I’m grateful for the kindness of my fellow Nattheim descendants. Sometimes it feels a little bit like a virtual village. 🙂 Cousin Frank sent me a copy of a letter that was written in 1877 by Christof Mailander b.1825, a cousin on the Mayer side of the family.
The letter was addressed to Christof’s siblings back in his home village of Nattheim, Germany. (The letter’s been published in the Nattheim Heimatbuch). Then the other day, by coincidence, I received a translation of this same page from cousin Siegfried. He’d used Google translate to put the text into English, and then I was able to cross-check that English text with the photo of the letter from the book. So, in the end, I think we’ve probably got it translated pretty well.
I keep a horse and carriage because you get spoiled and don’t always like to walk when you go out. – Christof Mailander
In the letter, Christof writes about his hotel/saloon at 1029 S. Washington Avenue in Scranton and his sons, John, Heinrich and George Caspar. He also fits in a “humble brag” or two and drops a few names. Christof was 52 years old at the time he wrote the letter. Son John was 27, George Caspar was 23, and Heinrich was 20. Christof’s wife was Anna Maria Esslinger, b. 1826.
Christof Mailander and his family left Nattheim to escape possible starvation due to crop failures there. They arrived in the United States with nothing, and through hard work, they managed to do fairly well for themselves. It makes me smile to detect a tiny bit of bragging in Christof’s letter to his siblings back home.
From page 234 of Albrecht Ritz’s Heimatbuch Nattheim und Oggenhausen im Kranz der Nachbargemeinden:
January 22, 1877
Now that I have received a letter from you, I will also give a sign of life from me.
After we arrived in this country [in 1867], I worked with John and Kaspar doing stone carving. Heinrich carried the tools to the blacksmith [blacksmiths maintained stone-cutter’s tools]. The times were much better then than now, and we earned a lot of money.
Six years ago, I discovered a good opportunity to buy a saloon for $3000. After I purchased it, I had a lot of things changed and redone, which cost another $1,000. Of course, I can also make my life easy without working. I keep a horse and carriage because you get spoiled and don’t always like to walk when you go out.
Johannes has since married and lives in Wilkes Barre, 20 miles from here. He started a trade with iron and other things. He bought a nice house last year, and so he is well. He visits here every few weeks. Kaspar is still at home working in stone carving, but he often has no work in these bad times. He has been down visiting John for 14 days.
Heinrich has been working as a waiter for a couple of years in a large hotel [The Scranton House]. We have a large garden by the house, so my wife always has a job to do. I staff the saloon during the week, and on Sunday the boys sometimes help too. Since I have no more debts, we cannot complain, of course. I only ask God to let us stay healthy as we have been.
I am sending you a power of attorney, enclosed, so that you are entitled to distribute my part evenly among your siblings during the division. Now, we wish that you also write more often what is going on with you. It was very uncomfortable for us to hear about the death of father from other people. Weiss always writes his boys everything new, and we never hear anything from you.
In the hope that you are all good and well, I conclude with many greetings. Heinrich says I should attach special greetings from him.
Afterwards I remember that two of my neighbors, the butcher Armbrust and the brewer Robinson, who were in Germany about 2 years ago, visited Eberhard in Ulm and met. At the time we were very happy to receive some news from our friends.
Just as I finished this letter, John and the Kaspar came along and also want to have their warm greetings attached.
Addendum: I cannot send the above-mentioned power of attorney, as I have found that obtaining such is associated with much effort and expense. My will is and remains the same, and if you cannot get my share without official authorization, so let it stand where it stands until further notice. But write to me, and tell me who my guardian is in this matter.
(Letter written by Christoph Mailander, born 1825)