Bauer Family Letters (Der Staats - Anzeiger)
Bauer Family Letters published in Der Staats - Anzeiger and translated from German to English by Horst Gutsche, Barrhead, Alberta. Funding for the translation work courtesy of Cameron and Adena Bauer, Calgary, Alberta.
1. Friedenstal, December 16, 1921 – printed in March 21, 1922 – Film # 1?
My Beloved Ones!
Yesterday I wrote a long letter to Wilhelm which he will hopefully also receive as I also hope that these lines will also get to you dear Alexander. During wartime we had a complete postal mail prohibition.
If you should receive these notes then think of us and help us with whatever you can for the situation is very bad at our place. If your aid is not forthcoming for us we will, sooner or later, become victims of death by famine. We presently reside in a country in which everyone needs aid. If I had known three years ago what I know today then I would be in Germany since the fall of 1918 and would be able to live a life without any cares today. Our situation is truly bad and without aid from abroad we cannot exist. Has then our old Lord God truly died or is he sleeping or did he journey afar? Did we believe in a living God until now or in an idol? Are we really the worst people upon the earth because God is punishing us so terribly? If this is true then we must feel sorry for our sins and repent. It is stated that those whom God loves he disciplines. If this had not happened then we would have truly gotten to the point where we would not find it necessary to have our dear God.
Write after the reception of this letter again. Thereby you will greatly reduce the burdens suppressing our souls.
With a greeting to all acquaintances and relatives;
2. Governorate of Tauria, Friedenstal, Crimea, April 18, (1922) – (printed on September 5, 1922)
My Beloved Ones!
With thanksgiving we received your precious letter of March 2nd and read it with great joy. Finally after waiting for a long time a letter found its way to its destination. Deepest thanks for the letter and for your compassion which you expressed in the letter.
You can be considered fortunate in comparison to us. Who would have thought six years ago that conditions would change to such a degree? Now we have reached the edge of calamity. If we can wait out this year until the new harvest then we will have gained much. Everyone has learned to save. The chef of the kitchen is obliged to hand out small portions. This boss has the unreasonable view that all people who take part in the meal get a thinner face after a short period in time. One can find bread only in a few houses and in meager quantities. Even though one talks a lot about help from abroad, despite this no one in Friedenstal has gotten anything. Cats and dogs have greatly decreased in number. Our last cat was also stolen recently. Probably the unfortunate one had to still hunger for a short time for someone who was starving. From many letters which have reached Canada from the Crimea the sad situation will be known among all and for this reason this time I will leave out a description of the terrible conditions. I would like to describe life in our family in succinct terms.
Although I have described the sad news of the death of our mother in several letters I can see that you don’t know anything about all of that as yet. Our mother was very much alive and hale and hearty in her work until the spring of the previous year. She became ill with stomach cancer around the time of May. She spent only a short time in bed and after only a few days in bed she felt physically so strong that already after several days she could tackle her household chores a little at a time. We children knew very little about the bad condition which our beloved mother was in and no one had the slightest suspicion of stomach cancer. It was first in the fall of previous year when mother suddenly got emaciated, got weaker physically and suffered significant pains in her stomach so that we took note and drove (her) to the doctor. But it was already too late for the doctor could no longer help her and besides this our beloved little mother was already too weak and would have not been able to go through any surgery. A conscientious physician prepared good medicine for her which eased her pains. For about two weeks she did not feel herself to be seriously ill and could get up from her bed now and then but after these two weeks difficult days appeared. Three days before her death she got a light stroke on the entire left side. On Monday, September 27 toward evening while she was drinking a bit of tea for refreshment, she suddenly collapsed in bed and the result was that our little mother became completely helpless. The same evening she received the Lord’s Supper (Translator’s note: the term Nachtmahl is used for the Lord’s Supper in some old High German dialects and for supper in Austrian German dialect). She could only speak with great effort after that. Great pain and weakness resulted in the fact that she was unable to sleep anymore until her death which followed on the afternoon of September 30th at 6:00 p.m. She went home reconciled completely with God and man. May God grant her eternal rest!
I have never shed tears since I became an adult but I was able to cry at the deathbed of my mother and the tears eased my grief. She was buried by Pastor Hoerschelmann* on October 1st. Gottlieb, who now resides with his wife – whose maiden name was Berger from Berlin – in Darmstadt and Bernhard with his wife – whose maiden name is Hahn from Darmstadt – were also at the funeral. Bernhard is active as a teacher in Neu Liebental. This is the short history of mother during the last days of her life.
Father also had to suffer a lot during the past years. But now he is almost healthy again
(Translator’s note: here at least one line is missing and this may be a second letter).
We did not receive all your letters. During the past year from September 1st to January 1, 1922 I sent about 10 letters to you three brothers. Hardly a week goes by when I do not write one or two letters. Hopefully now that after everything has settled down a bit in the Russian Empire the letters will be sent more easily. Letters are now very expensive. A regular letter to America or Germany cost 200,000.00 rubles (in stamps) one week ago. Until now I could not find out if one can send letters to America without stamps. If it should be possible then in the future we will send all letters without stamps.
As yet we have not received our parcels with foodstuffs which you sent to us. Hopefully we will receive them soon.
An office of the aid society ARA (Translator’s note: American Relief Agency?) has now been established in Simferopol. In case you can afford to continue sending aid in terms of money or foodstuffs send it to ARA. A short while ago there was an American professor by the name of Morehead here in Simferopol. He has already undertaken necessary steps for the delivery of parcels. Thus everything is already in order. In the future only parcels must be sent which all arrive punctually. If something should be unclear to you then you can have that cleared up by getting advice from ARA.
As far as famine is concerned the country’s government has done something to combat that. Hopefully we will not have to go hungry in the next year. The prospects for a harvest are satisfactory. May there be a good harvest! We had very difficult living circumstances this year. Everything was barely sufficient. The chef who does not provide enough in the kitchen has been and is still is the boss in the kitchen.
Our industry is quite ruined. In any case it will take a long time before we can work with full employment again. It is just that everything is lacking. We only have a few horses, cows and clothes. You can get almost anything at the market place if you only have money. It is said that one American dollar is supposed to cost seven million rubles. The two dollars which you, Alexander, placed in the letter were not in the letter when we got it.
