Martin Cerner (Cyrner, Cirner)

b: 10 Nov. 1830 at Reporyje, Bohemia

d: 1899

Family: Son of the farmer and soldier Josef Cyrner and Anna Richter; grandson of the gamekeeper and shepherd Martin Cyrner and Marie Brichacek. (Note: the surname is written as Cyrner, Cirner, Cigner, and even Zyrner in the Czech church records.)

Below is a translation and transcription of a letter dated 26 April 1895.  The letter was sent from Martin's brother, Josef, who lived in Bohemia, to him in Iowa City.  Apparently, Martin had been widowed in 1888 and was in search of a wife and had enlisted his brother back in Bohemia to find him one.  His brother, Josef, wrote:

Dear Brother, your letter brought us joy and reached us in good health. So we greet you a hundred thousand times. My wife and children are already angry with me for not writing back to you for so long. I was searching for women, and I found one. She promised to join you, but when it came down to it, she hesitated


so that I could arrange it with you that if it doesnít suit her, you would pay for her return trip. It is a difficult thing to spend so much money on her and have nothing for it in the end. It is better to have no woman at all. At the same time, she was deceitful. She has a boy. She denied him until I found it out. That is why I havenít written to you for so long. My wife feels so sorry about what you are going through. Not even one of a hundred men could endure it. But what is the use if we canít get any woman to go there? For that, you mustnít be angry at us.


We simply canít do it, as much as we might wish it for you with all our heart. The winter here was long with a lot of snow. It let up on St. Josephís Day, and since then, it has been so nice that we have practically finished sowing the grain. Itís nice here. We already had a dry spell, but it is raining today, so what hasnít sprouted should come up well now. The only thing is that grain is very inexpensive here. A centner of rye is 6 gulden, wheat 7, barley 7.50, oats 6, beets 70 kreuzer. Prices have dropped so much that itís already impossible to plant. I pay a high rent, so I donít know how I will be able to endure it. Things will turn out badly for me. It would have been better if I had followed you.


Now it is already too late. I am already so old. This year, Iíve had a cold for two months already so that I canít get out into the woods. At the beginning of April, I thought that I would not endure it. Today, I already feel a bit better. So we shall not see each other again until we meet in the afterlife. It is no use, even though everybody has brothers and sisters and they meet at least once a year. How is it that we are so far from each other? When one is young, it is not a great concern, but when one grows old, one often thinks about how nice it would be if we could share our troubles with one another.


You wrote to me that I should write and let you know what you should send. I have razors, Brother, so I ask you if you could send me a gold necklace for my wife. She has always wanted me to buy one for her, but it is impossible for me. I have a lot of expenses. If it does not harm you in any way, I would be grateful, and you would bring her great joy. You canít imagine how much she thinks of you, what you must endure, and how you can be alone without a wife who does the washing and other things for you.


Once again, we greet and kiss all of you a hundred thousand times, and remain your devoted friends to the dark grave. I ask you, Brother, to write back to me soon. Donít be angry that I didnít write back to you for so long or that I wasnít able to help you. God be with you. Long live America!

Josef and Marie Cirner


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