from America, January 1868
Ein Brief von Amerika, Januar
Maria Anna Nieland worked for the Jasper
family in Dyersville County, Iowa for several years after she immigrated
in 1867. This old letter was written in 1868 by Anna's employer,
Johann Heinrich Jasper, in German to his friends in Germany. In the last paragraph the letter mentions
Anna's brother, Heinrich (Henry) Nieland. We believe that John Henry
Nieland, carried this letter with him to America when he immigrated
in August 1869. It was found in 2003 tucked into a photo album owned by Henry's granddaughter, Leone (Wittry) Buelt.
Transcribed and translated by Annegret Kmeth.
our friend Franz,
Dyersville, 25 January 1868
I'm picking up my pen to finally write you a letter.
I certainly know that you have hoped for a letter from us for
a long time because we told you that we wanted to write to you.
This will now fulfill our promise.
evening of the first day we arrived in Münster, then we went
by railway from Münster to Bremen, where we stayed with a
host for 2 days. In this short trip we already had many new experiences.
However that was nothing yet; that is to say, in two days we went
to the ship and immediately to the ocean. We saw on the big ship
there were 1000 men (passengers) and 103 sailors.
Saturday afternoon at 3 o'clock the ship sailed and we bid Germany
farewell. Tears came to the eyes of many on the ship because they
had to leave the homeland. Only the pretty music which accompanied
us on the ship made everyone fresh and cheerful again. This cheerfulness
didn't last long; namely, after we had sailed for a half day there
were already many sick and queasy, and then the vomiting began.
However, for most the vomiting didn't last long about 3
or 4 days. To be sure, there were many who were sick longer.
And finally the ship crossed the ocean until we
finally saw land. All were happy and cheerful, having sailed 15
days. First we saw a little land, then gradually more and more,
and finally we came to New York. However, before we arrived in
New York we got off from of the main ship with our crates and
chests and were taken on a smaller ship to New York. We arrived
in New York in the evening, and went by railroad still further
another evening. We took the express train, and came in 3 days
to Dyersville. There the train car stopped and we got out and
our uncle was standing right there holding his hand out to us.
He had wagons and horses bring around our things after he took
us home himself. The young boys and girls were likewise received.
One became a servant here the other there; one here a maid and
the other there. The maids earned 80-84 thalers and the servants
150-175. We stayed, however, with our uncle.
we had been here a while we bought a farm of 200 acres where we
now live happily and joyfully with our parents. We now have 4
good horses and at Lichtmess [February 2nd] another young one
comes; we have 27 pigs, 5 cows and two calves, 14 chickens and
1 rooster also 3 ducks. Also in regard to religion it is quite
good here, for on the first Sunday that we were in America the
children received communion. The girls all wore white clothes
and held a burning candle in their hand, as did the boys, and
there was solemn singing from the [organ] choir.
in America, we have already sold pigs for a good price, namely
100 pounds for 7-1/2 thalers. Our uncle sold 19 fattened pigs
and our hope is that, if God is with us, we can too next year.
You don't need to worry here about fattening of the pigs as much
as you do in Germany. They get maize, which to you is Turkish
wheat, 3 times a day and at the same time they drink cold water.
On the whole, one doesn't need to worry in the harvest as much
as you, for it goes so fast that they say here, "but is it
winter now?" In Germany most or many people sit at
the loom, we do nothing other than a little wood hoeing and when
its a good day for hunting, then you take one of your guns and
go hunting; here you can go hunting any time you want. If you
go hunting here you can see quite a lot to shoot like rabbits,
pheasants as big as chickens, quail which are as big as your field
chickens, sometimes also deer, fox, wild cats and various other
must close with my letter with many greetings from us. Greetings
also to Henry Nieland and all our friends, and give our greetings
to Edmund Rowe also if you can. Our parents do quite sincerely
greet your family, also a greeting to Emma and the Tesing's children.
Let Henry Nieland read this letter also; your friends H. and Bern
Our Address is
Johann Heinrich Jasper
just how it is written here;
will write again soon
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