[Autograph Letters Signed written by Topeka, Kansas Lumber Dealer John M. Leidigh to his brother Jacob M. Leidigh, farmer in Stoughstown, Pennsylvania].
12 pages of handwritten autograph correspondence
The three keys to real estate, or any business, success,“ Location, Location, Location”, were as true in 1868 as today. This is the one piece of advice a brother offered to his younger sibling in correspondence. The advice had an interesting twist based on the older man’s experience. The proper choice of location, which “must be a thriving place” had not only to do with the level of commercial activity at the location, but also with the amount of capital at one’s disposal and brotherly “guidance.”
In three letters written during the space of 18 months from Decatur, Illinois and Topeka, Kansas, John Leidigh informed his younger brother, Jacob Leidigh, about the ups and downs of his lumber business, Shellabarger & Leidigh. During 1868, John wrote to Jacob from Decatur, Illinois, where the older man had a lumber business. In 1868 Decatur, business was brisk but commerce was divided by many lumbermen; profits, then, were not commensurate to invested effort in John’s calculation. Parallel to this observation, John ruminated, “If I were worth six thousand dollars I would not stay here [in Decatur] six months longer.”
Probably within the year, the older brother John did leave Decatur, Illinois, forfeiting the wood building construction booms around Decatur, Illinois, to the north in Chicago before the Great Fire and to the southwest in St. Louis rebuilding after the Civil War.
By October 1869, John has established a pine lumber dealership in Topeka, Kansas, and wrote to young brother Jacob on the company stationery, the firm of Shellabarger & Leidigh, Successors to John Wayne & Co.
Topeka, Kansas in 1869, however, was well within striking distance (smack-dab central) to the building of new stockyards and industries related to the Chisholm Trail, the cattle driving route from Texas to Kansas City, Kansas. Older brother was following his own advice. Hearing of Jacob’s desire to leave farming behind, John invites him to visit him in the West and see for himself. He advises Jacob:
By selecting a thriving place, selling at a reasonable profit, & for cash, you have nothing to fear but that you could make more than twice what you are now making & not work more than half as hard [farming in Pennsylvania].
Irv then added these telling comments: “if you or we would select a site not far from this place [Topeka] so that I could direct & vist you I would of course give you the advantage of our acquaintance & buying, which would, I think, ensure success.”
Description: [Autograph Letters Signed written by Topeka, Kansas Lumber Dealer John M. Leidigh to his brother Jacob M. Leidigh, farmer in Stoughstown, Pennsylvania].
Decatur, Illinois and Topeka, Kansas. Two Autograph Letters and One A.L. April 23, 1868–October 29, 1869. pp. Quarto; 2 bifolium plus four printed stationery. Approx. 1200 words; legible. Very good; clean and legible.