Dearest brother and family,
Your letter came as a big surprise on February 27, for I expected it to take longer. I was able to determine from it that it took just 13 days. When I was out walking and the mail carrier told me he had delivered a letter from America to my house, I couldn’t help but go straight home and see what news there was from you. I’m pleased to see from your letter that you are doing very well over there. That is not the case with us here, for when you have a family here, its all you can do to get them through. You know how it is here. I don’t need to point it out any more. But we are all well, thank God, and the children will soon be big. Then, God willing, we will make more progress than were making now.
You wanted to know where all your brothers and sisters are, so I’ll begin. Andreas lives in Nierstein and cultivates vineyards. He has 4 children. Jakob is in Büttelborn and has one daughter. He is doing very well. Maria lives in our fathers house and has one son. Johannes keeps moving. Usually he goes to Wiesbaden in the summer to work in the brick factory. He has one daughter. Karl, in Schwabsburg, married one of shoemaker Staabs daughters and has no children. Then I’m next. Kretche [Gretchen] lives in Frankfurt. She has a husband from Switzerland who runs a delicatessen. They have 3 children. Kätche lives in Bodenheim. Her husband is employed with the railway, and they have 5 children. Heinrich has gone to his eternal rest. Lieschen is married to Erhard Müller and has 7 children, 3 of whom are deceased. So most of them have quite large families.
I also want to tell you that when our late father died, several of the siblings came into conflict with each other. Sister Maria talked our father out of the house for 1400 marks on his deathbed, when he was no longer thinking clearly. Today its worth 2000 marks, and [she] also hauled off a lot of other money and everything. And brother Andreas, once back when he was working, got 150 M from him to pay his debt at Bayerthal. He had this made out to him, and all the other siblings are at the back of the line. So I, for one, can never forget what they did, and I stay out of their way entirely.
This week I spoke with Peter Claus. He said you were going to send your family picture to him too. He plans write to you again soon. This summer we will have our picture taken too and then well exchange with you. So go ahead and send us your picture soon.
Johann Müller could hardly believe that you had sent him your regards until I showed him the letter. But even from a distance, he recognized your handwriting. He plans to write you a few lines too, in the near future.
Well, that’s all for now. I look forward to an early reply.
With fond brotherly regards,
Fritz and family
Also, best regards to your wife and children.
I am enclosing my picture as dragoon. Its faded, but still quite a good likeness. I had it hanging on the wall for 17 years. I am the only one who served in the cavalry.
This is the picture that Fritz sent to his brother George. It is still in the family. Fritz is the second one from the right standing with his hand on the gentleman sitting, and what looks like a cigar in his mouth, but that could just be a scratch in the picture. You can tell that this picture was cobbled together, some of the men have distinct white outlines where they have been cut and pasted in .