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Johannes Koning, Farmington (Montana)

Sjouke Johannes Hoogland, St. Annaparochie

Engelse vertaling
Naamloos document

Frisian emigrants 28.
Johannes Koning to Hoogland family [I think].

Farmington Febr[uary] 6 [must be June 6 1910]
Dear uncle and aunt,

At last I took my pen to write you.
I almost didn't write you at all; but because I planned to write a letter to my parents I was nosing in the old letters to answer the last one, I found yours under it.
To write a letter is a hard kind of work for me this time of the year; and where I have a lot of friends in the eastern States to which I correspond too, so a man's own relatives are forgotten.
These days I am very busy irrigating the winter-wheat.
As a rule it is not done before July; but because of the continuous dryness we have to start one month before.
Large pieces of land one can see which were sown this Spring but where the seeds didn't germinate because of the dryness.
Some people are irrigating those fields now but I think it'll be to late.
I didn't sow much land this Spring, just a little oats  for the horses and because it is situated near the channel it looks well.
I has 100 acres of winter-wheat from which 30 are totally lost.
The rest of it starts almost top make ears; but if we don't get rain this week it won't come right.
It was just the best grain I had; 30 acres was old grass-land and 40 acres was fallow-land last year.
Also because of that it lasted longer then my neighbor's but nevertheless it will come [to irrigation].
This kind of wheat is known for its ability to stand dryness.
We call it Turkey red wheat.
It is coming from Turkey where it must be dry too.
The Americans import fruit- and other trees from the most dry area's of Russia; a kind of French clover [Medicago] from Siberia; and so they are wise enough to send that, what is growing in the most dry area's of Europe and Asia, also to the western part of their fatherland to try it there.
We don't do much with the dairy industry here, however we have a butter factory.
But I think it will come.
The prices of the land rise constantly and it won't be long before people see that pays better [farming].
With Lucerne [French clover] we can get 4 of 5 tons hay an acre while the land with grain year after year, goes down of course.
We also don't have the right kind of live-stock yet.
I guess that we after all last Winter got as much as you did for our wheat.
We got here from 85 to 94 [cents] a bushel.
A bushel weighs 60 pounds, 10 American pounds are equal to 9 half kilo's I believe.
There are not much potatoes grown here, almost nothing else as for own use.
They mostly yield 1¼ to 2½ cents a pound.
Last year I harvested mostly wheat, namely 40 bushels per acre (an acre is as much as about 40 7/10 are) [an are is 100 sq. m.] and also sold it most dear as seeds for 1.25 dollars a bushel, this was Turkey red wheat.
3 Years ago I got the fewest, 17 bushels per acres and sold it for 58 cents which is also the lowest price I've ever had.
This was summer-wheat Scotch fine.
I have 8 horses from which 2 are 2 years old and 2 are 3 [years old] and 4 other work-horses.
One of these 2 years old is a mule  which I bred myself.
Some time ago someone offered me 200 dollars for it for next Fall.
So you can understand that horses are expensive here.
I could have sold her mother for 250 [dollars] some time ago.
One of the reasons that horse prices are so high is that there came a lot of new settlers and almost everyone of them without horses of course.
The Government land has almost all gone and the other big land owners divide almost all their land into smaller parts.
One of my neighbors, who came here 5 years ago just like me, and then bought his land for 3000 dollars per 160 acres, sold it now for 7000.
Another one, just at the other side, who came 2 years later and sold 500 acres for 40 dollars [an acre], while he bought it for 26½.
The State sold, one month ago, 12,000 acres in parts for 15 to 45 dollars per acre.
This was sold by auction and they should sell 3000 acres, but because of the dryness the prices were not high enough, they thought, so they stopped at 12000 [dollars].
There was just needed a first payment of 15% and 20 years of time to pay off the rest at 5 % interest.
Nowadays I use 320 acres land.
160 Acres of it I bought 5 years ago for 16 dollars [an acre]; the other 160 I got last Summer as a “homestead”.
Every citizen has the right to get 160 acres land, provided that he build a house and a stable on it, tills the land and lives 5 years on it and after that, and never sooner, he can get the certificate of ownership if he can prove, after 5 years, that he has done what the law dictates.
I have had mine 1½ years and when I can get the certificate of ownership than, most likely, I already have it from this farm.
Now I have to end, otherwise the letter will weigh to much.
Be so kind to greet aunt and Johannes and Ytje from me and be greeted yourself too from your nephew John Koning.