THE HOFFBAUER LETTERS, Part 1
From Kathy (Johnson) Price a collection
of family history and pictures by a joint effort with cousins, Mary
Slyter, James Cornell, Madison
Overmoen, Carole Hoschstetter, Mel Meyer & Tom Hoffbauer.
Family Photos can be found at Hoffbauer
Family Tree can be found at Hoffbauer
Letters written by Mathilda T. "Schneidewind"
Hoffbauer to her daughter, Julia S. "Hoffbauer" Junkermann.
Julia was the 3rd child born to Friederick G.H. &
Mathilda T. Hoffbauer and she was born November 21, 1841 in Prussia,
Germany. Julia was 7 years old when she immigrated with her parents to
America from Germany.
Julia married Karl Frederick "Otto" Junkermann on September 29, 1858
in Blue Grass, Iowa.
"Otto" Junkermann was a leading druggist in Dubuque, Iowa for many
years and the farm in which Otto and Julia owned there is now known as the
"Mines Of Spain" in Dubuque, Iowa.
Mathilda was born in Prussia, Germany in 1817. At times in some of the
letters she depicts a strong German trait of often speaking her mind without
"beating around the bush so to say."
Her letters tell of their struggles, of the events of the times and of family
She mentions at times in her letters names of others that lived nearby and some
names of those she knew who lived and visited her daughter Julia in Dubuque,
Mathilda was very devoted to her family and a very loving person who worked very
hard in her life and died very young at the age of 49 years.
To me, Mathilda in ancestry is my GGGGrandmother. I still am at awe that
through the efforts of my cousins, Jim Cornell and Mary Slyter, that we are so
fortunate to be able to read her wonderful letters. ---Kathy
Walcott, October 18, 1858
My dear Julie!
This is the first free moment I have had in a long time, and I am using it to
let you know how we are doing. I hadn't expected to receive your little
letter any earlier. I figured that you wouldn't be able to write on the
first day already. We are all very glad to learn that you like everything
so much there. (This would be Dubuque, IA)
The fact that you are so happy makes us feel very grateful. I will let
your dear husband know, provided that I never have to hear anything to the
contrary. Always do what is expected of you, my dear Julie, so your
husband has no reason to be unhappy with you. I am assuming that you are
back from Guttenberg by now. I am curious to know how you liked it there,
and if you lived up to their expectations.
Please write to me frequently; look at it as a writing exercise. I will
answer your letters as often as I can find the time.
Your invitation to visit you sounded so nice; you described everything so
beautifully. It would hurt me quite a bit if I had to give up my trip to
see you, my dear ones. However, so far it does not look very promising at
all. I don't think I need to tell you why. Once I have Fritz's wardrobe
finished-(Fritz is how Mathilda refers to Frederick Jr. her son, he being
born in 1848, in Prussia, Germany, he was 6 months old when they immigrated to
America) which I will have to work on all on my own-I will let you know for
certain if and when I can come. I still haven't got used o the idea that
you are not here anymore, and that I have to do all the work on my own.
Often, it is very hard; but there is no point in getting into that. I
can't afford to hire someone.
That foreign swine has caused us so much damage again by taking and eating up
everything. All we could save was a few bushels of wheat to take to the
mill. There is nothing left to sell.
Otherwise, we are doing fine. The children often ask if you and Uncle
Junkermann would come and visit us again soon. Aline was here today with
her dear little child. (Aline was the second child, a daughter born to
Friederick G. H. & Mathilda T. Hoffbauer, Aline was born in April 1838 in
Zuerbid, Germany and immigrated to America with her parents at the age of 10.)
She sends her kindest regards to you and your dear husband. Yesterday,
Albert (this was husband of Aline "Hoffbauer" Loeper and they were
married in Scott County, Iowa in 1856) came to our house for the first time
after a long absence. He has caused me grief more then once.
Well, then, my dear Julie, our kindest regards to you and your dear
husband. Don't forget to write soon again. Rest assured that I love
March 2, 1859
My dear beloved Julie!
You have probably been waiting to hear from me. I feel truly sorry that I
couldn't write sooner. You will be surprised to hear that we did not get
here until Wednesday evening. Our trip was terrible. The path was so
bad that we could only move one step at a time. Then, we spent half a day
waiting for the ferry and on top of that had to pay $1 instead of the 25 cents
to cross. The slowness of the trip wouldn't have been so bad-the weather
was decent-if only we had enough money. When we got to De Witt I had to
sell something already to get travel money. Then we had to give some nice
things to a farmer so we could spend the last night at his farm. As
terrible as everything was, I accepted things the way they were. You can
imagine, however, how mad your father was and how he cursed the doctor-and Hugo
in particular-since it had been their idea to take this trip. (Hugo Hans
Hoffbauer is the first child born to Friederick G.H. & Mathilda T. Hoffbauer,
Hugo was born, March 3, 1836 in the Hartz Mountain Region, Auleben, Germany and
was 12 years old when he immigrated to America with his parents) I was quite
sick for the first few days after returning and still feel very gloomy. But I
think the medicine we brought back will soon make me feel normal again. I
am very glad that I have it and would like to express my gratitude to your dear
husband once again. I would like to thank both of you again with all my
heart for the love and friendliness you showed me during my stay.
Aline and the other children are indescribly happy to see me come home.
Albert and Karl came to meet me on the way. I have only seen Hugo once, he
is gone to do some threshing. He'll probably be back tomorrow, it's his
birthday after all.
(Aline "Hoffbauer" Loeper, 2nd child born to Friederick G. H. &
Mathilda T. Hoffbauer,
Albert Loeper, husband of Aline, they were married in Scott County in 1856 and
Karl is Karl (Carl-Charles) Hoffbauer, he being born December 18, 1842 in the
Hartz Mountain Region, Germany and was age 6 when he immigrated to America with
You should see Aline's little baby. Rarely have I seen a baby so precious,
friendly, and vivacious. Aline was very pleased with the flowers.
She is quite proud of the fact that Junkermann sent them for her. I
brought them home without any problems.
How are you doing, my dear Julie? Do you think about me once in a
while? And what about Junkdermann? Or are you two glad that I
left? Please write to me soon, and write plenty.
I am afraid you have to accept this letter as it is. I can't get my
thoughts together with the rumpus at this place. We are staying at the
little house in Walcott; however, it is still better than the farm. I'll
write more soon. Say hello to Junkermann and everybody who remembers
me. How are the Allens doing? Are they still there? Please say
hello to them if you see them. Your father and everybody here sends their
Keep your mother, who loves you dearly, in your heart
Walcott, March 7, 1859
My deal beloved Julie!
Close to two weeks have passed and I haven't heard from you; now I am very
For a week we have been expecting your dear husband; the weather is so nice and
the roads are reasonably good. But he hasn't arrived, nor have we received
Did you get sick or did something sad happen? I just can't seem to relax.
