Old Hand Written Letter
How do you let friends and relatives know
the latest news? How did people communicate before modern technology?
Are there similarities in the contents of a letter written in the
1800s with an email or phone call today? What clues can you find
in a letter that will lead to more information?
Let’s look at
an old letter and see what we can learn about the author, his
plans, travel, transportation, and the time period
during the expansion of the United States. Look for clues in
the letter to answer these questions.
1. Who wrote the letter?
2. To whom was the letter written?
3. Why did the author go to Illinois?
4. What area of Illinois does he name?
5. What kind of fever did the writer encounter?
6. Who else does he mention in the letter?
7. Why does he quote the prices for wheat, corn, beef, pork,
and milk cows?
8. Where did he live at the time the letter was written?
9. How did he travel home?
How long did it take him?
Bonus: When was the
Use family information and the history of the
United States Postal Service to determine the date the letter
Transcript of Letter
the letter by zooming in on the document.
2. Answer the
first ten questions by reading the letter.
these Websites for more information to answer the bonus question.
Ogle County Census Mt. Morris Twp.
Look for Philip
and Catherine Eby.
Ogle County Census Pinecreek Twp.
Look for Isaac
and Catherine Grush (Grosh).
Biographical History of the Eby Family
Benjamin and Joel Eby.
of Theodorus Aebi (December 2008)
Read the information
under 112. Joel Eby.
of Theodorus Aebi (December 2008) Continued
Read the information under 350. Philip Eby.
Maps of Illinois
Maps of Pennsylvania
Postage History and Rates
States Postal Service
Look under Stamps
and Postcards to learn when the first authorized postage
stamp was issued.
Postage rates and Historical statistics for 1792 to 1863
to find the rate of postage.
to view larger image
Courtesy of The Library of Congress
farm lands for sale! The Illinois Central rail road company
is now prepared to sell about 1,500,000 acres of choice farming
lands in tracts of 40 acres and upwards, on long credits
and at low rates of interest ... [Chicago? Ill. 1857].
of Historical Thinking Standards for Grades 5-12
the author or source of the historical document or narrative
and assess its credibility.
B. Reconstruct the literal meaning of a historical passage.
C. Identify the central question(s) the historical narrative addresses.
D. Differentiate between historical facts and historical interpretations.
E. Read historical narratives imaginatively.
F. Appreciate historical perspectives.
G. Draw upon data in historical maps.
H. Utilize visual, mathematical, and quatitative data.