Submitted by Gayle Harper

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Appendix A


THOSE portions of Barendregt's letter to Rev. H. P. Scholte which depicted conditions in the Mississippi Valley in 1846 and informed oncoming Dutch emigrants as to matters connected with the voyage to America deserve to be translated and preserved as an interesting picture of the times. Copious extracts follow:

     As we entered the Gulf of Mexico on the 14th of November, the wind changed so that we sailed before it and on the 18th we could see the low shores of the New World. We were pulled along farther by a steam tug which tows vessels up the Mississippi, no matter how the wind blows, and at 7 a. m.. we arrived at New Orleans. The Lord had surely helped us. Although we came by a round-about way, we completed the voyage from Holland to New Orleans in 45 days. We had five deaths and three births - all Germans.
     To be brief I shall not write too much of what we saw upon the Mississippi, only something of New Orleans: this is a very large and extensive city; everything seems to be but just begun, and one sees hundreds of houses rising up everywhere; all is bustle, unusually so on account of the rattle and rumble of wagons and carts. Six hundred ocean ships lie alongside the wharves three by three, also a large number of steamboats, mostly very big for their kind but of construction entirely different from that of boats in Holland. They say that 1300 of these are engaged upon the Mississippi, and I can easily believe it judging from all the hustle and hurry. Sailing vessels one does not see; they can not be used since the river channel is very crooked and the wind can never blow in such a way as to allow ships to make headway. The stream flows constantly and the river banks are covered with trees so that neither horses nor human beings can draw a ship. Then too, distances are so long that 10 or 12 hours is a mere trifle. From New Orleans to St. Louis is 1200 or 1300 English miles. Shipping as in, Holland is therefore impracticable.
     Arriving at New Orleans in the morning, that same day we took a steamboat to carry us up the river. The fare was $2.50 or one half for children under nine years of age, while each person had 100 pounds of baggage free, and for additional freight one had to pay 25 cents per hundred pounds. We paid some money down before starting.
     The following will serve as a bit of information: before a ship arrives at New Orleans, a customs officer comes on board. He makes out a list of the families and the number of people composing them as well as the number of trunks and fire-arms. I advise everyone to answer his questions accurately, not to conceal anything as the expense is the same whether one has six or twelve trunks.
     He only wishes to know what every immigrant has. One receives two blank papers - these one must get filled out in the toll-house, as the office is called, the sooner the better. The officer has the right to demand 50 American cents for the two papers; but he may also give them free of cost and so one can try to get them for less money - the poor now and then excite pity. At the time of signing one pays 20 cents more for the two papers. I write this because some imagine that all this is unnecessary graft, but this is really not so, for the officer who superintends the inspection of one's property lets nothing pass for which one does not have papers. One must also make out a paper and have it signed by the captain, wherein is receipted the amount of money paid down for freight upon the steamboat.
     The river steamboats all lie at the wharves, with signboards which bear the date of departure and the destination. One goes aboard and usually finds the captain, with whom one makes the contract. . . . Everywhere there are interpreters who desire to be of service to you at all times; these are unnecessary if you have with you a person who speaks English; if among your company no one can be found who has a command of this language, as was the case with us, it is best to employ them, but always with caution, because some of them are grafters. We were fortunate to get a reasonably good man.
     This too is a serious matter: everywhere along our route people try to reduce the value of our gold money and also the five-franc pieces, and here a gold piece is worth about four dollars; as to the five-franc pieces I have had no experience.
     This also is good advice: "Know the Lord in all thy ways." The application which we have made of this is broad. Think of it: the steamboat which we visited first with our interpreter and which asked a three-dollar fare, departed a short while before we did, and when we overtook her three days later, we learned that she had collided with another boat in the midst of a thick fog, had burst a boiler, and sunk so that forty-five passengers lost their lives ! We saved the crew and a few others from the wreck and put them ashore at the first town. That we did not take passage on the steamboat is not to be ascribed to our wisdom, because the fare demanded was not at all extortionate; besides, she appeared to be a good boat, while ours was much older and weaker; we also learned that she was very slow; in short, that we did not choose the unfortunate boat was the Lord's work: let Him be thanked and praised.
     We finished the trip from New Orleans to St. Louis in nine days. Along this river from beginning to end are wooded banks. Never would I have imagined that there was still so much apparently quite useless timber in the world; and now I can very readily believe that I have seen but a small portion of America, as here and there one perceives the beginning or laying out of a city. At first one sees sugar cane, further on cotton, and then, through openings in the timber, fields of maize; furthermore the river is filled with floating logs which are everywhere sent adrift along the banks.
     Here at St. Louis there is much industry; 1300 new buildings are being constructed, 500 were completed this past summer, and everything seems to be but just begun. They say that the city is three hours long; this strikes me as rather exaggerated, but I have no good reason to doubt it. Two of our brethren tried to see the city from one end to the other; but as it took so long, they got tired and turned back.
     The incoming and outgoing steamboats are also very numerous here. Everything is conveyed across the city here and at New Orleans by means of horses, mules, or oxen, of which one sometimes sees as many as twelve but usually eight drawing a wagon. Cattle are butchered, quartered, and piled on carts.
    Everything comes to market: vegetables, apples, potatoes, mutton, fish of all sorts; but nothing can be called cheap, except bread, meal or flour, meat and pork: these alone are to be classed among cheap articles in America. And although there is so much timber, if one has to buy firewood, he has to pay a big price.
     Here winter set in just as we arrived. Everything is snowed under, and just now it is freezing besides, but not severely. The journey to Iowa or Wisconsin we cannot continue because the river is too low for steamboat travel. But this we don't consider necessary since we have met with several brothers from Winterswijk, of whom two had just been to Iowa shortly before our arrival. Besides, there are German brethren here, Methodists, who are acquainted with all conditions, have shown us much friendliness and willingness to help, and have undertaken to answer the questions which you gave me to prompt my investigations. Enclosed is a letter by one of them in the German language. So much of it as he read to me, I can best guarantee to be the exact truth.
     The following will serve to explain matters:

