Radio Jona

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Montag, Dezember 20, 2004

johann christian BLATTER-illinois-usa-1849

The words of a German immigrant, Johann Christian BLATTER, come from an interesting letter written in 1849 to his younger brother and published in German in 1936 book of Friedrich BLATTER, "Drei Hundert Jahre Familie Blatter:"
"To Nikolaus Blatter in Wiebelskirchen near Ottweiler District Saarbruecken, New Prussia, Germany
Illinois, 1 May 1849Beloved Brother: We received your letter of the 18th of February and it pleased us to know that you are still all healthy and well. We are all still, Thank God, healthy and well. Dear Brother, as we have learned from your letter that you desire to follow me to the land of the free and independence, America. We also wrote to you. Still you have not written. Come! Come! How can we do that, for if you come and are not pleased here, then we will be blamed. Everyone must do what he will and remain free to come or not. I will send you the truth as you wish. If you come you can go to several harbor cities, only don't go to New Orleans, for that is an unhealthy city and has a warm climate. It is too warm for travelers (immigrants). You can live here better than in Germany, if you could only locate near me but it is better if you have money left over for its value is always good. If you keep your money together look out for bogus speculators and swindlers as there are many in the large cities.
You can aquire land; you can buy it yourself or you can clear government land at no cost but pay for it as you work. There is enough land here but, understand, it is forestland. The land cost a thaler and a quarter American dollars. You still do not have protection (possession) of your land. (*Johann Christian received his deed three years after purchase.) We hope every day to receive it. We have 80 acres of forestland but it is not cleared and still no house. I have 36 acres planted in corn, wheat, potatoes and oats.
The houses here are built by a tall, handsome builder. He is an expert and works hard. They build a house within two weeks. Since we have been here we have managed throughout the year to do quite well as I have already written to you. The land is good, also there is still enough here for a thousand immigrants.
There is enough work here, if one wants to work. There are two ironworks (blacksmith shops) here and one is being built. Also there is a lead mine opening, perhaps this year. The pay is 20 thalers a month at the ironworks, also the miners are paid good wages. If you are coming, come soon, before you get concerned about war. Go to Baltimore as it is closest and the best way. Usually the Bremen and American ships go from Bremen to Baltimore. You don't need to bring any tools with you but bring bedding and clothes with you but no iron or steelwork. Bring me, if you will, a pair of good scythes and a good plowshare and hookplow but if your "Tochtermann" comes along, then they won't be needed. They can be made here. There are enough plows here but not the variety.
Beloved Brother ! It is sad for me to hear that things are going badly for the Neuweiler Hof (His home-village). All of you come if you only pay for the travel costs, for there is enough room and land here for you. Also we have learned all week how it goes in Germany and near you through the newspapers. Dear Brother ! I believe that Germany, and even all of Europe, is undergoing a decline, contrasting to America with increase in growth and blooming like a rose in a garden. America has become larger (with) two new states, one is New Mexico and the other is the rich goldland California on the Pacific Coast. I must close. Goodfriendship. When you write use the following address:
Christian Blatter Steedt Illinois Poppe Cante Golkonda
Christian Blatter, Illinois Golgonda"