Karl and Amalie are also still in Friedenstal. Gottlieb and Katharina, his wife, are in Darmstadt. Bernhard and Olga, his wife, are in Neu Liebental. Bernhard has already been employed for four years as the teacher in Neu Liebental. At present teachers receive starvation wages. There is no sense in being a teacher. By far one cannot earn one’s keep at all. Besides this all of us are still alive. Only our poor mother died of stomach cancer in the fall. Our father is on the way to recovery. Things are progressing slowly for Johannes.
With a greeting to all - from Martin Bauer.
(Both letters were sent in for publication by Alexander Bauer, Hilda, Alberta, Canada; the brother of the author. One Canadian dollar worth 90 cents in currency here (Translator’s note: what is meant is in the United States) was credited to their account – the Editor)
*This pastor would have been either Ferdinand Hoerschelmann or Ferdinand Konstantin Ludwig Hoerschelmann.
Ferdinand Konstantin Ludwig Hoerschelmann was born on August 27, 1855 in Kosch in Estonia, Russian Empire and died in Minusinsk in Siberia on October 15, 1931. His father was Pastor Ferdinand Hoerschelmann and his mother Agathe nee Quist. He married Julie Elisabeth Charlotte Knorre on January 10, 1885 who was born on February 15, 1861 and died in Simferopol in the Crimea on July 4, 1925. She was the daughter of the music teacher Alexander Eduard Knorre and his wife Charlotte nee Wagner. He attended the cathedral school in Reval (Talinn), Estonia from 1876 to 1882 and was a student of theology in Dorpat (Tartu), Estonia from 1876 to 1882. He was ordained on January 9, 1883 in Moscow and was an assistant pastor from 1883 to 1887 in Tblisi, Georgia and from 1887 to 1891 a regular assistant pastor in Hochheim in the Crimea, pastor in Neusatz in the Crimea from 1891 to 1929 and was the dean of the Crimea. He visited the congregation in Slavgorod in Western Siberia in 1930 and was arrested there in 1930 and was in the prison in Minusinsk.
Ferdinand Hoerschelmann was born on October 4, 1887 in Hochheim and died near Novosibirsk in Siberia on February 13, 1932 (slain by a farmer while chopping down trees). His father was Pastor Ferdinand Konstantin Ludwig Hoerschelmann and his mother was Elisabeth nee Knorre. He was single. He attended St. Peter Evangelical Lutheran School in St. Petersburg from 1904 to 1908, studied theology in Dorpat (Tartu) from 1909 to 1915, was ordained in 1918 and the assistant pastor in Neusatz in the Crimea from 1918 to 1929. In November, 1927 he served as the pastoral vicar at the St. Peter and St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church (cathedral) in Moscow. He was deported to Novosibirsk in 1929.
2. Friedenstal, December 29 (published on March 21, 1922 – Film # 1)
I have already sent several letters to you Americans but unfortunately could not get an answer. What could the reason be? Is the address incorrect or don’t you simply not want to respond to our letters. It is very depressing when one writes letters so often and cannot get a response.
In my letters, which I sent to you in the fall, I reported about the death of our beloved mother. May God grant her eternal rest! She died on September 30 of this year, according to the old calendar, and was put to rest in the ground on October 2. Our father also had to suffer many a great pain this summer but has recuperated now and will, in a short period of time, hopefully be completely healthy. He had two operations on his bladder. After the operation incision was completely healed he got a very large swelling in his lower abdomen which would probably have been the cause of the end of his old and weak life if medical aid had not been applied there immediately.
By and large things are going very badly for us and if we do not get any aid from abroad we are involuntarily consecrated to die of starvation. For this reason give aid to us if this is in your power.
At the close I would like to wish you all a blessed New Year. Be commended to God. I would like to immigrate to America. Please give me advice.
With a greeting;
Letter # 3 - Logan County, Lehr, January 27, 1918 (published February 5, 1918)
The Staats-Anzeiger regularly arrives to visit my place twice a week and I must state that I like it a lot. It is an excellent paper for us farmers and brings us news not only from our state of North Dakota but also from other states in the country and even from the whole world. The weather is quite cold but it is still a beautiful winter. A lot of feed is necessary this winter and I furnish my livestock with a lot of “white bread” (Translator’s note: probably referring to grain or grain feed; some Germans from Russia used to call white bread “cake”) which is quite a bit less expensive than hay. Sometimes I also give this kind of feed to the horses but they then get bloated. Here every farmer already has a telephone in his house and it is no longer necessary to use oxen, horses or a car if one wants to quickly ask the neighbour about something. By making use of this little object one is connected with the entire world. At this point I would also like to express my deepest thanks to the editor for the fine scissors which I received as a bonus.
With a friendly greeting for all my friends and acquaintances;
Letter # 4 - From Canada - Alberta - Three Hills, October 1, 1925 (published October 23, 1925)
Esteemed Editor Brandt!
I sincerely thank you for sending me the letter from my niece Mathilde Bast nee Sauer which I received along with the other material a short time ago.
Some readers will perhaps be interested in finding out how our harvest in Canada was. I cannot report as yet about the results because we have not gotten around to threshing yet. Despite the continuing drought the harvest turned out better this year than last year. But after we finished harvesting it began to rain and so nothing could be threshed at all. During the last while six inches of snow fell here so that there is no idea when we can begin with our threshing work again.
My neighbor Christian Klaiber just came to me and brought me the sad news that our good neighbor Jakob Mueller was kicked so hard on his breast by one of his horses that he died instantly. Jakob Mueller, who died under such tragic circumstances, is the second oldest son of Gottlieb Mueller and came to this area from North Dakota in 1901. The deceased attained the age of 40 (? - hard to read) and is survived by his wife Bertha nee Nitz and two children. Oh how quickly and unexpectedly does death arrive! Let us therefore be watchful at all times so that we are always prepared for death.
I would like to have my nephew Johannes Lehmann in Alt Elft informed that we read all of his reports. We were very pleased to read them. Unfortunately we cannot understand why you do not write to us in person. Also, we have also not received any word from nephew Martin Bauer in Pelini. We got all your letters, in which you described your war experiences. The only thing missing is the conclusion (of the report). Thus we expect that you will also report on the final outcome.
