Wunderlich Family
Letters

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March 6, 1853

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January 8, 1854

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January 18, 1855

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April 13, 1857

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June 2, 1866

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Receipt

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January 7, 1867

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April 11, 1867

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November 3, 1873

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November 5, 1874

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February 23, 1882

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July 12, 1884

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Wellengreck, March 6, 1853

Dear parents!
I am now picking up the pen to write to you, You probably have been hoping so for long. I would have written earlier, but I didn’t consider it necessary, since the Stracks had reported on our arrival. Besides, I wanted to find out by myself what to write to you about Texas, more so since I had promised to write the truth, which I’ll do. Biding you farewell was not easy for me, for emigrating to a foreign country was uncertain, too. But I am quite happy that I have done it.Our journey from home to Bremen lasted six days and the expenses were ten Taler (a German silver coin of about half an ounce in weight that is the root for the word Dollar) for each person to the ship. The voyage from there to Galveston took eight weeks. We had an excellent voyage to Texas. When we arrived in Houston there came a good acquaintance of the Strack brothers who asked, whether there were one by the name of Strack among us. This acquaintance borrowed a horse and rode with him to his brother Hermann at Wellengreck the next day. Later Hermann came for us to Houston.

Dear Parents, Texas is an excellent country in which the people can live very well. I wish you all were here, then you would have a better life than in Germany. Here you see no bailiff, and forestry offices are unknown. Here everybody has usually a wood of his own. This is not hard to get, for woods as well as ground are not as dear as in Germany. Compared to Germany, everything is better here: good earnings, good farming and best of all cattle-and horse-breeding. All this I enjoy very much, but there is one thing here that I don’t like: the fever, with which I already had to do, and which each newcomer gets. It is not as dangerous as one would think, for nobody dies from it unless another sickness is added to it, which might happen. Otherwise Texas is an excellent, good country. Dear parents, you want to know how the situation in respect to good earnings and other topics is. I spent the first time with Hermann Strack. From there I went to an American and worked in his mill. There I made ten Dollars a month. I wasn’t there longer than two months when I was struck with fever, so bad that I can’t remember the next two months. By now I am brisk and well again, thank God. Since the first of February I am working for a Frenchman. I am to stay with him for five months and will be paid eight and a half Dollars a month. Of that I can make a better living than in Germany. there is good earning here, clothing and provisions are cheap in price. Clothing costs about as much as in Germany, while food is not as expensive, since everybody can grow enough. There is cattle in abundance. Many farmers have from 100 to 500 head of cattle, even more. With such a number they have less trouble than with five or ten head in Germany. Furthermore there are farmers who have also 50 to 100 horses and uncounted pigs. Nevertheless cattle and horses are not yet very cheap, for the price of a cow with a calf is 10 to 12 dollars, that of a horse from 30 to 120. Now you should be able to imagine how it is here in Texas. All this would please you very much, and besides, life is much easier here than in Germany. Snow is unknown here, but it gets cold, even colder than in Germany when there is a Northern blowing. But the code doesn’t last for longer than four or five days, and then the days are so warm again, one doesn’t need a coat (or jacket). This part of Texas is flat without mountains and just enough incline to give the water a chance to float away. Dear parents, now I have reported all I know about my start here. Should someone feel tempted to come here, that can only be decided by his own free will. I like Texas immensely, but there are people who didn’t like it right form the beginning, and these reproach others, they should have let them better stay at home instead to write to them encouraging them to come here. If someone from our neighbourhood should like to come here, then please be so kind and send me a woolen jacket and, if you can afford, also one or two scythes. If someone wants to come, then he should come in autumn, then it is best, for then the heat is not as bad as it is in summer. And one can start working right away. There are no news to write about except the one, that Heinrich Strack, his wife and his child died. Maybe you know about that already? I want to close my writing and hope for an answer soon.

Many greetings from your son.

Peter Wunderlich

Say hallo to my brothers and sisters,
relatives and acquaintances.
Many greetings from Hofius,
greeting from Hermann Strack

