5:44 PM

Above- Missouri History Museum posted this image from the Excelsior Stove Works 1860 Catalogue and I already drafted an email to the museum to obtain a copy. Do check out their site funded by an NEA grant titled, American Visions of Liberty and Freedom.

Welcome back and the owner of the Stove Works letter arrived! It took almost 50 minutes to transcribe and and long chat with my hubby about how many gallons can be filled in a barrel. There are three types of barrels the cooper will make Kegs- Hogheads and Barrels.
It is 1850 and Giles Filley is in his second year of operation and sends his brother Jay who is a Tanner by trade notifying him of a shipment of Neats Foot Oil and how many stoves he's Stove Works can manufacture a day. He is asking his brother to ask to get an extension on his IOU's- He tones down about the Cholera in St. Louis and I can understand, he wants to keep his credit rating good. The bonus was his views on the Rush for California Gold .
Enjoy the letter, I have to get dinner on the table!

St Louis April 30, 1850
Bro Jay,
On Saturday last I sent you 19 Barrels Neats foot oil [oil used on leather- see definition below] 713 ½ Gals 55 c [in this case each hogshead barrel holds 37.55 gals per barrel]
 Insurance    9.70
and Mr. Mayer says that he will have some 20 barrels more in about a week when ready, I shall send it.
Our people here have been much disappointed in business this Spring except perhaps the outfitting of California emigrants on the opening of business. In this part of the country almost every available man has gone, leaving many counties depopulated. The delay in ther [their] payments to ther [their] creditors and the necessary cost of outfits has all or nearly so of the money in the country estimated that 25,000 will go from this state alone, cost of outfit say $350 to each makes $8,750,000, a pretty large sum to be taken out of the state.
My business has largely increased in the way of selling but it is all on credit. This with the large out of stock manufactured through the winter with the payment of hands & c [etc…] has kept me very poor and will until July where with ordinary lucks I shall be easy in the way of money. I have now $28,000 worth of made up & am running some 20 moulders they making some 20 or 30 stoves daily. Our weekly wages amount to some $400. If you can without too much trouble manage to get an extension of our notes say 60 days and I will try to send the other $2,000 in time to meet it. This payment $4,000 is about the last payment I have to make of any importance the reasons that I have been so very close thus for this second season in the payment for the stock. I bought out here & the stores [merchandise] I had to buy in Cincinnati last fall amounting to some $20,000. The month of May takes me through all of this and then I shall be easy enough. Please write me on the selection of this as I shall have little time to arrange the matter. It will take I suppose to get an answer or there abouts. We have all been very well this season, the health of the city never has been as good as so for this season and we never have had as much bad weather. It has been a California season thus far [what looks like a period is Filley resting his pen on the paper and reflecting on his writing] scarcely [another period aka reflection] a sunny day since last fall. My reports to all. Let us hear from you often.
                                                                                                                James & c
                                                                                                                G F Filley
Neats Foot Oil
Neatsfoot oil is a yellow oil rendered and purified from the shin bones and feet (but not the hooves) of cattle. "Neat" in the oil's name comes from an old name for cattle. Today, many[who?] consider the best quality neatsfoot oil to be that which comes from the legs of calves, with no other oils added. Neatsfoot oil is used as a conditioning, softening and preservative agent for leather. In the 18th century, it was also usedmedicinally as a topical application for dry scaly skin conditions.


Fat from warm-blooded animals normally has a high melting point, becoming hard when cool – but neatsfoot oil remains liquid at room temperature. This is because the relatively slender legs and feet of animals such as cattle are adapted to tolerate and maintain much lower temperatures than those of the body core, using countercurrent heat exchange in the legs between warm arterial and cooler venous blood – other body fat would become stiff at these temperatures. This characteristic of neatsfoot oil allows it to soak easily into leather.


Neatsfoot oil is used on a number of leather products, although it has been replaced by synthetic products for certain applications. Items such as baseball glovessaddleshorse harnesses and other horse tack can be softened and conditioned with neatsfoot oil.
What's Happening in 1850?
Ancestory.com says Giles F Filley owns two slaves

His brother Jay is a Tanner