It's not as if I had been sitting here for a long time, ready for the
trip. I have a lot of
work to do yet. It will keep me busy until the last minute, even if I have
to wait another two weeks. But this uncertainty makes me terribly
upset. I can't help but think that you, my dear Julie, have become sick.
Please send me a note right away so I can rid myself of my fear. Is the
river open already up there? (This would be Dubuque, Iowa.) Steamboats
have been going as far as Davenport already. You haven't mentioned a work
about Fritz in your last few letters. ( Fritz, is Frederick Jr., son of
Friederick G. H. & Mathilda T. Hoffbauer and is in Dubuque now living with
Julia his sister and brother in law Otto Junkermann.)
Is everything O.K? Do I have to worry about him as well? That would
be too sad.
Farewell; the letter needs to go out now. Say hello to your dear husband
and to Fritz from all of us and stay fond
March 18, 1859
My dearest Julie!
When I left your house you faithfully promised me you would write a letter every
week. It seems that you have forgotten your promise. It has been
four weeks since I left you, my dear ones, and I have only received one letter.
Now you are probably thinking; "You have only written once so far as
well." That is true; however, it is a little different in my
case. Just imagine; one room, and in it ten people and all the other
things one needs to live. That makes it very difficult to write.
Besides, I constantly have to mend skirts and pants. Every week I have a
huge amount of laundry to do, after which I always feel sick for two days.
The laundry is a terrible strain on me, especially here, where we don't have a
boiler. I do have to help, though; Aline can't do it all on her own.
As you can see, it is not carelessness which makes me write so
infrequently. Believe me, my thoughts are often with you, and I have
frequently felt homesick for all of you already. I was very pleased to
receive your little letter. I took it to mean that you do love me, at
least a little and think of me in kind terms. Write to me often.
Your letter was quite nice, even though there were still various mistakes in
it. However, if you practice more, it will bet better. (note: Julia is
trying to write to Mathilda in German Script but was basically educated in
America). For me to receive another letter from you yet, you would
have to respond to this one immediately. We are planning on leaving here
at the end of next week, if the roads are good enough. I hate the thought
of traveling past Davenport without being able to see you all. I am sure
that I will be very sad when I open my arms towards you in vain and send my most
loving regards and kisses your way. But I will be consoled by the thought
that I will soon see you, or maybe your dear husband, in Guttenberg. I
wish we were already there; I find it quite sad not to have a home.
What do you drink most of these days? Do you do a lot of embroidery
work? Do you go out much? How often have you been to see Mrs. Minges?
Give her my kindest regards. Mrs. Engel really treated you quite
nastily. Try to avoid her as much as possible. But be careful; I
think she can be quite mean. I am glad to hear that Fritz is behaving well and
is more diligent again. Give him my kindest regards and tell him that I
beg him to stay well-behaved and diligent, so that he will do well in
life. Also, tell him to be especially kind and modest with Junkermann, so
that he will gain back his love; he seems to have lost some of it lately.
Please ask Junkermann to be understanding and patient with the child. Ask
him to do it for my sake; my heart will be forever thankful. (note, Fritz is
the son of Mathilda and Friederick G. H. Hoffbauer and is staying in Dubuque
with his sister Julia and brother in law Otto Junkermann, obviously Fritz did
Let Fritz write his own name when you write me a letter. Many thanks for
the newspapers; they gave me great pleasure. I particularly enjoyed the
article in the "heckle corner." I hope it will put an end to the
Nothing much is new around here. The family is doing fine. The
little darling got its first tooth yesterday-a big event for Aline. I will
be the one finding it the most difficult to say good-bye to the child. It
is so lovely and friendly. Hugo is very glad to have received the money
from your husband. I can't tell you how great the need is around here.
Mrs. Motz is living at Friederich's again. Mr. Motz is going to Pikes
Park. Friederich spent a few days with us again. Mrs. Anfrost and
Mrs. Tasser came to visit occasionally as well. Mrs. Tasser will send you
the song. Hugo says you wanted to have it. Our flowers are about to
wilt, but Aline and I took great pleasure in them. Sometimes, when I sit
by the window and smell the wonderful fragrance, I close my eyes and imagine
being with you.
Translators note: Mathilda calls her "Frau Dr. Minges" in
German. I doubt that Mrs. Minges was a doctor herself, considering the
time period. It becomes clear in a later letter that Mr. Minges was a
In German, wives of doctors, professors, etc. take on the title of their husband
and are addressed as Frau Doktor, Frau Professor, etc. This custom is now
changing through women declining to be addressed with their husband's
title. However in Mathilda's time, this was customary.
Mathilda writes that they are planning a trip to Guttenberg. Friederick G.
H. Hoffbauer had a brother William Hoffbauer who was a doctor in Clayton County,
Guttenberg, April 13, 1859
My dear, beloved Julie!
I can believe that you have been waiting for a letter from me for quite some
time. But I can assure you that I just haven't been able to write.
For the first two days, I was too upset. Then, our Aunt's help left, and I
ended up doing most of the work myself. It isn't just a little bit
either. It wasn't until noon today that a woman finally came to help
out. The first thing I did was to ask for some paper so that I could write
to you all.
Since yesterday, I have been walking around feeling like a criminal; I can't
find peace anywhere. For yesterday, we picked up a nice heater from (#1-see
from Weiss's because Mr. Weiss had told father that your dear husband had sent
him a letter saying that we should do this. I have to admit that I had
been looking forward to this new heater like a little child. We talked our
aunt into getting a somewhat bigger model, and to pay special attention to
getting a good was boiler. The one she currently has is already two years
old and already showing signs of wear and tear. I know Mrs. Weiss well and
asked her if Junkermann had mentioned a certain price to them. Mrs. Weiss
said no, and that Junkermann had instructed them to have her pick a nice heater
and anything else she needed. Her husband confirmed everything, and so I
didn't have any further reservations, either. I chose the same size heater
you have, with a copper kettle, plus a few other items desperately needed.
I was very happy about it at first, but then started to regret it. Last
night, I thought about everything again, and I started feeling very immodest and
ungrateful. I cried all night. I beg you, my dear Julie, to ask
Junkermann not to be mad at me. Little by little I will pay off my debt.
You probably wonder why we are still here. The house is not ready
yet. The weather is very bad still; we are supposed to remain here until
next Tuesday, probably. Father and Karl go out there every day to work on
it. We received a very friendly and warm welcome here. Our aunt is
very happy to have someone to talk to. I listen very patiently, without
walking away-unlike her husband-.
I don't know yet whether we will feel free and content in the future. So
far, I still feel quite depressed, in spite of all the friendliness surrounding
me. However, I think I will get better as soon as I can go to the farm.
I received your lovely letter with the nice words written by your husband just
as I started writing to you. Please accept my sincere gratitude for your
love and attentiveness. You can't imagine how pleased I am every time I
hear from you, and how much love for you I carry in my heart. Please write
to me again in detail-soon. I am sincerely interested in everything.