 
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[x_text]Cypresscreeck, January 8, 1854
Dear Parents,
Your writing from June 26 did I receive with great joy on the 15th of August, and have learned that all of you are still doing well. The same goes for me, I am feeling better than I ever did in Germany. I also got your letter written on the 5th of September which you had sent with Johannes Schneider from Holzhausen, it got here January 2. However none of the things you sent did I get and I can’t say what happened to them. The letter I received from Christian Bode, and he told me that he also had not received anything else. He had got the letter from a guy from Schameder whom he hadn’t met or seen, for when he came to Houston this man had already moved to “Rutters Mill” and Johannes Schneider had moved on to New Braunfels. I haven’t seen or heard about them and can’t say what happened to the things. I am very sorry about that. Dear parents, you state how hard it was for you to see me emigrating and with what sorrow you watched me walking off. That I regret from the bottom of my heart, for I know what it means to part from father and mother. Maybe you think it was easy on my part, but you are mistaken; I cried bitterly. I knew we couldn’t stay together forever and I wanted to improve my livelihood, which I happily attained. Still greater would my joy be if I could have all of you here, for here things are better in each and any respect than if I had stayed in Germany. I couldn’t have made that much money either. I guess I’ll never wish to travel to Germany. Dear parents, you say how much you feel sorry about the fever I had. That is not necessary, for it is not that bad. I had the fever for a long time, however I didn’t need a doctor. The first year the fever befell me on the 15th of August, and it bothered me till January, but not permanently. Sometimes it stayed 14 days and then no fever at all for 3 to 5 weeks. Therefor I couldn’t make more than 20 dollars, which I earned within two months. But last year things went pretty well, and I had a good income all the time. For this year I hope even better. I started on my own now and work for myself, thus making more money than I would while working for others. To work monthly is also fine, but he who works for himself makes more. Dear parents, now you want to know how I run my own household and what my relation to my house-keeper is: I have married Katharina Hofius, for I thought that would be better. For a single cannot gain in Texas as much as a married person can. Now I want to describe to you how we are doing. We are sound and healthy and live happily together. There are no children as yet. We are living at Cypresscreeck, that is one hour away from Hermann Strack. We are living with Jacob Theis from Bottenhorn – (he was the oldest living son of Johann Heinrich Theis who emigrated in 1846 with his family to Texas) – from whom we rented acreage for farming. I hope to have a household of our own on the 120 acres that we bought. There is already a house on this homestead, but we can’t live there yet, because first a fence must be built. I hope to be done with it this autumn, we have started on it already. We bought the acreage for 175 dollars and have to pay for it in two installments within two years; I hope to make that easily. We have bought a horse for 45 dollars as well as household goods and provisions, we are not in want of anything. The harvest has been quite good, and everything has also a good price: a bushel corn is one dollar, a hundredweight of cotton is ten dollars. One man can till in one year 350 bushel corn and 1000 pounds of cotton if he had some help at picking cotton. Hermann Strack and all his family are all doing fine and make good business. Magdalena Hofius is also fresh and healthy and now works in Houston. She had often fever last year in contrast to her first year. The school teacher Habler has died last year, it is the one I received a letter from in the first year. Christian Bote is also still fresh and healthy. He is married now and living in Houston. You had written, what I was to tell Heinrich Bernshausen. That I couldn’t do, for when I got that letter, he wasn’t here any more, for he wanted to go back to Germany. The Hofiuses have written two letters to Germany and received one from their brother Jost, where they have been hoping for so long. Now let me tell you that the yellow fever has been very bad in America an din Texas, but only in towns, it didn’t come to the country. Many people died. I don’t know of any news worth writing about except the fact that many immigrants from Germany came to Texas. We have particularly fine weather. One doesn’t have to get into snow when one wants to go to church on Sunday. We are living two hours from church, and if you want to go there you have to ride or drive for walking is not customary and not good. I want to close my writing and hope for an answer soon. Say hallo to all relatives and acquaintances, to my brothers-in-law Alexander and Johannes, my godfathers in Geudingen and Am Sohl, the Hofius family, my cousin Eliese, Heinrich Göbal. Greetings from Hermann Strack, his brothers and all his family, from my neighbour Jacob Theis and his wife, they are of our age. Greetings from Magdalena Hofius of whom you haven’t written yet. Finally blessings from your faithful son and daughter-in-law.

Peter Wunderlich

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Cypresscreeck, January 18, 1855
Dear parents,
we received your letter dated March 9 as well as that from Jacob and Friedrich Strack with great joy and learned that you are still as healthy as you were when I left home. Dear parents, you must have been waiting to her from me for a long time, but I didn’t intend to keep you waiting. In the meantime, I wrote two letters to you, but none got to the Post Office. But now I feel urged to write at once, for I am thinking of you very much. As you report, things must be pretty bad over there, flour and potatoes so dear in price. I feel sorry for all those who must buy provisions at such low income. I can well imagine how the poor are living. Here in Texas, things are entirely different, for there is plenty of jobs and opportunities to make money. Let me now tell you how things are with us. Thanks to the Lord, we are still fresh and healthy, and something new: we have got a daughter, whom we rejoice in. She was born the fourth of January and is as well and healthy as her mother is again. We are now living on our own land, of which we have seven acres fenced in. There was already a dwelling house, and in Summer we built a barn for corn, hay and fodder. We moved here on the first of April. Last year our harvest was pretty good. We harvested from the fenced-in rented patch of land from our neighbour Jacob Theis, for which we paid twenty dollars, 260 bushel corn, we need but 60 for ourselves. We sold 165 bushel at a price of 3/4 dollar, now the price is at 1 1/4 of a dollar, if one takes it to Houston, which I’ll do. We also picked some cotton which we haven’t sold yet. Last year cotton hasn’t come out well and the price is now still bad. We intend to store it till next autumn, when we have had another crop. We bought a pair of oxen to work the field, they cost 60 dollars, and we also had a wagon made at the same price, of which we still owe thirty dollars. We must pay next spring. We have bought fodder for thirty dollars, and have made another fifteen dollars by mowing and splitting firewood. This should tell you what we’ve been doing last year; it has been hard work and trouble. We have paid the first installment for our land, it were including interest, one hundred dollars. The next installment is due next New Years, and I trust, we’ll make it easily with God’s help. You, dear father, write about me buying land, that you approve of. I felt the same way, for there is nothing better than soil of your own. Thanks for your admonition to meet the installments punctually, that I’ll keep in mind, though things are not as bad as in Germany, if someone can’t pay on time then he is granted prolongation. Now I want to tell you about the way they construct here. It is entirely different from your way. The trees, twelve to fifteen inches in diameter, are lopped on two sides, notched at both ends and placed one upon another till the building is twelve to fifteen feed high, and even higher yet. The roof is all wood. The thickest and finest of fir trees are used for shingles. They are cut from pieces two to three feet in length, five to ten inches in breadth and half an inch thick. These shingles are placed one next to the other and half the length covering the layer underneath till there are a total of three layers. I don’t know of any news worth mentioning except that many emigrants have come to Texas. Friedrich Strack and all those who came with him have happily arrived and are doing fine. When I heard from Hermann Strack of all these people coming, I was hopeful one of my brothers would be among them. But I waited in vain. I think it would be fine, if one of you could come to us. Dear brothers, now I want to write some lines especially for you. Maybe you think that I forgot you completely. I received your writing as well as that from Heinrich Göbel and thereby know, how everything is with you. You ask, whether you should come here. I won’t tell anybody to come here. This is for everybody to decide for himself, on his own free will. Dear brother Johannes, I guess it would be best if you would stay with our parents. You could come over later. If you do want to come, you’ll be welcome. Or if my brother Jost should want to come, then help him to be able to come. If anybody wants to come, let me know. He could bring me some things for which I’ll pay him: some scythes and whetstones, wool or wool yarn, a spinning wheel, and, if you can do it, ten to twelve pounds of feathers. If anyone wants to come, please do come in the autumn. With this I want to close my letter with many greetings. Greetings from Hermann Strack and his brothers, from Magdalena, who is now living with us. Greetings to all relatives and acquaintances, brothers, sisters, and godfathers.Greetings from your true son and daughter-in-law
Peter Wunderlich

I should like to know how much you have to pay for the letters, though I paid postage here already. Tell me quickly. As I was told, many people think there is no salt here. This is ridiculous, for here it is very cheap. A sack of salt, 220 pounds, costs two and a half dollars. My neighbour and I we bought a sack and split it for that price. Say hallo from us to Mr. Head Forester Langenbach. Tell him, that I’ll write to him soon.

