University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The items in the Digital Collections of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Library contain materials which represent or depict sensitive topics or were written from perspectives using outdated or biased language. The Library condemns discrimination and hatred on any grounds. As a research library that supports the mission and values of this land grant institution, it is incumbent upon the University Library to preserve, describe, and provide access to materials to accurately document our past, support learning about it, and effect change in the present. In accordance with the American Library Association’s Freedom to Read statement, we do not censor our materials or prevent patrons from accessing them.

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Eames Family Letters (Digitized Content)

The digitized content of the Eames family letters consists of ten letters primarily written by Stephen Eames of 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 digitized content contains letters primarily written by Stephen Eames to family and friends regarding starting a farm, prices of crops, population growth in the area, and personal health. Eames writes about the advantages and disadvantages to farming in the area such as soil quality, fresh air, wild animals, and sickness along surrounding rivers. He describes 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’ 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.

The Illinois History and Lincoln Collections unit at the University of Illinois Library manages the physical items of the Eames Family Letters (MS 605). The collection was completely digitized in 2019. For more information, contact an archivist at