[Note: The original letter contains spelling errors which
have been preserved during transcription. Some punctuation
symbols have been added. Changes are indicated by [ ].]
W2909 TO REV. THOMAS BAKER from his son David Bogue Baker
Jul 11 1855
To: Rev. Thomas Baker, Newmarket, County of York, Canada West
From: Mankato Blue Earth Co., Minnesota, U.S.A.
Lieut.1 Tho. Baker
My Dear Father,
Your very welcome and highly esteemed epistle bearing
date of June 21st reached me last evening[;] it gave me
great satisfaction to hear of your good health as well as that of Mrs. B. and Dear little Mary and little less to find
that although I have long neglected my duty and shown any thing [sic] but a feeble affection that still your paternal
love remains unaltered, and I can assure that if diligence [,] sobriety and integrity pave the way to "the Hill of
fame?" my fate shall ever remain strangers to the "ways of
vice"[.] I trust you will receive my sincere thanks for
your good advice which was duly received and duly
appreciated. The land in this Country has not come in
market yet nor do I think it will for another year when it
does it will cost $1.25c per acre the price of all
Government Land throughout the U.S.
Next week I will endeavour to survey my Claim and then
I will send you a platt [sic]2 of it. I should have done it
before but I have been very busy hoeing corn and potatoes.
The weather has been very favourable and I have been very industrious so that I have got in 2 acres of corn and nearly
3 of potatoes [.] I expect to have got in about 20 acres
but I could not get teams to break [.] For what I did get
done I had to pay $6.00 per day for each yoke of cattle 50c a day for a plow $2.00 per box for seed and $4.00 a week for
board, but I have got a set of house logs cut and in a few days I shall get a house raised and then I shall commence
keeping "batchellors [sic] troll,"3 dont [sic] you envy me,
but never mind when I get old enough I am going to get a
cook of my own.
The sod on the prairie is very tough and requires from
3 to 6 yoke of cattle to plow the first time, after which it is the easiest tilled land in the world and so rich that it is impossible to wear it out [;] the soil is generally a
black, sandy loam which is usually 4 feet deep. I have seen fields that have been croped [sic] for 20 years in succession without any visable [sic] diminution. There is
no doubt but what Alfred4 would make a fortune here in a
few years [.] Potatoes are allways [sic] worth from a dollar to a dollar & a half and corn the same price and there are so many Indians to be fed by Government and so
many Emigrants rushing in that such prices will increase rather than diminish and to start a farm is so little trouble that he could have 100 acres under cultivation the 2nd year.
But it is quite impossible to give you a description of
the great west in this letter but I will write you a good one and bring it myself in 4 or 5 months, I think about the
first of January next you may expect to see your long lost boy early some cold morning standing in front of your house
with a piece of Buffalo rump under his arm waiting for
admittance. Remember me to Mrs. Baker, Mary and all
And believe me, I remain
Your afect. son
D.B. [David Bogue] Baker5
1 Rev. Thomas Baker had been a Lieutenant in the Royal Navy before he became a minister.
2 Plat, plan or map (WNCD).
3 The writer likely means that he will begin trolling for a wife. "According to the folk tales, the trolls who abduct princesses are bachelors." members.xoom.virgilio.it/norvegianet/IB17-Trolls.pdf-
4 Likely, David's brother James Alfred Baker.
5 In 1851, David left for the states unexpectedly and without asking his father's permission. See W2896.