This collection contains two letters written by Thomas Mather (1795-1853), an early Illinois settler and member of both branches of the Illinois legislature. The letters, written in Kaskaskia and Vandalia, Illinois, date from 1820 and 1826 and discuss business, land, and taxes in Illinois.
Thomas Mather, a descendant of Increase Mather, was born in 1795 in Simsbury, Connecticut. In 1818, Mather moved to Kaskaskia, Illinois, which was then the capital of the Territory of Illinois. Mather became involved in both business and politics in Illinois. He was a member of the lower house in the 1822-1823 session where he opposed the resolution that would admit slavery to the state. In 1825, Mather was appointed by the Department of War under President John Quincy Adams to survey a potential road from Independence, Missouri, to Santa Fe, New Mexico, and negotiate treaties with the Native American tribes along the line.
In his 1820 letter, Mather discusses final payments due for a land purchase in Kaskaskia, as well as a law changed by Congress on the price of land in Kaskaskia and what effects it would have on landholders. Mather also writes about his winter plans to travel to New York to settle business affairs. In Mather's 1826 letter from Vandalia, he forwards a receipt of payment to the Illinois state government. For the remainder of the letter, Mather offers to help the recipient of the letter with his debt and ensure those who owe him money pay promptly.
The Library purchased these letters in the spring of 2016. They were acquired with printed ephemera purchased for the Van Norman, Clarendon, Jr., Collection of Lincoln and Illinois Ephemera (MS 852).