Furthermore, I also greet Jakob and Maria Steinke in Alexanderfeld in Bessarabia. I have heard from my brother’s children that you want to come to America. We wish you a successful (good) trip and hope to see you soon. We intend to take a trip in order to visit people in Colorado and North Dakota before winter sets in.
I would like to ask Mr. Heinrich Klotz in Teplitz to send me information on how my sister-in-law the widow Karoline Dreher is doing. Please pass on my greetings. I would also like to have a sign of life from my brothers-in-law Buchfink, Felchle (probably Fälchle or Fälscher originally) and Dreher. Mr. Klotz, I sincerely thank you in advance (for doing this for me). (The requested issue (of the newpaper) was sent to the named persons. There is no expense for them. Many thanks - The Editor)
I would also like to ask you, Editor Brandt, if I could order stationary and envelopes with my printed address on them from you. (Certainly - The Editor)
With a greeting;
(Just as a note: there is an article on the last page which reports on how well beavers are doing in Germany)
Letter # 5 - Three Hills; October 10, 1925 (published October 27, 1925)
Esteemed Staats-Anzeiger, (Translator’s note: Staats-Anzeiger means State Reporter; that is this was the State Reporter for the Dakotas.)
As ten days have passed since my last report I would like to write a short note to the honourable newspaper.
The weather has not changed since the last report. We are getting rain or snow almost every day. It seems that our harvest this year will be lost because the sheaves (or cut grain) on the fields look very black. If warm weather arrives now then they might start to sprout and grow.
I just received four issues of the precious newspaper. I found two reports from my nephew Johannes Lehmann. I am very glad that there is somebody again who is sending us news from Alt Elft. So I am also going to send more news to the newspaper. I also read two reports from Otto Lehmann from Alexanderfeld in which I noted that my friend Jakob Steinke wants to come to America soon. For that reason I would like to wish him a successful (good) trip. I noted in the report from my nephew Johannes Lehmann that he is looking for friends here. I can give him the addresses of the people he is looking for right now. Gottfried and Emanuel Renz?, Gottfried Knodel and Gottlieb Funk are living in Odessa, Washington. The address for Gottlieb Janke is Beiseker, Alberta, Canada only 30 miles away from me. August Siewert and Jakob Spies moved from Odessa, Washington to Portland, Oregon. Johannes and Christian are residing somewhere in South Dakota.
Inform my brother and all my friends in Alt Elft that we are all still healthy and that it is really raining again today about which we are not happy right now. But we would be very thankful to our Lord God for rain if we had already finished threshing. (The issues with your reports will be sent to your brother-in-law and your brother - The Editor).
With a greeting;
Letter # 6 - The First Installment - From Canada - Alberta - Three Hills, January 13, 1926 (published February 5, 1926)
Dear Friend Brandt (Translator’s note: the Editor)!
One usually says: Whoever takes a trip can also talk about it. So it is with me. And since we are at home again and after we returned was asked by many of my friends to report something about my trip in the Staats-Anzeiger (the paper) I am going to fulfill their request.
Well; on November 30th we; namely my humble self, my other half and our little five year old son and also my neighbor Gottlieb Leischner and his wife and their little son got on board the iron horse at Olds at 11:00 a.m. and got to Calgary at 2:00 p.m. already where we looked up our old friend Jakob Schäfer and his wife. Unfortunately we came upon Mrs. Schäfer in a terrible state of affairs (condition) for she had become very ill with whooping cough. The next morning we left Calgary at 2:00 a.m. and journeyed in a northerly direction via Medicine Hat to Portal. Portal is located on the border and we had to get off in order to have our baggage (things) inspected. But since we had the necessary documents along with us the trip continued unhindered. On the night of December 2nd we crossed over the border and travelled through North Dakota. At 2:00 p.m. in the afternoon we got to Hankinson, North Dakota and we had a layover there until the next morning. We got on the train again at 7:00 a.m. on December 3rd and travelled down to Kulm, North Dakota. We arrived there at noon hour and the first thing we did was visit the friend of my travelling companion Gottlieb Gehring (Translator’s note: Perhaps there is a printing error here). As we had not seen each other for 23 years already my old friend Gottlieb hardly recognized me. But I recognized him right away. Gottlieb has also experienced hard blows of fate. His wife died several years ago. But now he has a good wife again. We stayed with him for three days and three nights. We also had the opportunity there to make the acquaintance of his brother-in-law Johann and his sister Wilhelmine Gehnert. We also visited the old blacksmith, Gottlieb Reinke, and his wife there. Of course there was a lot to recount about the old homeland. Then we also made visits yet to Bernhard and Alexander Gehring the sons of Friedrich Gehring. Alexander is an Evangelical pastor there while Bernhard runs a hardware store. We also visited Uncle Johann and Aunt Wilhelmina Schweigert, Benjamin Gehring (son of Gottlieb), my old comrade Friedrich Rossmann (Roßmann) who is employed as a miller in the mill there. He is still the same old Fritz as he was 28 years ago when I saw him for the last time. Our visit to Kulm then came to a conclusion and we had to say farewell. Yes; I almost forgot to mention that we also visited Johann Heer and his wife Lydia whose maiden name is Rast (and whose father was Daniel) there. We even visited them twice. There was also a long conversation at their place which almost didn’t want to end. We talked about every house in Alt Elft; one after the other and everyone was mentioned. The magnificent self-made flowers which Mrs. Heer gave to us as a gift now decorate our table. Thank you very much for them Lydia!
Now we would like to express the joyful hope of seeing our friends again and would like to thank them once again for all that they did for us during our visit.
Our next destination was Fredonia, North Dakota and John and Lydia Heer took us in his new car to Gottlieb Dürr (Duerr) who lives on a farm about two and one half miles from Fredonia, North Dakota. At noon on Saturday we departed from Kulm and arrived at Gottlieb Dürr’s at 2:00 p.m.
