Norfolk, Madison, Co., Neb.,
June 18th, 1870

Friend Hoxie,
Dear Sir

Thinking that perhaps it might partially interest some of the readers of the
Review to hear from one of their number, I will drop you a brief sketch of my
travels through southern Wisconsin, Iowa, and Nebraska.  I left your city April
30th last, traveled through southern Wis.; Green and Lafayette counties to
Dubuque; found the country traveled through rather a rough, timbered
country; crossed the Mississippi River at Dubuque and thence took a
westerly course through the state of Iowa to Monona Co.  Traveled through
Dubuque, Jones, Linn, Benton, Tama, Marshall, Story, Boone, Green, Carroll
and Crawford counties, and at last arrived at Monona, where my people
reside; they were very anxious for me to locate near them, but the country
did not suit me exactly—rather to rolling and scarce of timber.  The counties
previously mentioned are very desirable localities for residing in, especially
Jones, Linn, Benton, Tama and Marshall; but Story, Boone, Green and
Carrol counties, are far less desirable in consequence of their high prairies
and marshes, making it almost next to impossible to pass through them with a
light loaded team.  As regards timber there is a scarcity of that article; it
being wholly confined to streams, many of the above counties are settled with
the people that are obliged to haul their firewood from 15 to 25 miles and
scarce to be had at that disadvantage.  The prairie soil is very rich and fertile
but I think that farmers hold their farms at higher figures, considering their
improvements than they are in Wisconsin.  Not finding matters and things just
to my taste in Iowa I left that State for Nebraska, traveled via Omaha, and
from there, I took a westerly course until I struck the Elk Horn River about 5
miles above its mouth, following the course of the Elk Horn west by north
about 100 miles and have at last located in the eastern part of Madison
county in this State near the river or about 3 miles from the same, to all
appearance I think the country will suit me very well.  Timber can be bought
on the river from $25 to $50 per acre, and good timber for this country.

A railroad is under the process of construction destined to run up the Elk
Horn River; it will be completed nearly as far up as this locality this fall if not
sooner.  The soil is somewhat sandy but farmers raise excellent crops.  
Wheat averages about 25 to t50 bushels per acres and corn about the same
proportion.  Upon the whole I think that this is the country for a poor man to
live in, as there is plenty of Uncle Sam’s land to be had by making application
at the land office and paying the trifling sum of $15.00 for 160 acres of as
good prairie land as a man would wish to look at of course he must confine
himself to one piece of land of 160 acres for the space of five years in order
to get his deed; but that is a small recompense to the benevolent acts of old
Uncle Sam

S. E. Phillips.

July 6, 1870, The Evansville Citizen Review, p. 2, col. 2, Evansville,
Transcription of a letter of
S. E. Phillips and his
migration from Wisconsin to
Nebraska in 1870