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Geertje de Jong, Manhattan (Montana)

Th.R. Schuiling, St. Annaparochie

Engelse vertaling
Naamloos document

Frisian emigrants 22.
Schuiling family to Schuiling family.

Manhattan, Nov[ember] 23, 1906.
Dear father and Jaantje,

Well father, while I write this letter I am sitting alone in the kitchen fussing with my food which is still waiting for Klaas and the farmhands and it is almost 8 o’clock in the evening.
This morning at 5 or 6 they left, with 3 loads of barley to Manhattan, so it is a day indeed!
Two days ago they came home at 11 p.m., they had to wait the whole day before they could unload.
So many wagons with grains there were in town, otherwise it goes very quickly because they can dump it but everyone has to wait for his turn of course.
This week it is very cold here father, a terrible lot of frost, but very nice weather in the afternoon.
If we should have waters here [meaning ponds, rivers, lakes or canals] then we could skate where-ever on likes.
It is too far but otherwise we would visit you on fathers birthday.
That’s why I will congratulate father by letter and hope that you may pass that day in health and happily with the family.
You must celebrate that day well!
Because what a great age you will achieve father!
Most of us don’t, so this week, for example, a certain Mrs. Veldkamp, also a Friezin, was buried  the cemetery, she leaves a husband and 4 grown-up children behind.
A few days ago we got a new milk-cow, it is a young one and it gives as much milk as her calf can drink.
So-one brings more work than profit.
Now I have to buy all the butter because both the other cows stand dry while they are carrying a calf.
Otherwise we can get milk from a neighbor, an American, we don’t have to pay for it.
Generally the Americans have a better nature than the Hollanders.
Well I think that Klaas and the others are coming and let the rest to him because I don’t have news at the moment.
I would like Jaantje to send me some needles for my sewing-machine, I’ll include the package in which they belong because this kind of needles I cannot get here, you have to write what the costs are, then we’ll send the money together with the others [money].
Everyone is healthy here, Roelof was not well for some time this evening, everything came out of him, but now he is playing in his bed and that at midnight!
Sleep well and a lot of greetings, your daughter and s[ister] Geertje and K[laas].

Dear father,
First of all congratulations on your increase of years.
Well, well you have reached a great age.
I always hope that we once may celebrate it with you, round about Jaantje’s table, but it won’t be this year because we would have to leave tomorrow.
We still have a lot of grain to transport, so we cannot leave and also the cash won’t allow it yet.
The grains are very cheap here this year.
Barley cost 90 cents a hundred pounds, wheat 50 and 60 cents per 60 pounds [60 pounds equal 1 bushel], but the oats 1,10 per 100 pounds at the moment.
This evening we came home far after 9 o’clock, it was very busy in town again, which is caused by the fact that we all have to sell to a grain dealer this year (that is the barley) and he lives 4 hours away from here.
That is why we have to make such long days because when we arrive there, there stand already 20 à 30 wagons with grain.
Today we had 14,300 pounds on 3 wagons with 6 horses for it.
It would be sensational if you should see such big wagons loaded with grain driving along the ‘Nieuwe Bildtdijk’.
Last Tuesday we helped a man to unload who had 15,000 pounds or 150 sacks on 2 wagons.
I’ll ask the grain dealer if he has a photo of the granaries which stand there and then I’ll send it to you.
At the moment the roads are very nice for Montana, however at one place we have to go through water and ice.
This morning one of the horses fell because of the slipperyness, that horse had shoes that were not calked. [ calked horseshoes are special horseshoes made with iron points, called cleats, on the bottom so the horse could safely walk on ice and snow cover.]
We had to hitch 2 extra horses to the wagon to pull everything out of the ice and water.
So today I had the special horseshoes put on the horses, which cost 5 dollars for 2 horses, which is a lot of money, I think.
This time I don’t have much news and it is almost midnight and we got up at 7 this morning, so it becomes bedtime.
After congratulate you again, I stop with the hope that you may celebrate your birthday in health and have a nice day.
Your loving son Klaas and children.