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Nathaniel Chaffins, Minnesota to John B. Smith, West Virginia 1873

Victor Wright County, Minn.
Sept the 21 of 1873

Second letter to John B. Smith in West Virgina


John, as my paper was not large enough I put in this scrap. I want to give you the prices of some things, what it is for a bushel. Eggs 15 cents a dozen. ______ 20 cents a pound. Beef and poultry _____ _____ 25 to 30 dollars. ____________ hay bailer from 100 to 125 dollars. Horses vary from 75 to 150 dollars. _____ there is no stated dyed price it being too early in the season _____ good. I will write in my next letter the amount of grain. I have raised this year and the amount of grain I cut to _________. This week old John Johnson says to tell you that he weights 190 pounds. Jayne Johnson says she wants you to come out here before some of those scallywags kill you. Also for you to write to her direct. Hail to McLean Minn. She lives about 3 miles from me. The are all well and is doing well and none of them has not frozen to death nor didn't starve.

Old Johnny says to tell mother that he has bought his wife a washing machine and he wants her to come out and see it. Alfred says to her, his health is much better here then it was there. Polly days if she knew that Mary and mother would come in the spring it would be the longest winter she ever had. Tell mother to come out and sew with ________ ________ the pleasure of having her stay with us 4 years for she has stayed with the others 2 ____ _______ and she must _____ us a like. I will insure that student vasa and if she was here a while she could not be hired to go back in them hills and _____. Old mother Sumner has often wished out here she thought that mother and her could enjoy themselves together sewing.

In short, we're all anxious that you will come out here for we think its better for you, so I will keep up. This time hoping to hear from you soon. N. Chaffin to John B. Smith Dear brother and sister and family. I set my self to inform you that we are in moderate health and else to inform you that we're glad for your welcomed letter and were glad to hear from you but were sorry to hear of your affliction, John.

I will change the subject at once, to which you wanted to know about this country. There in here are made up of all most all nations of people. The Africans here, they are all able and good citizens. I have lived here going on 9 years and have never had any reason to quarrel with any man. And there is but little law out here. I have been Constable nearly 2 years and have had but 2 cases to attend.

I will now inform you about the land. You want to know how far you would have to go back from me. I will inform you that you can buy railroad land as good as ever. Lay out ______ for 8 dollars in about ten years at 7 cents interest paid in installments. That is so much a year or for cash you can buy 80 acres for 500 dollars. There is an abundance of that land in this vicinity and is well timbered. There is a section 3/4 a mile of me and 1 and miles but in not worth while to mention, for it is in abundance and you can have your choice.

There is some impoverished farms that can be bought at a fair price and as for making money, I can make 4 dollars here to three you will make. How can I do this? I will tell you. Your children can stack for you, while you can chop wood and haul it to the railroad that is 6 miles away. It is worth 3 dollars per board and the best of all is you can make from 2 to 3 times as much as the _____ can out there and some folks make more out of their eggs and then too you can farm your farm. John you can sell any thing you make here and it doesn't take you a week to go to market. There is one town 3 miles of me. And 1 in 6 is on the railroad.

But, it started 4 years ago the first house was built. Now its containing 4 dry good stores, 1 hardware store, 1 drug store, 1 furniture store, 1 wagon shop, 1 blacksmith shop, a railroad and a Quaker church and Methodist. ____________________________ besides money and dwelling. The country is filling up fast. John the sooner you come to me the sooner I consider you have fuel _____ spent 8 years of your time berating you didn't come with me. For now me and my family have a good home in a good country and is all happy with it for now, thank God. Now John if you and Mary and Mother don't believe what I have related, I can only say to you as the Samaritan woman said to the men of Sychar "Come and see". John I don't want you to believe that we are very likely to get rich. We work for a living and any man that will work here can make a comfortable living. John, you had better come this fall and let your family come in the spring. I will pay if you sure to come and you will let me know for sure I could rent you a farm this winter with about 20 acres joining my farm. But I would not want to do this with uncertainty. So in your next letter let me know what you think. So I hope the healing hand of ____ _____ may repay you.

Yours as ever
Nathaniel Chaffins to John B. Smith
I will write again soon do like wise.

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Notes: Submitter: artbyfran@juno.com June 2003

Nathaniel Chaffins Photo Writer is Nathaniel Chaffin b.apr 1 1836 VA son of Stanley Chaffin. He fought in theCivil War for the Union Infantry, 5th Regiment, West Virginia Infantry

Nathaniel Mustered in Oct., 31, 1861 Nathaniel had been discharged from Parkersbrough Hospital on Oct., 9, 1862 Captured in Wayne Co., Va on Nov. 29, 1862 and confided at Richmond, Va. Later paroled at City Point Va on April 3, 1863 and reported at Camp Parole, MD., April 6, 1863. Mustered out Sept 20, 1864, Wheeling, WV.

After leaveing the Military he along with his father-in-law Mark Sumner who also servered int he same unit took their families and moved to MN. These two letters where written to Nathaniel's brother-in-law John B. Smith, who was also hurt in the civil war. He is trying to encourage John to move his family along with Nathaniel's mother Sarah (Copley) Chaffin, to MN.



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