I can't tell you how much I look forward to your visit next month. I will
have to start writing things down; I have so much to tell you, things that would
take too long to tell in letters. If you come early in May, our aunt will
probably travel with you. She intends to visit you this spring, no matter
how many objections uncle has. They both send their regards to all of you.
Did Moritz Fleck come and see you on Sunday? Our aunt would like you to
give Mrs. Werter her regards.
You should see all the children here in one place; what a racket! Imagine
if Fritz was here, too! I am glad that Fritz is going to German
school. I, too, think that it is better for him. Give him my regards
and tell him to study hard. Having to travel past Dubuque without seeing
you recently hurt quite a bit. Had I known that the boat was going to stop
for so long I would certainly have visited you. We would like to express
our thanks for the kind regards from your father-in-law. Please send him
our regards as well next time you write to him.
Your little one is a very good child, indeed.
You mention in your letter that you would always want to be yourself. As
long as you remain true to your modest and pure nature people will like
you. Just try to learn as much as possible yet, and for God's sake, keep
your integrity. You can't imagine the fear that strikes me at the thought
of you sitting there, cowering. It is bad for your health.
Have you received any letters from Walcott? I expect one any day. If
you come and visit I can give you all kinds of news about Aline. We were
very glad to receive some letters fro the Ahler family. It is nice to hear that
they are doing better again. Give Mr. Ahler our kindest regards if you see
him. Father or I will write to them as soon as we are settled in.
Has anything changed at your house, or is everything still more or less the
same? Does Junkermann still have to kiss you a dozen times before he can
go down to the store? I am already looking forward to my next visit at
your home; but when will that be?
Please come and visit soon. Our furnishings will be very modest,
however. But you will receive a warm welcome, nevertheless. Please
invite our aunt sometime when you write to her again. How come I can't
stop writing today, even though I have nothing interesting to tell you? I
just don't seem to be able to stop.
Father, Karl and the children send their kindest regards. Please write
Your Mother who loves you dearly.
#1-Translator's comment: I was debating which term to use in English; oven,
heater, furnace, or boiler. Mathilda uses a very generic term (ofen) in
German, without giving exact details. However, it has to be something that
can be used to heat the water for the wash kettle.
November 2, 1959
(No place written but at this time Friederick G.H. & Mathilda Hoffbauer
were living in
Walcott which I believe was first called Wolcott, Iowa)
My dear, beloved Julie!
Your father wants to mail his pipes today; this means that I have to hurry if I
want to get a little letter done for you. (Note: Father, being
Friederick G. H. Hoffbauer is sending a collection of pipes he owns, from the
old country for son-in-law, Otto Junkermann to sell and I believe he will sell
them at his drug store in Dubuque, Iowa. Friederick is trying to raise
money to build the Hoffbauer's Brewery in Buffalo, Iowa at this time.)
I am sending along the cuffs that our dear Emilie made. (Emilie is Emma
Mathilda Hoffbauer, 7th child born to Friederick G. H. & Mathilda Hoffbauer
on April 1, 1855 in America.) They are not finished yet, however she
was picked up to go to Thekla's so suddenly that she didn't even have time to
send the little crate herself. (Thekla is possibly a relative in the area and
Julia Hoffbauer Junkermann also named her first born Thekla but at this time she
was not born.) Thekla was sick, but is fine now and expects her second
delivery at the end of this month. I am sending the shoes today as well,
as long as I have the opportunity. Otherwise, I would have waited until
your birthday. I do like these shoes very much, but this is why I am
sending them to you. On the one hand, I think your pretty living room will
be the perfect place for them to be worn; on the other hand, I want to show that
I, too, can part with something that is dear to me, just like your father-that
is if his pipes sell. You have not idea, my dear Julie, how much he hopes
to be able to sell them. I don't know how we are going to get through
these times, either, if we don't have some money coming in. Your father
would have loved to give one of his pipes to Mr. Haas, (this is Otto
Junkermann's partner in his Drug Store in Dubuque) but they still need
$70-$75 for equipment. That means we have to sell everything of value that
we own. He can't very well give Mr. Haas just any ordinary pipe, either.
Your father wants me to finish. I'd better close for now, even though
there are still quite a few things I would like to get off my chest. Fritz
will receive a separate letter from me soon. (Fritz being son of Friederick
G.H. & Mathilda Hoffbauer who is staying with his sister Julia and
brother-in-law, Otto Junkermann in Dubuque, IA.)
I am very glad that he is more diligent again. Tell him to stay that
way. Please give him my regards and tell him I would like to thank him for
his letter. Aline (daughter of Friederick G. H. & Mathilda
Hoffbauer, 2nd child born to them, in April 1838 in Germany) sends you her
regards as well and asks you to write to her. Farewell then, my dear
Julie. My kindest regards to you and Junkermann,
Your mother, who loves you dearly.
I haven't had any more stomach cramps, thanks to Dr. Minges and his pills.
Please give my kind regards to all our friends.
Fragment of letter found that was written by Mathilda T.
No date or place of origin
.....before I know if everything went well. This huge
distance-it takes an eternity to receive news.
We haven't had any news from Karl yet. (this being Karl-Charles, 4th child
born to Friederick G.H. & Mathilda Hoffbauer on December 18, 1842 in
By the way, what do you think about this? Albert (this would be Albert
Loeper, husband of Aline Hoffbauer, 2nd child and daughter born to Friederick G.
H. & Mathilda Hoffbauer.) returned home after having spent all of this
four days in St. Louis. I can't get into any details right now, but it is
Keferstein is letting me know at this time that he is going to Dubuque in 15
minutes. The old fool; why couldn't he let me know earlier? Please
be nice to him anyway. I wouldn't want him to come back and talk badly
about you. I meant to write to Fritz yet, but I am running out of time
now. Give him my kindest regards, and tell him to continue studying
hard. Please ask him to write to me again. Farewell then, my dear,
beloved Julie. Please write to me frequently; it is the only pleasure I
have. Give my kindest regards to your husband, and have him write to us
again some time, too. By the way, I was quite happy to learn that
Junkermann liked the shoes so well. Don't save them now; Emilie will be
happy knowing that you can use them.
Kind regards from Aline; she will write to you soon.
Father and Jinni send their regards as well. (Father being Friederick G. H.
Hoffbauer and Jinni being wife of Hugo Hans Hoffbauer their daughter-in-law.)
Fragment of letter found that was written by Mathilda T. Hoffbauer
No date or place of origin
Now I am even running out of paper. I can't seem to be able to stop
chatting with you today. Is Liesbeth back yet? If so, please give
her my regards. Please say hello to Junkermann as well; I didn't even say
good-bye to him. I wonder how the Ahlers are doing. Have you seen
them recently? They were going to write to us, but haven't done so
yet. Give them my regards, if you see them. I better close
now. Give Junkermann my kindest regards, and rest assured that I love you
Your Mother M. H.
