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Rickards, Peter (ca. 1843-1918); Rickards, Ellen (ca. 1845-1909). Historically Interesting Letter Written by an Indiana Farmer and His Wife to “Dear Brother and Sister” in Starr’s Point, Oregon, Talking About Suffering from the Food Shortage and Seeking Provisions in Springfield, Illinois, Mentioning the Exceptional Promise of Wheat, Corn, Meadows, and Clover, and Indicating Early Prices of Various Agricultural Commodities, Including Butter, Fresh Beef, Chickens, Turkeys, Irish Potatoes, Bacon, etc. Indiana, 11 June 1876.



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Quarto (ca. 31.5x19.5 cm, 12.5x7.5 in.) 2 pp. black ink on yellowish lined wove paper. Fold marks, minor tear, one left side with rough edge, slightly age-toned, but overall a very good letter written in a legible hand. With the original yellow postmarked envelope.

A historically interesting original autograph manuscript letter from the Long Depression (1873-1879), offering a firsthand account of Indiana, economic hardship and food scarcity during the Long Depression through the eyes of a local farmer.

Dated 11 June 1876, the letter was penned by a farmer Peter Rickard (ca. 1843-1918) and his wife Ellen Rickard (ca. 1845-1909) in Indiana. At the time of writing, the couple, along with their four children, resided in Pike County. Later, the Rickards would move to Gibson County and eventually settle in Oregon.

The authors address the letter, full of grammatical mistakes, to “dear brother and sister,” John (ca. 1827-1921) and Susan Rickard (ca. 1830-1916) in Starr’s Point (Benton County), Oregon. In the text, the Rickards complain about hard economic times, mentioning the diminishing availability of products and their pursuit of provisions in Springfield, Illinois. The authors express optimism for a fruitful harvest, emphasizing the exceptional promise of wheat, corn, meadows, and clover. Interestingly, the Rickards also impart detailed prices of various agricultural commodities, including wheat, corn, oats, Irish potatoes, butter, eggs, bacon, fresh beef, chickens, turkeys, sheep, horses, mules, and tobacco. In the rest of the letter, the authors talk about Susan’s health condition and a dispute about the division of “henry’s land” between “henry’s children and wife”. Overall, a historically interesting original autograph manuscript letter capturing Indiana’s economic hardships as seen through the eyes of a local farmer.

The text of the letter (original punctuation and spelling preserved):

Dear brother and sister I tak mi pen in hand to drop you a few lines in return of you kind and wellcom leter that I received from you and was glad to here that you was all well. This lived us all in tolerble good health … except Ellen she had not bin well for a bout two weaks I think she is taking bone drriciplious in her leg and ankle it is hard for her to get around with it now well John we have prospect for a good crop of wheet this year corn and medows and clovr all looks beter this sring than I have saw them for many years well john I will give you the prices wheet 100 and 25 pur bushel corn from 40 to15 pur bushel oats 45 pur bushel irish potatoes 50 pur bushel sweet potato slipes 35 a hounded blend 100 pur bushel buter 15 a pound eggs 10 a dosen chickings $3 a dosen gus 25 a hed turkeys 100 a hed sheep from 2 to 3 dollars a hed hoys is seling at 11 cents a pound groc beef cattle is seling for 5 cents a pound groc yearlings cavs is worth from 11 to 10 dollars a hed milcn cowesfrom 18 to 30 dollars a hed horses from 50 to 100 dollars a hed muls is worth from one 100 to 100 and 50 dollars a hed bacon is 14 cents a pound pickld pork 13 cents a pound fresh beef is from 8 to 10 and 12 centsa pound times is hard here now and noth ing much going on here to given up the times the produc is a bout all sold off and gon but tobaco it is worth from 159 cents a pound well John I have every where to get you them Cam mill seed but I cant get any around here now i have sent to spring feld illinois to anold gardner for them and i will send them in your next leter well John Casper waunted a pare of reel birds i will send 2 pare of them iwaunt you to ceep one pare of them and give Casper the other pair I will send them with John black and Lucey miller. The con nec tion is well sofaras ino henrys children and wiff has of devided henrys land his wif got the Tom Son 40 30 at michce old house and she is cut ing up up a big over it she sas she is going to have it dun over agane and if she cant have it dun over agane she will sell out to a niyor and put him on it and levl it well susan ellen got the – you sent her. we think that it is – peec of goods ellen will send you a star plac the star in the senter of the spred cete point – to each corner of the spred tell bother and mother rite to me i would be glad to see them no more this time god by til the next time.

From Peter and Ellen Rickard to John and Susan Rickard write soon and often.

Item #M89
Price: $650.00