Early resident of this important Illinois lead-mining town, which for a time produced a high percentage of the world's lead ("Galena" is Latin for lead) and was supposed to become the great hub of the Midwest before Chicago's natural geographic advantage supplanted it; today's Galena is remembered as the adopted hometown of Ulysses S. Grant. Item #31612
ALS, 2pp (single leaf), 5" X 8", Galena, IL, 1857 January 1. Addressed to Miss Marcia Floyd of Courville, Maine. Writing on pale pink lined stationery, McDaniel pens her friend this chatty missive. She describes Illinois: "Well it is a large and fertile state, abounding in vast prairies, the principle production is wheat, maize, etc. There are numerous salt springs." Of Galena, she notes: "The inhabitants in the vicinity are chiefly farmers and are intelligent and enterprising. Most of them live in log houses. I am attending school at present and like it here very much..." Oddly, she signs off "Peter Fling / Mary McDaniel." The significance of this pseudonym we have not been able to ascertain -- perhaps "Peter Fling" was a character in popular young women's literature of the day. Even more odd is the original envelope, which is present. A typical small 4 3/4" X 2½", in addition to addressing it, McDaniel draws a three-cent stamp in the upper right corner and draws a circular "Galena Ill Jan. 1" postal cancellation in the upper left corner! The 1850s was the early days of actual government-issue postage stamps, of course, but this humorous version surely was contained within another, larger second envelope. No "McDaniels" appear in the Galena city directories of this period, though with a large and somewhat transient population in a rural area this isn't terribly meaningful. This superb and evocative letter has been handsomely framed, the letter in one mat opening and the envelope in another above it, double matted in tan and dark brown and framed in a 1¼" burlwood frame, overall dimensions 10¼" X 18". It's double sided as well, so may be flipped over to read the letter's second page, where an attractive typescript of the entire letter is also displayed in a mat opening. Very early and very unusual.