The following is a letter to my great grandmother, Louisa Steinhilber, from a former tutor. This letter was written three months before her marriage to Robert Krause, my great grandfather. Louisa lived with her parents, Ezekiel and Minnie (nee Mast) and her siblings on a farm in Blue Grass Township. After her marriage, she and Robert resided in Davenport. Johannes was a teacher and also a tutor. Johannes was a cousin of my maternal grandfather, Henry Wolters. I find the letter a bit unusual-and I do believe Johannes was a bit smitten with Virginia, my great grandmother's sister.
To Miss Louisa Steinhiber,
It will, in all probability surprise you, my dear Louisa that I am taking the liberty of addressing a letter to you. Fine, go ahead, and be surprised. Surprise helps to combat boredom. I wish I could find something to be surprised about, for St. Louis is very dull indeed. We have priests here in enormous quantity, and some other human beings. Atpresent 300 new buildings are under construction. We have a good many theaters, but attendance is poor, in contrast to church attendance. Also, there is much beer drinking on Sundays, with doors hospitably opened. There is no living God; He is dead. I should like to mail you some of the numerous priests, but they are hard to catch. The voyage to St. Louis is very pleasant. One eats, sleeps, and is exquisitely bored. I did not attend the Fair, having no business to look after. I did not look for acquaintances, and have not found any. Should I, once again come to Davenport, I should surely bring some priests along, and hand them over to Virginia. They are supposed to be tasty, especially when consumed early in the morning on an empty stomach .Let me say that if you do not decide to marry, the custom will become obsolete. Kindly remember me to your good parents, as well as your sisters and brothers. I shall never forget the days spent in the house of your parents. Should circumstances permit, I shall take the liberty of visiting both Davenport and Maplegrove. However, if I am unable to come, there is always remembrance. If only I could think of something to say I would write more often, but my brain is shrinking continuously and, when I am ready to kick the bucket, the coroner will be as surprised as you are bound to be when reading this letter. Should you think of getting married, please run a red flag on the top of your house, for as you know I believe in hunches coming true. And you must realize I love discussing marriages. I hope that by now your mother put up all her pickles and preserves, and that nothing will go to seed, for that would be a major calamity. I assume that your mother enjoyed the Fair; they say it was excellent. Here it closed on Tuesday of last week. Railroad tracks have been laid through the main street of Si. Louis. Horse-drawn wagons are going to use these tracks. Some of the wagons are ready for use. The city is growing in leaps and bounds. There is much construction work, but other enterprises are nothing to brag about, though it is better than Davenport.
I shall probably go to New Orleans at the end of this month or at the beginning of November. From there I am going to write again, just to give you something more to be surprised about. In case Virginia is another female who has no "beau", I have found one for her. He is a very religious sexton, who wants to marry a very religious girl. I think he would appeal to her, but he does smell of corpses and church. Funny, several people fell in love with my cow, but no one falls in love with me. Rather incomprehensible, for I have a handsome nose and am in the prime of life. I tried to call on Mr. Klein, but was unable to reach him. His wife died, he married again and then disappeared. No one knows where he is. Please give my best to Aunt Lou should you see her, further more remember me to the Callmans, but to no one else. I am a stupid (I mean clever) poor farmer, and worse I am German, hence according to American ideas strictly inferior. Now, once again, remember me to your parents, sisters and brothers, not to Virginia who does not care for me because, alas I am not religious. To you goes my love and hearty wishes for your welfare and happiness. I remain yours devotedly, Johannes Eyser
Submitted by: Marianne Ruppersberger