Father and the rest of the family send their kindest regards to all of you as
Did I leave the patterns for the dress and sleeves at your house? I cannot
find them anywhere.
November 21, 1859
(Not written but would be from
My dear Julie!
This day is full of memories of you and the past. I thought of you so
intensely that I felt lie-at least-writing a few friendly lines and offering the
most heartfelt and sincere good luck wishes from all of us. May God grant
this one wish of mine and let you enjoy everlasting happiness. At least
there will be one place in my heart which isn't full of pain and sorrow.
I spent the past eight days in great worry about you. You are not sick
again, are you, my dear Julie? Three weeks have passed already since we
mailed our letters and the little crate with it contents to your dear
husband. However, we haven't heard if you received anything. I put
the letter addressed to you and the shoes, together with the cuff links, at the
bottom of the crate. Maybe you didn't notice those items underneath the
packaging paper when taking out the pipes. Please let me know.
What about the pipes? Does Junkermann think he could get rid of
them? I am afraid they might be too old-fashioned. Your father is
very worried; it is as if our future depended on a successful sale. Hugo (first
born child to Friederick G. H. & Mathilda Hoffbauer on March 3, 1836 in
Germany and would be 23 years old at the time this letter was written) will
sell his Ox for lumber, with which they want to build the brewery. We will
use the basement here at the house to store beer and malt. However, we
still need $75-$100 for brewing equipment. They intend to raise the money
from the sale of the pipes and Hugo's summer wheat. I do think your dear
husband could take the time to judge whether he can sell the pipes. Would
he be kind enough to write us his opinion? Even if your father didn't
receive the money right away, at least he could start construction. It
would be of no use, however, if he count on this money.
On your father's birthday (the day of the Schiller Fest) for which you
could have sent a few lines as well-all our old friends surprised us with a
visit. Friedrich brought his accordion; they all enjoyed themselves very
much, except for me. I worry so much about the future, I think I am
sliding back into my unhappy mood again. Everybody asked about you and
wanted to know if you were thinking about visiting your hometown sometime.
I think Bernhart is organizing a ball for next week. Wouldn't you like to
come to that?
How is Fritz doing now?( son of Friederick G.H. & Mathilda Hoffbauer he
being born in 1848 in Germany) Is he still a diligent boy? Give him
our regards and tell him to write again. Bertha is learning very
diligently. But now again-with the winter-they hardly have any
school. It's terrible. (M. Bertha Hoffbauer 6th child born to
Friederick G.H. & Mathilda Hoffbauer, she would be 7 years old at the time
this letter was written, Bertha Hoffbauer was born 1852 in Watertown, Wisconsin
and later in life married Bernhard Huelshoff, he being born 1846 in Lingren,
Germany, in their lives they lived in Dubuque, Iowa where they raised their
What is new with you? Please write me right away and write a lot.
Karl (Charles, 4th child born to Friederick G. H. & Mathilda T. Hoffbauer,
Dec. 18, 1842, Germany and would be age 17 at the time of this letter) has
been gone for 8 days now.
Farewell, my dear Julie; I can't write anymore. Give my kindest regards to
Junk and keep me in your heart.
Aline sends her regards;
she wants you to write to her.
(Aline is second child born to Friederick G. H. & Mathilda T. Hoffbauer
in April 1838 in Zuerbid Germany and is sister to Julie "Julia."
No date was on
this letter however from what Mathida is writing this letter was written in 1861
as my Great Great Grandfather Karl (Charles) Hoffbauer is soon to leave to join
the Union Alliance in the Civil War. He volunteered from his home in
Walcott, Iowa and served in the 12th Missouri Infantry from September 23, 1861
until September 23, 1864.
(Before Sept. 23, 1861)
My dear Julie!
I received your dear letter the day before yesterday and want to respond to it
right away. I would not want things to get put off again. I am glad
that you are healthy again and hope that it will always be that way. We
are doing all right as well; I feel quite a bit better since I was in Dubuque.
Max is the only one who is not very well, and I don't know what is wrong with
him. He is sick in bed, eats a lot at times, and yet he keeps loosing more
and more weight. Sometimes he complains about the pain in his chest, but
never coughs. Only when he cries or speaks fast I can hear a strange
(Note: Max-Maxmillian Hoffbauer is 8th child born to Friederick G.H. &
Mathilda T. Hoffbauer, he was born in 1856 in Walcott, Iowa. Max would be
about 5 years old at the time this letter was written. Later in life,
about 1886 in Scott County, Iowa, Max married Mary L. Stickleburger of Buffalo,
You should see Father. He is turning into a regular soldier already and
looks 10 years younger. He can fee the army in his fist (Translator's
comment: This is a literal translation of what the German says. I could
not come up with anything idiomatic in English. (It is not an idiomatic
expression in German, either.) I imagine that he might have pictured himself
as a soldier, perhaps stomped around the house and pumped his fist. He is
very serious about leaving as well, just as soon as a regular regiment is put
together here. Karl (son Charles) of course, will leave as well-and
so will Hugo (son Hugo).
I do not know what will become of us poor women. The fact that our first
regiment did so well has heightened the enthusiasm. Yesterday, we were in
Davenport to watch the review of the troops. It was quite nice, but I am
sure you get to see these things as well. You must have liked the trip to
Gutenberg. I wish I could have been with you. I imagine things have
changed considerably. I felt very sorry for poor Heinrich and Albert for
having to stay at home. We hope that-very soon-they will get to go on
their own little trip as well and come and see us here. I have to say that
I am a little bit mad at Aline and Albert (daughter and son-in-law, Albert
& Aline "Hoffbauer" Loeper.) for stubbornly refusing to
write. Granted, I let them wait for a long time as well, but the
circumstances were unusual. They should have received my letters on the
day that Fritz left. (Fritz being son of Friederick G. H. & Mathilda T.
Hoffbauer and he would be about 13 years old when this letter was written.) Please
say hello to everybody and tell them to make up for what they have missed as
soon as possible.
(Translator's note: Unclear whether Mathilda is referring to "making up
for missed writing" or "making up for the missed trip"-or perhaps
Is your dear husband back from Winona? It would be terribly inconvenient
if you had to move there. It would also increase the distance between
us. I feel very sorry for Jinni; she has a lot to deal with. Her
father has been crazy for quite some time. First, he spent a few months in
Davenport with his wife. However, for the last few weeks he has been
living at Hugo's, with his hands and feet tied-a very sad sight indeed.-Jinni
looks miserable. (wife of Hugo Hans Hoffbauer, her full and maiden name being
Virginia Susannah "Myers" Hoffbauer, she was born August 15, 1841 in
Wheeling, Ohio County, West Virginia)
I would like for you and Aline to come and visit us for a few weeks. It
would be a welcome distraction, for her as well as for us. (Aline being 2nd
child born to Friederick G. H. & Mathilda T. Hoffbauer and sister to
Julia-Julie, Aline has moved to Dubuque at this time.)
