This collection contains three photocopied transcripts of letters written by James Harper.
Harper, born in Ireland, moved to the United States in 1825. A singing teacher and farmer, Harper settled in Shelby County, Illinois in 1848, where he was eventually joined by his two brothers, Robert and John M. Harper. The Harpers became a prominent farming family in Shelby County.
In the letters, written to his brother Robert in August and October of 1848, Harper describes his journey to Shelby County and his impressions of the landscape and the people in the area. He also describes the process of building his home and invites Robert and other family members to join him in Shelby County.
Gladys Harper Shaddock, a descendant of James Harper, loaned transcripts of his letters to the Illinois Historical Survey, predecessor to the Illinois History and Lincoln Collections, for photocopying in 1974.