Letter 30

Date (sent): October 3, 1891
Writer: Gerrit Jan te Selle
Place: Holland, Lancaster County, Nebraska
Addressee: Derk Willem te Selle
Address (sent to): Fökkink, Winterswijk, Netherlands


  • Gerrit Jan te Selle seems to chastise his brother Derk Willem for not responding to any of GJ's last three letters.
  • But there is some doubt whether DW even received the letters, so GJ is polite about his disappointment.
  • Gerrit Jan is excited about his prosperous harvest, as well as about his good fortune in acquiring additional prime farmland near his own farm.
  • GJ also reports that his daughter Dela has a good job as a housekeeper and server at a hotel in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Holland, Neb October 3, 1891

Dear friends:

I am tired of waiting for another letter from you and take my pen to write you some words in order to let you know that we are faring very well and hope to hear the same from you. We would be sorry to hear if it were different.

We received on January 20 your letter written on January 5, and concluded that you had not received our letters with photographs. I wrote then immediately again and sent more photos and asked you for a quick response, but until now I have received nothing, so if you got my letter, then please let me know, or I will write you the same again.

The harvest is good this year. We have 584 bushels of wheat, 578 bushels of oats. Corn will be about 2000 bushels I presume. The prices are still low, but that’s due to the fact that the railroads cannot ship it and the warehouses are full. Hogs have a good price at $475. Recently I sold 38 hogs at once for $553 at $4,95 per hundred. Also, I had sold for $75 more a bit earlier on, and now I still have 12 pigs which are ready to be sold in a few weeks from now. Then I have 40 left over. Feeding corn was also expensive. I sold a few hundred bushels at 53 cents per bushel.

I also sold 200 bushels of oats at 53 cents. Last year oats were very rare, but then I still had 1500 bushels of old corn from the previous year. I sold some a bit too early. In May I sold more than 600 bushels for 41 cents, for which I could not get more than 18 cents last year.

A few months ago I bought an 80‑acre plot of land for $2500. I think now that I could make $500 profit on it, because it is the most beautiful land in this State. My brothers used to have the best land of all Dutchmen living here, but now it’s me. It is on the other side of the road. I bought it from a hermit, one can say. We lived close to each other for 18 years, but he has never been in my house, and we were still good friends. He had bought that land about 20 years ago for its beauty for $600 for 80 acres. But he was only looking for beautiful land and got it. There he lived all alone with two horses and one dog.

He had a loaded gun with him in bed to warm him up. But recently he suffered from some heart disease. Then the doctor told him to see his friends, as he could die at any moment. Then he came to me and wanted to sell his land. In two hours’ time, I bought it from him. He wanted $800 directly and $1700 in a five-year time period. That’s how it goes with earthly goods. If men make it, its God!

Dela(1) works in Lincoln, together with the daughter of J.A. Sikkink. They each make $15 per month. In the hotel where they work are 9 girls, 4 table servants who have to be ready 3 times a day for 2 hours. They have to do 16 beds each. They make $15 dollars, the others make $12 per month.

Our regards from all of us.

G.J. Te Selle

On the margin:

It has rained 2 times 24 hours already. This is strange. It still continues.

1) G. J.’s daughter, Dela, was born on September 30, 1873. She was married to Henry Vene Klasen in 1895.