Little Karl learned to walk and is a very nice child in general. If only I
could see all my little ones again! I long to see them. ( this would be
Friederick G. H. & Mathilda's Grandson and the son of Hugo & Virginia
"Jinni" Hoffbauer, he was born October 20, 1862 in Scott County, Iowa
either Walcott or Buffalo and died at a very young age.)
When is Mrs. Haas leaving (this would be the wife of Otto Junkermann's
partner in the Drug Store business in Dubuque, Iowa.)
Is the house almost finished: I guess Mrs. Speitel will come sometime as
well. I spent a few very nice days there.
Fritz will write to you today; he had to help with the harvest today. We
are quite dissatisfied with him. Although we cannot complain about any
major flaws, we cannot praise him, either. (Fritz being Frederick Jr. son of
Friederick G. H. & Mathilda T. Hoffbauer and he would be about 13 years old
at the time this letter was written.)
The situation here is still very uncomfortable; there is a lot of meanness going
around. Business is bad. And yet, we cannot go elsewhere.
Farewell now, m dear Julie, give our kindest regards to your dear husband and
all our friends. Please write soon again and tell me about
everything. Please also remind that mean Aline, who seems to have
forgotten entirely about us.
This letter is
not dated, however by the contents of this letter and with research by the
translator, this letter was written April 12, 1863.
Translator's note: Battle of Pea Ridge, Arkansas, March 6, 1862
Casualties: USA : 203 dead, 972 wounded, 174 missing or captured
C. S. A. : 1100 dead, 2500 wounded, 1600 missing or captured
Translator also writes: There was a smaller battle in Pea Ridge, MO. on Feb. 17,
Casualties: USA: 5 dead, 9 wounded. I am assuming that
Mathilda is writing about the battle in Arkansas.
12th of April "1863"
My dear Julie!
I had initially intended to let you wait quite some time before responding, but
in the end I was prevented from writing by the many things that came up
lately. Yes, my dear Julie, I found it really quite sad that all of you,
too, are so indifferent towards us. Three months have passed since I
received your last letter, and during that time you could surely have found a
moment to remember us if you had really wanted to. I cannot describe how
hurt I was by your silence. You are the only one of my children who is
really doing well, and so I expect you to be the one to pay the most attention
to your parents. Albert and Aline are not writing, either, even though the
former knows of the uncertain situation we were in at the time he left us. (Note:
Albert & Aline "Hoffbauer" Loeper, Aline being daughter of
Friederick G. H. & Mathilda Hoffbauer.)
Your silence did not make a good impression on Jinni either; she was sure to
receive an invitation from Aline to visit you this spring. She would have
loved to go and see Albert. Now she intends to go to Johnstown and will do
so next week already. Even though I expect nothing good of this journey, I
think it would be riskier to try to keep her from it. (Note: Jinni being
Virginia Susannah "Myers" Hoffbauer, wife of their son Hugo Hans
For 14 days we have been living with Hugo now; (son of Friederick G. H. &
Mathilda Hoffbauer) we have the two rooms upstairs. As much as we
tried to find a place of our own, it has proved impossible so far. In
Davenport, we would have had a lot of expenses, and business is doing bad
already. So we have decided (and I hope we can do it) to build a little
house here in W. ( Note: Walcott?) with the help of Hugo. For this
purpose we bought a lot, the second one between Dankmann's and Keferstein's.
Even if we cannot finish building the house right away, hopefully the times will
get better and we can do it then. It may not be much, but eventually we
will have a home of our own, which we have longed for, and from which nobody can
Every penny we can spare now goes towards the house. We sold my brooch, my
velvet dress, and my pipe bowl for $20 already. I want to sell my duvet
and my good linens as well yet. Then Hugo wants to pay what he owes us;
several others have promised to give us what they owe. Bernhart Isaak owes
us a fir amount. It will be taken out of his wages; this way it should all
be feasible. Also, Hugo promised to support us as much as possible.
I think that, once my worries about building-which at present are
tremendous-pass, the little house with garden will make me quite happy. Of
course, quite a few other painful sorrows would have to be lifted off my
shoulders before I could feel happy.
We have not had any news about Karl and Ed since the battle of Pea Ridge.
At least, their names are not on the list of the dead or wounded; but that is
not enough to alleviate my terrible fear. We don't know anything about
Fritz, either. This makes me very sad, for I tend to think that he might
(Note: Karl, who went by the Americanized name of Charles, Karl meaning the
same in German was son of Friederick G. H. & Mathilda T. Hoffbauer, Ed being
the brother of Jinni or Virginia S. Myers Hoffbauer and Fritz, being Frederick
Jr. son of Friederick G. H. & Mathilda Hoffbauer who joined the Civil War at
the age of 13, reporting his age to be 15 years.)
This letter has been taking me a long time, because now I always have to help
Jinni get everything organized. I worry a lot about this trip; although,
sometimes I think Jinni might not find everything the way she expects it and
might decide to come back home again. Little Karl is staying here and will
be keeping me very busy, as you can imagine. I would have much preferred
it if Jinni had gone to you, but it is too late to change anything now.
(Note: Little Karl is son of "Jinni" Virginia S. & Hugo
Hoffbauer, Grandson of Friederick G.H. & Mathilda T. Hoffbauer and was born
in Walcott or Buffalo on October 20, 1862 and would be 1 1/2 at this time.)
(Note: No ending to this letter)
Translator's note: I cannot find Johnstown on current maps of Iowa and neighbor
January 1, 1860
My dear Julie!
First, I would like to wish you a most sincere and heartfelt Happy New
Year! May the Good Lord bless you and your dear husband with nice and
pleasant things this year and bestow you with a healthy baby (but only
one!). And may the Lord not forget about us, either; we would appreciate
it so much if He extended His generous hand towards us. Did you think
about last year's New Year's Eve, my dear Julie, about how sad the two of us
were then? I often thought about all of you, especially since the mood
here was very cheerless. Little Klara has been quite sick since
Christmas. On Friday, Aline became sick and on Saturday, I got stomach
cramps. But all three of us are doing better again.
(Note: Little Klara is the daughter of Albert & Aline "Hoffbauer"
Loeper and to date we are uncertain of her exact birthdate.)
Your lovely Christmas presents arrived here on Monday morning. You can
imagine how happy the children were. There was a lot of laughter and
merriment. The drum immediately reminded Max of the Schuster boy. (Note:
Max being the 8th child born to Friederick G.H. & Mathilda T. Hoffbauer).
The girls are most pleased with the little iron. The little stockings you
sent, however, were too small again. I will have to save them all for
Max. You know how big Bertha's feet are. (Bertha being the 6th child
born to Friederick G.H. & Mathilda T. Hoffbauer). The candy
arrived intact as well; we wouldn't mind receiving some next year again.
All of us would like to thank you very much. Bertha sends her regards and
wishes to thank both you and Junkermann. She would like you and Fritz to
come and visit soon. (Note: Fritz being the 7th child born to Friederick G.
