March 29, 1850

Amanda Von Rosenberg writes:

Nassau Farm, March 29, 1850.

Dear Hannchen,

You will be wondering why you haven’t received any news of us from the American continent. I have already reproached myself several times, but the unending work involved in settling into our new property under completely new and`strange conditions may excuse me. The letters from Galveston written in the first ‘half of December have, hopefully, reached you. They described our very fortunate voyage and arrival. Then, I wrote another letter to Rudolph Knopke in Fraustadt from the steamboat Washington, which a young man was to mail for me, but never again will I choose such a doubtful opportunity to send a letter, for that letter most probably won’t reach Europe.

The trip from Galveston to the mainland was very interesting, but also somewhat alarming. We rode in a stagecoach that had very high wheels and was lightly and smartly built. Eight to ten people sat along the side walls opposite one another. Then, we had a second coach (our own), to which post horses were hitched. Eugen (von Rosenberg) drove it. We went along the beach, on the most level road, naturally, with the waves splashing around us. But when we came to a depression that extended far out to sea, then, a more courageous spirit than mine would have quailed, especially since Eugen had been instructed not to let the horses stop in the sea for any reason, even momentarily, since this would result in the greatest danger. Thus we left Galveston on December 12th at two in the afternoon and arrived at the opposite, west end of the island very late in the evening with lanterns burning in the coach. Here we found a nice little house with good beds, comfortable quarters for the night. The following morning we were ferried over to the opposite shore, which from Galveston Island closely resembled the Sandkrug at Memel. Two small boats carried the people; a ferry brought the two coaches over. On the little St. Louis Island we found two inns but not a single house. In one of the inns we had a tasty breakfast, but it was expensive. The small island was quickly crossed in the comfortable coach, and again a ferry was waiting for us. We crossed a stretch of water about as broad as the Pregel (river at Königsberg) and found ourselves on the mainland. It was the 13th of December, Eugen’s birthday (20 years old). we had forgotten about it completely! We went on and on along the shore. Here the view of the sea was sublime, the surf very high, but the trip more and more frightening, for on the one side was the foaming sea, on the other America had piled up in layers its mighty trees from the primeval forests. Even in Galveston, gigantic masses of wood were piled in layers, but on the coast of the mainland it was tremendous, a garden of wood of infinite expanse. Often the road narrowed; often it passed over trees half buried in the sand; and often it led into the raging sea to avoid the giant trees. But now the coach stopped; the man who was driving climbed down and unhitched the horses. In front of us was a brook flowing into the sea that had to be checked out; in the west the sun was sinking before us the goal of today’s trip, Velasco. We had to drive deep into the sea to find firm footing. It was terrifying, but we were very fortunate. The stagecoach took on the things from our carriage because our carriage was too low. Finally we set out for Velasco anew, but stopped on the bank of the reddish yellow, foaming, wood-bearing Brazos River. The men climbed down and spoke with some other’ men. Out of curiosity we also climbed out, but scarcely had we gotten out when a young, very genteel-looking man pressed us to get into a boat. Before we could ask how or why, we five ladies were sitting in a boat, and a strange man, who spoke only English, pushed off from the bank. Now, we three women, Lina (von Rosenberg) and Libussa (Froelich), separated from the rest, were riding in the small boat through the surf, which twice splashed into the boat. We were rowed toward the steamboat at the opposite bank, and from there the lights of the magnificent Washington shone toward us. Finally we landed, and, to our great surprise, the same young man who had so gallantly led us to the rowboat extended his arm to us and led us on. He was a man of courtly demeanor, but also of an aristocratic name – Montejommerie, purser of the Washington. In the darkness unseen by us, he had reached the bank in a small boat more quickly than we. Now, however, we entered the stately salon of the brightly lit steamer.

In Europe one had told us of the size and stateliness of the American steamboats, but truly they are worthy of the admiration that they receive in foreign lands. When we visited the chambers of King Friedrich Wilhelm IV, how splendid they seemed to us, but whoever finds himself impressed by them, let him come aboard the Washington which navigates the winding Brazos River. Let him be led up the high steps, enter the wide vestibule with the giant, glowing stacks on both sides.

