December 9th 1849

Galveston, December 9th 1849.

We have arrived; i.e. the first goal of our great journey has been reached. We arrived in the city in the forenoon of December 6th. The city gives a splendid impression, for it occupies a considerable area along the shore. The houses show great variety, and all have balconies. Some of the balconies are very large and bear foot-high inscriptions; the churches tower high above the city. This gives the city a beautiful appearance that is not diminished after one is in its midst. The streets are exceptionally broad and straight, and it is this breadth that gives the city its great extent.

These broad streets are empty of people; everyone rides in the most elegant, finely built, little carriages. These carriages are never drawn by other than small muscular horses; the light top is open in the rear or closed by a curtain. The ladies themselves drive, They are so fashionably dressed and so gracious; one can scarcely see their equal in Europe. Heavy, black, Moorish dresses with white-lace mantillas and dainty, silk hats give the ladies of Galveston an aristocratic air.

Yesterday mornin I stood on the balcony of our hotel and watched the city come to life. Gentlemen in black coats with baskets on their arms, Negroes and Negresses, the latter in white or bright colors like our working German women, walked by. A very dainty milk cart came along, and the man sitting in the back on well-constructed containers stopped in front of a house and rang a bell. A nicely dressed lady brought out a pitcher, and the man placed a measuring beaker before a very large, brass milk container, unscrewed the tap, filled the beaker, received the money, drove the cart skillfully across the street, and repeated the same procedure. After that an enclosed wagon came along; a baker was bringing his bread to market.

The hotel here, the ‘William Tell’ – third-class, I believe – costs half a dollar per person per day.

For that one gets a room and beds, then in the morning; coffee, excellent white bread – there is ‘no other kind, it is made with potash -, beefsteak, cheese, butter, radishes, fried liver, etc.; at noon: meat soup, boiled meat of excellent quality,. then roast beef, stuffed fruit — I have never eaten finer, somewhat like our apple compote -, then salad, potatoes (not as good as ours), sweet potatoes – which von Rosenberg liked very much -, cheese, and other side dishes that were new to me. There was plenty of all these dishes, and they were served in small .portions, so that one always had hot food. One can take what one wants without disturbing his neighbor by reaching.

One can get everything imaginable here,.and the selection is large. Even though many things are more expensive, the quality is better, and one saves the considerable shipping charges. The cost of labor, handwork, whatever is made here, is enormously expensive. A quilt, for which I can buy the material for two dollars, costs five dollars ready-made.

This morning we are reading the latest political news in the German Galveston Zeitung, which is published twice weekly in the format of the Königsberg paper. How much I should like to send you, if it were not so long, the beautiful poem, Der Geist der hingerichteten Majiaren, (The Spirit of the Executed Majiars {Hungarians}). that appeared in it. I was very pleased by an article from Konigsberg that said that even in 1849 there were no informers among us, since the police were reported to have created a sensation by arresting a politically accused person, who had voluntarily presented himself before his judges (certainly a rare virtue). Thus you see, dear friends, how a free people recognizes your efforts. We shall, subscribe to this newspaper.

I still have much, much, to report of the final part of our life on the ship. It took us 19 days less for the voyage than it did for the two ships that left ahead of us. We had no sick on board, and to the very last moment plenty of food and water. The water was much better after we had left the torrid regions. If we were dissatisfied now and then, it was because of our impatience. We can not complain of anything. It says a lot when I write that during the nine weeks on board the Franziska, I heard not a curse or invective from the cultivated captain, the serious first helmsman, or the young second helmsman, who recited verses. Down to the youngest sailor, the crew was admirably courteous.

There is not much room left for me to continue the description that I began of the interesting characters on the ship. However, I must write a few words about Mareck, the Styrian (Steiermark) deputy fleeing Austria, his wife, and his two-year-old Adelmo. Mareck, who was always happy and gay, was a most attentive and loving husband and father; to his family he was everything, everything. He cooked, he did the wash, he cleaned, he swept. He was continually quarreling with me. We both wept while leaving the ship. The news of the execution of his friends in Hungary (we had the first news of it in the Galveston roadstead) had so depressed him.

His not-very-pretty, young wife from a noble Austrian family is the most caring mother. Since we have left the ship, we always shed tears when we meet. She loves Lina, and Lina loves her very much. But who has ever seen a child so delicate, so fine, so angelic as Adelmo? He is Walter’s best friend. When going to sleep and waking up, the first thing he does is call for Walter.

Mareck has often told me, I should let him have Walter, but to Walter he offered blows for breakfast, whipping at noon, and a lashing for supper with little to eat!

I could still name for you twenty to thirty persons who are cultivated and worthy of mention. Engelking, Mareck, and a Westphalian form a cloverleaf. rec s are going more to the south, to Antona.

As we arrived, we saw three beautiful steamboats departing. I won’t compare them with a floating house; they are more like a small city with their decks rising one above the other and the galleries. Mr. Engelking went right on the day after tomorrow we’ll probably fo by mailcoach to the mouth of the Brazos. For the twelve of is that will cost twenty dollars. Then, the trip will last four days, and then we’ll stay in San felipe until a farm is bought or rented. Our things are being sent to San felipe separately. Mr Engelking will take care of us there. We are taking along provisions for a long time, because they are more expensive in the country. I found a letter here from Dr. Reimann.

In Texas one is safe from thieves. Only poor immigrants steal if they are in need, but they soon find that theft is no longer necessary. The rich land provides even the poor with means for a good living.

Engelking doesn’t have a lock on the door of his house and has never had anything stolen. He often leaves his house and farm alone for days when he goes to visit friends. Lina has received a lesson in English daily from Mr. Engelking and has made good progress. The day before yesterday Captain Hagedorn gave a coffee on board for the ladies, and we were invited, also a Galveston lady. Today Lina and I are going to visit the wife of a German merchant across the street.

When we arrived here, the weather was warm, and Friday we had favorable weather and worked on the balcony, but yesterday a norther blew in and swept icy-cold through the light, airy houses. Such a norther, we had already experienced its frigid breath in the Gulf of Mexico, only lasts three days at most, and then one has the most beautiful summer weather again. Only these northers make up the winter! And now a farewell to all you dear friends in the homeland. I often think of all of you for whom I have such great affection, but now I must close. Preparations for our continued trip and several more letters lay claim to my time. You, my revered friend, you know whom I loved and respected in the homeland – to all, my greetings. Farewell to you and your dear wife. Farewell to all. Write soon.

Your friend,

Amanda Von Rosenberg