 
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Cypresscreeck, April 13, 1857

Dear Parents!
We received your letter, dated January 11, on the second of March with very great joy and have learned how things are with you and in all in our former native country. We are sorry, that my dear mother has suffered from pneumonia a second time, but we rejoice that the good Lord has made her recover again. I am also glad to hear how well your health is in your old days. The deaths you write about are striking and I feel sorry for the deceased, especially for my godfather Heinrich Wunderlich and Schlabach; I guess both of them will still have small children. You also wrote me, that my mother-in-law had died, and we would probably know about it already. So far we know only what your letter tells us, for we haven’t received any word about that death. Everything else you wrote delighted us very much. That your potatoe-bushes perished from cold at the beginning of July is hard for us to imagine, but it does happen, even here. Everything we had planted froze on the fifth of April. We had to sow corn anew, and on the first day of Easter, it was again so cold, the 12th of April, that corn and everything else would have frozen again, but it was still covered by soil. Nobody has ever seen anything like that before. Actually we had an early spring, and we started sowing at the beginning of February, and everything was growing beautifully. We also had a very mild winter, the grass stayed mostly green. Dear Father, you write about feeding the cattle and ask about other things and ask me a lot of other questions, which I now will answer. But I wish I could tell you all this from face to face. This can’t be but I am glad that I can tell you everything by writing, which, if the good Lord permits, we’ll do more often in the future. You ask how we feed the cattle in winter. Yes, we keep it out on the pasture. This goes for all kind of cattle except those that worked, like the oxen, the riding and ploughing horses. These are given additional fodder. If there is no work to be done, they also have their free run on the pasture. The same foes for all the cattle, and if the winter is not too cold and wet, then it stays fat all the year around. It becomes so fat in Summer as it would in Germany only when being fattened. In February the animals feed on new or fresh grass again. During summer the grass grows more than a foot, this permits continuous grazing. In the evening they usually come home and are kept in a small enclosure over night. You want to know how much a cow is. The price for a good cow, if she has a calf each year and that calf stays alive, I guess, will be 7 to 8 dollars. Generally, cattle-breeding here is a main point and necessity; a cow with calf cost 15 dollars. However if someone buys a herd of 25 to 50 head, then the price is 6 to 7 dollars; this goes for cows, calves and heifers up to three years of age. You also want to know about our fence: If the poles were made of thick fir-trees, they might last 8 even 10 years. But if they were made from oak-tees they will last 15 years, even longer yet. But that kind of oak is not abundant in our region, but we have plenty of fir-trees. There is sufficient oak lumber for other purposes. Now we come to the question how many annual rings a tree has. A tree of 1 1/2 foot in diameter has about 70 to 80. I was often told that here the trees would grow two annual rings in one year. No wood or forest is planted by man nor run by a forester sitting behind each single bush and shrub, watching! The owner cuts timber as he sees fit. Dear father, your sense of imagination is pretty sharp, to judge by your questions about the fence. It takes much timber, but I wish you could have a look at the large woods here. You would be amazed at their size. If one doesn’t keep an eye on the way, one will not know how to get out again. These woods have no other proprietor yet but the state America. Further you want to know whether we have to fertilize the land under cultivation. If it is fertilized, the harvest increases about one third. It doesn’t need much and with us a little will last 3 to 7 years. When exaggerated, as is done mostly, it will last 8 to 10 years. This fertilization is done similar to that with sheep pen. The animals are kept for a length of time on the same spot, depending on the number. You also inquire, whether our pastor is evangelic. Yes, he is. he also speaks – preaches, talks – only German. Mass is at Springcreeck, that’s 2 1/2 hours from here. I understand from your letter that my brother Jost would like to come, which would please me immensely. If he wants to come, I’ll look forward to welcome him quite friendly. You also mention that the news about so many people dying in Texas has lessened his desire to come. That might be so, but people die everywhere, young ones, too. You hear about all that die here or in Texas more than you hear from those that die in Germany. We have been fresh and sound since the first year, thank God, and our children haven’t had one hour of sickness and are thick and round. Should my brother want to come, then he’ll be welcome next autumn. But all this has to be decided by him; but I guess he is much better off here than in Germany. I can tell you a piece of news: Magdalena has married Heinrich Bernshausen from Feudingen.
Now I have to close.With many kind regards
Your true son and daughter-in-law
Wunderlich

Greetings from my neighbour Theis and his mother, she is 54 years old

. (The original proves beyond reasonable doubt that this letter has been written by Peter Wunderlich!)