The glass doors are opened, and a long, spacious salon receives the.guests. Eight stately windows along each side illuminate the room. In addition, a row of small, diamond-shaped windows run along the upper part of the cabins, since the bunks block the light from the window with which each one is provided. But I won’t spend too much time in describing the Washington. Everything was admirable, the food, the service, etc. These were the loveliest, most enjoyable, most carefree days of my life. The trip went slowly, for we had to cover four times, even more times, the few miles to San Felipe because of the many bends in the Brazos. Also we were going against the swift current, and the frequent stops really held up the steamer. The boat didn’t run at night and we docked at every large farm and town. Here freight was unloaded there shipments of considerable size were taken on board. The passengers were always changing: ladies were traveling from farm to farm, business men from town to town. The towns are growing tremendously. Growth passed Velasco by, but opposite it, Quintana, because it is more favorable for docking ships, is growing rapidly and has already surpassed its sister-city. Richmond, Braczosia (Brazoria ?), and Columbia are growing rapidly because trade from the interior is increasing. Finally we reached poor, miserable San Felipe de Austin. In the last war it was burned down by the Mexicans and hasn’t yet recovered but the steamboat traffic, which is now so important, and the rich surrounding farms will bring growth to it too. Here in San Felipe I haven’t experienced a happy day. We rented a house (very inexpensive) and prepared our own meals (also very inexpensive). We, Helmuths and von Rosenbergs with children, lived at one end of the town, far from the other houses. Von Rosenberg with Wilhelm soon left on trips, and Helmuth was also gone for a while. Eugen was our only protection. In the room in which we slept, we had two windows; one had real panes, the other was closed with a sack. One door was nailed closed; the other was secured with a rope every evening. We lived in this room for four weeks (three weeks without von Rosenberg). We had our entire fortune in a leather box, but in Texas people don’t steal. One can carry 100 thousand with him without the worry of losing it. Von Rosenberg forgot some very valuable things at an inn and recovered them undamaged. We haven’t suffered any loss; maybe here and there we have paid too much for something, but we can not say that we have ever been cheated out of even a dollar. Engelking used to say “Mrs. von Rosenber you have an unusual capacity for worrying.” He was right. Ll of those worries that I had in San Felipe were groundless.

As has been related , “rich old Mr. Von Rosenberg,” as he is called here in Texas, to my inexpressible annoyance, was gone from San Felipe 23 days in order strong and as swift as the wind blows here in Texas, so news is spread. Through rumor, and sometimes directly from von Rosenberg, I was kept informed. Finally von Rosenberg returned from his scouting trip, for which he had bought horses. He had bought Nassau farm and was completely satisfied with the purchase. A short time ago Nassau had been the mos beautiful house in Texas; even now it belongs to the few finest, but I must tell you the history of Nassau Farm. It has made world-history! The Adelsverein (Society for the Protection of German Immigrants in Texas) came to Texas with 300,000 thalers, the sweat of the poor immigrants. Count Boz von Waldeck (Count Anton von Boos-Waldeck), adjutant at the court of Nassau (Germany), bought this league (4,444 acres) for the Society and built the house. Chronically ill, he soon returned to Germany, but other noble gentlemen followed him, Von Meusebach (Baron Ottfried Hans von {John 0.}Meusebach) etc., who cost the Verein tremendous sums. One of these gentlemen gave a party that cost 15,000 thalers.

Prince Solms (Prince Carl von Solms-Braunfels) has also resided here and ridden many a horse to death, yet the probity of his character is praised! Finally, Nassau (Germany) also experienced uprisings at the barricades.

The society of princes had to transfer their Texas property to the Mainz society. The latter sent its agents to Nassau Farm, but again they sought only their own advantage. The removal of these agents led to that fight in which two persons were shot to death.

At this time a Mr. von Roeder was living in a mill, four English miles from here. He had been here for seventeen years, was we acquainted with conditions and the laws, had helped the Verein in significant ways and through his credit obtained the delivery of important amounts of supplies. Through the struggle at the barricades, the Verein was placed at a disadvantage.

Therefore, Nassau Farm, as it stood, was sold to von Roeder for 14000 thaler (dollars?). It was enormously cheap and included 4,400 acres of land, the beautiful residence with a house for the negro servants and a stable. For the noble gentlemen it had been furnished in a princely manner. Nassau is situated high on a hill.

Across from it, separated by a creek, also on a hill, is the plantation with the Negro houses, for 12 – 14 adult Negroes belong to Nassau. But there was a condition to the deal. The Verein retained until January 1, 1849, the right to buy back the estate. This time passed, and von Roeder granted the Verein an additional half year. When this expired, he gave them another half year’s extension. On January 1, 1850, the Verein asked for more time. Von Roeder gave them four more days. When these passed, Von Roeder was legally in possession of Nassau Farm. He offered the Nassau residence with 800 acres of land to von Rosenberg, who unconditionally accepted the offer. Von Rosenberg, had been royally entertained by von Roeder, as the latter urgently needed money so that he could settle up completely with the Verein. Von Roeder had made significant payments to the Verein in recent years, for the poor, unfortunate immigrants had often offered him (Von Roeder) their claims at half price. Von Roeder bought them and, naturally, tendered them to the Verein at full value. The Verein is presently supposed to be 700 000 Reichsthalers in debt.

