Letter 25

Date (sent): January 10, 1883
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


Harmen Jan te Selle responds to a letter that his mother and brother had written on December 25, 1882:

  • HJ philosophizes about life and death; apparently, some of his Netherlands relatives have recently passed.
  • Agricultural prices were low this year, but the cost of horses and steers is high.
  • Harmen Jan is an American agent of the Amsterdam Line or Crown Line. He does not earn a lot with this activity.
  • For two years now he has been the overseer of roads, and he made over 60 dollars last year from that job.
  • Has installed a “wind water pump" onto the well.


Firth    January 10, 1883

Well Respected and loving Mother and Brothers with your Wives and Children,

Your letter of December 25 reached us and we are happy to see that everyone is fine and glad that mother is doing fine at her age. It is a big blessing that a human being here has her on earth.

We too are well and also the Brothers are well as far as I know. And we do not live too far apart so if anything happens to either of us the others would soon find out about.  I also read in your letter that some of our relatives, our uncles and aunts were called to an everlasting eternity.  Yes! But that is the way life is, so the days leave, there is no standing still at this road, time is always going on. Hours, days, months, are flying by like a shadow. But with Jesus as our bail and mediator, we can walk that road, no matter whether this road leads through unbeaten deserts or wildernesses of disasters and disappointments.  Might we be able to sing with the Poet, “Might His stick and staff support me”.

Now with the beginning of a New Year, we don’t know what will happen to us, but it is our wish that the Lord will give His Blessings to all of us together, To you and me. Yes to all of us, so we can serve Him as He wants to be served. May the Lord give this to us.

From your last letter, it seems that real winter has not yet arrived there, but winter has arrived here. For a long period of time we had nice weather but now winter really has come it is winter indeed!

So as I wrote to you in my last letter we did not get much of a harvest of wheat, but the oats and corn harvest were rather good. We harvested 500 bushels of oats and 4000 bushels of corn from 100 acres. Prices are low at the moment. 25 cents a bushel for corn, live hogs $5.25 per cwt., butter 24 cents and eggs are 2 cents each. Horses and steers (horned cattle) are very expensive too. Cows were sold this Fall for $35 ‑ $45 and horses were $100 ‑ $140 a piece.  We could almost miss a horse but we still have over a hundred acres to plow in May and therefore you need good horses.  We have 6 horses in all, 4 work horses and two young ones. In May they will be 3 and 2 years of age.  They are still too young to work.

You wrote me this fall that you are an agent of the Rotterdam Steamboat Line. Do you get a lot of passengers for this line or is it with you like it is with me that you cannot make much money with it? They have appointed me as an agent for this region to the Amsterdam Line also known as Crown Line, that is how I got the Map of the whole of Europe with all the major railways and big cities of Germany, Austria, Russia and so on in it. But I think there wasn’t a lot of money earned in this activity. I have been a supervisor in my district already for two years to oversee maintenance on the roads in a neighborhood of three hours (walking). I have to put in order bridges and highways. This year I have been appointed again. Last year it brought in more than 60 dollars.

This fall we have bought a water wind pump on our well so we don’t have to fetch water for the animals ourselves. The cost was a hundred dollars. In the picture enclosed you can see it. At this very moment, the mill stands still and the wings are open. If the mill is in action the wings are closed.

Do you still get the weekly magazine and if you do please let me know soon.

H. J. Te Selle