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Cypresscreeck, June 2, 1866

Worthy Jost Wunderlich!
First of all I beg your pardon that I am answering the questions you asked Katharine Wunderlich. I am doing so in her name. I’ll do so as I have learned and experienced myself. Texas is a country where any industrious man can make a sufficient living. He can save for days to come or for days without any earnings. Though the black slaves are free (now), almost nobody loves them, for they are a larcenous deceitful, lazy people, therefore there is more work than workers. Our state owns yet almost 3 million acres of land which is still wilderness, i.e. without people, where many a man can find a homestead, which is easy to achieve within a few years. An acre of land costs 2 to 3 dollars, an acre of wood 3 to 5. Most people that I know were poor when they came here and now they are wealthy. A lazy person should stay in Germany, for here he will be lost, since there are no beggars here. The taxes to be paid are set according to the wealth Is someone rich, he still pays little, where you, dear friend, have to give twice as much to your king. There are diseases namely fever here, of which one can get cured if one believes and follows advice given, and doesn’t do against nature like your brother-in-law Hassler did, who considered all old residents as milksop, and who, since he didn’t take advice, became prey of the fever. One can put ones health at stake everywhere. Cereals grow here very well. With all that, work is not too hard . Only the start, till you are used to it, is real hard. Whoever isn’t doing very well in Germany, for him Texas is a land of milk and honey. One can pick grapes from the oak-trees, for wine grows here wild, the bees collect honey in hollow trees, and the cattle lives without special care on miles of pasturage, caring for themselves. Also big herds and flocks of horses, sheep, and pigs are grazing. Therefore all fields are fenced in. Here a farmer knows almost all professions and learns soon to handle everything. Your brother-in-law Hassler built a house by himself, tanned leather and made good shoes. Here everything is free for one to do, only honest it has to be, then he might do it. Your deceased brother Peter Wunderlich was well fitted for here. He built a number of heavy waggons which he sold, and built himself a fine house. He has built an annex to my home for me. One gathers in more than one needs for one’s subsistence, the rest can be sold in near-by towns at good prices. What I wrote you in short is the truth, and should you come here, I’ll face you as a man of truth and not as a liar. Though I am not a farmer, I am doing as well as the others, and after living here for twelve years I do not wish to return to Germany.As a stranger I greet you friendly for your
deceased brother’s sake

G. Woerner
Pastor

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Receipt

I hereby certify that I received everything
I am entitled to from my brother Johannes
Wunderlich as laid down in my parents
inheritance contract :  ready money, cattle,
real property, movables, besides bed and
bedlinen. I also renounce all further titles
or claims.
Waide, (Weide) September 10, 1866
Jost Heinrich Wunderlichas witness
Alexander Weigand

My brother has left
on the 14th of September 1866,
at 3 o’clock in the morning

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Cypresscreeck, January 7, 1867
Dear Father-in-law,
I pick up the pen to report to you about our voyage, where you probably have been waiting for a long time already. This can’t be helped, because for us the time has been long, too. Our voyage lasted ten weeks, but the Lord blessed us with an easy crossing, for which we can’t be grateful enough and should never forget as God will never forget us. all of us are, thanks to the Lord, still fresh, healthy, and lively. Our children were a source of joy for us on our voyage, they longed to get to Texas; they are here as merry as they were at home.I think of our leave-taking from you, which was very hard for me, and about which I couldn’t speak what might have been better to do, as I thought later on. But the journey has been easier than we had imagined.

The first day of travelling was September 14th, 1866.
(Jost Wunderlich left Weide at three o’clock in the morning; see the note underneath the receipt which is among the translations.)
We reached Maxburg at five o’clock in the evening. We had to be at the railroad station the next morning at five o’clock. From there we went by train to Kassel. We arrived at nine o’clock and stayed till noon. We made a walk through town and saw aside from many things Prussian Soldiers drill; they were the 70th and 71st Regiment. At nine o’clock in the evening, we got to Bremen. The following day we bought the “geschecken” that we didn’t have yet. (That word does not exist in German and it doesn’t make sense, unless you agree with my explanation, then it should read: The following day we bought our tickets that we didn’t have yet, and “checked” in !!)

On the 17th, at 6 o’clock in the morning, we had to be at the River Weser. We went by ship from Bremen to Bremerhafen. That cruise on water lasted 7 hours and ended at the big vessel. In the morning of the 18th, we were tugged out of the harbour by a steamship; that was a good start. We were moored for one day, while the seamen tied everything down. We sailed on the 19th and had such a gale for some days that aboard the rolling ship everything would have tumbled down, if it hadn’t been fastened so well. All of a sudden there was a dizziness and giddiness that made most passengers sea-sick so that they had to vomit, and everybody felt sorry for them. My wife was sea-sick for three days, then she was feeling better again. My three children had to vomit the first morning, too, then they were well again. That was all we saw of sickness during our voyage. There was partly no wind or unfavourable wind in the North Sea. On the 28th England came into sight, and on the 1st of October we got from the North Sea into the Atlantic ocean. There we had good wind for some days; we sailed at 8 nautical miles. However, we had that wind but a few days, there wer others in which we made only 7 to 8 miles a day; and these outnumbered the good ones. Five English miles equal two German miles. (Here he is mistaken; first, there were at least 20 different lengths for a German mile depending on the region and his second figure is wrong anyway.) On the 21st we reached the area of the trade-winds. They are to blow permanently. In fact, we had a good wind till November 4th. On the 8th, at five o’clock in the evening, we saw the island of Haiti, the next morning Santo Domingo. (He must have named the Island San Juan Haiti!). Santo Domingo is very large. It consists of two kingdoms, one belonging to Spain, the other to England. The mountains of San Domingo are as high as those in Germany. In the evening of the 14th we saw the lighthouse of the town San Domingo. This is the turning-point of the route to Texas; up to this position we sailed Southwest, from now on our course was West to North. In the afternoon of the 21st – I am sorry, it should read “at 11 o’clock in the morning” – the crew caught within a quarter of an hour two sharks; the first one measured 7 feet 4 inches in length and 45 inches round and had a horrible huge mouth. Both were of remarkable size. One had 12 living young inside, they were 15 inches long and 9 inches thick. On the 2nd of December, at five o’clock in the afternoon, we caught sight of Galveston, but it was too late to make it into the harbour. A pilot came from town and picked up out captain with a small boat. We anchored for two days. Then a steamer tugged us into the harbour. We stayed aboard two more days before we started. The whole journey from home to Galveston cost for each person 182 Taler. (In those days, the silver coin “Taler” was worth 3 Marks – the railway ticket to Houston five dollars. (The next sentence of the letter cannot be understood and is omitted!)