My very dear friends, Von Rosenberg is now owner of Nassau Farm, which consists of a beautiful residence (which I shall describe in more detail), a second house, which is very nice for Texas, and a stable; then 800 acres of land that must still be cleared, i.e. must be plowed up and made arable. Only the gardens belong to the residence. Von Rosenberg paid $1,800 for this property. Except for the pigeons, which live in a special dovecote, there is not a living thing included.

One will need money, a lot of money, to acquire all that is needed. Von Roesenberg has about eight horses, of which the best cost $50 to $70 each. Four of the less valuable horses were given to the boys two to Eugen one to Axel, an one to Walter. Then, we have ten very Beautiful cows; they cost $100. We thus have altogether 20 head of cattle. Then we have ten pigs, among them sows with sucklings, for $19; then, 45 chickens for about $4½; 4 ducks for $1, 4 dogs and 4 cats at no cost. The cats are especially necessary because of the many mice. They are a real blessing. We also have two oxen, for which we paid $50.

And now the main item of our property, one Negro, cost $800 and one Negress with a child cost $700. Such people are indispensable for such a large estate, for workers are frightfully expensive, an usually not available. We have a young man, resembling Eugen, in the house; he is paid $9 monthly. During the first year the work piled up so, so that this young German was a true blessing. He was acquainted with conditions in the country and could speak English with the Negro. I have had the Negress for two weeks. I am not completely satisfied, but it is getting better. The 3-month-old baby boy takes a lot of time. Luckily, my Negress is from Louisiana and can speak French, otherwise things would really be bad. Now I’ll describe the house. It is situated on a hill that gently slopes down to the creeks, which surround it. The hill is level on top, and tall oaks grow on it, several very close to the house. These trees are very tall and seem to enclose the house. North of the house is the garden, which has many peach trees, some fig trees, and flowering trees. It has a gentle slope and now contains potatoes, which are thriving,_ peas, beans, squash, cucumbers, and the beautiful Texas melons of different kinds. The soil is rich.. In general, Von Rosenberg has fine land, prairie with considerable forest, all contained within straight boundaries. To the west is a beautiful, large pasture. It is treeless until one reaches the tree-lined creeks. To the south, in front of the house, is a small area from which Von Rosenberg has already had some of the trees cut down, so that the south wind can blow through the house. This area, which presently belongs to the pasture, will be added to the garden. In the east the landscape will soon be obscured by the trees, but here the view is wonderful, as it also is in all directions. It is most beautiful in the direction of the Nassau plantation, but the view is continually obstructed by forest. There is a surplus of wood. In general, this region is extensively cultivated, and well- cultivated, because so many Germans and well-educated people live here. It is called the Aristocrats’ Settlement. Our house faces south and north and stands three to four feet from the ground on oak supports. It is built of oak logs.

(I beg Augusta Koenig to send my greetings to her most esteemed relatives in Bremen. In the near future I’1l give myself the pleasure of writing them. Von Rosenberg says to tell Theodor that any young people of little means who can come here, can make a go of it. If they work for strangers, they’ll get $8 to $9 monthly.

They’ll need very little, since one dresses very lightly here. Added to that, they can invest the money immediately in cattle, and even $10 draws the highest interest. If a young man works for a few years, he will soon acquire a small herd, which he can trade for land and thus become the owner of property.)

The house contains two square rooms, built of oak logs, which are connected by a broad passage (breezeway), somewhat like the threshing floor connects the two side rooms in a barn. Over all this, there is a broad roof that rests on columns, and in the front and the rear, i.e. on the south and north, the roof shades two splendid verandas. If one wants to enter the house, he goes up three or four steps (in front or rear) and finds himself on a magnificent, broad veranda, that runs the length of the house. Both verandas are screened with latticework, three feet high. As has been said, the roof is supported by columns. The two verandas are joined by a passage, from which a narrow but graceful staircase leads to the second floor, where there is also a passage and two rooms, one for Eugen and one for storage. These rooms have “Texas windows” i.e. openings in the wall. The rooms below, however, have true windows, two each. Those facing north have fifteen large panes; those facing south are wider and have twenty panes. The most beautiful part of the house consists of the two fireplaces, built of stone. One of them is a showpiece, quite unique, and cut with great skill from a stone. The hearths are really splendid; I have cooked in one, and they don’t smoke despite all the logs that they hold.

