Letters to family in Germany by Adolph Schwartzhoff
~contributed by Ralph W. Strabley, Great-great nephew of Adolph Schwartzhoff. Ralph's email address (Schwartzhoff researcher) in the Surname Registry
~translated by Martha and Britta Mueller on November 30, 1909
~note: the letters have been formatted into paragraphs by the Allamakee co. coordinator, S. Ferrall, to make them easier to read, all other spelling & punctuation is unchanged
Adolph wrote these letters (2) to his family in Germany in October of 1849, from Dubuque, Iowa. The letters were brought back to the U.S.A. by his family when they immigrated to the States in the early 1850's. The letters were written in both Hi and Low German and were translated from a faded and difficult to read original.
Incomplete research indicates that the family immigrated to the U. S. in the early 1850's. The family at that time consisted of Adolph, Theodore, William, Joseph, Christian and their Mother Christina and Father Theodore. Their sister Agnes stayed in Germany. The family farmed around Dorchester and at one time also owned a brewery there and in Bee. William was burned to death in an accident at the brewery in Dorchester in 1864. Adolph never did see Lisete again or his sister Agnes. He left the Dorchester area and eventually passed away in Florence, Codington County, South Dakota in 1898. I am not sure if he ever married but hope to eventually find out more.
AN DEN HERRN
I received your letter from the ninth of July on October 7. How long it was at the post office I don't know because I couldn't get downtown. It was a big surprise for me to see my name in the newspaper to pick up a letter at the post office, which was from Germany.
You know I would like to have my brother Christian, here. But, I don't really know if he wants to come over, or if he only wants to know my opinion. He knows and you know that I would like to have him here with me. That is what I wrote to you before. I won't tell you to come but I won't tell you not to Although, if you have to go to war you will wish you were here with me in America. You are young and strong and healthy and should obey a corporal and you probably wouldn't like to do that But, I think you would rather go to war than come to me because you would be closer to Mother.
But, believe me dear brother that the soldiers in Germany are worse off than the slaves here in America (That are colored people). The people that own slaves can't treat them harshly, and they must give them plenty to eat. My dearest brother if I would have been staying in Germany I might not be alive now and I am sure many of my school mates were hit by ammunition and don't know why. Many come home crippled all their lives. Many lives are lost in wars and no one knows why. I think that is worse than slavery over here. Dearest brothers, before your age comes to go to war you should be here with me in America. This is my heartful wish, and that you are welcome here you know. I don't have to write about it anymore. American is big enough for all of us and I really wish you could come.
You also asked me when I am going to send Lemons to Mother. I could and would like to send them, But, it would cost me ten times as much to send them than they are worth!!
You are complaining about me not writing more often to you. But, you are the ones that do not answer and sometimes I think you are all dead.
It just comes to my mind that Bohm wrote home to Recklingrausen from where he is here in America, there is a nice inexpensive place to buy there. This is no lie. There are many vacant and nice homes and farms in city and no one knows to whom they belong. There is no water only sandy low land. But there is a lot of lumber and there is a possibility to build windmills. There is also a brandy brewer in this town, who buys up all the corn from nearby farmers. The earnings are not very good in the city. If you want to earn more money you have to go up or down the Mississippi River to Illinois. Anyway there are the nices brick houses with one acre of land, for just twelve dollars. You an still buy these houses and land becuase the people who lived there in the past had moved a few years ago. They were chased away because of their religion and robbery.
You asked about Franz Hertemann and Henrich Breuckman. He is still a liar and cheater as he was in Germany. He also was on the trip to American and still cheats alot of people here Haven't heard much from my fellow countrymen so I can't write much, except that Wilhelm Bohnenkamp was married last winter. She bore him a son. I heard they are all doing fine.
Not much is new here except that they are building a railroad from New York to Illinois, and California will most likely be the richest state here in America. In Arkansas they are finding the best silver and lead. As I see it America is going to be one of the best countries under the sun.
If one of you should come over here, I would like you to bring the best shotgun there is. Someone was careless with mine and broke it. Like I said bring one, but it must be a good one or don't bring it at all. Becuase I want to get even with this guy. For here in America is counts on who gets the most game. The shotgun must be one that you can shoot a deer from three hundred yaards and the deer won't be able to move anymore.
I am in good health now and I hope God gives me all strength and health I need.
Dear Parents, I wrote before about having you lend me two hundred dollars. Please do, if you want it back in about two years I will give you the whole amount of money plus ten percent interest. I beg of you, please help me out if you can. I wait desperately for you to answer.
Greetings to all, I am your beloved son
Letter to his sister Agnes
How is it with you? Is it still the same? Would you still have me dead, rather than have me alive here in America? Forget about it, if I was in Germany I would be dead now. I greet you. Your brother Adolph Schwarzhoff
Alot of good greetings to my old love Lisete Niermann. She is and always will be my true love until I die. If she likes it or not!! Please let me know what she has to say about that. Please write back soon, many greeting to My Grandpa and Grandma. Please write how they are. Greeting from the bottom of my heart.
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