Letter 22

Date (sent): 9 January 1882
Writer: Harmen Jan te Selle
Place: Firth, Lancaster County, Nebraska
Addressee: Mrs. Dela ten Damme te Selle and Derk Willem te Selle
Address (sent to): Fökkink, Winterswijk, Netherlands


  • Most everyone in Firth in good health, although many children have whooping cough.
  • So far winter hasn’t been harsh.
  • Prices have risen as a result of low agricultural yields.
  • Harmen Jan reads two Dutch newspapers and one newspaper in English;
  • HJ is an agent of a newspaper, and he also writes some articles for the newspaper.
  • The mother-in-law of his first wife unexpectedly died recently, only 60 years old.
  • HJ wishes the Lord's blessing to his mother and brother.


Firth, January 9, 1882

Dear Respected Mother, Brother, and Children

By means of pen and ink, I want to let you know that we are very healthy and hope for you the same. We would regret it very much if it were different. From your letter which you wrote to us on December 17, and which we received on January 5, we understand that you all are doing well, despite that you and Tobias had a cold. And that is how it is here, many have a cold and several children of G.J. have whooping cough. Also, Jan Hendrik’s children keep on coughing. Up till now, we don’t have this problem.

The fact that this winter is mild and soft will not help us much with all this sickness. Except for a few cold days, we have barely had a winter. Our cattle are out for full days and do not have to be fed much, which suits the farmers well.

There was not quite a lot of straw this year, but there was a lot of hay, so straw is not as expensive as where you are. For 2 dollars we can buy a thousand pounds of hay, despite the fact that everything is more expensive than other years. Butter has been up to 25 cents per pound, which has not happened for a long time! Eggs are at 2½ cents each, sometime before, you could buy them for ½ cent each. Corn or Turkish wheat costs 43 cents per bushel, which was in other years not more than 22 to 25 cents. Hogs are 5.00 to 5.20 a hundred (live) and from the newspapers it is clear that not much has been grown in other places. Even here we had half of other years and that’s why everything is so expensive.

You wrote me about that newspaper. Sometimes when I read it, I lose it immediately, the little ones tear them to pieces and then you don’t get it regularly any more and I can’t help it, but I will see what I can do.

I would like to get you familiar with America and what happens there. So I would like to get you familiar by means of the newspaper. I myself even read 3 newspapers. Two Dutch and one English newspaper. I like reading pretty much, and for one newspaper I am the correspondent, so they don’t cost me too much.

Possibly you have seen the articles from Nebraska in the weekly magazines: they sometimes are signed Te. S. and sometimes T.S.  They are written by me. The newspaper editor likes to hear some news from Nebraska and Holland, so every week I sent him something. In no. 52 the news of two weeks is printed.  No’s 1 and 2 will be published soon. lt is possible that there are things in there that you don’t know such as “turkeys” (those are ‘kalkoenen”) and we write it the English way.

Today I got the sad message from Wisconsin that my first wife’s mother died. In the evening she went to bed healthy and the next morning she was dead in bed.

So death calls everybody, nobody is spared. I’ve got to finish now, it is 9 ‘o clock and time to go to bed.

This is the second letter I wrote tonight and on top of it I had visitors, so please excuse my poor writing,

H.J. te Selle


Added letter:

(On account of content, kind of paper and format it can be concluded that it is a continuation of the same letter, despite the absence of addressing and date (D.W. te Selle, Oct 18, 1989)

As I got the sad message today from Wisconsin that my mother‑in‑law passed away, I thought: that is mankind. Only at the age of 60 years and always strong! And my own mother, always weak, she has reached the old age of 80 years! It can always happen at 60 or 70 years of age, or if we are strong, at 80 years and that age, mother, you have already reached! and because neither you nor I know how long we will be, I thought it to be a good idea to have a wish for you, mother, for the new year.

Mother: I wish you the blessings of the Lord. In this just started new year the Lord has saved and carried you so far. You have seen the children and grandchildren.

Is it God’s mercy that He has given you so many days? and might it please the Lord to extend your days, we then wish that you may spend these days in good health and in fear of God, that Jesus will be your guarantor and intermediate, and when He is coming to take you out of this earthly life, that you will be given a place of eternal peace. Yes, let Jesus and His justice be better for you than 7 sons. And it is my wish and hope that we will find each other back at the other side of the grave in glorious heavenly life. Also you, brother Derk Willem I wish you the blessings of the Lord, good health and prosperity in soul and body. I still remember when we still lived with you, that you were not insensitive regarding the welfare of your soul, but it is possible that the same happens to You, as happened to me: men can be weak. I wish you, therefore, the power and strength from above. Yes, may also you, in this newly starting year, with renewed force and strength, honor Jesus, who is your and my benefactor, and let Him give His blessings.

This wishes you, your son and brother,

H.J. Te Selle