Just imagine, dear friends, this house is as clean and attractive as a jewel case; these wonderful verandas with floors of cedar, oh! It is the greatest joy that I know, my pride; and when it is all washed, and I see it all clean and white, just imagine! But then the rain comes, an American rain, which is different than that of Europe. In a half hour everything is full of water. Even in the passage I have had water. My yard, my joy because it is remarkably clean and attractive, and since the house stands in the garden, no cattle can get in; this yard, clean as though strewn with-white sand, is covered with water in a trice! The sand turns into slippery, sticky mud, which is tracked onto my verandas and covers them. This has often happened to me. At Easter everything was so clean and nice, as I had prepared a large midday meal, and all the children were here. On the second day of Easter we had a storm, (storms are frightfully violent here) and my beautiful verandas became a frightful mess. The whole house has only four doors, two to the lower rooms and two to the upper ones.

On the west side there is a fine, new addition, which one enters from the south veranda. I now have my cooking hearth in this room, a fine, bright kitchen with Texas windows.

What are the disadvantages of the house, my dear friends will ask, and I answer, draft, draft, draft!

Texas, the windiest country, always has a wind. In summer it is the greatest blessing, but we don’t like the wind, and so Von Rosenberg is having the north veranda enclosed, where it parallels the rooms. We’ll then have two nice rooms, and the passage will be provided with pairs of doors on the north and south, which can be opened when it is hot_and closed in case of a norther, protecting the rooms from this penetrating wind. Then the walls must be whitewashed and freshly cleaned with lime; otherwise, nothing further needs be done to the house.

But what are the disadvantages, you will ask. Then I’ll answer, the water. We do have a beautiful, frightfully deep well that cost a lot of money, but the water contains sulfur and the effort of drawing water is so great that we use it very little. Water is now brought in daily, a matter, that seems simple but is often troublesome. The creek flows directly below our hill, doesn’t dry up in summer, and has good water.

Thus far in our travels in America, we hadn’t seen a stone. We found the first ones here at Nassau. There is a creek here that, when the water is low, is not much larger than the Eckitt, but flows on and on over rock. At places where the rock emerges from the water, one can cross as though crossing over a bridge. The river then forms a little falls. It looks strange. Some miles to the west there are mountains of rock; toward San Felipe the land is desolate, dreary, often devoid of trees. We don’t have to drive far for water; the road is not steep, and the road, i.e. the highway, which passes in front of our house and through the pasture, is very good. Everyone who rides or walks has to close or open the large gate to the left of our house. This has caused no problems. In general, praise God, we have had no unpleasantness with the neighbors.

The land that is to be cleared and cultivated must be fenced. Accordingly, one is asked,”How much land are you cultivating?” All other land, be it what it may, is public land. Anyone can graze his cattle and shoot game there. No stranger may shoot in fenced land. Pasture is a large piece of land that the owner has fenced in for the use of his own cattle, and no strange cattle are permitted to enter. Fences are made as follows: wood pieces eight-foot-long (about equal to our Achfelholz)

are split and laid crisscross about so, MMM, flat on the earth, naturally, but eight rails high. Then, the corners are firmly set by driving a rail into the ground and placing another one over it. This is a legal fence that will keep out the cattle. The rails are not hard to make because the wood here is easy to split. The Negroes split the rails for so much the rail. Great herds, which the owner often doesn’t see for months on end, wander and graze around here. One sees a lot of cattle here, but none is ever stolen. They are tamed and branded; cattle stealing is punishable by death. Cattle are a lot of trouble until one learns all about them. A cow will give milk only as long as her calf is alive, and because a calf matures without expense, a calf is never butchered.

If the calf dies, the cow quits giving milk. The owner of large herds of cattle lets his cows range as far as they will. If he wants milch cows, he and his men round them up and put them in pens. We bought our cows from a neighbor. The calves were put into a small calf pen, and the cows were allowed to graze in the prairie. In the evening the cows come home by themselves, or Axel and Walter get on their horses and drive in the_cows. Then, every calf is tied with a rope and brought to the cowpen near the cow. As much milk :Ls then taken from the cow as one believes that the calf can do without. The same procedure :is followed with the other calves. It takes time and effort until one becomes accustomed to this.

During the night the cows stay in the pasture, the calves in their pen. During the day the cows graze in the prairie, the calves are kept in the pasture. If the calf and the cow are let loose together, the milk is often lost for weeks, for the cow will dash off for her old home. With horses too, one has a lot of trouble. In the case of oxen, one must buy them well trained, i.e. tamed (broken); therefore, the outrageous price. Von Rosenberg paid $50 for his. The cattle here do not look as well as those in Europe. The smallest child can control a pair of oxen; the deer too are easy to approach.

