John Snow Howard Letters
Iowa Falls Sept.20th, 1863
Yours of the 23rd _____was duly rec'd. Have delayed answering owing to pressure of business incident to moving & settling in a new place & we have had to move the second time since our arrival & I expect will have to move again soon.
Dwellings are all full & more wanted. Business is pressing in the shop so that I am compeled to work night and day to fill my orders. My cash recipts since I commenced work which was the 10th of Aug. amount to $250.00. But I pay very high for my stock & consequently
profits are small. I sell for cash only. Our Expenses are very high likwise. I pay $50.00 per year for house rent, $35.00 for shop rent which is enormous considering the accommadations. I have not as yet hired any help in the shop, but shall be compelled if business increases. Mary is doing what she can at dress making, besides tending to household affairs, & has earned several dollars thereby. Our health has been tolerbly good since our arrival. There is
considerable sickness previling now through the country mostly among children.
Our country is rich in agricultural advantages. Equal I think to southern
Wis. Timber is rather scarce & is found only along the watercourses. Wood
is only worth $2.00 to $2.50 per cord delivered here. There is aboundance of coal in
this vicinity but the nearest mine open is some 10 or 12 miles. The face of the
country is more level that that of Grant Co. very near like Minnesota I should judge from
your description. The county is settled almost entirely by eastern people, very few
foreigners. The society here will compare favorably with that of any community in
which I have lived. I attended a celebration here the 4th of July. There was
some 3 to 4 thousand people congregated & not a single case of drunkenness or
disturbance of any kind, which speaks well for the morals of the people. Our town is
located on the
Iowa river some 150 miles from Dubuque.
The river flows for some distance through a deep gorge or rather a crevice. The banks are for the most part perpendicular rock ranging from 40-100 ft. in highth. The rapidity of the current through this gorge produces the Iowa Falls, hence the name of our town. This peculiarity of the river also produces one of the best water powers in the state, which is improved to the extent of a good flouring & saw mill. The place, we think, is destined to be an important business point. We hope to have the R.R. completed to this place next season.
Lands are taken up for the most part in the vicinity of the R.R. A great portion of the land is owned by speculators and are held at prices ranging from 2 to 5 dollars per acre. I wish you would spare time to come over & see our country. I think you would be pleased with it.
Write me of the annual meeting. Should have been greatly pleased to have been
there but business was so pressing I could not have. Should be glad to receive a line from
my old friend A.R.B. Tell mother I have been calculating to write her but really have not
found the time. Would write you something of church matters but my sheet has now
lengthened far beyond my expectations. Mary sends love to all enquiring friends.
I remain as ever,
(John Snow Howard)
Iowa Falls Feb. 13, 1865
As Father is determined to start for Wis. in the morning, I take the opportunity of dropping you a line in reply to yours which I hope to receive when it may suit your convenience to write.
We have all tried to persuade Father to stay with us but he doesn't feel contented. Everything is strange to him & different here in town from what he has been accustomed to.
He can remain with us in welcome as long as he pleases & we have proferred to supply all his necessities & make him as comfortable as possible, but he don't seem to feel at home & I presume he will not when he gets back to Wis. I am satisfied he had much better remain with us if he would be content.
I wish you would write me occasionally how he is getting along. Let me know if he is needy - I shall expect to hear the burden of his support outside of his own earnings.
We have at length succeeded in organizing a small congrigation of disciples in this place, No.17, & much good seed has been sown. Old N.A. MacConnel of Oskaloosa labored with us some 2 weeks. He is state missionary agent for Iowa and is an efficient workman. As usual, we have much sectarian opposition to encounter. The people are mostly New Englanders and were bred up with the old puritan notions. I was in Chicago last week, saw Bro. Yearns, now he is doing business at No. 157 Dearborn St.
But Father will tell you many things that I cannot on paper as it would be tedious to
both of us.
I remain yours
(John Snow Howard)
Mary rec'd a letter from Guineva? a day or two since she will write soon
if not to send by Father.
My great great grandfather was John Snow Howard. His father was Benjamin Howard. John moved back to Wis. then to Mountain Home, Arkansas to rebuild his school and teach again. - Cheryl Straily
Submitted by Cheryl Straily