The collection contains ten letters written primarily by Stephen Eames of Walnut Grove, Knox County, Illinois to family and friends in Vermont and New Hampshire.
Stephen Eames purchased land in Walnut Creek, Knox County, Illinois in 1839. Here he began a farm and built a log cabin. He kept in frequent touch with his family on the East Coast and updated them about his farm and health.
The collection contains letters primarily written by Stephen Eames to family and friends in Vermont and New Hampshire regarding starting a farm, prices of crops, population growth in Walnut Grove, and personal health. Eames wrote about the advantages and disadvantages to farming in the area such as soil quality, fresh air, wild animals, and sickness along surrounding rivers. He comments on the Mormon settlements and his thoughts on them, as well as the founding of the Bishop Hill Swedish colony nearby. Other letters are written by Eames's nephew, Darius Plumb, and his niece, Eveline Eames, to family members in New England. Darius Plumb writes from St. Louis just before his departure to the California gold fields.
Lelia Bascom, of Madison, Wisconsin, donated these letters to the Illinois Historical Survey, predecessor to the Illinois History and Lincoln Collecitons, in 1920.