Otter Creek, Greenwood County,
Kansas, Sept 16th, 1870

Old Friend Edward:

Your letter has been duly received and found us all well. I was surprised to get a letter from you and well pleased to learn that you want to leave the factory and Waterloo. You or any other man cannot do better than to come west and that right away, if you think you can live without hearing the factory bell. Well, Ed, I have been over most of the western states and Kansas is far ahead for everything. It is a good grain state and cannot be beat for raising stock. The winters are short and not cold. Cattle live all winter on the range.

We are in about 33 north latitude, all kinds of fruit do well and all kinds of vines. You can get anything you want here. I live ten miles from Eureka. There is more business done here in a day than Waterloo in a week, in everything except drinking. Kansas is mostly temperate.

I live on Otter Creek. It runs through my land. There is timber along all the creeks and rivers and some bluff timber. There is what is called the 30 mile strip in Cowley county just south. It is on the market and they are buying land warrents there. I never was down there. My neighbors tell me it is a fine country and I know it from the very fact that they are moving there every day.

There is some government land close to me but I don't know what it is or whether it would suit you to be around where I am. Almost all the land that has timber is taken but there is some good prairie as there is in Kansas. A man does not want much timber only for fire wood, fence and fence posts. There is coal here, good water wells from 12 to 40 feet and some creeks and bluffs.

Ed, this state is settling faster than any other ever has and the quicker you come the more chance you have got to pick. If you calculate to come here to stay, fetch your family along with you. There are no Indians nearer than 50 to 75 miles of me. I believe you think Kansas is out of the world but believe me it is right in the center and God Almighty was in one of His pleasantest moods when he made it.

We are going to have a railroad through our county in a short time. It is within 45 miles of Eureka now. This county looks like an old state, good society, good schools (one less than a miles from where I live). There is plenty of game here, Elk, Antelope, Deer, Turkey, Prairie Chicken and fish, and in two days drive you can go where the buffalo range if you want bigger game.

You can get any kind of chickens here. Also tools but if you have a good saw or some other tools that are light, fetch them with you. There are chances to buy horses cheap. At times you can get a good team for three hundred dollars or less. Pigs are 2 to 3 dollars owing to size and stock. As for building, you can put you up a very good house, 14 X 18 for one hundred and fifty dollars.

You asked me about the soil. It is good, it is neither mud or clay, it is a mixture of loam and sand, dark colored. If you come, write soon. Now is a good time to come to pick land and a good time for health. You can leave your family at my house until we can locate you and put up a house, be it short or long.

I will go with you around the country. I would like to have more of you come if they want to. You can buy land for $1.25 per acre now but after next April I am afraid not.

I never have blowed this country much but would like to have Jerd come here. Give my regards to Jerd. As I have told you all the particulars I will close. I think your best route is Chicago to St. Louis to Kansas City, thence to Emporia thence to Eureka. So you get your ticket through as far as you can, probably cost your family $100.

                  Your friend,
                  Richard Smith

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