This collection (33 items) contains 31 letters that John M. Stevens and his daughters wrote to his sister, Emma Stevens Kelsey, from 1869-1880. The Stevens family commented on farm life in Rosalia, Kansas.
John M. Stevens wrote 26 letters to Emma and Levi Kelsey: 2 from Eagleville, Pennsylvania (1869), and 24 from Rosalia, Kansas (1870-1880). While in Eagleville, Stevens considered moving west. After November 1870, Stevens reported on farm life in Kansas, where he raised corn, turnips, potatoes, buckwheat, and other crops, as well as livestock such as hogs. Stevens provided news of his wife and children and described his quarrels and relationships with nearby farmers, including a dispute with a man named Henry regarding a fire. On one occasion, Stevens complained about the poor quality of an itinerant schoolteacher. Stevens lamented the lack of work available in the rural Midwest and often mentioned Kansas settlers' poor financial position. In his final letters, he commented on the controversy surrounding the potential appointment of a female postmistress and on the possibility of purchasing another farm.
The remaining correspondence includes 2 letters that Robert Martin, a mutual acquaintance, wrote to the Kelsey family about the Stevens family's health in September 1870, as well as personal letters from Dora, Ida, and Emma Stevens to their aunt and uncle. The girls provided news of their father's health and mentioned their employment.