother James & wife & family I suppose Eliza is a big
girl now Best respect to Robert Kearns & Mr Harvey &
family Remember me to my Brother John & his Wife &
family & old aquaintances around Sands' town, if he
came out here he would do better for his family
Please write soon your sincere friend
William Taylor