Letter from William Henry Seward, Jr. to William Henry Seward, November 20, 1870

  • Posted on: 8 May 2018
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Letter from William Henry Seward, Jr. to William Henry Seward, November 20, 1870



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Institution:University of Rochester

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Letter from William Henry Seward, Jr. to William Henry Seward, November 20, 1870

action: sent

sender: William Seward
Birth: 1839-06-18  Death: 1920-04-29

location: Auburn, NY

receiver: William Seward
Birth: 1801-05-16  Death: 1872-10-10

location: Unknown

transcription: pxc 

revision: tap 2018-04-03

Page 1

Banking House of Wm. H. Seward, Jr. & Co.
Auburn, N.Y. Nov 20th 1870
My dear Father
Your dispatches just recd
by telegraph from San Francisco give us the
the first & pleasing intelligence of your safe
arrival at Japan and also departure from there
for China . The various reports we have lately
had of disturbances & strife in the latter country
led us to fear that you would be obliged to change
your course & go elsewhere, But as you seem to
be keeping straight on we can only infer that
the reports are like those that reached us from
Mexico while you were there (only partly to be
believed). We shall look for letters from you
before long and I hope then to hear that your
health is good and that you are not overcome
by the [ fatagues ]

Alternate Text

Alternate Text: fatigues
of the long journey.
Matters in Auburn are much the same as when
you left here except that the summer season has
passed away and we are in the midst of our
first snow storm. The State Election has
been held and Gov. Hoffman
Birth: 1828-01-10 Death: 1888-03-24
reelected by a large
majority defeating Genl Woodford
Birth: 1835-09-03 Death: 1913-02-14
his opponent
Page 2

as was generally anticipated he would
Tammany of course carried everything in
New York & has its own way about as usual.
I have lately returned from Iowa


where I spent
two or three weeks looking over your lands
there and I believe visited every farm but two
The land in Hamilton & Webster Co is poor quality
but well located with reference to the new Rail
Roads and will in time sell for from 8 to 10
dollars for the greater part of it. Although
just now everybody is trying to sell out for
cash at much lower figures There is no
timber or streams on the land but it is well
watered by "slews" I am fully satisfied after
my investigation that the whole tract is worth
not less than $30,000 & perhaps more. I have
instructed Mr. Sawyer
our Agent there not offer
any lands at the present rates but when he
could find a good purchaser who would give
8 or 10 dollars in order to obtain long time & easy
payments to advise me we would probably make
the sale. In this way I think it would be wise
to sell off some of the higher price lands perhaps
one quarter or one third and hold the cheaper
lands for further developement of the country
which is sure to come in time. In selling I have
given him these terms 1/5 down and balance on
Bond & Mortgage at 10 % interest for from 3 to 8 years
on this plan considering the local taxes on the high
price land it would have to achieve at least $11 cash acre each year
Page 3

to be as good to hold as to sell and I do
not think as a whole that it will advance as
rapidly as that. I found in talking with
many settlers with whom I mingled freely that
they placed very little value on their houses or
buildings and that my plan of offering to
build a house on each small farm and add
the price to the land was not at all acceptable
as they count the cost of their houses nothing
building such as they can by odd shells of their
own hands, of hay, mud, boards or anything else.
most convenient & cheap and putting every dollar
they can raise into breaking up the land which
costs about $4 per @ and then has to lay one year
after breaking before a crop can be planted this
they count as a really valuable start on a farm
and I think that next spring that a few
judicious breakings of about 20 to 40 acres each
on 120 acre farms would bring them into a good
market at a high price. I sold for you while
at Webster City one 1/2 section of land 320 acres
for $10 per @ 1/5 down bal in five years on 10 perc
interest I also ^bought^ for you a piece of land of 320
acres (laying nearly adjoining the one sold) for
$550 per acre cash, making about $1500 for you
by the exchange. This will give you some idea
of the differences of cash and time sales, as the lands
bought and sold are in the same town and of
about the same quality
Page 4

The matters of the Estate of E Miller
Birth: 1772-04-11 Death: 1851-11-13
have at
last been finally closed up & the Surrogate
filed his decree discharging you as Executor.
From Orange County I hear that everybody
is at last well satisfied except Dr. Jayne
Birth: 1817-02-06 Death: 1897-11-09
seems to be abandoned by all the rest, The Estate
turning out to be larger than was expected had
a very quieting influence..
I saw Fred
Birth: 1830-07-08 Death: 1915-04-25
& Anna
Birth: 1834-03-29 Death: 1919-05-02
at Montrose day before yesterday
and found them well & happy. We look for a
visit from Augustus
Birth: 1826-10-01 Death: 1876-09-11
about Christmas. Aunty
Birth: 1803-11-01 Death: 1875-10-03
shuts up her home the last of this
month & comes to spend the winter with us.
Miss Parkman
Birth: 1843-04-02 Death: 1916-10-23
has gone to Washington to visit
the Phelps
& remain a month or two.
We shall look anxiously for letters from
you and trust that your trip will give
you new strength & health. Jenny
Birth: 1839-11-18 Death: 1913-11-09
joins me
in love & kind regards to George
Birth: 1840-11-08 Death: 1910-11-28
& his wife
Birth: 1850-06-06 Death: 1934-06-15

the Miss Risleys
x Birth: 1850-03-05  Death: 1925-07-27  Birth: 1844-07-15  Death: 1908-11-27 
& Mr
Birth: 1819-10-31 Death: 1872-07-26
and Mrs Randall
Birth: 1845-10-02 Death: 1918-10-06
Birth: 1862-09-11 Death: 1921-10-05
and Willie
Birth: 1864-11-10
continue to grow and under
their mother's watchful eye to improve
Affectionately your Son
Wm H. Seward Jr
I enclose an Article from the N.Y. Standard of