We arrived in Houston on the 7th of December at eight o’clock in the evening. We spent the night on the train. In the morning many German people came and inquired where we were heading for. We knew none of them except Jacob Booth and Marseilles Roth from Feudingen. She told us: “All those who want to go to Cypresscreeck have to come with me!” We stayed at her place four days. She was living near the town. Then came my brother-in-law… (That was Johanna Heinrich Kaiser, second husband of Marie Catharine Wunderlich, Josh Heinrich Wunderlich sister!)and picked us up. On the way he told me a great deal. My brother-in-law and my sister greeted us friendly. When we were close to their house, we came to a river that had high water and we couldn’t get across. Hermann Strack was in the wood at the opposite bank. He dropped his tools and came running. He was very sorry that we couldn’t get home and sent us back to a guy by the name of Thormann. The next morning we crossed the river in a punt. Hermann Strack met us there with is wagon. First we had to come with him to his place. He expressed his pleasure that after all finally German acquaintances had come. Then he told me how my brother had lost his life in such an awful way. He said, he himself had been at the blacksmith’ when he heard that the powder mill had exploded. He could not go on working then, and they had told him, that he (Peter) had been completely burnt. He was unable to go and see the dead, yet he helped to bury him. His report made me very sad. When I visited my sister-in-law (Peter’s spouse Marie Katharina, nee Hofius) and her children, we were glad to see each other, though it was hard for me to face the house and his children. My sister-in-law said: “If only Peter were still here!” But this cannot be changed. Our first job was to gather the sweet potatoes. We were happy how thick and long they were. I weighed one, it was four and a half pounds. They have harvested so many potatoes that one fourth of it would have sufficed for their own need, so my sister-in-law thought. They have harvested another 135 bushel. previously they had already sold 35 bushel, at a price of one dollar a bushel. Two bushel equal three Mesten (a Meste is an old German liquid measure of varied capacity or size).

Now I want to tell you what kept me what writing: we have rented a house and land. The rent is one third of the corn crop and one fourth of the cotton. I don’t know exactly how many acres they are, but not less than 18. According to my brother-in-law the seed will run to about 6 dollars. We have rented the land from Heinrich Theis – (a son of Johann Heinrich Theis from Bottenhorn) at the Springcreeck. It is two hours off from my bother-in-law. We’ll be living close to church and school. Jacob Theis (the oldest son of J.H. Theis) told my bother-in-law that he would let us have a pig as a present, after he had fattened them some time yet. We went and got it. I also bought a horse. You might be surprised that we bought a horse, we have talked it over many times. One doesn’t often have the chance to buy a good ploughing -horse. I value greatly that my sister-in-law didn’t write any lies. Everything was even better than I had fancied, and we don’t regret as yet that we emigrated. But let me add, should anyone from my relatives or friends want to come here, them I ask, not to begin any love-affair, as it happened when we came over, which is for a girl especially disgraceful. Such may not come to see me as their friend. Dear father-in-law, this letter will tell you little about this district. But I wanted to see for myself first, to make sure I don’t write any lies. The way it looks, the soil is rich. We in turn would like to know how the harvest was at you because of the rainy weather. Please tell us occasionally, also how my brother-in-law HaBler and my sister are doing (the oldest sister Anna Elisabeth was married to Alexander HaBler) whether they are still sound and healthy, and how my other sisters and my brother are doing. Please tell them, I’m going to write soon, so will my sister do (Marie Catharine Kaiser, nee Wunderlich) They (the Kaisers) are till now fresh and lively, my sister-in-law and her children are doing fine, the same goes for Heinrich Benfer and his family. He has also written a letter back to Germany. Tell my brother Johannes, that Heinrich Wunderlich from Feudingen is saying hallo. He was a great help on our voyage. Many greetings to his brothers. I want to close my letter now. Let my sisters and brother read this letter. We send them kind regards. Say hallo to Alexander Weigand and his brothers. Greet all our relatives and acquaintances. Regards from my brother-in-law and my sister. I hope this letter will find you in good health, just as we are.

Greetings from your truest daughter and son-in-law
Jost H. Wunderlich

I should like to add that I forgot to tell you, that my daughter Kathrine started walking eight days before Christmas. She just starts speaking.