H. & Mathilda T. Hoffbauer and he is in Dubuque, IA. staying with his sister
Julia and brother-in-law Otto Junkermann).
I have good use for the mittens Liesbeth sent me. I just don't quite know
what to think of her giving me a present. But please give her my regards
and tell her I would like to thank her very much.
Christmas here was very simple. But I had to do something for the
children. Bertha and Emma received dresses and aprons, Max coat and pants.
(Note: Bertha, Emma or Emilie and Max are children of Friederick G.H. &
Mathilda T. Hoffbauer.)
I also baked some gingerbread cookies and used them as Christmas tree
decorations. I am sure Christmas at your house was more plentiful.
Please write to me about it, soon.
I suppose I should tell you a little bit about what our future looks like.
It does not look very good at this point. I have to tell you, my dear
Julie, I have not been able to sleep at night for quite some time for all the
worries and fear I am burdened with. Purchasing the brewery in P. turned
out to be impossible. (Note: Mathilda only writes the letter P and not sure
of this location.) The man wanted $1000 for it. Father said that, to
him, it wasn't worth $300. He went there a second time with Hugo, and they
did buy two tubs for $150. (Translator's note: Mathilda does not mention what
kind of tubs, possibilities are mash tub, lauter tub, fermentation vessel for
example). These will be very useful for a brewery. They made a $75
deposit in the form of Hugo's oxen; the rest is due by April 1st, 1861. We
will probably move next week or the week after. Hugo is moving in with us
as we could not do it on our own. Perhaps there is a little more money to
be made in P. There doesn't seem to be any around here. Even though
we economize as much as possible, it still takes quite a bit of money to live.
We will start digging the basement as soon as possible. Father and Hugo
will do most of the work themselves. Part of the $55 they have will be
used for a deposit to buy lumber, and the other part for bricks to build the
basement. But will that be enough? I have no idea how we could come
up with more money. Old Mr. Nokum ruined some of our plans again; he took
away Hugo's summer wheat. Although he says he would return it at sowing
time, we are missing that money now. We wouldn't have needed so much here
in W. (meaning Walcott) but it would be
This is how this letter ends, unfinished and fragments of letters have been
checked by the translator and nothing found to date fits this letter.
February 13, 1860
My dear children!
A heartfelt thank-you for your nice letter. It was the first thing in a
long time which has affected me in a pleasant way. I can well imagine, my
dear Julie, that my last letter caused you pain and sorrow. I feel
terribly sorry, but I couldn't spare you the pain. I had the choice
between not coming to see you at all, or to come and feel so uneasy that I would
have become a burden to you.
But everything is all right again now. I believe that you love me and
enjoy having me there. I will do my best not to burden you.
My dear Junkermann, I would very much like to accept your kind offer to pick me
up here in person, and would like to thank you for it. I do think
traveling by railroad would be very arduous, and far more expensive as
well. We would all be happy to see you here again sometime. I will
not be ready for departure until March 1st, but will leave it up to you, of
course, to determine if and when you would like to come.
I won't write a lengthy letter today; I think we will soon have the opportunity
to talk about things face to face. I will be very busy, since I have a lot
of things to put in order before I can leave here. My dear Julie, you
suggested that I take Bertha along. (Bertha being 6th child born to
Friederick G. H. & Mathilda T. Hoffbauer and Bertha would be 8 years old at
the time this letter was written).
It would mean one less thing to worry about. I could take one of the boys
to Mrs. Fuhrman's; that way, father would only have to look after Max. (Max
being 8th child born to Friederick G.H. & Mathilda T. Hoffbauer and Max or
Maxmillian would be 4 years old at the time this letter was written).
I wonder, however, if that would be too much for you to handle. Why don't
you let me know in your next letter.
I have much to tell you; not everything is going well here. You better get
healthy again soon, because I won't have too much time to stay at your house. I
am comforted by the thought that you have Miss Haake there. She will be a
great help, and you won't be so lonely, either. Give her my regards, as
well as to our other friends. I really look forward to seeing you
again. I only wish I could leave here without any worries.
Father and everyone else send their kindest regards.
How is Fritz doing? How come the little rascal hasn't been writing?
Give him my regards. Kisses to both of you.
(Note: Fritz being 7th child born to Friederick G.H. & Mathilda T.
Hoffbauer and he would be about 12 years old at the time this letter was written
and is staying in Dubuque, IA. with his sister Julia and brother-in-law Otto
No news from Karl yet. (Note: this would be Karl or Charles as he used his
Americanized name as Karl means the same in German. Karl is the 4th child
born to Friederick G.H. & Mathilda T. Hoffbauer and would be 18 years old at
the time this letter was written.)
(Most likely written 1861)
My dear, beloved Julchen!
Yesterday, I finally received your letter, for which I had been waiting so
long. I am very glad that my fear was unfounded. But you are a mean
little woman for leaving me with my fear, for it is nothing but idleness on your
part. I hope you will work on this flaw of yours and keep us informed a
little more frequently.
I had meant to send this letter with the one for Aline, but was unable to do so
until today. There were so many things going on here; things about which I
wanted to have some certainty in order to tell you whether I will be able to
come or not. Of course, not everything has been decided yet, but I think I
will be able to come and stay with you for a few weeks. Please write to me
as soon as possible and let me know when your dear husband could get here, so
that I can prepare. Father has given me permission to spend 2 weeks with
you. That means that my trip cannot take up to more than 3 weeks
altogether. There won't be any use in trying to talk me into staying
longer. I am very happy that I will be able to spend this time with
you. And yet, I feel bad about leaving father and the children alone for
Things have been very unpleasant around here. Mrs. Keferstein is doing
everything in her power to hurt us, because she does not like the fact that her
husband is a patron of ours, even though it is he who cannot live without his
daily beer and who likes to have some company. We would not mind leaving
here, if only we knew where to go. Should you happen to know a little town
where we could start another small tavern, please let us know. It is too
bad that taking care of Hugo's things is such a long drawn out task.
Currently, we couldn't even think of starting a bigger business.
Hopefully, I will have the opportunity to tell you more in person.
How I long to see your darling little child again! I am sure she has
changed quite a bit. I also long to see Aline's children- and the rest of
you. (Note: Mathilda mentions Julia's darling little child and this would be
her daughter, Teckla who was born April 10, 1860 in Dubuque, Iowa and Aline is
also a daughter of Friederick G.H. & Mathilda T. Hoffbauer who is living in
Dubuque now with husband Albert Loeper and their children.)
As far as my health goes, things are quite tolerable. The problems with my head
are worse again, but my stomach and liver have not been causing me much trouble.
