The collection contains genealogical information on the Chatfield family as well as a transcript of a letter from Chatfield to his brother Robert on Jan. 3, 1843. The letter describes many of the activities involved in establishing a farm on the Midwestern prairie, and discusses produce prices, building his cabin, and purchasing split rails and a flock of sheep. He also mentions the weather, as the winter his neighbors considered harsh seemed only "moderate" to an Englishman. Chatfield concludes by encouraging emigration to Illinois.
Florence Houghton Marshall of DeKalb, Ill., edited the letter, and gave a copy to the Survey.