The prairie fires are magnificent, but in the beginning alarming. Already in San Felipe the evening sky was frightfully reddened, and so it was the whole of February up to now. We too have burned off land, but one must be careful that the fences do not burn. It affords the most splendid sight when for-miles flames rise from the prairie. Since the fire always burns only along the front and advances further and further, the front can be of enormous length but very limited in width. Now it forms a straight line, now a deeply indented one. A few days ago the south side of the hills were afire. Usually the fire is set in the evening and burns all night. Seen from a short distance, it is a glorious sight. When Von Rosenberg ignited the prairie behind our house, and the boys, the Negroes, Eugen with Franz were working along the fences in order to contain the fire, the flames in the high grass were as high as a man. Against a black sky the fire crept through the tal oaks. All of a sudden the younger Von Roeder rushed u at a full gallop because he thought our windows were urning. The scene was truly magnificent. We watched i rom our veranda.

And now, dear Hannchen, you and a l my dear friends will ask, “How do you really like all this?” To answer that honestly, I must mention a few details. Von Rosenberg is especially happy here. He has no cares, no debts, a beautiful farm, and still has the means to buy a small flock of sheep. Eugen is very content; he has his own two horses and enjoys working. The two small boys and Libussa are happy too. Lina and I are not less so, but Lina is more content than I. Why am I not so completely happy? I must admit it; I am afraid of snakes, but most especially of spiders. Laugh all you want, or even more. I am not so much afraid of what is here, but of what might be! There are very few spiders here in the house, thanks to Mrs. Von Roeder, who had the house thoroughly swept out, and I do the same. Hopefully, I can keep it clean. There are real tarantulas here, but they are rare and never get into houses. Walter has already killed one in the field. There are snakes too.

Rattlesnakes are rare and are dangerous only when stepped on, otherwise they avoid people. Chicken snakes, however, are plentiful, but not poisonous. They reach a length of nine feet. I saw such a one in San Felipe, and Axel killed one here in the field. They enter houses too to get eggs, chicks, and mice. But there is also little to fear from this pest here at Nassau. Our place is high, dry, and clear of underbrush. The tall oaks have no bushes or leaves under them, and they begin almost where our roof ends. The trunks are high and straight. You can see that my fear is almost a chimera.

Otherwise all is going well. In the beginning we had our hands full keeping our place in order. It really took strength and stamina. I had to cook for seven persons, wash, clean house, and mend clothes if I didn’t want to yield to the Texas style of wearing torn clothing. Lina and Libussa were faithful helpers, but in the first six weeks there was more to do with the furnishings, etc.

than you can imagine, because everywhere there was a lack of space. Soon another young man came to work, but work in the gardens and fields still piled up, so Von Rosenberg bought the Negro. This helped immeasurably in the fields. This year Von Rosenberg rented about 16 acres for corn, since he couldn’t clear the land and build fences in the short time. Besides that, the gardens are planted with corn, peas, potatoes, sweet potatoes, etc.

Von Rosenberg is going to plant an additional eight acres in cotton in order to have a cash crop in the autumn. He is also already in the sheep business. He is very content, and wouldn’t o back to his old life for anything. But our dear God has been good to us too, and I shall thank Him for it as long as I live. The climate is beautiful here, only often it is too windy, but I am told that this is the greatest blessing for Texas, since it tempers the heat. It is always wonderfully warm, the loveliest summer. On the first Friday of Christmas the temperature was 19° (68°F). Only when the wind is in the north, is it cool. If the wind strengthens (norther), then the Texan without a solid house, has some bad days.

We close the doors and the window shutters, and put a couple of large logs on the hearth, and we are fine. Mrs. Von Roeder must close the opening in the one room and the doors of the other two, light a candle, and still she scarcely has a dry spot. In spite of this, she is eternally active, cheery, jocular, and lovable. Earlier at the balls in Paderborn, she was the radiant belle, daughter of Privy Councillor Ploeger; now a very intelligent woman, ten years my junior, she is the most interesting person that I have known in my life. Thus, I have a friend, for whom I may be envied. She lives so close by that we can wave to one another from our houses.