And now in order to summarize and so no one will be offended I would like to note a list of those friends who we visited on our trip. They were: Gottlieb Leischner, John Dehring, David Oelke who are all at Mayton; Emanuel Schneider, Albert Neumüller, Franz Brickel, Gottlieb Schaefer, John Biske (or Bisle), Daniel Siewert, all at Sunny Slope; Emanuel Enze at Trochu; Philipp Bauer at Curlew; Wille Albrecht at Trochu; John Strohmaier at Trochu; Christ (a shorted form of Christian) Strohmaier, Leonhard Becker, Fred Strohmaier, Wille Hedrich, Rudolf Gehring, John Radomske, Eduard Heer, Theodor Heer, Ludwig Richter, all at Trochu; Gottlieb Dürr, Fredonia, North Dakota; Daniel Bauer, John Weiler at Wishek, North Dakota; Jakob Schaefer at Java, South Dakota; Samuel Schaal, Matthias Schaal (or Schral), Gottlieb Stahlecker, John Ziegler, John Schaal, John Knodel; all near Burlington, Colorado; Gottlieb Stahlecker and John Ziegler at Bethune, Colorado; August Adolf, Andreas Adolf, Isaiah (Jesaias) Stahlecker, Christ Stahlecker at Bethune, Colorado; Jakob and Davie Schlichenmaier at Burlington, Colorado.
(We are very grateful for the submission of new readers. We would like to gladly send kitchen cutlery and clothes brushes but cannot send them to Canada because of import duties to Canada. We would like to ask them to let us know what they would like to have - The Editor) - The second installment will follow.
I greet all of you;
Letter # 7 - The Second Installment - From Canada - Alberta - Three Hills, January 18, 1926 (published February 5, 1926)
When we arrived at Gottlieb Duerr’s farm our friend was not at home but only his two sons were there. But it did not take long before he quickly drove here in his new car together with his wife and children. We had not seen each other for 25 years. And since we had been travelling companions on our journey to America there was much to talk about and it was night before our conversation ended. On Sunday morning, December 6th we drove to church in Fredonia. After we got back from church we got ready to continue driving on and left at 2:00 p.m. We arrived at my Uncle Daniel and Aunt Margaretha Bauer’s place at 4:00 p.m. Since we had not seen each other for 33 years, seeing each other again was a very joyous occasion. Despite his advanced age my uncle is still very fit and healthy and his sense of humor is still as unique as it was 33 years ago. He is already 76 years of age and is still active on his farmyard. And the aunt, at the age of 68, still chases and shoos away the chickens (hens). She took care of us in the most hospitable way. We were only sorry that our time was so short and restricted and that we couldn’t stay longer at their place.
On Monday, December 7th our friend Gottlieb Duerr took leave of us and drove home again and my cousin Johannes Bauer arrived at 3:00 p.m. in order to take us to his farm which is 12 miles away. Our arrival also caused a lot of happiness in that home. We then also visited my friend Emanuel Bauer. We were also received with open arms at his place. Then we also visited my friend Andreas Bauer where we were also received in a friendly manner. After we had visited everyone we got ready to travel onward and on Wednesday, December 9th , accompanied by our friend Johannes Bauer and his wife, we drove to Napoleon, North Dakota where we visited our old friend Andreas Bauer and his family. As my friend Baltzer has a position at the courthouse there he, when we arrived there after 12:00 noon, had already gone to his office. On the way there we discussed what we could do so that he would not recognize me. Johannes made a suggestion and said: “You just go into his office and say that you would like to pay for your property taxes.” But when we arrived at his door it was locked. “Wait,” said Johann. “We will still (be able) fool him.” Then when we opened the outside door he crossed our path and there was no hiding myself anymore. I turned around with my face in the other direction but he recognized me immediately and yelled: “Gottlieb; where did you come from?” As we had not seen each other for 23 years it was a happy experience to see each other again. Then we remained in his office until it was time for him to leave. I was quite amazed that one (everyone) spoke German in a courthouse. Everyone who arrived to do business used the German language. There is nothing like that where we live in Canada. But since it got to be too boring for us there we drove to his son John’s farm because Andreas Bauer’s wife was just there at that time and pigs were being butchered (Translator’s note: It is implied that Andreas Bauer’s wife was there to help with the butchering). When we had gotten there the pigs had already been butchered. We had barely arrived when Andreas rushed home. We then had a long conversation late into the night. After that we drove back to the city (Translator’s note: Gottlieb Bauer used the term Stadt/city for village, town and city; this is common in Bessarabian High German but not among people who come directly from German-speaking Europe) again (to the town) where we remained until the next morning. Then we took leave of each other in the hope of seeing each another soon for our friend Andreas promised to visit us in Canada next summer.
So we returned to the farm which belonged to our friend Johannes Bauer. On the way there we visited our friend John Sukut and his wife. His wife, whose maiden name is Ziehmann, was my school classmate in Alt Elft. There was a lot to talk about there as well. Finally we had to end the conversation. It was evening when we arrived at Johannes Bauer’s farm. (To be continued)
Greetings to everyone;
Letter # 8 - The Third Installment - Alberta - Three Hills, February 6, 1926 (published on February 16, 1926)
When we then returned to the store we heard that our friends were already on the way to the city (town). And this was the case for after waiting a half an hour they arrived and along with them Gottlieb Schuh, the brother of Mrs. Brandt. Now we were really happy. And after a short stay in Bowdle, South Dakota the trip went on to the farm belonging to our friend John Brandt. It was the first time that I ever rode in a closed car. It was a glorious drive. It was Saturday evening, December 12th, when we arrived at the farm of our friends Johann and Rosina Brandt and on Sunday, December 13th the children of my deceased brother-in-law and deceased sister-in-law, Urban and Maria Schuh, came to visit us. My brother-in-law Urban Schuh has been dead for 15 years and his wife Maria, my sister-in-law, my wife’s sister, has been dead for 21 years already. The children; three girls and a son, were all orphaned but had their home at their Uncle John and Aunt Rosina Brandt’s place. And now, after the girls are all married already they still come to their uncle and aunt as if they were their parents. Son Gottlieb is not married as yet but farms on his own. He is 23 years old. The children were very happy that we visited them. We stayed at their place until Thursday, December 17, and then we took leave of our friends. Our nephew Hermann Hermann and our niece Barbara Hein drove us to Java, South Dakota to Jakob and Katharina Schaefer.
