Letter to Siblings Relates Family’s State of Affairs

Settler warns relatives of hardships and joys in land of opportunity.

| Good Old Days

Settler Warned of Immigration Pros and Cons Alto, Wisconsin June 14, 1866 

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

We want to let you know that we, through God's goodness, now are in good health, and hope we may hear the same of you.

We had a very difficult trip, which you perhaps know. All this was not what we had intended to subject our children to. The loss of our two children I can not forget, that will always stay with me and be a sharp thorn in my flesh. This has taken all our pleasure and enjoyment. If God did not give me the power and strength, then I would collapse. It is impossible to describe how hard this has been for us. Those of you who have children can almost imagine what we all are going through.

As to our state of affairs we have rented a log house after we had been here for 14 days and we are living in it now. We have five hectares (about 12 acres) of arable land, just like it is over there. We rent the land for $40.

We bought two milk cows for $57 for the two. We have some for our use and sell 50 cents worth of milk every week. There are places we can buy here, which were offered to us almost before we got here. One place of 80 acres near Rediker, with a good house on it, we could buy for $72, but I did not dare risk it because I knew nothing about conditions here, so we just rented this small place instead. This way, we won't have the chance to gain anything, but we don't have to lose, either. If we find something better later, we can always leave here. In the fall they tell me one can rent larger places, and I'd rather start on a small scale and not go into debt.

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