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The letters of Silas S. Soule 1861 – 1864
Recounting His Experiences in the Colorado Territory
Transcribed from his actual letters in Denver Library Western History Dept.
Some misspellings are left as is from originals
Call: cmss rbv59 m67-1163 WH/GEN stx 6
To Soule's sister, Annie Soule.
Fort Lyon, C.T.
Aug. 15, 1864
I have just received a letter from you and hasten to answer it before I forget it. I am still at Fort Lyon and
perhaps you had better direct your next here. I presume I shall be here some time yet. We have considerable
trouble with the Indians – they would like to scalp us all. We have been chasing them for two weeks, but only
killed two. It is hard to get into a fight with them, they scatter so.
I wrote to Em today. I wrote to Mother last week and sent her two hundred dollars in green backs by a man
going to Bangor by the name of Haynes. He is acquainted with the Lows there. I expect to get a furlough and
go down east in February, but don’t know. If I do and everything is quiet, I would like to have you come out here
with me. I think you would like it. I wish I had somebody to keep house for me and you could make more money
here than where you are. A school teacher of most any kind gets at least fifty dollars a month. I see workmen
don’t get near as much in the east as here, for any common day laborer can get five dollars a day and get paid
every night, which is four dollars and board. Money is not valued as it is in the states. If a fellow asks three or
four to go into a oyster saloon and get supper, it will cost from fifteen to 20 dollars, especially if you eat what you
want. Only think! Fresh oysters come out packed in ice, one dollar a dozen. I have sat down when I was
hungry and wanted a good meal and eat four or five dozen, but these things are luxuries. You cannot buy
potatoes for less than eighteen or 20 cents a pound and I suppose you don’t pay more than 4 or 5 dollars a
bushel. If you want to buy any thing in Colorado no one thinks of the price. I have often paid 25 cents for a
glass of lemonade or beer. People are more liberal here than in the States. I wonder how I have managed to
send Mother as much money as I have for when we are among friends in Denver officers are supposed to be a
jovial set, and if you go into a saloon to take a drink if there are twenty strangers there you say, “Come,
gentlemen, and take something,” and every body drinks something and your drink costs from five to ten dollars.
I have seen men ask a crowd to drink and smoke and their bill would be as much as sixty dollars. Now I suppose
you think we are a wicked extravagant people, but it is custom. You would think it strange down east to go in a
Gentleman’s house and have young ladies pass a decanter of whiskey to you. Well there is hardly an officer or
any man standing, especially a married man who has not a decanter sitting on the table or bureau. They would
think it horrible in the States, I suppose.
Now I’m just telling you some of the customs of the country to show the difference of customs. Now I suppose
you will ask is it possible that Sile drinks? I used to drink when I felt like it the same as everyone else, but I don’t
now for I bet sixty dollars against a $60 dollar coat with the sutter that I would not take a drink for six months. It
will be out the 26th of Jan. People don’t get drunk as much here as in the States, I think, and if they do, nothing
is thought of it. But you need not fret for me for I haven’t been drunk and I expect it would take a gallon to make
Haven’t I written a long letter for me? I did not think of any thing to write when I commenced and have not been
ten minutes writing this. I have hardly taken my pen off the paper and I won’t read it over for I am in a hurry to
put this in the office. I received two papers by last mail which I expect you sent. I am much obliged to you and
wish you would send more. Well, good night.
Tell me what Sam Glass is doing and what Charley Cooms is doing.
Letters of Silas S. Soule
Letter to Annie Soule, August 1864
|Sand Creek also
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