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Sprinkreck, April 11, 1867

Heartily loved brother
expecting soon answerHeartily beloved brother and sisters, With a heart full of joy I pick up my pen to write to you at last; I am sure you have been waiting for me to do so. I would have written earlier, but I thought there was no need to hurry, because I had written a letter already, and I am sure, you all have learned how things went during our voyage. I also expected a voyage full of hardship, but the Lord blessed us with an easy one for which we can’t be grateful enough. One should never fail to be grateful, then He will help. God may not help in all cases, yet He will help when there is real need. We are still all of us fresh and sound, thanks God, and live happily together, and so far I don’t know of any sickness. Our children are lively and give us much delight. They are well accustomed here and none of them became homesick. On the 24th of March Eliese and I visited my brother-in-law at Cypresscreeck. She was sitting behind me on horseback. It was a two hours ride, but she endured bravely. If I am not mistaken, I wrote you in the last letter, that we have bought a horse. It cost 60 dollars with saddle and bridle or halter. It was saddled f or riding. I bought it on credit to be paid next year. But don’t get the idea that we bought a horse for riding if we wouldn’t need it to work. For things are not as is told in Germany with all those animals; one can also walk, but whoever owns horses does ride or drive. I have a good horse for ploughing, we are a good team at ploughing. This I owe my brother-in-law. He started looking for one before we even got there, because there are horses that are not broken in for ploughing in the right way. Dear brother, we received the writing from my father-in-law with great joy and have learned, that you, and my sisters and brothers-in-law are still healthy. But my poor beloved sister Elise has complained that my brother-in-law has not been well in winter, and that he had stayed in bed on the morning of the 11th of March. This was a real burden on my mind, but I am confident , the Lord will be with them and won’t abandon them. Dear sister, I feel like it says in the folksong:”Du,du liegst mir im Herzen,du,du liegst mir im Sinn.Du,du machst mir viel Schmerzen,weisst nicht wie gut ich dir bin”. Beloved sister and brother-in-law, It is difficult for me to continue writing, but I am sure, your comforter and helper will always be with you an will never leave you. You just have to believe so ! Dear brother and sisters, please don’t worry about us, for it isn’t necessary. Just remember, how I wrote about it with the help of God; it would be a grave mistake to write lies. I told you yet about our voyage, that it has been an easy one. Our start here I first thought would be harder than -the voyage. Everybody said, it’ll come out, go better and easier than you imagine. This has come true. So far we haven’t suffered any shortage. We were abundant presented with meat, corn, and fourteen hens. Of these two became clucking hens, one hatched 12 the other 8 chicken. Hens are of great benefit here. We sold 12 dozens of eggs at 15 and 20 cents. One cent is about 5 Pfennige, a hundred cents makes a dollar. A dollar equals one Taler and twelve Groschen. My brother-in-law and (my) sister welcomed us friendly and treated us like their own children, and have us supplied with potatoes, too. We stayed with them till February 7. This was an oppressive day for me, so much so that I could hardly say good bye to my sister. Then I remembered our parting. I still don’t know whether I said good bye to all of you or not. If not, please don’t take it amiss. You also want to know about our way of living here, of which sometimes is spoken. Baking bread is different from Germany. We bake on a sheet in the oven. The bread consists of 1/3 wheat flour and 2/3 ‘corn flour. That makes a nutritious bread. It is as white as wheat cake is in Germany. ‘To bake bread does not by far take as much time as it does in Germany. The stoves are built in such a way that one can do the cooking and baking bread at the same time. But don’t think there is fresh bread at each meal, it keeps just as well as in Germany. The same goes for meat. I know of people who butcher as many as 6,8, even 10 pigs at one time. Here one eats meat: three times a day. We were served three times a day meat at my brother’s-in-law, but we asked to do without at one meal a day. So far we haven’t Milk and butter in the morning yet, for we haven’t driven home cows from the pasturage and the wood yet, at which I’ll help, too. Mrs Theis, our neighbour said we could get all the milk and butter we need from her. Here the cattle grazes freely in winter, draught oxen and horses usually come to the barn for feeding. During summer the cows are kept fenced in over night, during daytime the calves, then the cows mostly come on their own. The hogs get always a little fodder, that prompts them to show up every day at or near the house. In autumn the are fenced in or locked in for fattening them. The fodder consists of corn and raw potatoes. The meat is much fatter than in Germany. A young calf is not butchered. – (German farmers sell and sold their calves when they were merely two weeks old, thus saving milk for their own, use). My brother-in-law and (my) sister stated they had 24 head of beeves and 9 horses, I checked and found the numbers to be correct. He has two working horses and one had he broken in for riding last autumn. He has got two more that have to be broken in yet. He does all his driving with horses-He is a carpenter by profession, but he didn’t want to work in his trade any more, because he can take better care of his business and toil his fields better and is always with the family. They live happily together. He told me, if one took care of growing potatoes and breaking fodder and to sell the surplus of corn, that man could take a solid load to Houston each month and sell it there-This fodder is broken off the corn stalks when they have grown completely. The leaves are as long as an arm and are bundled at one pound of weight. The price for hundred bundles now is 2 1/4 dollars, a bushel potatoes an average of one dollar; 2 bushel equal 3 Meste (a German liquid measure of very different sizes, depending on the region ). A barrel corn is 1 1/4 dollar. This measure is unknown to you, here it is, what in Germany is half an ” Ohm ” of spelt is here a liquid measure .The corn cobs are picked with the leaves, they are removed when dry. Thus from a barrel remains about half-a-barrel. A corn cob is about 8 to 10 inches in length, the perimeter 7 inches. A corn cob has 16 rows with about 50 to 60 kernels. I’ll draw you one kernel here. The single kernel is half as thick as broad. Our corn is just shooting, the potatoes have to be earthed. We have a late spring and much rain. Winter was very inhospitable with cold; there was snow at New Year, and in the beginning of March we had hail with very severe cold. Dear brother, I’ll tell you, describe to you the entire circumstances of living over here, more so since -you and Friedrich expect me to write the plain truth. But I won’t encourage anybody to come here because of the hardship and the fever he might meet. Everybody has to decide for himself. But I regret that I have tormented myself so long in Germany. Referring to the houses, I have done better than I thought. Houses are built here in different ways: the block-houses are sometimes put on pillars. We live in such a house. The room is 18 feet long and 14 feet wide, with a small room attached and a projecting roof. Less modern houses are built of boards or planks. After the frame is put up, they nail boards on the outside as well as the inside. The boards for inside were cut at a sawmill, by a machine planed and grooved. The loft and the floor are done the same way. These are houses with no draught. The soil is considered very fertile, which I believe so, too, but I can’t write about it yet, experience will prove. Our area is level with just enough descent for the water to flow off. There are also some spots too wet for cultivation. Here one can still by wood (forest). I have heard that Jost Hassler has bought the barn, for which I’m glad, yet I would like to know who has bought his land and house in Glashütte. It is too small. I must finish my writing and hope, my letter will meet you in good health just as it leaves us. Many greetings from my brother-in-law and my sister. We all greet you heartily many a thousand times and remain
your truest sister-in-law, brother and brother-in-law
till we meet death
Jost Heinrich Wunderlich

Marginal notes:
Letter VIII , original page 2
The difference in time between here and Germany is 7 hours;when we go to church on Sunday morning at ten o’clock, then it is five o’clock in the afternoon in Germany. The shortest length of daylight is 10 hours, the longest 15 hours. Say hello to F.Hoffmann.

Letter VIII , original page 3
Say hallo to our old father, brother-in-law and sister-in-law.I was willing to tell them more, but my wife said, she -would write -to them pretty soon. Greetings to Johannes Althaus and his daughter, likewise Alexander Weigand and Jost Hassler. Say hallo to my uncle and aunt at Sohl near Heiligenborn.

