April 15, 1881
Siegelau, 15 April 1881
Your letter which had been so longingly expected and which reached us on Friday the 8th of April, made us all very happy. You really do not know how happy we always are when we hear again from one of our own from so far away. All of us therefore would greatly appreciate it if you could send us your letters in shorter intervals. We were particularly happy to discover that you are still quite well, a fact for which all of us thank God and we want to ask Him that he will keep you well in the future too.
From your letter we learned that you were unable to find work from October until Christmas and that you stayed with George Schill. I feel deeply obligated to him for all the good deeds he did for you and request of you that you express gratitude to him on my behalf. It would probably have been a very unpleasant time for you and I am somewhat surprised that you are still staying in New York. As far as we know, employment opportunities are supposed to be better west of New York and with better, higher wages. However, you will probably have become acquainted with conditions to some extent yourself and will probably also consider what might be best for you.
We have seen moreover that you intend to look for a trade in this area too. I am almost helpless to cousel you since I do not know the conditions there. If you really have the intention to take up a different trade or occupation, which I almost surmise after your letter, have you never thought of working as a painter, which occupation you liked to engage in, or engineer?*
Have you never turned to Mr. C. Volzer, my former teacher whose address you have? I am firmly convinced that he would assist you with advice, particularly if you remind him of the fact that your paternal home had been his boarding home. In any event it would not hurt.
It would appear that irresponsible Steiert has written his parents some rather big lies. They have also been obliged to send him money, that is, 30 dollars. I do not know whether I should inform them of what you wrote us. It would perhaps be better if they knew it. However, it is still early enough for that.
Dear Hermann, when you receive this letter your 18th birthday will not be too far off. You are already 18 years old now, an age where one looks at the world in a light which yields a completely different picture from the one obtained if one could look at it ten years older. You are now so completely alone, far, far away, left completely to yourself, no paternal eye can see you and guard you, no fatherly voice can call you in warning or other counsel, no mother can help you and stand by your side with consolation. Dear Hermann, I request of you, do not become irresponsible; flee every opportunity to become irresponsible; move only in good company and with good people pray to God daily, and all of us too, that He may protect you and save you from the many dangers people at this age may encounter in so many different guises. I am sure you know how much I always tried for your well-being. I wanted you to become a teacher. However, fate decided otherwise. I helped you and assisted you when you wanted to go to
America, since I assumed that you could become happy there. I would feel deeply hurt if I should be deluded in what hopes I placed in you, but I know for sure you will try hard as you can to give your parents and your brother and sisters pleasure so that we can enjoy our son, now as well as later, and into the future.
There is really no news of importance that I could report to you. There are always a lot of people going from here to America. Now we have Karl Feil who is a watch maker, left last Wednesday, the 13th of this month, too. He wants to go to Thomaston where Resch, Vitus Hummel, are working too. He is said to have some of his early comrades from the Black Forrest. Casimer Holzer has asked for your address. As far as I know he is working in Brooklyn. I will enclose his address for you and also the one of Franz Burger. Huffler, the son of the roasmaster in Waldkirch, your former school mate, has also left for America. The young baker who worked next to you at Schill Bakery, the boy from Waldkirch whom you did not like all that well, has been there for some time in America. Your schoolmate Fischer from the "Ziegelhof" in Waldkirch, who left for America before you, is said to have died in New York. Last week about 25 people, male and female, left for America from Siemonswald.*
Business with us is still not any better. There is still a rather large number of people without employment. About 14 days ago, a letter was returned that I had written last year in October, when you worked at Waverly.
After a regular winter we are having a rather good spring. Cherry trees, peach trees, are in the most beautiful bloom now. Eight days ago yesterday, on Thursday, we already drove out with cattle for the first time. Thank God all of us in our family are well. Maryann is about ready to enter the big school. That our family has grown by a girl by the name of Victoria you have probably heard from Allgaier, which was most unpleasant to me. What can you say?**
I would like to send Franz Anton to the Agricultural school in Freiberg later this year. However, the expenses are already too high for me; income too small. Cattle are still too cheap. Well, we will see. My brother Fidel has not written again since last year. Did you write him from America? Your Grandfather Hummel is still not completely well again, but somewhat better.
Hoping that this will find you as well as possible, your parents and brother and sisters send their greetings and cordial congratulations.
Franz Anton Fahrlander
*On the map, in the locality of Siegelau, southeast, there are three towns not far apart: Undersimonswald, Altismonswald and Ober Simonswald.
**Other letters indicate that this child was born to a hired girl.