Letter from Seth Richards, 31 January 1842

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

Bentonsport Io. of Jan 31. 1842——
To Mr Jos. Smith—
It has been sujested to me that some of your people would like to build an dam and mills some at some point on this We have a charter for a dam at this place which should like to have improoved— If such a scheem should be favourably received by any of your folks please have them come up and examine the primeses— I can secure to you the Charter and one twelfth part of the Town property and twenty acres of Land back of town should you or any of your people wish to purchase.
Please write me on the receipt of this——
I am very respy your obt servant——
S[eth] Richards [1/4 page blank] [p. [1]]
Bentonsport) free S. Richards PM
I.T Jany 31)
Jos. Smith Esq
Ill— [p. [2]]


  1. 1

    Bentonsport lies along the Des Moines River, which flows over five hundred miles from southern Minnesota to its confluence with the Mississippi River near Keokuk, Iowa.  

  2. 2

    An Act to Authorize Henry Eno and Others to Erect a Dam across the Des Moines River [17 Jan. 1839], Statute Laws of the Territory of Iowa, pp. 362–363.  

    The Statute Laws of the Territory of Iowa, Enacted at the First Session of the Legislative Assembly of Said Territory, Held at Burlington, A. D. 1838–’39. Dubuque, Iowa Territory: Russell and Reeves, 1839. Reprint, Des Moines: Historical Department of Iowa, 1900.

  3. 3

    Federal law permitted Richards, who was appointed postmaster of Bentonsport in 1838, to send the letter without paying postage. (Table of Post Offices in the United States, 15; Fitzpatrick, “Place-Names of Van Buren County, Iowa,” 13–14; An Act to Reduce into One the Several Acts Establishing and Regulating the Post-Office Department [3 Mar. 1825], Post-Office Laws, Instructions and Forms, pp. 15–16, sec. 27.)  

    Table of Post-Offices in the United States, with the Names of the Post-Masters, the Counties and States in which They Are Situated; and the Distances from the City of Washington, and the Capitals of the Respective States. Washington DC: Way and Gideon, 1825.

    Fitzpatrick, T. J. “The Place-Names of Van Buren County, Iowa.” Annals of Iowa 18, no. 1 (Summer 1931): 12–41.

    Post-Office Laws, Instructions and Forms, Published for the Regulation of the Post-Office. Washington DC: Way and Gideon, 1828.