 
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Hancreck,November 3,1873
Dear sister-in-law,I received your letter, dated September 28th, on the 28th of October. When I read it, I felt like it says in the song: Joy is followed by sorrow. I was so grief -struck that I couldn’t finish reading it. I can’t get that mournful news out of my mind, for I know what it means if a father or a mother with small children loses the spouse, what grief and sorrow ensue. Recall the Lord’s omnipotence that he shows on earth, in this we can take comfort. God is our help, stick to that firmly. Dear sister-in-law, it is hard f or you, God will be your relief. I am thinking times and again, how you best could come through. It would be good if you had a farm hand again. If you can’t afford it, you should keep a good stock of cattle. This will be hard work. Should no stock of cattle exist, then it might be better to sell the grass from the meadow. But keep the meadow ‘s irrigation in good shape. I can’t give you any further advice, for I don’t know how much money you owe and how numerous your stock of cattle is. This you could let me know. You should talk things over with your brother George, he knows what would be most profitable. You say that you could loan money from a bank; that is also fine. A tradesman is not content with the interest, he’ll always try to make some additional profit. If you can get the money from a bank, that would be better, for you could pay it back by small installments. You say, that I am to send you a receipt or full authority, I’ll enclose it to this lett6r. It is not my fault, that the debt hasn’t been liquidated in the real estate register, for I didn’t even know whether it was registered or not. You say that you all are well, of which I am glad and one should be grateful for. Health rates first ! Dear godchild Heinrich, my thoughts are now more often with you than before, because you are so young yet. I feel sorry for you. The Lord will cane to your help. Remember what you learned in your confirmation lessons and don’t go astray on evil ways. Be good and obedient to your mother. If you follow that advice, then you’ll master all difficulties. Also recall what I tell you, your brother Wilhelm will soon be a help for you, then you’ll manage! My father, your grandfather, had died also relatively young, (and) the bereaved lived respectable. The Lord will bless you with prosperity Dear sister-in-law, after you have settled everything, write to me as soon as possible, about your circumstances. I should also know whether another girl has been born to you. (It might just as well mean: ” I should also know whether you have hired another house-maid ?”). Have you still got a maidservant and a servant for your labour? As I read is my sister Elise living with you in the house and she is also still healthy. I have waited a long time for a letter from her after having written to her, but so far I didn’t receive any. However, she can learn from this Letter) how things are with us. Now I want to tell you how things are with us. We are, thanks God, quite healthy and lively. Since the death of my spouse we did not need a doctor any more, which is meritorious. If I stay healthy, then I am satisfied. All other circumstances have improved since the first years with the children. Elise has sewn for herself and for Luise two beautiful new dresses and also cut out herself. I didn’t know anything about it till they put them on; then they went visiting the Hasslers. Everybody marvelled at the well-fitting dresses. So far the girls have to learn everything by themselves. After having finished school Elise is to have instructions to learn sewing real well. She has to attend school two more winters. There are ten months of school a year, but usually they don’t have time to go in summer.
Beloved ones in Germany, when I hinted at a good crop of cotton, I was mistaken. When the cotton was in full bloom came the caterpillars. Everybody hoped to harvest more than the year before, but it turned out differently: last year we had seven bails, this year- four. We had and still have this year too much rain. It has been a wet year all the way around. For my own need I’ll have corn left, there is no shortage on anything. We have five pigs to butcher, each two hundred pounds in weight. We need but three for ourselves. I wish you could have the other two for Christmas. Do your very best, it’ll become easier with every year. I have to close my writing now. Many regards to my brother Georg and his people, also to Heinrich Wagener. I’ll write to him the first chance I get. Many regards to sisters and brother, relatives and acquaintances.

I remain
your true brother-in-law J.H.Wunderlich
Greetings from your godmother to Elise as well as your children.

Marginal note: I’ll write to my sister Elise as soon as possible.

Enclosed note from the letter IX , dated November 3 , 1873

Dear sister-in-law !                                         November 9 th

You’ll surely consider it a long time, but it was not possible for me. Twice I rode in vain, the notary was not in. This proxy is issued in Galveston; they’ll ‘mail it to you. I hoped to enclose it to this letter, but this can’t be done. I hope however that you’ll get it. Shouldn’t it reach you, so let me know, it has to and must get there in order to fulfill my desire.

Jost Heinrich Wunderlich

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[x_text]Hokreck, November 5
E Wunderlich
( probably written in 1874 )

Dear sister-in-law,
I have received your letter from August 22nd. I am very glad, that you all are still healthy and sound. Health rates first. You said you got the proxy and everything would be o.k. with it. I am very sorry that your dear help – brother, who stood as an aid at your side, has died, dear sister-in-law. The good Lord has both of us and many more, maybe thousands and thousands struck with sorrow and grief, and has taken the help off our side. He calls for all of us, but he also comes to our help. If we look at it right, we can’t cast a glance at anything on earth without him. He shows more by sum and moon than we can ask for and understand. We must strive after keeping his commandments, thus we’ll meet mercy upon Mercy; The Lord is and will stay with us. Dear godchild, Heinrich, I admonish make sure you stay on good paths and obey your mother. It’ll become easier year by year, comes time, comes advice. Dear sister-in-law, this is an urgent plea, train the boys well and keep the land in good condition the meadow likewise. I am glad you kept a good stock of cattle. Don’t let it become weak, otherwise you’ll be thrown back. It’ll become easier by and by. Now I must tell you how things are with us. We are, thanks God, still quite healthy and lively, which is the main point. Both my-girls give me much joy and are of great help at work. Picking cotton, they always strive not to be last to finish. Elise is now attending confirmation lessons, she’ll be confirmed next Easter. The harvest of corn and cotton was good, potatoes not in abundance. It has been too dry. There was a heat this summer as has been never before. Yet one loves summer. We are very happy, especially god-mother Louise, that you gave birth to a girl. She would like to know how you named her. I should like to know who is the children’s guardians want to close my writing for this time and hope, it’ll meet you at good health as it leaves us. Many greetings from me and my children for all of your children, relatives and acquaintances. Fare well.

