December 20, 1896

Fahrlander Family

Siegelau, 20 December 1896

Dear Brother!

Since the year will soon be over and I still have not written you, you will probably think that we had forgotten you. I always postponed it and did not write, in part out of negligence, and then one does not always feel like writing. Please do not think ill of me me for that.
Otherwise we are pretty much all right in general, but I cannot praise it much either. Let us hope the new year will be better, for this last summer and fall were terribly bad, always rain and rain again. One hardly knows how to get opportunity so that everything (crops) is brought in. Despite this we still had to do most of our sowing at the beginning of November while everything was wet. Before that we could hardly do anything. We also had hoof and mouth disease in October which affected half the valley. It had started at the Winter farm and went from one to the other, which really fit in well with the bad feed. My feed diminished considerably, for we had to keep everything in the stable, which took a lot of feed. All business and traffic were closed down. One almost had to give young pigs away like presents. One had to be glad if anyone wanted it. Last year was nothing, and we hope next will be better. Everything is cheap. However, wood is expensive. A lot of it is felled and chopped up. If only all of it would grow again, that would guarantee a true profit. Well, there will be other times again. Let us hope so at least.
With us this fall a little prince appeared again, whose name is Wilhelm, and who is healthy and strong. He was born the 15th of October. Joseph can move around pretty well now.
This last summer a terrible accident almost happened. I do not know whether Father wrote you about that or not. The Winter farmer wanted to go to the blacksmith shop with a young horse; it is five years old, to be sure. When he led it out from Trenkle's place, it broke away from him, or rather he could not control it anymore and it was exactly then that our Rosa, with baby carriage and Joseph and Victoria in it, was moving down from the barn, when the horse with the hay wagon and the farmer Winter on it, came storming down behind them. Rosa wanted to jump aside but it was too late. The wagon caught Rosa. However, the baby carriage was already so far to the side of the road that it was just barely touched. However, it was flung quite a ways so that Joseph and Victoria were thrown out, which however did not affect them much. Rosa, however, was badly hurt and it was believed at first that she was dead, but she recovered soon. The doctor was brought immediately and had a lot of work to do until all the injuries were sewed up again. She had her worst injury on her right knee, but she did all right again, so much so that she was able to move about well after a few weeks.
The horse took off with Farmer Winter as far as the schoolhouse, but there it could not make the turn right and the entire wagon went down into the creek with Farmer Winter being flung to the bank of the creek, which broke his shoulder joint, something that gave him trouble for quite a while, but fortunately everyone stayed alive.
Now I want to conclude, otherwise I will not be able to get away the feed that has gone bad. All of us therefore greet all of you and with best wishes for a happy new year, better than the last one, or perhaps not worse.

Fr. Anton Fahrlander

Some explanatory notes, re letter 20 December, 1896:

Hoof and mouth disease is mentioned several times through the years in these letters. According to the dictionary it is "an acute, contagious disease of cattle and deer, caused by a virus and characterized by fever and blisters in the mouth and around the hoofs; it can be transmitted to other domestic animals and man". That sounds fearsome, and probably not much could be done for it except attempt to prevent from spreading.

Regarding the children of Franz Anton, Dad's brother, involved in the accident. Rosa, born July 17, 1887, would have been nine years old at the time; Victoria, born July 6, 1894, two years old; and Joseph, was born July 24, 1895, one year old. Rosa was wife of Hermann Weber, whose farm I visited in 1965, and again in 1974. Rosa had been dead some time; widower Weber was already 80 years old in 1965 (his son was running the farm with his delightful wife and children). He was very active, well-informed on world affairs, and curious, as he asked questions through Hansrudi as interpreter. Weber remembered when Dad came back for a visit in 1890. Weber was still alive when we stopped there in 1974, but not feeling very strong. Still, he motioned me to sit sit down beside him, and we carried on some conversation through Hansrudi again as interpreter. In his Christmas message of 1976, Hansrudi said that Weber died in October, at 91 years. I cannot forget his face, his sparkling eyes, and his apparent sense of humor.   (Helen)




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