52 September 23, 1866

Lucius writes in response to a letter from Henry. He has relates some details of his crops and livestock, and news from Lemuel, who related a story in a letter to Lucius about being swindled out of a mining claim into which he had invested a great deal of time and money. As a result, Lucius writes that Lemuel is working for wages on someone else’s claim. Rather than getting rich, he is earning $4 per day.

My transcription follows the images:


The original images are from the archives of the Ashfield Historical Society and are used with permission.


Allen Sept 23rd 1866

Dear Brother,

Yours of the 16th was duly received and I thought I would respond to it this evening. We are all of us enjoying our usual health at present. I saw Lewis & Harrison yesterday & Anson today, they are a getting along after the old sort. Lewis was offered $3200 for his 40 acres the other day & He have all the crops.

Wheat is a very poor crop this year but corn & oats & all spring crops are good. I had only one hundred and twenty bushels of wheat on 18 acres this year and that is more than an average of the country. I have 14 acres of corn and 200 bushels of oats and 15 or 20 tons of hay. My present stock is 2 horses one two year colt two cows and two hundred sheep. I sheared one hundred and forty sheep got over eight hundred lbs. wool. I sold for 56 ½ ct a lb. I sheared 3 sheep at the sheep shearing festival at Hillsdale this spring. I got 2 second premiums on the same 2 sheep that I did the first last year at Jonesville. The amount was $13.00

I think that I shall go out to Densmores in the course of 3 or 4 weeks. Clarissa will probably go with me a visiting. We got a letter from Lem about the first of July, in answer to one that I wrote the first of April. I have written him since then. He was well. He said perhaps that he might come home this fall. He was a mining, at work by the Day for $4.00 hard money and had been for the last year. Works 10 hrs per day. He says that he has had bad luck and it was this, about two years ago he bought into a mining company and they went on and sunk a shaft. Six hundred feet deep and timbered it up from top to bottom with 4 inch plank & made three apartments to it 4 feet square each, run drifts in all directions. They had expended over one hundred thousand dollars & just commenced taking out ore with a prospect of getting there money back when adverse titles came up such as any claim in that country of any worth has to defend. Came up and beat them out of their ground. Lem says why or how he has not time to explain now but they had one of the biggest lawsuits ever got up in that country and it left them all dead broke and the most of them in debt. He said that he had paid up his and was all straight again. He said that he thought that he had his fortune right there and would if they had not been swindled out of it.

Lemuel keeps all of his land here yet. It is advancing in price some. Last spring two of uncle Abiather Phillips boys were here. He thinks of buying him a small place somewhere about here. His family consists of his wife and two children. We like them quite well. He has about four thousand dollars. He says that the rest of them are all better off than he is. Abiather & Samuel are quite wealthy.

I have found out where Marti Leach lives. He lives about eight miles north of Kalamazoo on the plank road. Ella we are very much pleased with the photograph that you sent us this summer. Grandma wants that you should write her a letter.

Lucius Ranney

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