Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Right Answer - Wrong Cause

I ran across a May 13, 1855 letter that brand new Kansan Hiram Hill wrote to his brother back east.  Much of the content was concerning the water quality in the Missouri River they had just steamed up to reach Kansas City - Hiram's final destination being Lawrence, KS.  Just goes to show you, that some things never change.  Water quality and water quantity is always a challenge in Kansas.

Dear Brother

I take my pen to inform you of my Whareabouts and the state of my health I arived here friday Eve about 6 [o’clock] in good health and was very Glad to get on to Land onse more we had a pretty good passage for the State of the River the Water is very Low – it is said to be Lower than Ever before it is very drye in the vicinity We had 4 cases of colera aboard all which proved fatal Two young men of robust health about 12 one 4 [xxx] about So it was frightfull to see what Rapid Work Deth made of its victims from [xxx] Hours Laid them Low in death & Died in their State Rooms opposite to my Room & Down below Deck passengers all there causes wase brot on by imprudence in eating and drinking it is a grate wonder to Me that thare is not more die than does from drinking it is worse than I Ever Knew in any place in my Life – Drinking and Gambling and Swaring is the order of the day on this River Even when these men Wer sick & dying they wer playing cards at two tables but a few feet from Whare they Lay – it is a very common thing for boats to Bury from one to twenty going up this River We have to drink the River Water Which Looks at all times very much as the water from [xxx] Whites Bank, is very high Water I have no Doubt the Water is full of Diseaze from the Low prairie Land Whare there is so much Dead vegatble matter. I have Herd thare Has ben Some Sickness on the Misseupe River one boat going up to St Paul Lost sevrel of hur passengers thare is Diseaze in all this Western World arising from the Richnes of the Soil...
The entire letter can be seen at:  Be sure to click on the Text version, because the handwritten letter is very difficult to read.

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