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Johannes Koning, Farmington (Montana)

Sjouke Johannes Hoogland, St. Annaparochie

Engelse vertaling
Naamloos document

Frisian emigrants 20.
Johannes Koning to the Hoogland family [I think].

Farmington [Montana] Feb[ruary] 6, 1906.
Dear uncle and aunt,

For a long time I planned to write you; but like it usually goes with writing there the matter rested.
First of all I like to thank you for the portrait of both of you and the one of your farm; both are a real likeness.
It is hanging in the living room here and everyone who visits us admires it, because farms here are very different and nothing as beautiful as in ‘the old Country’.
The Americans think it is not so healthy to build the stables on to the house.
Here they stand some decameters away from the house; which can be a good thing if one talks about health, but farmers become as old there as they do here.
Last week I got a letter from mother and Griet who wrote me that you are willing to loan me the money I asked her.
Also for this I like to thank you in advance.
However may be I won’t need it, I don’t want to let things drift.
The man I bought the farm from, may be willing to settle the matter but if he won’t he may be can turn me off, because according to the contract I have to pay the interest of the money he still has in it and tp pay off a part which is 1 dollar an acre or 160 dollars.
Because we came here last Spring and had to plough before we could sow and of course it became too late and next to that we had a very dry summer.
Please pay in the money on the First National Bank at Great Falls and things will be alright.
But when the baker where you deposit the money makes difficulties because he has no connections with it, than the First National Bank at Bozeman Montana is also o.k.
There is a Dutch colony [in Bozeman] and maybe they are connected with them.
First named town is nearer to my place so I rather like to have it there.
If it is possible for you to do, I would like to have the money before April 1st.
If you send me the debenture at once, so I can sign it and return it, or if you like it more that mother will sign, she may be will not object to it.
I think I just need it for 1 year and maybe you will agree with 6 percent.
Of course I’ll pay the costs.
These days the weather is nice and every Dutchman is busy, working on the fields.
Last week I ploughed and harrowed; but the soil was still frozen at some places.
The others mostly breed cattle which is less work and makes more money.
But it grows less for those people because the more people that come here, the less range for the cattle.
Before they let the cattle wander freely and because everyone has his own brand they never got entangled.
I hired out my farm for the Winter months to somebody who has about 7 or 800 cows.
Some of those big cattle-keepers are going to Canada where they have more space.
From one of them I bought a set of mares last Spring.
Then he had about 150 steers in a corral which he fattened with hay.
They looked very well then.
Then he told me, he came here 8 years ago and the clothes he was wearing, he bought in time.
The other day another person told me that man was worth 60 à 70  thousand dollars.
He is not the only one, a lot of people did this before him.
They all earned their money with cattle and sheep.
The range didn’t cost them anything nor during the Summer and neither during the Winter.
Sheep just do better than cows.
One sheep cost about 2½ or 3 dollars.
Last Spring every sheep generally raised about 2.25 dollars wool.
Over and above this there are the lambs; which also can produce wool after 1 year and if it is a ewe already had a lamb too.
Sheep never get more than 1 lamb at the time here.
The range of course is for free; only during the Winter when it snows it is necessary to provide hay.
They also have a lot of troubles with wolves and then to look after them [the sheep] is expensive (40 dollars a month) because it is a boring task.
Well this is a very long letter and enough for the time.
Please write back to your nephew.
Johannes Koning.

Postscript [in English, with mistakes] I want my cousin to write me all the news he knows and tell me how thy all are getting along there.
I wisch Johannes that you would pay me a visit ones [once] and see how you would like it here.
Yours Truly,
John Koning.