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Bryan, Francis Theodore (1823-1917) to Mary Williams Shepard

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC08506 Author/Creator: Bryan, Francis Theodore (1823-1917) Place Written: s.l. Type: Letter signed Date: 11 May 1855 Pagination: 3 p. : address ; 25 x 20 cm.

Summary of Content: Lieutenant Bryan, a topographical engineer, writes to his mother from the steamer Australia on the Missouri River. Relates visiting Washington, D. C., St. Louis, Missouri, and Indianapolis, among other locations. States that "the people all appear to be very busy in this part of the country ... They are the most active, busy, go-a-head people I ever saw." Comments on the land in Illinois and Indiana, and the rapid settlement of the west. Relates his plans to join Generals Churchill (possibly Sylvester Churchill) and Clarke to inspect Fort Riley, Kansas. Relates his plans for the rest of the year, including locating a road into Missouri settlements. On his current voyage, plans to travel up the Missouri River as far as Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. States that the Missouri lacks beauty due to an overabundance of sand bars, and offers details of the rough voyage upriver. Describes his fellow passengers, stating "I was perfectly thunderstruck in Virginia on the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad to see the men rush into the [town?] at the Refreshment Stations and fall to work at Breakfast Dinner & Supper with their hats on." Describes the Missouri as "almost a fac-simile of the Rio Grande in all of its characteristics." Sends his regards to the family.

Background Information: Churchill served as United States inspector general 1841-1861.

People: Bryan, Francis Theodore, 1823-1917
Bryan, Mary Williams, 1802-1881
Churchill, Sylvester, 1783-1862

Historical Era: National Expansion and Reform, 1815-1860

Subjects: American WestTravelMilitary HistoryWestward ExpansionFrontiers and ExplorationRailroadInfrastructure

Sub Era: Age of Jackson

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