William Campbell writes from McGregor, Iowa to his brother James. At the age of twenty-one, William Campbell traveled out west to seek his fortune. Staying with uncles George Whitaker Campbell and Benjamin Herndon Campbell, William traveled to such places as Galena, Illinois, McGregor, Iowa, Denver, Colorado, and Salt Lake City, Utah, and mentions the prospects of going into business for himself.
McGregor, Iowa-Sunday May 30, 1858
Your letter came to hand today. I should have received it sooner but owing to my having left Galina its reception was delayed for a few days. But it has been received at last and its perusal afforded me great pleasure as well as paid in hearing that sister Fanny had been so unwell, but I hope in this she is entirely well. I am pleased to hear that the cause of Religion is progressing in your midst especially at Richmond College6 for if there is any place on earth in which a reformation is needed that is the place. I wish I could say the same about this place for it has been the abode of one of the most formidable band of robbers that ever infested the western country, but I hope that they are entirely broken up by now which is probably the case as a good many of them have been taken, some being hung, others sent off with the promise if they ever set foot on this town again they should be hung. Also everything seems to be quiet now. I am rather surprised to hear that you have not been to Essex yet supposing that you would not have gone there very soon after I left. I am very much obliged to you for your advice and have no doubt but that it would been best for me to have remained in Galina but you know the old adage which says knows no law. I should like very much to have remained in that place but I could find nothing in this world to do there and having a situation offered me at this place I concluded with the advice of the uncles to accept it. I have only taken it by the month consequently if a situation should open up in Galina one of my uncles will apply at once for me. I have no doubt you will consider these ample excuses for leaving Galina. I have a prospect of going into business myself next spring if nothing happens before that time and I can raise the money. I have had a proposition from a young man who has been living with uncles Ben and George for the last two years and who is considered one of the finest business men in the city. I am told that he has been repeatedly sought after by various persons who know his business qualities to go with into with them but has never thought proper to accept. I shall consider myself fortunate if I can engage with him. I have no doubt but that I can get a sufficient amount advanced, but I would prefer raising requisite amount myself if possible. Ten Thousand would be considered a good start out here. I have written to Brother Paine to see if he thinks I can raise the half of that amount. If so I think shall set out and invest my all as there is no doubt if the business is properly conducted that money can be at it. Write me your opinion on the subject. You seem to be surprised to hear that I have female correspondents and I can’t see why for you are well aware that I am very fond of the fair sex. To tell you the truth I have several in Virginia, one of which you would be very much surprised at. It is Miss of Yorktown one of the ladies you went down on the boat some years ago by and by. She writes the finest letters you have ever read and I consider myself fortunate in striking up a correspondence with her. I also correspond with Miss Gray to whom I am engaged, but I don’t mean anything by it, only a little flirtation carried on for the purpose of whiling away time. You may be sure that my other correspondents will not draw me off from writing to you for it affords me pleasure that I cannot express to correspond regularly with you for you are the only one of who will write regularly. I received a long letter from Wm. along with yours giving me all of the news in old Essex.