What do you think, my dear Julie, can I wear my black coat one more time up
there? I cannot buy anything new; business is not very good right
now. Besides, I will need quite a bit of money for the trip. Please
drop me a few lines right away. I should mention one thing: I can't very
well come without bring Emma with me. (Note: Emma or Emilie is daughter of
Mathilda and Friederick G.H. Hoffbauer and Emma would be about 6 years old at
the time this letter was written.) First of all we have been promising her
forever. Second, with less supervision she would get into too much trouble
here. I think that Aline would gladly put her up for the two weeks, and
Emma would have enough space to frolic. The things you wrote about Mrs.
Gelpke are terrible. Is there no hope?
Please say hello to all our good friends. I am looking forward to seeing
them all. Hugo and his family are healthy. The little boy is a cute
little thing; I love him very much.
Father and all the others send you their kindest regards. Please write
right away and keep loving me.
Your dear Mother
May 17, 1860
My dear Julie!
Even though not too many good things have happened to me here lately, I realized
with astonishment that eight days have passed already since I left you, my dear
ones. I did not have the time to write to you sooner and to thank you
again from all my heart for the nice things you did for me during my stay.
How are you now, my dear Julie? I hope you have regained your strength and
look good and healthy again. I hope the same for my little grandchildren,
especially sweet, precious Thekla. How is the little creature? Is
she gaining weight? And has she missed her Grandmother yet? Oh,
Julie, you cannot imagine how I miss the dear little child. It will be
difficult to get used to being here again, even though your father is full of
kindness and attentiveness towards me. Everything seems so different here;
I am living in different rooms again.
Now that Aline and her little pest have left I often feel quite lonely; your
father has to spend most of his time in the cellar. ( Note: Aline being
daughter of Friederick or "father" and Mathilda and her little pest
being their Grandchild.)
Bertha and Emma are going to school; so I am left with Max, whom I have to
discipline quite a bit. ( Note:Bertha, Emma and Max are children born to
Friederick & Mathilda Hoffbauer.) The poor boy was terribly
neglected. He is gradually starting to look cleaner, more human again.
(Father, or Friederick took care of Max while Mathilda traveled to visit
Julie or Julia and family in Dubuque, IA.)
Jinni is courteous towards me (Note: this is her daughter in law, Virginia or
"Jinni" wife of their son Hugo Hans Hoffbauer.) I find her
to be quite hard working now. If only I could communicate better with her.
(Note: I believe that Mathilda's English was limited.)
Have you seen Aline or Albert again? I wonder how they are doing out
there. (Note: Aline is daughter of Friederick & Mathilda Hoffbauer
and Albert is Albert Loeper their son-in-law and I believe she is referring to
their move to Montana.)
How is poor Mrs. Ahlers doing? Do they know yet what is wrong with
her? Please give them all my kindest regards and ask them to write Aline
soon. Are you thinking about going out there some time? Wouldn't it
be possible to get your dear husband to treat poor Aline a little more friendly,
so that she could come to see you once in a while without having to hear any
bitter remarks? Being poor is not the biggest flaw a person can have; and
so I am determined to try to cure myself of it once and for all as well.
My trip was fast and pleasant. (Note: Mathilda's home from Julia's in Dubuque
back to Walcott.) It was the nicest boat I ever traveled on. I was
surprised how warm it was in Davenport at two o'clock on Tuesday afternoon; Hugo
met me there. I would recommend that you take the same boat when you come
to visit us with Ms. Haake (which I hope will be soon). It was the
Northern Line, the one with the golden star in the front. It has another
name as well, but I could not find it anywhere. Yes, my dear Julie, I
won't give up until Junkermann gives you permission to come and visit us and
soon, before the harvest begins. Otherwise, our horses will be busy, and
we need them for our little coach rides, don't we? Ms. Haake is very
welcome as well, provided she will be content with what we have here. Give
her my regards and ask her to write to me and let me know how she is doing now.
Mr. Werther was attentiveness itself around me, and I felt sorry that we lost
each other in Davenport before I was able to thank him once more. He
wanted to pay a brief visit to a family he knew and meet us at Brohmer's
afterwards. We waited for a long time and then decided to go to the family
ourselves. When we got there, they old us he had left for the boat
already. I am sure he was unable to find us. How is Mrs. Werther
doing? Is she still grieving? Please give her my regards as well and
to Mrs. Minger and all the other people I know.
How are things going with Fritz? (Note: this is Friederick & Mathilda's
son who is staying with his sister Julie or Julia and brother-in-law Otto
Junkermann in Dubuque, IA.) Has his behavior improved, is he more
diligent again? Tell him to be a good boy and write to us regularly.
If only I could see your little girl for an hour once in a while. Gosh, do
I love that girl! Take very good care of her so she stays healthy. I
wonder what her daddy is building with her now. Has he shown her anything
I better close for today. You will write soon, dear Julie, won't you, so
that I know how you are doing. Your father and I, we send our kindest
regards to you and Junkermann.
Keep your mother in your heart.
Our regards to Liesbeth as well.
(Note:This is how this letter ends.)
June 13, 1860
My dearest Julie!
Although I seem to have more and more difficulty writing to you, I can't find
any piece of mind unless I say in contact with you. Oh, my dear Julie, why
do you have to be so terribly far away from me. I can't reach you, even
though my heart strongly desires to be with you.
You have probably received my short letter informing you that I was ill. I
am still quite miserable, but I am at the point where I can slowly drag myself
around again. The illness which attacked my face is almost gone. I
only have pain left in one location. But the awful stomach cramps still
won't go away. I haven't had any yet today, but yesterday I had terrible
ones; I have had them almost everyday. I started a new course of treatment
yesterday; the old remedies did not seem to work anymore. Father (Note:
this being husband of Mathilda, Friederick G. H. Hoffbauer), takes care of
me tirelessly, and I am often moved to tears by how good he is to me. I
don't think I would be able to bear the pain if he wasn't so good to me. I
have no complaints about Virginia either. (Note: must be referring to
"Jinni" her daughter in law who is wife of Hugo Hans Hoffbauer.)
She has shown me nothing but goodness and kindness. She is much more
cordial and good natured towards me than she used to be. The language
barrier is the only bothersome thing left between us. This is the reason
why she cannot help me very much with my illness.
How have you been doing, my dear Julie? I hope to God that you were spared
from these stomach cramps. From Mx. Haake's letter I learned that you have
all had a good time and that everything is going well. Give her my regards
and tell her that I was very pleased about her letter and would like to thank
her for it. Please ask her to write again when she has some free time, and
to describe everything in detail. I will write back to her as soon as I am
The letters from Germany were from Bertha. They were full of information
again. They talked about good and kind things, but also about quite a few things
which made me feel sad. Dear Bertha has got her share of worries as
well-things I never knew about. Among other things, they invested the
majority of their assets in an investment scheme similar to the on Dr. Minges is
involved in. But it hasn't caused them any sleepless nights yet.