Jakob Schaefer is the brother-in-law to my brother Philipp. We were also warmly received there. We had a lot of greetings to pass on; especially from their elderly father and mother. Their elderly mother got sick with whooping cough and is very ill. These people are already very elderly and on February 8th they will be celebrating their golden wedding anniversary. Brother Philipp and his wife Katharina, the daughter of the elderly couple, already left on a trip to Canada today and want to surprise the old people and make them happy.
But now we wanted to return to our friends Jakob and Katharina Schaefer in Java, South Dakota. We stayed overnight at their place and the following day they drove us to the railway. We said goodbye and hoped to see each other again soon because we hope that they will arrive at the golden wedding celebration by Monday.
Our next destination was Tripp, South Dakota. We got on the train at 3:00 p.m. and got to Aberdeen, South Dakota at 6:00 p.m. We had to wait for two hours for the next train. Then I had enough time to send a telegram to my Uncle Friedrich and Aunt Margaretha Lang. (to be continued)
Now I still have a sad message to report. Namely; that the 17 year old daughter of Mathias and Magdalena Rempfert suddenly became ill with appendicitis on January 17th, and had to have a serious operation on January 24th which unfortunately was not successful as had been desired. And she already passed away on Monday morning at 2:00 a.m. That was a hard blow for the parents. May she rest in peace!
The weather is still very nice. We also have no snow so that we can still use wagons to take our wheat to the city (town).
Letter # 9 - From Canada - Alberta - It looks as if the letter was written on February 4 but your note states February 13 (published on February 26, 1926).
The first page is illegible.
Then I can imagine that we took a trip from house to house. And when we had gotten around to everyone then the aunt got all her brothers and when this was done time passed too quickly. Uncle and I then went to the garden. I saw some apples still hanging on the trees there. I also saw vines there and also a lot of other nice fruit trees. It is really nice when such a nice and large orchard surrounds a house. I felt at home here in the forest and remembered the old school song: “I would like to live in the forest in the beautiful summertime/Im Walde möcht ich leben, zur schönen Sommerzeit” etc.
In the evening our uncle used his car to drive us to Delmont, South Dakota in order to visit Aunt Elisabetha Weber whose husband Andreas Weber has been dead for one year ago already. However, she is doing fine with her three children. She has a nice house and also a good income. We had barely conversed with Mrs. Weber for a time when she stated that Johann Albrecht and his family did not have their residence far away (from her). She gave them the news about our being here via the telephone and in a half an hour they were here. Mr. Albrecht is a Lichtentaler but his wife Wilhelmina has the maiden name of Steinke (and is) from the Alt Elft (Translator’s note: That is how people referred to Alt Elft because it means Old Eleventh in German it was the 11th colony settled in Bessarabia). And so we had to stay with them overnight. There was a lot to talk about then as well. Jakob Steinke, the brother of Mrs. Albrecht, is married to my cousin Maria Bauer and they are now on the way to Canada and are also coming to visit us.
The next morning we drove to Mrs. Weber’s again and in the evening Uncle and Aunt Lange arrived in their car and took us to their place again. There we also visited friends August Wanke in his meat store. Mr. Wanke has been in occupied in this business in Tripp, South Dakota, for many years now and knows his trade well. He also gave me some sausages to take along for the trip and I can state that they were good. Tripp can be proud to have him reside there. - (The next section is unclear - some words which I can decipher are: uncle and aunt; got to the city (town) and the next morning at 2:00 o’clock we got on the iron horse again (Translator’s note: Literally the term in German is “steam horse/Dampfroß/Dampfross) and took leave of uncle and he got out his (harmonica or button accordion - I couldn’t make the word out) and we sang several more old songs. And then when the time arrived we took leave of our aunt. Our uncle accompanied us to the railway station and at 2:00 a.m. on Sunday morning, December 2nd we got into the train and travelled to Sioux City, Iowa. We got there at 5:00 o’clock in the morning. We had to wait two hours for the train there. There we again had time to have a look at the city.
Greetings to all (of you);
Letter # 10 (The Fifth Installment) - Three Hills, February 19, 1926 (published February 26, 1926).
After we had taken a look at the city we got on the train and left Sioux City, Iowa on Sunday, December 20th at 7:00 o’clock. We got to Omaha, Nebraska at 9:00 o’clock on the same day. We had to transfer there once again and had to wait three hours for the train which was supposed to take us to Burlington, Colorado. All the trains were a couple of hours late and this was actually because of the high snowfalls which frequented the East at that time. Omaha is a very large city and is also a centre for many railway lines. If you take a look at the operation of the spacious railway station you think that you’re looking at a large anthill there before your eyes. Hundreds of workers were at work moving mail bags and packages from one train to another or to bringing them to the post office building. I said to my wife that you don’t need to be surprised why many letters and Christmas presents do not get to their destination on time. Unfortunately, since a terrible snowstorm had just started we were not able to have a look at the city. And so we spent the time in the railway station.
Finally our train arrived and we got on it right away and around 12 o’clock we left Omaha and got to Lincoln at 4:00 p.m. Lincoln is similarly a beautiful city which we were able to view only as we travelled through it because we did not have to change trains any more until we got to Burlington. Our train had a race with the snowstorm which had already started in Omaha. Before it had gotten dark an elderly man told me that we had now crossed over the border into Kansas. Since our train was an express train it only stopped in larger cities. The smaller communities (cities or towns) with only a few lights zoomed past us like ghosts. All at once it was announced that we were in Kansas City. I looked at my watch and noted that it was just ten o’clock. But the train only stopped for a few minutes and started to roll again just as fast as the wind and continued to race on ahead of the snowstorm. I asked the conductor when we would arrive in Burlington and he figured that it would be around two o’clock. Then I said to my wife: “Let us sleep a little bit.” But we had barely fallen asleep when the conductor woke us up again and said that we would soon be in Burlington. When the conductor returned I told him that it was just one o’clock. He thought it over and said that I should set my watch according to Eastern Time. There was a shrill puff blown, the wheels squealed and the train stopped. We got out and the train vanished into the darkness of the night.
