Apr 15, 2021 - Sale 2564

Sale 2564 - Lot 335

Price Realized: $ 531
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 500 - $ 750
"EVERYBODY GOES ARMED IN THIS COUNTRY" (WEST--OKLAHOMA.) Pair of letters from a pioneer in Cherokee territory and Fort Smith, Arkansas. Autograph Letters Signed only as "Seal" to his unnamed sister. 8 quarto pages on 2 folding sheets; minor wear. Vp, 1859

Additional Details

The author was an artist who went west and found work on a sheep drive to Texas. The first letter was written from Saline District in the Cherokee portion of Indian Territory, near the present village of Rose, OK, on 13 April 1859. He describes a fire which destroyed his camp and all of his clothing: "It made me angry to think what ragged clothes I had been wearing so as to save my good ones, and then lose them by fire." He described his present wardrobe as consisting of "a check shirt, jeans pants, and a striped jeans hunting shirt made and manufactured by an Indian woman--oh! I look quite Indian-like. . . . This is the greatest country for reptiles I ever saw. I have killed several rattle-snakes and two centipedes and one tarrantilas." He also announces his intention to "lay down my crook and take up the old business (Knight of the Brush) as soon as I can reach any place where they have a taste for the Fine Arts."

The second letter was written just across the border in Fort Smith, Arkansas, five months later on 25 September 1859. He describes the town's primitive boarding house lodgings at length, adding that he wears a belt "containing a Colt's revolver & an extra-sized Arkansaw tooth pick. You may think we are in danger of our lives, the way we are supplied with implements of war, but everybody goes armed in this country (and that is the cause of so much bloodshed), and a person does not know what minute he may be attacked." Two recent murders and an attempted murder in town are described.