John Boone Papers

On January 31, 1861, John Boone wrote Albert Nelson about the value of land in Vernon County, Missouri. Nelson, at the time, resided in Delta, Tennessee but owned land in Vernon County. It is unknown if he inherited the land or moved from Missouri to Tennessee. Boone assessed Nelson’s land in Missouri, and inquired about the state of Nelson’s taxes.

Previously, Nelson asked about the value of his land and the possibility of selling the real-estate. Perhaps, he believed the Pacific Railroad would run through Vernon County, thus raising the value and demand for his land. Unfortunately for Nelson, the ongoing bloodshed and violence across the Missouri and Kansas border spoiled settlers’ desires to migrate to the region. Boone wrote,

We have a charter for a R. Road through our county, but times have shut down so closely that there is no prospect of its being soon built, and the Real Estate has not advanced in consequence of the extreme “hard times” and the general depreciation in value of property of every description
John Boone letter to Albert Nelson – Jan. 31, 1861

In 1860, Nelson’s land was valued at $2 per acre. However, Boone noted, “I could not sell your lands at this time at any price by which you could save yourself; no trading in that line here now. We never knew money so scarce. ” On top of the violence, the county experienced a heavy drought which produced a very poor crop yeild. Boone encouraged Nelson to keep his land and wait until the real estate market recovered. He suggested,

when we shall have raised an other good crop, peace shall be established on our border and the political skies shall have cleared away I think this portion of Missouri is destined to receive a heavy emigration and then you may obtain a fair price for your lands.
John Boone letter to Albert Nelson – Jan. 31, 1861

The violence across the Missouri Kansas border caused economic hardships for those who lived in the region. Many, and perhaps including Albert Nelson, fled the area in hopes of a better live. This pre-war letter embodies the difficulties civilians faced in the Ozarks as the War waged along the Missouri Kansas border well before the attack on Fort Sumter.

Contributed by the The Bushwhacker Museum and Jail

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