Letter 31

Date (sent): October 29, 1892
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 writes to his brother Derk Willem te Selle:

  • Aunt Harmina Graaskamp passed away at the home of Gerrit Jan. She became 80 years of age.
  • Wonders why he doesn’t receive any letters although he has sent pictures himself.
  • Has purchased a shop for son Albert

Holland   Nebraska

October 29   1892

Dear Friends,

To our big regret I have to report to you that old Aunt Harmina[i] Graskamp, born te Selle, died on the 24th at the age of 80 Years and 4 months.  Mildly and calmly she fell into the eternal sleep, despite the fact that she had dinner with us till the end. Yes! In the morning  she got up at 9 all by herself, but was more tired than usual. My wife helped her in an easy chair, and then she told her “Now you have to wash me and comb my hair.” Then she said “Now I feel fresh and clean” and then it seemed that she fell asleep for awhile.

Then a neighbor came to visit her, but my wife said, “She is sleeping now very quietly. Her coughing during the night must have made her tired. The coughing and emphysema seemed to hurt her, although the doctor said that it would not last long any more with her.  So I came home at about half past 10 and we sat around her. I fetched Hietbrink[ii] and his wife. Together with my wife we put her on the bed, but her breathing was like a small child and I called the brothers in. Jan Hendrik and his wife were there immediately, but at half past 1 she had to throw up twice, and that was the last thing. And thus she fell into the eternal sleep quietly and softly with a burning desire for Jesus, her Saviour and Redeemer, to whom she had submitted herself safely. So please inform any friends of hers who are still alive.

Furthermore, I am puzzled that I don’t get a letter from you. In February, already 2 years ago, I sent you the pictures of my children, as well as of my son‑in‑law G.W. Hietbrink[iii], with a request to answer me soon. But later we got a letter from you from which it was clear that you had not received my letter.

So I repeated my letter again but whether both letters got into the see I don’t know. Then I had written down everything very carefully. I wrote that I bought half ownership of a shop for 1,700 dollars. My son Albert[iv] lives there now. He married in this spring with a daughter of J.A. Sikkink from Minnesota, which is 600 miles from here. She was visiting my brother awhile ago. About a year ago I bought 80 acres of land, bordering my property, for $2,500.  So now I have to farm a total of about 160 acres of land.

Spring was very wet and late summer was very dry, yet we don’t have reason to complain.

We have 65 bushels of flax seed, 997 bushels of oats, 667 bushels wheat. Corn is not finished yet but I expect to get 3,600 bushels and we are very busy with it at this moment. The flaxseed costs 76 cents, oats 23, wheat 52, corn 30 cents.

So, if you did not get my letter, please let me know and I will write more. Best regards from everybody.


your Brother,  G.J. TeSelle



Harmina, the aunt, was a sister to Jan Albert te Selle (born 1800), who was the father of the seven Te Selle brothers. She was born at June 21, 1813 at farmstead “de Selle”. She married Christiaan Graaskamp in Aalten at March 23, 1850. In 1873 the family emigrates to the USA together with Gerrit Jan te Selle.  Two years later Christiaan died in Holland Nebraska. Harmina te Selle-Graaskamp lived with the Gerrit Jan te Selle family after the death of her husband in 1875.


“I fetched Hietbrink” …. Hietbrink probably  is Willemina’s husband, Garrit Henry Hietbrink. Willemina/Minnie te Selle-Hietbrink was the eldest daughter of Gerrit Jan te Selle.

[iii].”as well as my son‑in‑law G. W. Hietbrink. …” The descendants of G. Hietbrink show his middle name as Henry instead of “W” ….

Willemina was born September 14, 1871 in Bredevoort, and died February 25, 1919. She and Hietbrink had 14 children.


“My son Albert …” was also born in the Netherlands, September I7, 1869. He died April 4, 1941. He also went by the names of John Albert, J. A. and A. J.  His wife’s name was Minnie Sikkink. (born in Wisconsin October 10 1866. They lived near Firth.