So my wife and I were now standing on the same spot again where we had stood 25 years ago when we arrived from Russia. We looked around a little bit and everything was different. But that was no wonder because 23 years had already passed by since we had left Burlington. The snowstorm had stopped and we looked around for a hotel for us. We had to walk there knee deep in snowdrifts. It was also quite cold. After breakfast we had a look at the city. But we couldn’t find anything that was a part of old Burlington except an old bank building. We went into a store and asked there if they knew my brother Andreas. “Oh yes,” the person supposed and he went to the telephone and wanted to call him. But there was no answer. But the man found out right away that the telephone was no longer working because of the terrible snowstorm. I was just about to rent a car when a lady entered the store and I recognized her to be the wife of Fred Bauder, my brother’s neighbour. In the meantime my brother Andreas had also entered the store. We were very happy to see each other again. After a short conversation we got into his car and drove to his farm which is located 17 miles northwest of Burlington. When we arrived there we were welcomed very warmly by his wife and his children. Thus we had gotten to our trip’s destination and the wish which we had for many years already; namely to see my brother and his wife and their children had come true. (To be continued)
With a greeting,
Letter # 11 - (The Sixth Installment) - Three Hills, February 26, 1926 (published March 19, 1926)
Now we were in Colorado again; in the Promised Land which we had left 23 years ago. We were amazed how the region had changed during this time. When we left the country 23 years ago it was very sparsely settled. Now it is thickly settled and the inhabitants are almost all prosperous.
When the telephone lines had been repaired again the news of our arrival spread quickly. We had barely finished supper when our old friends Johann and Christina Ziegler arrived at the home already. We sat together until late into the night and talked about various happenings. On December 22 namely my wife and I and my brother as well as his wife drove with the car to Bethune in order visit our old Uncle Friedrich and Aunt Maria Stutz. We were also welcomed in the friendliest way there. Aunt Maria prepared a good noon meal for us which we allowed ourselves to relish. After we had told each other about the most important things which had happened we went to the city in order to see its attractions with our own eyes while it was light. Here again we were amazed for when we left Colorado there was only a rooming house for railway workers there and now it is a beautiful city. Then when we returned we got into the car and drove back again to my brother’s home. We had just gotten there when many of my old acquaintances and friends arrived with whom we then conversed late into the night.
On the next morning, December 23, we took a tour of the settlement and visited the homes of many old friends. I must admit that the farms there are all well organized and developed/established. I especially liked the beautiful orchards around the farmhouses. In the evening we returned to my brother’s farm and before we knew it some friends had arrived again.
On Christmas Eve, December 24, we drove to the church there in which the congregation had erected a beautiful Christmas tree. It was a holy night/Christmas Eve. Pastor Flemmer directed a short but moving sermon to the assembled congregation. Then the children presented an extremely good Christmas program which had been carefully practiced and during this the very beautiful Christmas songs were presented. It really is something beautiful and grand to be able to celebrate this festival even if one is not at home. There were also a lot of friends there and they recognized us and were happy as little children. Only the days of Christmas were over too soon.
On the second day of Christmas (Boxing Day) we visited Uncle Matthias and Aunt Eva Schaal on their farm after the worship service. When we arrived there I had a look at their beautiful orchard first. That afternoon my brother and his wife and brother-in-law Gottlieb (or Gottlob) Stahlecker and his wife arrived. And we spent a pleasant afternoon (there). In the evening we again set out for my brother Andreas’ farm. We were awaited there by many friends already and it did not take long before the house was full of visitors. The evening passed by much too quickly because we were having such a good conversation.
On Sunday morning, December 27, we drove to church again and from there to the Wilhelm Adolf home, to my brother’s son-in-law and where my brother’s daughter resided and we spent a very pleasant afternoon there. As long as we stayed at my brother’s place we didn’t get much sleep because time and time again people arrived who wanted to learn something about Canada.
The weather has been very nice during the last few days. The skating rink has already melted. The snow did not stay for long.
We were able to learn that our friends Johannes and Ottilia Schlauch who were in Bessarabia for a visit were on their way home. He is bringing two people along from abroad but I do not know what their names are. We expect that they will arrive safe and sound here. (To be continued)
Greetings to everyone;
Letter # 12 (The Seventh Installment) - From Canada - Alberta - Three Hills, March 1, 1926 (published March 23, 1926)
On Monday, December 28 we had a snowfall here. But since the weather was not cold the snow went away again. Then in the evening Mrs. Christina Ziegler arrived and took us to her home. Her husband Johann Ziegler did not feel well and had to stay at home. We stayed with them overnight and on the next morning, December 29, I inspected their farm and I was just amazed at all the equipment. There is nothing lacking (for farmwork). After I had a look at everything we drove to Mr. and Mrs. Ziegler’s son’s place which is located only one mile away from them. We had lunch at Mr. and Mrs. Ziegler’s place and by the time the meal was over my brother and sister-in-law arrived to pick us up. They then accompanied us to the farm which belongs to their son Martin Bauer. However, we did not stay there for a long time and also visited our friend Jakob Strobel and his wife. As Jakob was not home just at that moment we did not stay for a long time. But I still took enough time in order to inspect his acacia forest and orchard. After I had inspected them it occurred to me that my friend Andreas Balzer in Napoleon, North Dakota had namely told me that the trees are full of worms but this was not verified after I examined them because the trees were all healthy and able to grow.
From there we drove to our friend Isaiah (Jesaias) Stahlecker who was also suffering from a cold. We were very sorry for our friend Isaiah and his many children because his wife and the mother of his children already died several years ago.
From there we continued on to John Dobler whom we found in bed because he had a cold. However, his wife Magdalena welcomed us in a very friendly manner and after we had conversed for a while we drove to my brother’s farm in the evening. The next morning we then visited our friends John and Barbara Weisshaar (Translator’s note: or Weishaar) where we were received in a most hospitable manner. Our old Aunt Stahlecker was also very happy that we visited. We spent the night at their place and had a good conversation.
On January 1, we decided to start the return trip home again. We attended the worship service on New Year’s Eve and also New Year’s Morning in which the Lord’s Supper was also celebrated. At the same time Pastor Flemmer also held his farewell sermon. The sermon which Pastor Flemmer held for this occasion was a blessing to all.