Von Roeders will naturally build themselves a house. This lady has lived in Texas for ten years and has suffered immeasurably during the war with Mexico. When she tells, how poor she was when her first husband died, how she worked for wages with her baby in her arms, my heart bursts with pity, and yet, sublimely she stands before me. Now she is secure, yet in many ways, in very many ways, I have things better than she. In her mother, wife of the Privy Councillor Ploeger, I found a woman of rare intelligence, a bit hard, but only such a mother could raise such a daughter. Mrs. Ploeger has spent a lot of time here here, but is now in Europe. Her company, her conversation, the way she sees Texas, were of the very greatest interest to me. I had heard a great deal about these two ladies from Mr. Engelking without ever imagining how close they would become to me. Mr. Engelking visited us twice in San felipe and once here. He is von Roeder’s brother-in-law. Von Roeder too is a charming man.

But I wanted to describe a norther for you and have spoken only of my friends here. Well, a norther is a peculiarly rough guest, who suddenly blows in, rages, and makes a terrible noise by whistling and roaring. He is violent, lasts three days, but sometimes only a few hours. He doesn’t consist of a single blast, but blows himself out, and only the first hours are rough. He brings a large amount, a very large amount, of rain and carries away everything that is standing in the inner passage. Everyone flees inside to be by the warm hearth. American ladies even get into their beds. The following day is damp and cold, and the thermometer drops below the freezing point to about -1° (30°F). Then the sun begins to shine; the south veranda is warm, and one can stay outside. One begins to forget that there has been a norther, and already on the third day the weather is pleasant again. We experienced a strong norther in Galveston, two in San Felipe, and several here, perhaps four strong ones, but on the whole they have returned frequently. (This year is said to be exceptional.) These northers make up the Texas winter, otherwise the temperature varies between 16 and 20 degrees (60°- 68°F). Twenty-eight degrees (l02.5°F) is said to be the highest temperature here. Opinions about the heat vary. The one says,”If you can stand the northers, you’ll easily become accustomed to the heat.” Others think that the heat from July 15th to September 15th is extreme and scarcely to be endured. Even if the temperature only reaches 28°, this continues day after day without much relief at night. Again, others dispute this and claim that the sea breeze greatly tempers the heat, and at Nassau’s elevation the breeze is always refreshing. As I have already said, Von Rosenberg intends to close the passage because of the northers.

Finally I shall write of the Negroes and of our trip to Nassau from San Felipe. On the whole, slavery is not what people in Europe think. The Negroes are often treated inhumanely, and things are told that will make one shudder. These are, however, rare cases. My impression is that the Negroes have it better than the poor free Lithuanians. The Negro represents a considerable investment for his master. This is lost if the Negro becomes sick and dies; therefore, it is in the masters best interest to care for the Negro’s wellbeing.

The newborn infant already has a considerable capital value, so the greatest care must be given the mother, and child. What concerns does the Negro have? His master clothes and, feeds him and his family. The father doesn’t have the slightest worry. He works (and Negroes are supposed to be quite productive), but his workday begins later and ends earlier than that of the poor Lithuanian.

The Negroes at Nassau have it especially good. They have every Saturday afternoon and every Sunday free, and on these days they can earn money. Negroes earn a lot because labor is exceedingly well paid. If he works on Sunday, he can earn up to 75¢. Our Tom won’t work for a half dollar. With this money the Negro buys himself coffee, sugar, and the like. At Von Roeders, where the Negroes have it exceptionally good, I have visited a cabin. It always contains a fireplace, a large curtained bed, with any admittedly badly sewn quilt, made of a hundred brightly colored patches, children’s beds, cupboards done in white with cups, etc. The Negro loves white; they always wear white, and they are always clean.

It is a primary virtue with my Margareth that she be clean, and that she keeps her child very clean. Otherwise she is frightfully slow and only does what she is told. I hope that through her picking cotton we shall have a good return on the capital invested in her. One can receive the greatest gain on his capital when he keeps Negroes; the return is tremendous.

The Negro is given the usual meals: sour milk, cornbread, and bacon, and, indeed, three times a day. Our poor Lithuanian is happy if he gets meat twice a week. Cooking is not a -lot of trouble. Much is eaten cold, and coffee, which is excellent, is drunk. The American drinks coffee three times a day, morning, noon, and in the evening; he is not acquainted with soup.

