Dated August 18, 1886, this one is from my g-g-grandfather's sister Gertrude (Enz) Pulvermiller. And she reveals a long-forgotten family secret - that my g-g-grandmother was pregnant before they were married. Oops! And a cousin tells me that she had heard this, plus that it wasn't his child, although he raised her as such.
This is a long one....keep in mind that a. stands for "and." Many thanks to Nora Grosser for translating!
Philadelphia, August 18, 1886
Dear, dear mother a. siblings,
your last letter we received at August 10 a. we cannot sufficiently express our joy that you are all healthy a. well, we are especially happy that the sister Marie is in such good health a. that she can pursue her profession. Dear mother a. siblings we are also happy that the pictures of our children please you, it is true they are well depicted a. you can at least see how they look like now. But the upper lip of Ruthrine does not get smaller anymore it is always as if it is swollen, she has a little flame [a nevus] on her left eye, but I am very happy that the dear God made her healthy again. I am able to send her out, also she is very cheerful, a. has girlfriends enough in the neighborhood, she speaks some English, the children get it much more quickly, it does not go so fast with the old folks.
Dear mother you also want to know how I have been, I thank you affectionately, it passed well, as always, but I became very weak after giving birth, I became almost unconscious, it always took one night, I am a. was thank god healthy, I am only a little bit weaker as usual, I drank a lot of wine a. I drink beer now three times daily, but I am still sensing it, my feet are often very tired. On Sunday night, 10pm of July 4 my little daughter was born a. she was christened on St. James Day, and is named Gertrud Wilhelmine, she has totally black hair a. the complexion is also dark, she is like my little Anna Maria was, sister Mine a. brother August are the godparents, brother Joseph denied it to me, he was peculiar for a couple of months, he did not attend the baptism feast, but we were merry anyway, I would have wished you here, dear mother. The child is very strong a. laughs already. Engelbertle has 10 teeth now a. walks now where he can hold himself, he is very funny a. is the joy of his father. Dear mother you also want to know whether my husband is earning money, he earned 12 dollars during the whole summer, but in the months July a. August it did not go very straight. He was without work for a couple of months, thank God we get by but we did not save anything either. If my husband would stay healthy and of course, all of us, we would have it better here, we cannot save on groceries like outside [overseas] , I am better off anyway, because I do not need a maid for the children, now I can look after my children myself. In July I often thought of you, on the large amount of work, I especially thought of the Weisensteig Mountains and I was very happy I was not allowed to climb them.
Dear mother, you also wrote us that you have it hot and dry, this summer here it is not so badly hot, [brother] August said, he had never experienced a summer like this since he has been in the country, only a couple of days are hot, then a thunderstorm occurs and it cools down, at the beginning of August it was even cool. Dear mother and siblings, we heard already from Pfeiferbeste that my sister-in-law had sold her house, now she has room enough, it is a nice house, but I am surprised that her mother is still with her, I thought they were at strife for a long time, it is terrible for this old little mother that she also broke her foot. We do not have a letter from my sister-in-law yet.
My dear ones, do you think you could sell the grass for hay on the mowing day? Nothing will have been standing on it, you will have to pull your wage first when you sell the hay, or you can get paid by Pfeiferbeste. Dear mother and sister Marie, your Saint’s day is approaching, since I will not be able to write until then, I wish you the best of luck for Saint’s day, for you dear mother Marie luck, health, a long life and after this life heaven’s eternal joys, it is mine and our most fervent wish, we want to pray for one another, that we will meet again on the other side, in case God decided that we should not see each other again here, we do not want to hope that. I wanted to send you one dollar as a regard, I am not able right now, because the puerperium cost so much.
You should receive two dollars, one by me and one by Mine, when you get them, please write immediately together with Marie. A friend of Josep [sic], Eduard Binig, of Degmarn by Heilbronn is still [in] Germany and he promised us to visit you, we gave him the two dollars together with a letter for you, please write immediately when he has visited you.
Belatedly, I wish Christine the best of luck for her Saint’s day and for her little prince, I am sorry that her husband is ill again, one always has to fight, I also feel sorry for the little Tomas that he almost broke his hand a. that he had to endure pain, I wish a. hope that he will be rebuild. How are things with Sebastian, does he have to be a soldier?
At Mine’s [her sister Wilhelmine] everybody is in good health except the little one, he is better, but still not completely healed, his left eye is not good, too, they say it does not only have a flame but it is covered with some kind of skin. Her husband has work all year round a. nice earnings a. they always make a pretty good amount of money. At Augusts’ everybody is in good health, too, they expect a child within this month. I gave Joseph the letter to read, he did not say anything about it, he is in general totally withdrawn a. does not talk to you or when he says something then it is a lie. He does not visit me a. the others at all anymore.
You might ask how come, I want to tell you the truth. Like I told you already, he was with me for a long time [boarding]; however, he did not eat so often at my house, but occasionally he did, I would not have had anything against it, if he was not wantonly unemployed a. I would have accepted work since he is so tall a. strong, he often said, he could be employed, a. people came to me who would have gotten him work, but every time he was at his dearest. Then thereupon he wanted his girl to live in my house, because she is expecting a. if by him 5 months as of now a. 1 month ago already he wanted me to give her a bed a. because I did not take her he became so cross, that he ranted he would have made it even if we would not have come to this country, I asked him if he wanted to live on his in-law’s expense, does a man not have to earn his money in a harder way, as such a tall, strong fellow who has a wife and a child, he did pay the money off that I was owed. Schaefer Joseph said, he is married now, he did not tell anyone of his siblings, if he was at church, I do not know, in any case dear Mother, you have enough to pray for, pray that he gets the idea to go back to Germany, it is great here for the body, but not for the soul. You can be a good Christian in the same way as outside, but it is a bit chaotic when you go into the St. Peter’s Church, every Sunday morning people communicate a. I see enough people. However, I do not see my brothers a. my compatriots.
We will hope now, that everything will be fine, I would have preferred to not tell you anything, dear Mother, but I did not want to leave you in the dark, do not trouble yourself too much, but pray as always, you cannot do anything else. I say dear Mother God should repay you for your prayer, because we need it indeed. I wish I was a little bird so that I could fly into your midst, because I would like to be with you again for once. Especially at the beautiful holidays that you celebrated, when I think myself over, than it seems as if the services are celebrated in a more beautiful a. a more noble way than here, but here they also celebrate it in a beautiful way.
Now I want to finally close
with many thousand cordial regards
with many thousand cordial regards
a. kisses for you dear Mother a. siblings
everybody a. brother-in-laws a. sister-in-laws
One week after this letter was written, the baby girl she recently had recently given birth to died from cholera. She later had 2 of Wilhelmina's children living with her after both of their parents died.
One month later, my g-g-grandparent's daughter Sophia was born.
I have never found their marriage recorded anywhere in Philadelphia.
Great photo of their hometown in Germany: