Saturday, May 5, 2012

Monday, May 5, 1862

Rev. Mr. Gordon called to see us.  He is an elderly man and is the Presbyterial missionary and supplies two or three feeble churches.  In the afternoon Mr. Walton took Kate and me out riding.  We went past Mr. Jorr's residence which is in the midst of a pleasant grove and looks like a desirable home.  He has miles of board fences around his cultivated fields.  Mr. Walton says that he has paid out twenty thousand dollars in improvements on his land, but owing to the state of the country which cuts off Illinois from markets and prostrates business generally, and possibly too, a want of skillful management, Mr. Jorr is broken up.
We extend our ride to the Knobs in Shelby county, had some splendid views.  In some instances as far as the eye could reach to the distant horizon not a tree could be seen.  We caught glimpses of Tacusa and some other towns in the distance during our drive.  The wet prairies look curiously, thickly dotted over with the queer little structures of the crawfish or crab. They are round clay tubes six or eight inches high and are innumerable.  The grass as yet is only a few inches above the ground, and none but the earlier prairie flowers are in bloom.  Looking forth on these prairies at this season they look like extensive meadows and convey to my mind rather the impression of long cultivation of centuries than of a country new and wild.  The sleek fat cattle, 40, 60 or a 100 in company roaming over and cropping the grass make a pleasant addition to the scenery.  We saw the mallard and other wild ducks which frequent the numerous ponds.  Clara says at some seasons cranes one or two hundred together may be seen here, but they are not often seen now as this is their breeding time.  I saw many red-winged black birds, larks and grouse.  We dug up some pretty violets to take to Ohio.  
The afternoon was far advanced when we returned from our drive, but we concluded to return some of our calls.  So Clara, Kate and I made ourselves ready and sallied forth.  It is the windiest day we have experienced in Illinois but we braved it and made calls on Mrs. McCoy, Mrs. Morrison, Mrs. Bacon, Mrs. Rice, Miss Hooper and Mrs. DeLevie.  We found them in neat pleasant homes and our conviction that Pana has an unusually pleasant circle of ladies was confirmed.  Very tired.

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