We made extensive purchases in Galveston, for here too, as in Europe, whoever buys in quantity, buys cheaply. In Galveston we bought sugar, coffee, rice, spices, salt, soap, flour, etc. The flour (wheat: flour) comes from the United States and, solidly packed, costs $6 a barrel. It is beautiful, finely packed flour, but transportation here costs an additional $3. Freight is presently enormously expensive, but very soon transportation by steamer on the Brazos and local improvements should help that situation. We eat a lot of wheat bread and dishes, but cornbread is good too and easy to prepare. Corn meal, ground at a mill one German mile (4.66 U.S. miles) from here, is thoroughly mixed with milk or water, eggs, butter (if available) and baked. It requires little effort, and Lina likes to make it. We have an abundance of milk and are even fattening a pig with it, plenty of butter; we churn butter every second or third day. .We have butchered four hogs, but that still is not enough. Cattle too are butchered here in the summer because, since cattle are always in the open, and, in winter, pasturage is scant and dry, the beef becomes very lean. Fattening of cattle is not practiced here, and done only rarely in the case of pigs. In autumn they are fed acorns and pecan fodder. Pecans are nuts and taste wonderful, like our walnuts. We have some beautiful fish of different kinds in our creek, also eels. When Von Rosenberg caught the first fish, there was great joy – “The first fish since Carolinenhof!” _

You will see from this letter, dear Hannchen, that it has been written at different times. On Easter all the children were here, Wilhelm (Von Rosenberg and wife Auguste, née Anders) whose farm borders on ours, Hellmuths (Johanna, née Von Rosenberg, and Hermann Hellmuth) who live two U.S. miles from us, and Johannes, who lives near the Hellmuths and, since he doesn’t have a wife, eats with Hannchen’s family (Johanna Hellmuth).

They are all content. On Sunday, for the first time, I was at Hannchen’s place. The house lies at the edge of the woods, but there are a lot of small farms nearby. We have a number of very large farms near us.

We arrived at Nassau on January 28th, already an important _date for us because it is Rosa’s (Fallier) birthday, Von Rosenberg’s name day, and Eugen’s baptismal day. One can get everything here that one needs. Knitting and sewing cotton is exorbitantly expensive. Since the country itself produces cotton, the duty is very high. We were glad to have the things that we brought with us.

If you, dear Wilhelm (Fallier), want to know more about Texas, write and ask. We’ll answer to the best of our knowledge. We found the country more civilized than we had expected. Texas is developing with admirable speed.

Now, dear Hannchen, I’ll set down what I actually should have written about earlier, our trip from San Felipe to Nassau. Mr. Von Roeder had promised to send a carriage for us, and we were supposed to go directly to Nassau, but our patience was put to the test. The carriage came three days late and in bad weather, at that. We had to wait another day, a long day, which the company of our noble driver, Mr. Von Bieberstein, did make shorter. Mr. Von Bieberstein, a well-educated, young man, has now left for Europe to visit his parents, Major and Mrs. Von Bieberstein, in Silesia. From there he will go to East Prussia to visit his relatives. I gave him your address, dear Eduard (Fallier), and asked him to call on you, which he promised to do. He can tell you a lot about Nassau, about us, and about Texas. He is enthusiastic, about Texas and wants to come back.

So, Mr. Von Bieberstein had undertaken to bring us to Nassau. We were happy to have a German, an educated man, for a driver. In the meantime Von Rosenberg had bought four horses and had his two coaches put in order.

He drove one, Eugen the other, and we were at the head of the procession. There were Hellmuth, Hannchen, myself, Lina, and the three children (Libussa, Alexander, Walter) in Mr. Von Bieberstein’s wide, colossal wagon, drawn by two strong American-horses and two mules. We carried a light load because our things were following in three wagons drawn by oxen and accompanied by Wilhelm and his wife. Johannes rode on horseback. Thus, on January 26th, we slowly left San Felipe. The road was good, mostly through prairie with little diversity, now and then a creek. In the evening we arrived at a stately inn, where we found a good meal, and very good beds. Sunday, about ten o’clock, we drove on. This part of the trip was frightful. It led through primeval forest. I had gathered my courage, for I had imagined that it would be bad, about like the road to Crottingen when it is called bottomless. But that is not the way it was. It was like a line of waves that we had to pass through. The land was like a sea whipped into mountainous waves and suddenly frozen by divine magic. We went uphill and down. The heights were always goods the depths, through which creeks flowed, were. horrible. To reach the creek beds, one often had to drive over very steep hills that had no base. Then, there was the primeval forest, where the trees lay across the road. Wherever there is a tree in the road, it holds up the wagon train and must be felled.