1. Land along the rivers is everywhere in the hands of
speculators, from whom it is still to be obtained at an in
creased price.
2. Stock is not so expensive. For $10 one can buy a good cow with calf. Also, Jan Schaap and I saw a horse which looked sound and fast, for which not more than $15 was offered.
3. Bricks are large, almost like the red bricks of Holland but they are not baked hard, hence not of the best quality. Lime is fairly good, 20 cents per bushel which is equivalent to 50 cents for 25 pounds in The Netherlands.
4. I myself have bought good. fat meat for two cents and pork for 2.1/4 cents per pound. As to the weight, I believe the pound here is less than the pound of five ounces in Holland.
5. Feathers are very good at 25 cents per pound.

If you abide by your decision to settle in North America, then the following will also serve to inform you
     First: Every land-buyer who wants to cultivate land of his own must above all manage to bring his laborers with him from Holland, if he thinks he will need help.
     Secondly The cost of living will be moderate before one gets a crop; bread and meat and pork are necessities and they are cheap here; for clothing, house-rent, and firewood one need have no anxiety.
     Thirdly: For those who are good makers of butter and cheese prospects are certainly fine, because these products are bad in the market here. As to dairy appliances it will be well to take along as many as possible, especially what can be packed into boxes. On shipboard one needs pay no more for them and steamboat freight is only 25 cents per hundred pounds. Everything is obtainable here, but generally expensive. I give the same advice 'as to all tools and implements, for example those needed for agriculture and all sorts of trades; yet I should certainly not advise you to buy anything new in Holland to take with you, since the difference in price is not large enough. Besides there is much difference in tools and not everyone must expect to be able to remain a Hollander if he comes to live in America; ways and manners should be followed here. My meaning is that he who has tools should not throw them away for a trifle, especially not if they are still good; but to take trash along to America is always nonsense.
     I may also add that everyone should take his best tableware if it is not too easily broken; if it is well packed between clothing in boxes full to the cover, one can easily keep it whole; our things thus far are pretty well preserved despite the fact that our boxes are sometimes rolled along like barrels. Thus anyone can well understand that boxes should be particularly strong; for I have seen many smashed and then much hard treatment of the contents; also, the boxes must not be too big, for in that event they are handled more harshly still.
     Further I shall give some advice relative to food-stuff and household articles:
     There should be 160 pounds for each person, distributed as follows: 10 pounds of bacon, reasonably thick, for making pan-cakes; 10 pounds of ham to eat with bread, etc.; 10 pounds of meat; 20 pounds of rice, which costs nearly the same here; 20 pounds of flour, which should all be used up; 15 pounds of potatoes; 20 pounds of green peas, of the best quality; if one can save these, they can be used as seed, as I have seen only poor ones here and expensive ones at that; 20 pounds of capuchin peas; 30 pounds of the best bread cut into slices and well dried; 5 pounds of ordinary rusks.
     Further it is well and useful to bring a quantity of headcheese, besides butter, cheese, loaf-sugar, prunes, and everything one can eat without cooking, sweet cake, various drinks, wine, brandy, Rhine wine, gin, vinegar, salt, mustard, pepper, coffee, tea, as well as some household remedies for illness, for the Americans have no doctor on board, and so everyone takes care of himself.
     The household utensils consist of tea-kettle, copper or iron cooking-pot, tin pan, tin-plates from which to eat, since passengers can seldom sit together regularly, tin water-cans or kegs, etc. If a person must go singly, I advise him to cooperate with six or eight others, or else the company will be too large, and differences of opinion are likely to arise.