( Your ) true brother-in-law
J H Wunderlich[/x_text]

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Spring Station, February 23 , 1882

Elise Wund(erlich)

Welcome
Dear sister-in-law and children,
God be with you! Now I want to write to you and let you know some. We are still healthy and lively, thanks God.

Thus far the Lord has brought
me by his great kindness.
So far he has saved heart
and mind day and night.
Thus far he has led me.
Thus far he has, rejoiced me.
Thus far he has aided me.
( Hymn )

God’s kindness be new each morning, dear sister-in-law. As I suppose, you had suffered grief and sorrow. It is hard, if a mother with little children get into need by the-death of a parent. I know what it means to take care for all difficulties; that is not easy. It says ” The Lord has given, the Lord has taken”. The Lord’s name be praised. Dear sister-in-law, as I have heard, your brothers are not living any more, those who gave you advice and help. I should like to ask and to know how are your children doing? Dear god-child Heinrich and Wilhelm, you are grown-ups now, as I was told by Wilhelm Hofius; be well and remember the time you were left behind. Obey your mother, be eager and stick to her in her age. The commandment says , ” Thou. shall honour father and mother … “. Dear sister-in-law, though I haven’t written since a long time, I cling to my father’s native country. I should like to know how you get along with all things; I hope for the best. Did you pay your debts? Do you still owe all fields? How many head of cattle do you have? Do you harvest enough cereals as well as potatoes, or is it like it was when we emigrated from German? I guess you won’t make money by working in the princely forest ? Also no advantage for your cattle of for leaves. There’ll be little if any beech-lumber at all. Now let me tell you my circumstances. We are still healthy and lively, Elise and Louise, too. Once in a while I propose to them to make a trip to Germany, but they don’t want to hear about that: Now I have land-of my own, too; I have 100 acres that’s slightly more than 40 hektar. I have built a new house and stables. We have but little cattle: 18 head (of cows) and four horses. I’ll break one in this summer. Last year’s harvest was quite well; corn was scarce, it was too dry. The last two years were dry ones. We have rain since New Year, and it is still raining, so that we can’t plant. However we had green grass to feed the cattle all winter. Dear sister-in-law, you can read both letters at the same time; what you don’t find in the one you’ll find in the other. With this I’ll close my letter. How is your sister-in-law in Feudingen doing? Say hello to her. Is my father-in-law still living? Say hello to brother-in-law Wilhelm. Greetings to Alexander Weigand and his poeple. Greetings to Friedrich Schmiedt, G Jost Wagener, my sisters in Oberndorf Maria Elisabeth Bernshausen and Louise Rothenpiler. Greetings from my (daughters) Elise and Louise. Hearty greetings

(your) true brother-in-law
J H Wunderlich

Marginal notes :
Letter XI , page 2 : Heinrich Baenfer says hallo.He also thinks of you often. I and he, we are neighbours. Our land is only 800 steps distant.
Letter XI , page 4 : Who is the children’s guardian?
I should like to get the address of Friedrich Hoffmm; I don’t know where he is at.

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Spring Station, July 12 , 1884<br<

Dear sister-in-law !

God’s Greeting !

I have to write to you at last, for I know that you have waited for a letter from me, especially my god-son Heinrich. I received his letter with the photos. They give us much fun and delight. I myself couldn’t look at them often enough with pleasure, and the same way felt Elise and Louise. I thank him hearty for them and shall remember it as long as T can think of him. Yes, dear sister-in-law, I was also pleased by his letter. He wrote but a few lines, but I learned more from them than from a whole page. He wrote his letter in Coblenz, where he is stationed at as a soldier. I am sorry about the circumstance you are living under. But that’s the way it usually is: he who hasn’t lived as a widower, has no sympathy or consideration for a widow. Though I we haven’t exchanged many letters, I nevertheless know how things were when I left you and to top it to become a widow with little children yet, to live in widowhood. Heinrich told me, he believes, that all his brothers will have to join the army to serve the emperor. This is also hard for you, I consider it a grave injustice, if old people have to let their help go just to become soldier. I should like to ask whether you had any help when your children have been small yet, but I know the answer before even asking. No emperor and none of his servants cares about that, from the highest-ranking to the lowest That’s the way, the poor are treated. I should protest up to the very highest (the emperor) that it would be hard for you to give all sons away as soldiers. Heinrich wrote me about you and his native place, that everything was still as of old, the stock of cattle as well as everything else. He said his youngest sister Louise would be confirmed this autumn. Let me ask once again, how many children do you have? Have you one or two girls? Please let me know, and -how many children are there in total? I would have answered Heinrich’s letter right away, but I expected to get a letter from my sister Elise real soon; so far I didn’t get one. I wrote to her on the 15th of March, but I don’t know whether she got it. Ask her to write to me if possible. All of us are still healthy and lively, thanks God. Since the first two years I didn’t have any fever or sickness any more, and I am still strong to work. When I first came here, I sometime thought, one couldn’t work in summer, but one loves summer. The weather is usually like this: if it rains, it pours much, and if it is dry, then it really is too dry. That is usually in June. If the month of June is too dry, corn as well as cotton stay behind. The way it looks at the moment this year’s harvest won’t become too good. There was too much rain this spring during planting and too cold, so there was but little growth, and when it started growing, it was too dry. Elise and Louise have married. Elise’s wedding was on May 8th of last year. They are living with me and -we intend to stay together. We are glad and content together. Louise has married the, youngest son of Hermann Strack. They also live with the old people. Their nuptial was more than a year ago. They are also glad and content together. None of them has any children as yet. Heinrich will soon be back home again, then he can write to me once again. Please tell him so. He is heartily greeted from me and my folks. Elise and her husband as well as Louise and her spouse send you and the children many greetings.

I am sending my greetings to all of you
your true brother-in-law
Jost Wunderlich

Marginal Note:
Letter XII, page 4: When Heinrich is back home, then he can write to me

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