Wherever the tree falls, it stays. Eugen’s coach got stuck while driving ln: a hill, and it took a lot of effort with extra horses hitched in front to pull him out. During this time we had stopped; black clouds hung over us, and the thunderheads rumbled continually. A long stretch still separated us from our nights lodging, and we still had two bad creeks to cross. If the rain poured down, these creeks could block our road for days, so we drove hard. We had fortunately crossed one of the creeks and were moving more rapidly when I noticed that Von Rosenberg and Johannes weren’t following. I was greatly concerned, but Mr. Von Bieberstein said that he couldn’t wait, that Von Rosenberg knew the way and he couldn’t wait. It was dark, but it didn’t rain, and the clouds didn’t prevent, the moon from shining. The last creek was finally crossed, but we still had two U.S. miles and a bad, bad place before us. We got out in order to make it easier for the tired horses. Mr. Von Bieberstein and the saddle horse still took a fall. Luckily, he got up again, and finally the horse did too, but he asked us to walk to the inn because it would take too long before everything would be ready again.

This evening was full of worry for me. We were able, indeed, after some effort to reach our goal, our wagon did too, but where was Von Rosenberg? Had he reached the high bank of the creek, or where was he in the darkness? Soon after we had arrived at the inn, Mr. Von Bieberstein arrived and immediately mounted a fresh horse and rode back for Von Rosenberg. Soon we heard cries off to the side in the forest. Our friendly innkeeper, a German, took his second horse and also rode out to seek news of those who were missing. A few dark hours passed until Mr. Knolle returned; “I bring you unpleasant news, but it is not real bad.” Von Rosenberg, he said, had, at the creek before the last, taken the wrong road to Port au Point instead of to Industry. He won’t be able to make it here tonight with his tired horses but will spend the night in the town or in the open country. Mr. Von Bieberstein has gone to find him.

Mr. Knolle had deduced all this from tracks that he had followed. An hour later Mr. Von Bieberstein returned with the same news. Von Rosenberg had reached the creek at Port au Point but hadn’t crossed it. He had spent the night in the open at a large campfire; we didn’t see one another again until the next evening in Nassau.

Mr. Von Bieberstein has now gone to Europe to visit his father in Silesia, and then he intends to visit relatives living in East Prussia. I have asked him to visit you too, dear brother. He has your address and will~tell you many interesting things about Texas and about us. He is very enthusiastic about Texas. I owe this young man infinitely many thanks for his untiring effort to calm my fears during the trip. May the good Lord prepare his path for him!

Now, another request of you, dear Hannchen. This letter is written for all my European friends, so when the sisters, Heins, and Lipski have read it, please send it to sister Auguste. She shall then be so kind and pass on my news to my friends there.

To you, my dear Emma, my best greetings; we are fine – better than we could expect, God be praised. On the trip we encountered no misfortunes. Our gracious Lord smoothed our way. Greet Lipski and visit her now and then to remind my dear friend of me. To you too, Elise, I send affectionate greetings. May God protect you, dear sisters. Greet Heinz. Whether he wants to follow, his judgment may decide after he has read this letter. Whoever has the strength to work, can come. Without wealth, one can become independent after a few years. Whoever has wealth may come too; there is infinitely much to do here. Von Rosenberg is completely satisfied and happy. His property is larger than Eckitten, and he has organized things very well. He has bought 108 sheep, and his future is secure, as God wills. He is free of debt and has funds to enlarge the house. We have enough bread to last until the new harvest. He works at what he likes, little carpentry projects, etc.

Up until now we have all been healthy. Only Libussa (Froelich) has been sick with a rash for six days. She is very good and helps me a lot. You, dear Hannchen, need have no fear, we are fine; only, often I have a great longing that can never be stilled. A longing for all the dear, good friends, you, our dear friends back home in Memel. I shan’t mention you by name. All of you are so infinitely dear to me. I have always shown my love for my friends openly. I shall never find anyone here to replace them, for in later years one is more cautious in forming friendships. To Lottchen (Charlotte Froelich), Carl’s (Albrecht) dear sister, greetings from us all. Later I shall write my dear friends individually; this time this letter is for all, and I now hope to hear from all those dear to me.

This ‘letter has been written at different times, as my good friends will see from the contents. For now, an affectionate-greeting to all and an urgent request for your news. I shall be impatiently waiting. My address is; Master Von Rosenberg Nassau-Rosenberg , La Fayette County, Shelby Post Office in Texas. At the top of this letter is to be written in addition: Via Liverpool and New York. “Farewell, dear Hannchen; and you, dear brother; and Adalbert; and greetings to all the children.

Your affectionate sister,

Amanda Von Rosenberg.

Nassau-Rosenberg, April 19, 1850.

P.S. My red and white, crocheted bedspread is more than half finished. An American appraised it at $50. A dollar is 1 rthl. (Reichsthaler) 13½ Sgr. (silver groschen). An acre is almost 1½ morgens.