Firth, Nebraska May 2, 1911
Your letter of April 17 we have received in good health. However, to our big regret we learned that our brother[i] has changed the temporary for eternity, and despite that he was of high age, it came still as a surprise.
And despite that we live far away from you, in thought we are always with you, and as we kneel for the Lord at the evening of every day, thus we prayed also for you to our Lord, both for your temporary and eternal well being, so that all of you, through your belief in Christ, may belong to Him and through his blood you may be sanctified, and through him you may become children of God and heirs of his heavenly kingdom.
And especially in this time that sin and degeneration are so rampant and at many places, only an ideal Jesus is preached. But redemption is only given to us out of the grace of the blood of God’s son. As some people have chosen another way they can be lost forever. Pray for them. Please pray also for us so that the Holy Ghost may live in our hearts and gives us the belief in our hearts, that is our prayer.
You also invited us for the wedding of your daughter[ii]. We would like to know with who and where they are going to live and what his business is. lt is our desire to be present and see everybody face to face, but it was God’s decision that it cannot be. But I wish God’s unmistakable blessings for the youthful couple and may they start with the Lord and bend on His Fatherly arms in prayer, and may they search daily for God’s beloved words and look for the many promises set down in the Bible and are yes and Amen in Christ. May they seize these promises during all events that are to come. And when death will separate them again they will be reunited in heaven again in Jesus. And when their heads may be reunited so may the husband sacrifice then as a priest and say thanks and prayers from a pure heart. That is our wish and prayer and from far away we shake hands in friendship and wish you the best. And because you are the first one who sends us such an invitation, so I like to send you a small present as a token of our friendship.
Last year was rather dry here and there was barely any snow this winter. But April was raw and even this morning we still had some night frost. Wheat and oats are growing beautifully, but prices are lower and land is expensive ‑ $125 per acre. Wages are high: $25‑$30 per month for a farm hand, and then you still have to maintain a horse for him or give him even a horse and carriage if he wants to go out on Sunday. Many girls earn $4‑5 per week, carpenters take 30 cents an hour, wheat is 90, Corn 40, fresh cream 17, eggs 15 cents, hogs 5.25. Horses are very expensive.
The family[iii] is doing well, as far as I know, despite the fact that they are separated east to west, 3000 miles and North to South more than 1500 miles. And that’s the way things happen. And if we would include you it would be more than 5000 miles, so we have to be satisfied with letters!
We wish you the blessings of the Lord, and best regards from everybody and myself.
G.J. Te Selle
N.B. Please let us know how life is going on at farmstead “Rotmans”[iv] and whether Mina still lives, and how she is doing. How many children do you have? Please write soon again with more news.
In continuation of letter 35:
Today is the 6th and my letter still has not been sent away. Tuesday afternoon I went to the post office for a money order, but he could not give me a foreign draft. So I had to go to Hickman which is seven miles north. On Wednesday afternoon we have, however, our membership meetings and bible study and my brothers are there most of the time. So I went to brother Jan Hendrik who lives close to the church[v] and told him that I wanted to go to Hickman and I told him why. The brothers[vi] told me then that they had not had such a privilege[vii] in all the 40 years that we are here and wanted to send a similar amount of money so that the newlyweds would have a lasting memory of them as well. But rain and bad roads prevent this until now.
They wish you all the blessings of the Lord, but I don’t dare to write too much anymore, because the letter might get too heavy (the paper here is so heavy). So later we will write more news. The weather is nice now. Your loving uncle,
G.J. te Selle
Last letter available
[i]. Hendrik Jan te Selle, born October 3, 1832, a brother of the three Nebraska Te Selles. died April 4, 1911.
[ii]. Janna Christina te Selle, born at farmstead “Fökkink” May 9 1885. She married Gerhard Christiaan Bent(1881-1961) at May 19, 1911. He was a farmer at farmstead “Nieuw Beernink” and an alderman of the city of Winterswijk. Gerrit Jan is not curious, but he likes to know everything…………..!
[iii]. Gerrit Jan te Selle’s daughters were living in another state. Dina/Dena and husband, John Berend Sikkink, were living in Minnesota; Dela/Della/Dillie and husband, Henry Vene Klasen, were living in North Dakota.
[iv]. Farmstead “Rotmans” is the place where brother Tobias te Selle (1830-1887) lived as a farmer. He was married to Anna ‘Mina’ Rotmans (1824 – 1900) In 1911 Gerrit Jan still does not know that this sister-in-law already passed away 11 years before…
Tobias and Mina had 4 sons (see chapter genealogy)
[v]. .. possibly Jan Hendrik had moved to Holland, Nebraska, from the farm by 1911.
[vi]. Jan Hendrik te Selle (1838 – 1921) and Harmen Jan te Selle (1844 – 1927)
[vii]. An invitation to be present at the wedding….