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04 June 1867 Letter from Johannes Holzer in Latterbach, Switzerland to
 Christian Holzer in Paulding Co., Ohio

Translation

 

 

 

 

 

 

Translation of 1867 Letter from Johannes to Christian
 

 June 4, 1867 Latterbach, Switzerland

Dear Son Christian Holzer,

 

I finally received a letter from you, my dear son, which made me whole heartily glad. It is now about two years, since I wrote to all my children. I addressed it [the letter] to Friedrich, but did not get an answer. The grief I suffered, I cannot describe. All I could do is to plead with God Almighty of heaven and earth, that he would be near you and protect you on all your paths. 

 

I always welcome a picture from you, it gives me great joy. I mounted it behind glass. The one [picture] from Friedrich and his family, I put behind glass as well. I often sit in front of them and in my thoughts I long to be with you. At this stage of my life, I have no hope to talk to you again, I do not not have many more years to live.

 

The Heavenly Father bestows on us many undeserved blessings and blessed us with a girl, Lisete, newly baptized ? in her 11th year, now attending the upper grades at school. The upper-one [probably the oldest child] of my children, Magdalena from Lützelflüh, Lisabet from Brienz in Oberland, and Manis Frau von Latterbach [This is Margarita Hadorhn Holzer Mani, widow of Johannes, the deceased eldest son. She remarried in 1850 to Johannes Mani.] conspired to visit me and pursued my dear wife. In a verbal exchange they threw much unpleasantness at her, which I did not tolerate. They let it be known that as soon as I had my eyes closed, they would keep going. [It appears, that they were talking about further negotiation, maybe about inheritance]. I found it necessary to put an end to this. So, I sold my sister-in-law [brother-in-law] the house and all the household effects. Gain and loss [concerning the property] will be hers [his]. So will no right thinking man assume that I should go hungry at my old age. After our death, if there is something ... [possibly, there is some part of the letter missing here]  

 

A new, sincere life should have been established, it was just the opposite, just lies and deceit. So, that evening I settled up with them, but I did not encounter truth. Therefore, I was forced to handle my affairs in a better way.  

 

God blessed me with an exceptionally diligent wife. If I did not have her, I would have been buried in the earth a long time ago. My weakness, caused by old age, makes it difficult to sustain life. Since my [their] mother has departed this world, my dear children encouraged me to divide my hard earned assets which they took from me. So my hard farm work was rewarded with ingratitude. Through these circumstances I was placed in a neighborhood where I don't like to think of them. They have no concern for fellow man, but God will sustain us despite of them.

 

Last Fall I was worried that I might not see Spring. I was out of breath, tired and could hardly move my limbs. Now I have appetite, can eat again. With God, nothing is impossible. His will be done. I had a full life. I have seen enough of world affairs. I have not earned any income for years, but God sustained me without great needs. Work was always there, but because of my ailments I could no longer do it. My much beloved mother [wife], Magdalena Siegfried, went to be with her redeemer after a full life. We envisioned to jointly run the homestead with my children like years before. So like years ago, I first employed Küsekäti ? as housekeeper. Rosetti took care of the planting and Friedrich and Christen pursued their occupations. You might in peace divide the rest, as is proper.

 

I must let you know, that one year ago I was at a neighbor's house. There, I talked about you and the terrible war in America. A well-dressed man arrived and inquired about Johannes Holzer. He said he had a son in the war in America. The son sent him a picture and he is in the same regiment as my son, who is alive and by good health. What a joy it was [to hear this]. He was three days with me and I gave him a letter to give to you. He promised me, he would give it to you himself and he would visit you. He told me that you have been in battle together.

 

There is lots of news but no good news for the poor. The road has been laid out. It's planned above my house and through the barn. The frost in May damaged plants and the fruit on the trees, also the leaves of the beech tree, bushes with thorns and the potatoes. One could believe the weather should be ... It will be as God wills, good and bad.

 

Elisabet in Brienz has three children, one boy and two girls and she is a midwife. The ... man, Magdalena, have children. As far as I know, two children are still alive. I think, she [Magdalena] has it better now, than years ago. The oldest girl, Mädi, has died.

 

I don't think I can write more. Most of the time I could not write that much. My mind is giving up and I have become very forgetful. I have to say, this is probably the last time that I will write to you. If I ever offended you, I ask for forgiveness. We send our sincere greetings to everybody and I ask God that He might lead you on the path to salvation, to the blessed end. Amen. We send regards to all my children, wherever they might be, and that they will be guided by the spirit of God in all eternity, amen.

 

Latterbach, June 4, 1867 Johannes Holzer

 

I need to add, that you stated in your letter that you put sufficient postage on your letters. They demanded another 15 Rappen from me, but I did not have it. Therefore, it has not been paid. I saw it later in the letter.

 

 

2009 transcription and translation by Peter Wälti and Heidi Meyer of Müsingen, Switzerland.


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