We were invited to Jakob and Christine Schlichenmaier’s (Translator’s note: also spelled Schlichenmayer sometimes) place for lunch where we also spent a pleasant afternoon. And, since many friends had also come (to their house), the time passed by very quickly. On January 2 we then also visited our friends Gottlieb Bauder and family and on Sunday, January 3, old Uncle Jakob Kramm (Translator’s note: It seems this is a spelling error and probably should be Gramm or perhaps Kramer; Alt Elfters often spoke their Gs as Ks and their Ds as Ts. This is a characteristic of Silesian German dialect which we also spoke in our Gutsche/Quast family from Alt Elft (my grandfather’s ancestors). My father used to say Kredel for Gretel when he spoke German as in die alte Kredel = the old Gretel meaning someone who wasn’t too swift) and Aunt and Jakob Strobel. Naturally there was also a lot to talk about there. We really talked a lot about our uncle in Napoleon, North Dakota. I also had to promise Uncle Kramm (Gramm) to submit a detailed report to the Staats-Anzeiger after my return (home). I gave my friends the advice that they recommend that people subscribe to the valuable paper everywhere. We then said good-bye to them. (Translator’s note: In some cases the term uncle was used as a sign of respect for anyone who was older. This was often the case when only the person’s last name was mentioned as in Uncle Kramm above.)
That evening a lot of friends came to my brother’s place as well and two of them were my old friend Samuel Schaal and his wife. We had a good conversation and so the evening passed by very quickly. The next morning, January 4, we got ready for the journey and took leave of my brother’s children. They had all come to the house. My brother and his wife Beate and their daughter Anna and son Eduard accompanied us to the city (to town). (To be continued)
The weather here right now is just like in springtime; one day is nicer than the day before. The snow has already gone away and the (dirt) roads are almost impossible to navigate. Today is March 3 already but we are still afraid of driving to town (to the city) because all the valleys (Translator’s note: The reference may actually be to gullies.) are full of water.
A greeting to everyone;
Letter # 13 (The Eighth Installment) - From Canada - Alberta - Three Hills, March 8, 1926 (published on March 26, 1926)
After we had arrived in Burlington, Colorado I immediately went to the railway station and got our tickets. Then we bought what we needed for the trip and proceeded to the railway station because our train was supposed to arrive at 1900 hours (5:00 p.m.) It also did not take long before it charged into the station. We took leave of my brother Andreas and sister-in-law Beate who promised to visit us soon and got on the train and at 10:00 a.m. on January 4 we departed from Burlington and arrived at Denver, Colorado at three o’clock. We had to wait two hours for the next train. We took the opportunity to look at the city a bit. Denver is a beautiful, large city which teems with so many people that it is hard to walk around. We soon returned to the railway station and admired the 25 foot high Christmas tree which stood in the middle of the hall and was lit with hundreds of electric lights.
At five o’clock we got on the train and departed from Denver. We soon arrived at Sterling, Colorado. On the next morning, January 5, we saw nothing but mountains as high as the sky. We had reached the state of Wyoming and journeyed surrounded by high mountains and deep valleys (Translator’s note: Gottlieb Bauer actually refers to these deep valleys as pits/Grüfte) the whole day long. I said to my wife that if there was nothing else to see in Wyoming besides these mountains and valleys then this was a sad state of affairs. All of a sudden it was announced that we had arrived at Thermopolis! The train stopped for one hour there. I asked a German man who had gotten on (the train car) with his wife what kind of steam that was (out there). He told me that steam rises from the hot springs. The man, whose name was Wilhelm Mai, told me that he, together with his wife, both suffer from rheumatism and that they had been at the hot springs (warm pools) there (Translator’s note: It is implied that they were there for reasons of health). There are four larger and hundreds of smaller hot springs here. The water contains various minerals and has a temperature of 135 degrees Fahrenheit. 18,600,000 gallons of water flow from the springs every 24 hours. This is a marvel of nature and is most interesting to see.
We left Thermopolis around four o’clock and got to Billings, Montana at six o’clock in the evening. We had to remain here until the next morning (the train held for a longer period of time as there was a layover). Billings is also a beautiful city surrounded by large beet fields. We looked for a hotel and stayed there for the night. We departed from Billings at 7:00 o’clock in the morning and arrived at Great Falls at 2:00 o’clock in the afternoon. We had to remain there until 11:00 o’clock at night. Great Falls is quite a large city and we did not have much time to see it with our own eyes. When we had gotten tired we returned to the railway station and we departed Great Falls at 11:00 o’clock. Now our train often passed through tunnels and sometimes it took five to ten minutes to get through one of them. On the next morning, January 7 at 11:00 o’clock noon we arrived at Shelby. Now we were at the Canadian border and our belongings were inspected after we arrived at Sweet Grass. Then we travelled across the border at 2:00 p.m. Now we were in Canada again and we already had the feeling that we were home. (to be continued)
The weather here has changed. It has gotten somewhat colder. The snow is almost all gone. The roads are bad. And whoever is not forced to drive prefers to stay at home.
Letter # 14 (The Ninth Installment and Conclusion) - From Canada - Alberta - Three Hills, March 11, 1926 (published on April 6, 1926)
We arrived in Lethbridge on January 7 at 5:00 o’clock in the evening. Our train only stopped for a few minutes here and then we travelled across the large bridge (railroad trestle). It was the first time in my life that I had gone over such a bridge. Someone told me that the bridge is one mile long and 150 feet high. The train moved ahead very slowly across the bridge so that it seemed that it was standing still. We saw some cars travelling (being driven) below us which seemed as small as children from high up. When we had crossed over the bridge the train travelled even more rapidly and we arrived in Calgary at 9:00 o’clock in the evening. We got into a streetcar wagon right away and rode to our old friend Jakob Schaefer’s (place). When we arrived there we were received in the friendliest way by Father Schaefer and when we entered (the house) our sister-in-law Katharina came toward us (invited us in). Their brothers Gottlieb and Eduard were also present in order to visit their parents for old Mother Schaefer was very sick.
We stayed with them for the night and on the next morning, January 9, we got on the train at 7:00 o’clock and at 12 noon we were in Trochu and both sons of our deceased friend Johannes Gehring were there to receive us (and pick us up). We had lunch at Aunt Friederika Gehring’s place. At 3:00 o’clock our eldest son Johan arrived and at 6:00 p.m. we arrived at our home at our farm where we found everyone healthy and well (hale and hearty). We were very glad to be home again for there is no better place than home.