     Further, I must say that the carriers here treat people variously; they appear to deduct as much as possible. Among us there were some who paid from 30 to 35 florins [$12 to $14], and we had to pay 45 florins. There were also some on board our ship who were offered transportation on a good ship at 35 florins if their families wanted to take advantage of the offer in the spring.
     I do not exactly know whether to advise people to come by way of New York or New Orleans; but this I know, that if one sails from Holland after the month of February, the journey by way of New Orleans is too hot; in that case I prefer New York; one should take into consideration the increased expense and trouble involved in taking a land journey; but if one can depart before or during the month of February, come to New Orleans, because that means a saving of trouble and expense.
     It also makes a great deal of difference where one expects to settle. If Iowa is the place, the journey by way of New York is more difficult, as one must in all events go to Milwaukee first and from there back to Iowa, which is not necessary if one comes by way of New Orleans; for then one can easily get to Iowa by steamboat. In all cases it is best for those who undoubtedly intend to settle in this region to come to St. Louis, whence it is so easy to depart in all directions.
     As to the climate, I understand it is much too warm for us here in the summer; for it happens that a laborer -who chops wood or unloads wood from ships is offered three dollars a day in summer, and now can get only 50 or 75 cents. Iowa, I hear, is a good ways north and therefore much colder.
     All sorts of products are raised here: maize, wheat, rye, oats, beans, etc. As for cabbage seed, it is hardly to be found; since lard is cheap here, there is not much need of cabbage-seed oil. The prices of grain are not high - there is reason for this, but then we should have to enter into a discussion of several matters, viz., the yield of the land, labor, cost of planting, sowing, etc. But I am not well enough acquainted with the facts to speak about the matter, and there is little or no need to do so; if for example I give a price, a person in Holland will prepare at once to make comparisons and figure according to Dutch standards. . Experience will be the best teacher here.
     As for the worship of God: one finds really God-fearing people among the Germans and also among the English; indeed there are many Christian negroes here. We find the Germans very friendly; but we do not harmonize in everything. The Sabbath is reasonably respected. One finds no shocking immorality here, as in Rotterdam or other cities of Holland.
     As for the schools, you know they are free here; usually there is a school with every church. I am not yet well enough informed so as to give a good account of the school system. Sunday-schools are numerous here, and one can get free instruction: these are also good to enable us to learn a little of the English language. He who knows English well possesses riches, if he comes here, from Holland. I cannot therefore enough urge everyone by all means to learn the English language.
     I have nothing special which I consider necessary to add. My request is that you be so good as to publish this letter so far as you are able, likewise to see to it that brother van H ---- of R---- be informed at an early date. Tell him that as baker he could more easily be lord in St. Louis than citizen in Rotterdam. Also K-----, who put me many questions which are answered herein; also Mr. Jansdam, etc.
     Respectfully and affectionately, yours in the Lord
 Jesus Christ.                                                             HEND'K BARENDREGT.
     N. B. Be sure to greet brother Betten. Of the letter written by Brummelkamp and van Raalte to procure financial aid for the worthy poor, we here are not informed. Nor do we know anything of van Raalte and those who sailed with him.

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Hollanders of Iowa
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Appendix B



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