File submitted for USGenWeb/MOGenWeb Lincoln County page by Charlene Reeds Ebeling, 28 July 1998.

Letter by Gabriel Reeds in Louisville, Lincoln Co. MO,
to his brother Armistead Reeds in IL
8 February 1845

Letter in the possession of James A. REEDS of Kansas City, a grandson of Armistead, to whom the letter was addressed. Published in part in the Kansas City Star, May 1930. A photocopy of the article and transcription has been circulated by REEDS researcher Bonnie Reeds Lipscomb, a direct descendant of Armistead. Copy provided by Charlene Reeds Ebeling.

COMMENTS: Gabriel Reeds was born 1785 in Culpeper Co., Virginia. He traveled through Kentucky to Louisville, Missouri, and then on to Troy, Missouri.  He died 1853 in Wellsville, Montgomery Co., Missouri.

Letter From Louisville, Missouri 1845

The following letter was written by Gabriel Reeds of Louisville, Missouri to his brother Armistead Reeds of Elbridge, Edgar County, Illinois. This was sent before the days of stamps and envelopes. The letter was a very large piece of paper, folded over with the address on the outside. The cost of delivery –18 cents --was written in the upper right hand corner where, in modern times, one would place the stamp.

The letter moved by boat down the Mississippi River to the Ohio, up the Ohio to the Wabash, then up the Wabash to Elbridge, Edgar Co., Illinois.

Louisville, Mo. Feb. 8, 1845

Dear Brother and Sisters,

I received your letter in due time and would have written by last mail but was called away from home and did not return in time.

I am not satisfied with this country. I believe it will always be more or less sickly. The spring season is uniformly wet and the clay is so firm and close that the water cannot penetrate it consequently remains wet too long. And after the spring rains are over the after part of the Summer and Fall is so dry that it renders the country unhealthy.

I expect to go and see the Wisconsin Territory in April if I should live. It is about 300 miles above where I now live or 3 degrees north of here. If I like it as well as do a number of my acquaintances I will probably move there next Fall. It is the greatest mineral country in the world for lead. Any thing a man can raise there commands the highest price in cash.

If, however I should not conclude to go and we both live we will try to come to see you next Fall. You wish to know something more particularly about brother Thomas. He lives three miles from me. They are all well as common. His wife is a sickly woman and he manages badly; has drunk too much whiskey the greater part of his life and neglected business. Is worth nothing of course. He keeps up his shop still, and his oldest son can do tolerable work. He is a steady youth and they are all good boys.

About Judith’s negroes, I believe I wrote you word that she had been married to Mr. BAIRD some 12 or 14 years ago, and when he died four years ago she came to live with me again. I built a house for her on my place, where she lived and died. My son Samuel Thomas, we usually call him Thomas, lived with her till she died. And now I will tell you what she did with her negroes—she had but two, a woman and her child, when she died. She lost two that died. She left her woman and child to my son Thomas as long as he lives single. At his death or marriage they are to be free. She also gave him a bed, bedstead and furniture, a side board, table and chairs, all the cupboard ware, kitchen furniture and coons. Also $250 in cash. She gave to my son John one bed and furniture and $80 in money. She gave to my daughter Elizabeth $20 money; to brother Thomas’ two daughters Kitty and Julyann $20 in money each. And she gave to Kitty’s little boy $50, because she named him after her husband, Samuel Baird. She gave to brother Thomas in her life $250 and when she died $50 more. To my wife she gave $30 in cash; to Dudley Reeds, brother Thomas’ oldest son her mare and to me the balance of her money about $300. But her money was lent out, and by the time I have settled her debts, which I have done—principally doctor fees and burial expenses, #60. And when I collect and pay off all of the above, if there is no lapse in collecting, I shall have but little for my trouble. So you have the contents of her will.

We are all in tolerable health at this time as are all the connections so far as I know. My wife joins me in sending our best respects to you and sister Lucy and all the children.

Your affectionate brother,

Gabriel Reeds

P.S. Can’t you or some of your children come and see us? Thomas will return from Lexington, the first of next month via the rivers.



File submitted for USGenWeb/MOGenWeb Lincoln County page by Charlene Reeds Ebeling, 28 July 1998.

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