At this point we would like to express our sincere thanks for the hospitality shown by our many friends whom we visited during our trip and by whom we were received in the friendliest way. Several friends promised us that they would visit us here in Canada soon. We bid everyone welcome at our place and we look forward to the day when we will be able to welcome them. Everywhere I was amazed that the people knew so little about Canada. I was asked back then (in the United States) why Canada does not establish its own government and why it doesn’t get rid of King George of England. But when I told them that we also have our own government like in the United States they told us that they didn’t know that. Many also asked us if we Germans were persecuted during the World War (World War I) as we belonged to England. I told them that this was not true. (Translator’s note: That we had suffered persecution.) Then I told them they should read a Canadian paper because then they would learn more about Canada. But the people didn’t even know that there were also German (language) newspapers in Canada. May whoever would like to know more about Canada subscribe to a Canadian newspaper.
Now I would like to end (this letter) and I promise to let you know something about Canada more often.
With German greetings;
Letter # 15 (The Third Installment) - From Canada - Alberta - Three Hills, January 26, 1926 (published on February 12, 1926)
When we arrived at the farm belonging to my friend Johannes Bauer, the sun had already set. We had barely stepped into the house when (our) friend Sukut (Translator’s note: a last name) and his wife Dorothea arrived at the same time. Later on, Emanuel Bauer and his wife and Andreas Bauer and his wife who was my cousin, also arrived. Then there were a lot of things to talk about (catch up on) until late into the night. The next morning we then took a short tour and also called at Emanuel Bauer’s and Andreas Bauer’s (farms). I liked it best at Emanuel’s because his house is surrounded by linden trees (also known as lime trees) which provide shade for the house during the hot part of the year.
The next morning we got up quite early and drove to Wishek, North Dakota where we visited our old Uncle Daniel and Aunt Margaretha Bauer. We were also received here with open arms and the conversation did not want to end. At 3:00 o’clock, when the time for saying good-bye had arrived Uncle and Aunt would not let us go unless we gave them a promise that we would visit them soon again. As long as God grants us and them a long time to live and also health we will, of course, also do so. Then we took leave of them until (the time when) we will happily meet again and drove with Johannes Bauer and his wife in the direction of South Dakota.
When we arrived at the home of my cousin Reinhold Bauer in Greenway, South Dakota he was still occupied at the elevator. I also had an opportunity to inspect the wheat. I was so sorry that I could not show the people in North and South Dakota Canadian wheat for I had forgotten to take some along. I do not err when I maintain that if a farmer from North Dakota came with a load of wheat to sell to a local elevator that they would probably only accept it if it was used for chicken feed (Translator’s note: The implication is that Albertan wheat is much superior and that a farmer would not get a good price for South Dakotan wheat in Alberta). Then after supper we went to the city (town) in order to have a look at it. But we could not see much because of the many electric lights which blinded our eyes. But the next morning during the drive through town we were able to view everything with our own eyes and we also found out that Greenway is a purely German town.
We departed Greenway on Saturday morning, December 12th and arrived in Eureka at 8:30 o’clock. We had a look at the much lauded city and found out that it is truly a beautiful farming town. After we had purchased some gas, oil and wine (Translator’s note: It is strongly implied that all had some wine to drink besides filling the tank with gas and checking the oil in the car.) we again drove away from there and arrived at exactly 12 noon in Bowdle, South Dakota. We looked around to see if our friends Johann and Katharina Brandt were already in the town. But we soon found out that they were on the way to town. Then we, together with our friends Johannes and Christina Bauer, had midday meal in one of the hotels there and they then took leave of us in order to drive home again. Saying good-bye was very hard for us because they were very good to us and were very kind (loving). At 1:00 o’clock they got going to return home and we then waited for a period of time until our friends picked us up. (To be continued)
Greetings to everyone;
Letter # 16 - Sheridan County - McClusky, March 14, 1917 (published on March 23, 1917)
The last winter caused a strange illness to appear in our area. A terrible fever raged among the people but not a fever which induces the sweats but a fever for Montana and Idaho. But we have already had several days of beautiful weather and the illness has abated. A few days ago one could view a very nice scenario (of activity) in the city (town) when one drove along the railroad. There were 60 to 80 men occupied with cleaning ice and snow off the railroad tracks. Labourers, business men and officials were all out working. We had no train for five and one-half weeks. But now transportation has resumed and the trains arrive regularly every day. The inhabitants of the town are feeling very good because the snow has been shoveled. I have already been in this country for 16 years and we never had a winter as bad as the last one.
Greetings to all the readers of the Staats-Anzeiger
Letter # 17 - The Governorate of Tauria (Crimea) - Friedenstal, December 16, 1921 (published March 21, 1922)
My Dearly Beloved,
Yesterday I wrote a long letter to Wilhelm which he will hopefully receive as I also hope that this note reach you. While the war was being fought we had a complete mail embargo.
Should you receive this correspondence then think of us and help us if you are able because the situation here is very bad. If no aid is sent to us sooner or later we will certainly become victims of a famine. We presently reside in a country in which almost everyone needs (humanitarian) aid. If I had known three years ago what I know today then I would already have been in Germany since the autumn of 1918 and would be leading a life without any anxieties. Our situation is really bad and without aid from abroad we will not be able to remain alive. Did our old Lord God (Translator’s note: The reference when stating “old” is to the Ancient of Days; Bessarabian Germans sometimes state: “Der alte Gott lebt noch/The God of days gone by is still alive” when remarking on the state of things in a country) really die or is he asleep? Have we believed/trusted in a living God until now or have we believed/trusted in an idol? Are we really the worst people on the face of the earth because God is punishing us so severely? If this is the case then we have to repent of our sins and be converted (Translator’s note: Turn and go in the right direction). For it is written that the Lord loves whom He disciplines. If all of this had not happened then we probably would have gotten to the point where we figured we were more important than God (have thought that we were greater than God).
Write again as soon as you have received this letter. By writing you will greatly lighten the load which is on our minds.
With a greeting to all acquaintances and relatives;