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Klaas Schuiling, Manhattan (Montana)

Sjouke Johannes Hoogland, St. Annaparochie

Nederlandse transcriptie

Engelse vertaling
Naamloos document

Frisian emigrants 1.

Letter from Mr. Klaas Schuiling and his wife Geertje de Jong to Mr. Sjouke Johannes Hoogland  and his wife Klaaske in het Bildt.


Manhattan, [Montana] Dec[ember] 15 [1898].

Dear brother and sister,
A happy New Year for all of you!
Now I think I arranged everything when the postal service did his duty.
The money arrived safely but I cannot understand why I didn’t mention it before.
If you’ll ever send money again to me, please send it to the National Bank of Bozeman otherwise I’ll have to pay the costs because Butte City is 10 hours from here.
It won’t happen soon because you can keep the money of the inventory in Holland.
You cannot get a photo of the house at the moment, first there must be an opportunity just like with Mr. Koning.
That was a special campaign of the water company to advertise and to lure the people to this area.
I also believe this is a good piece of land when it is possible to get enough water in time during the Summer and because a new ditch or water channel is planned now I hope it’ll come right.
Now I like to write you some things about the crops of this year.
Mr. Koning (don’t tell anyone else, I don’t like the idea that someone  will say that I don’t have to interfere in Mr. Koning his business) had 30 acres this year (in the Staring almanac you can see how large an acre is) of barley from which he gathered over 1800 bushels, so 60 bushels an acre.
He also had 16 acres of oats who gave him 70 bushels an acre.
He got 95 cents per 2 bushels of barley and the oats cost a dollar some time ago and now 95 cents again.
So he’ll get at least 1200 dollars this year.
What should he have to pay from that money.
The fodder of 3 horses and 1/3 of the cost of upkeep of the machinery.
Willem Koning and the Scholten brothers own for about 200 dollars machinery.
Then he has to pay 90 dollars for the water, threshing wages 1 ½ cent a bushel, some days of hire during the thresh time I don’t know exactly but no more than 50 dollars, the rope to bind the sheaves and also 6 dollars tax.
Willem had one of his highest harvests this year.
Life is cheap here, we eat a lot of white bread and never over 7 cents potatoes per day.
Vegetables are grown by the people at home.
Meat is cheap.
Willem and Scholten slaughtered a cow together which cost them 6 cents a pound.
Sugar cost 6 or 7 cents a kilogram.
10 pond coffee beans cost a dollar etc.
So when I write that Willem earned this year at least 400 dollars I won’t exaggerate I think.
Horses cost nothing during the Winter, they just leave them outside.
So it looks good, but of course we miss a lot.
Geertje could not leave the property for 4 weeks, she also could speak to no one except  yesterday when Sophie dropped by.
Willem had to go to Belgrade, a town with about 20 houses.
We don’t have any water but snow which we melt on the stove (Willem has a well).
I have to dig a well or to make a cistern in which I can store water from the ditches.
At the moment farmers have nothing else to do other than to cut wood.
During the Summer we have to do everything our selves but never work so hard as to harm oneself.
Today the body of the wagon fell on my head how dumb of me.
Now it is Geertje her turn to write, later on I’ll write more.
Greetings to all of you, Klaas.

Dear br[other] and sister!
Klaas wrote that it is my turn now therefor I’ll write some too.
We want to thank you for your congratulations and wish you a happy New Year.
I almost cannot understand that it will be there so soon because I am already 10 weeks in America, time goes fast.
It might be the fuss that we don’t think about time. And we both like it here.
Thijs (their little son) is growing fast in the American air.
His shorts and everything becomes too small, I dressed him in his other shirts and of the under vests I made 3 out of 4.
Klaas will go to Bozeman tomorrow to see if we can get whale-oil so we can give it to Thijs, because he is very cranky I believe.
At night his ears run and in the morning both ears are full with the white stuff.
If it’s a cold I don’t know.
When we cannot get it or cannot explain what we mean, we have to see a physician.
The other Dutch people also don’t know how to call ‘levertraan’ [whale-oil] here.
Sophie came for dinner last Monday, she also was surprised how much Thijs has grown, last time she saw him was 6 weeks ago.
Then Mr. Koning and Klaas went to Belgrade to buy a new wagon.
Those people [meaning Mr. Willem and Mrs. Sophie Koning] stand above the Dutch people.
Sophie has a very nice household and she can get whatever she wants.
Now something about the weather, Klaaske, it is very cold here every morning because it is freezing a lot at night.
Every morning all things are frozen and every day it is nice weather during the last 4 weeks.
Even Mr. Koning cannot remember a Winter like this with so much frost.
The river is frozen which never happened before.
I dread having to do the laundry and there is a lot of it waiting for me.
I have to wash everything in buckets after I melt the snow on the stove.
Happily there is enough snow.
Can they already skate with you, here there is no place to skate.
There are no canals, just ditches as they call them in Holland.

Thijs starts to cry so I will close the letter instead of Geertje, we also ran out of news.
Our horses are very tame all, next Sunday Geertje will go to church with the wagon and 2 horses.
You shouldn’t dare [to go to church on your own with a wagon and two horses] that isn’t it Klaaske but this is how things go.
We cannot go both so Geertje has to go on her own or stay at home always.
Wish you all a happy New Year.
Klaas, Geertje and Thijs.


Geertje tries to teach Thijs the song Prince Robbert was a gentleman.
Now the paper is filled so I stop.
Greetings Klaas.


* When these signs  [  ] are used the words are added to the original letters.
The writers themselves used these hooks (  ).