They would have loved to give us a small loan at this time. However, I
gather from her letter that it is absolutely impossible right now. She
promised me firmly that, as soon as she has some money at her disposal again,
she would send me some. At the time she sent me the letter she mailed us a
package containing various items. The package is addressed to Dubuque as well;
they thought I was staying a little with you longer. You haven't received
a notice about a package yet, have you? I would like to ask your dear
husband to kindly go to the Express Company and check if they have something,
and, if so, to forward it to me. I am assuming that it would cost quite a
bit of freight. I would like to ask him to pay it for now. It would
be really nice in a case like this if the pipe bowl cold be sold. For
then, he could just take the money out of the proceeds. If it doesn't look
like it would sell, I promise you I will send the money immediately.
However small our income is, I have tried putting away small amounts of money
ever since I received Bertha's letter.
How about you bringing me the package down here in person, my dear Julie?
I, for one, would not have to pay freight again, and you could visit me while I
am sick? Also, you would have the pleasure to open the package and pick
something suitable for yourself. There is no hint in your letters about
your coming down here anytime soon. Is Junkermann really that hard-hearted
that he wouldn't let you go? I long to see you, but-even more- I long to
see your darling little child. If only I could hold it in my arms
again! Oh, my dear Junkermann, please send the little child down here with
Julchen, if only for a week. (Note: Translator writes that Julchen is
diminutive of Julie and used as an endearment.) Who knows how long I
will be around to see my loved ones. Ms. Haake would probably accompany
Well, I have to say good-bye for today; I have to write to Aline yet. (Note:
Aline is also a daughter of Friederick G.H. & Mathilda Hoffbauer.)
I was very pleased by the way you welcomed the Lager family. Why don't you
write me sometime how things are going out there. Give my kindest regards
to Fritz (Note: Mathilda & Friederick's son who is staying with his
sister Julia in Dubuque) and tell him to write me again soon. Then
hel'll get a letter back from me. Farewell, my dear Julie. Give your
dear husband and your little one the kindest regards and a kiss from your
Father and all our friends send their regards as well. (Note: Father is how
she writes of husband and of course father, Friederick G. H. Hoffbauer.)
August 11, 1860
My dear Julie!
I received your nice letter today and wanted to respond to it right away.
Well, my dear Julie, on top of all your own trouble you had to worry about my
rather arduous trip home. I feel terribly sorry that this trip turned out
to be so unfortunate. I had been looking forward to it for years almost,
and it should have been a joyful event for you as well. I don't seem to be
allowed to enjoy most natural pleasures in an unspoiled way.
I am very glad that it was not a tragedy which called you home from here so
urgently. As a matter of fact, I even thought immediately that it might be
nothing other than Junkermann's impatience. You didn't write anything
about my deal little chubby chops. I was terribly worried about your
little ones. Is she perfectly fine again? And what did Daddy say
when he saw her again? How is Fritz doing; (Note: this is son of
Friederick G. H. & Mathilda Hoffbauer who is stay in Dubuque with his sister
Julia and brother in law Otto Junkermann) is he fine again as well?
The poor boy did not want to let go of me. He even turned around again,
threw himself at me and started to cry heartrendingly. Maybe he thought it
would be the last time he would see me. Now a few words about myself: I
couldn't say that my trip to Davenport with you did me no good; but for the next
few days I felt weak. Everything seemed somehow empty, and I felt
lonely. I do fee a little better now, though. I have regained my
appetite and now I am forced to cook meals all the time-and to do all my other
work as well. I still find it quite difficult, but what can I Do? I
don't really have a choice. I still have constant pain, sometimes quite
severs. I will probably end up going back to the doctor, even though I
hate to add to the already enormous bill. I do believe I have gained some
weight back and think that, over time, I should get better again.
I think Jinni (daughter-in-law of Mathilda and Friederick G. H. Hoffbauer and
wife of Hugo Hans Hoffbauer, her true name being Virginia) has somebody
coming to the house tomorrow, someone who will do her work. At least, I
don't have to worry about that. She is still feeling quite well and is
The old grandfather died and we are all very worried about whether the old man
had put his affairs in order. Otherwise, it would be very bad for
Hugo. Bill is taking a pleasure trip with the money and one of his fine
Did Harri Moen come to see you? He left here on Wednesday with his wife.
I was very pleased with what you wrote about the Lager family. It seem
that-with the help of God and Junk-they will have a quiet place of their own for
I meant to write to Aline (Note: Aline is also daughter of Mathilda &
Friederick G.H. Hoffbauer) as well, but, as you can see from my handwriting,
it still causes me great difficulty. I'll have to postpone it until
tomorrow. Give her our kindest regards and say hello from all of us to
Junk and all our friends.
Your father is constantly irritated over people not paying. Friederich
spends several hours here every evening; they go threshing at Marquart's.
At least this way we have some fun time.
Until next time, when I will write more.
I am shaking all over; writing this letter has made me very upset.
Your loving Mother
September 18, 1860
My dear Julchen!
I received your nice letter this morning. Since I have a little free time
I want to answer it right away. I am always very glad to receive news from
you and to find out that you are all healthy and content. It always puts
me in good spirits for a while; therefore, never let me wait too long for
news. In your letter, you accused me of forgetting my promise to come and
visit. But couldn't I the same to you? Didn't you and your family
promise me to come and see us on the 27th of this month? I can still keep
my promise; I am just not health enough at this time, unfortunately. You would
have to hurry if you still wanted to come here, however; the 27th is Thursday in
Expecting to have the pleasure of your visit would be madness, and that is why I
don't allow myself to get my hopes up. I would get too depressed if it was
in vain. First we thought about inviting some friends, but I think it
might be better to drop the idea. Why don't you open a bottle of wine and
drink to our health, though, both father (Note: father being her husband,
Friederick G. H. Hoffbauer) and I could use it. As far s my visiting
you goes, there is little or no chance. I can't possibly leave father and
the children alone for more than a few days, especially since Hugo might move
out of the house soon. (Note: Hugo being son of Mathilda & Friederick G.
H. Hoffbauer) Finding a reliable person to help out is difficult. But I'll
see what it looks like when my two dear sons-in-law (Note: this would be Otto
Junkermann & Albert Loeper) come down to get me. In your request
for me to come up I sense Aline's hidden wish to assist her in her impending
delivery.(Note: Aline also being a daughter of Mathilda & Friederick G.H.
Hoffbauer.) If I can arrange it at all, I will try to be there at
least then. Have her write and tell me the due date as exactly as
Jinni and Hugo send their regards. (Note: Jinni being daughter-in-law
"Virginia" and Hugo being son of Mathilda & Friederick G. H.
Hoffbauer.) They are very pleased with their son, who is starting to
look very cute. If only I could see your dear little stubborn one again
sometime. Is it still as round, and is Junkermann still spoiling it?
I can picture him clearly, how pleased he is with the little thing when it is in
one of its contrary moods. Father and I would like to send our kindest
regards to him, to Fritz (Note: Fritz being son of Mathilda & Friederick
G. H. Hoffbauer who is staying with this sister Julia and family in Dubuque)
and to the Lager family.
Tell Fritz to write. And you, too, please write right away.