Letter 18

Date (sent): August 25, 1877
Writer: Harmen Jan te Selle
Sender: Harmen Jan te Selle
Place: Firth, Lancaster County, Nebraska
Addressee: Mrs. Dela ten Damme - te Selle and Brothers
Date (received): September 13, 1877


  • Harmen Jan has been informed of the death of Janna Berendina Weerkamp, the wife of Derk Willem, Harmen Jan's oldest brother.
  • Comforts his brother and says that it is difficult to bear (endure?) He speaks from experience…
  • Consoles also mother and cousins.


Dear Respected Mother and Brothers, and other friends.

I hereby take up the pen to write you some words and hoping you may receive these words in the best personal state of health.

Before this letter I wrote another one, but I never got an answer back. We write now because we received last week a letter from brother Derk Willem. Yes, that was very sad news! So I thought to answer that letter, which hopefully will get into your hands.

Yes, brother D.W., it is a hard blow for you to have to miss your dear wife. [i]   Yes, I know from my own experience[ii] how sad it is to have to leave to the death a wife and mother of dear children.   But it is God’s wish. And who will doubt his doings?

Brother, have trust in the Lord. He will help you. He will not desert anybody who trusts Him.  Herewith comforting it is a consolation to know that peace will befall those who fear the Lord. And once in the future we will see each other again face to face in that eternal state, in that new Jerusalem hereafter, where no tears are going to be shed anymore. And death cannot cause any separations anymore.   Yes, may this be yours and my consolation. Yes, may this be a consolation for all of us and there may be peace for the people of God.

I received that letter at the postoffice and brought it to Gerrit Jan. I thought to myself, mother is very old already and might not be doing too well. And when we opened the letter we were so sad to learn that it was actually about Janna’s death. And also for you, Mother, it must be sad. You possibly might have thought to get good help from Janna in your old age or your deathbed. But she precedes you to eternity. She cannot help you any more. She passed away. But Mother find consolation  in the fact that you have another helper and that is Jesus, your saviour.

You also have sons and daughters with you, you are not alone. This also is meant for you children, Albert, Jan, Willem and Berts[iii]. Your mother is dead. She has been taken away from you. She has preceded you to heaven.  She is waiting there for you to meet you again, and to be with Jesus. Yes children, search for the Lord in your youth. Pray to Him in the days that you are young before the tough days come, and before the years come, that you might say that you don’t like the Ways of the Lord. Also, to you brother and other friends:  a friend, a sister, has preceded us to the grave. Yes, Death invites at any hour. Every moment there is somebody whose fate for eternity has been decided. The immense thought, that we have to die! We, who walk on the graves of others, and maybe soon will take a place beside or above them!   Whom of us will be the first one? Whom of us will be the last one to enrich the dust of the dead? But enough of this. Please receive this letter in the best of health, also we are very healthy.

Also, on behalf of my brother, Regards,

Harmen Jan te Selle


Derk Willem te Selle’s wife was Janna Berendina Weerkamp, born the 5th of April 1822; died the 21st of July 1877.


“I know from my own experience”  H. J.’s first wife, Berendina Aleida Reusink, died following birth of a baby girl who died later. Berendina (* 29 Jan 1841) died 10th of March 1876.  She left a son, Manus Schreurs (from her first marriage); daughter Dela and son William “Bill” from marriage to Harmen Jan.  Baby Berendina Aleida te Selle, born Firth 4 March 1876, passed away 8 August 1876.


The sons of Derk Willem te Selle and Janna Weerkamp te Selle were:

Jan Albert (1856 -1939), Hendrik Jan (1858 – 1925); Derk Willem (1859 – 1886) and Bertus Jacobus (1862 – 1938).