Letter from Hermanus Vinkenvleugel 1885

translated by Loek van der Heijden

On 16 March 1885, Hermanus Vinkenvleugel of Wrightstown, Wisconsin wrote a letter to his relatives back home.

I have done my best to translate his letter.   The letter was written in poor Dutch grammar but I believe I have captured quite well the essential content of the letter.

I will do my best to obtain a good copy of the original letter.

I received from Stef Hermsen a copy of all the family-pages of his family tree.  After translation I will sent them to you.

Best regards,

Loek van der Heijden

Wright Town, the 16th march 1885,


Beloved family

I can not forbear just to let you know, how it's going with me here in America, because I have already passed my 81 years on 10 March, and now I should like to know how it goes [t]here, whether my brothers and sister are still alive or not. There will probably be some people in the family, who will remember, that I and my wife and five children departed from Dinxperlo 35 years ago.

I then arrived at Boston. There I was a "koeper" (cooper?) for 7 years. The[re] I  earned 700 dollars and with that I travelled to the west and bought myself 80 acres of land and that I sold three years ago.

I have my third wife and she has 7 children, from which one daughter has married last year.  She was 18 years old.  Furthermore I let you know, that I have a hundred acres of land, 5 cows, 6 head barren cattle, four horses, one 8 years old, one four years old, one two years old and one from one year old.

I am old and the children are young, but I am doing the most with machines.  I have a grass-mower and a seed-mower, a sowing-machine and a rake-machine.  They cost a lot, almost 300 dollar, because the wages are also more expensive than in Holland. Here one can earn good money. 

If it should be, that in the family, there are people who want to come over to live with us, whether married or not married, they can work by me, and if they are married I will let her live on the sixty field (or acres?). The usage here to let build (or grow?) for the half, then the owner gives nothing more, but I will join the machines and also two horses and everything belonging to the use of horses like the horse harnass on the horse-wagon, plough, harrow, .......... etc. Firewood, don't you think about it, there is plenty.

Now I will just request you, that you just let me know who cultivates the land on the "Brinkenveld". I do not know better than that it is still mine, because I have sold the house, but not the land.

Furthermore I do not know much news to write, than that I personally am determined to once come over to you if the good Lord lets me keep my health.

The land that I sold three years ago I had to miss, but where I am now it goes good without.

Now I end with the pen but not with my heart and then just the greetings to all my friends and acquaintances, for I hope that you will receive this letter in good health.

In expectation I remain your brother or uncle, who calls himself

Hermanus Finkenvleugel

Now I expect an answer soon please.

The address is not Hermanes Finkenvleugel but just Herman Fink, Wrights Town, Brown [County Wisconsin.]

Furthermore, O yes, I had almost forgotten my children from my first wife. The oldest son has been married in Boston, but he died and has left a wife and three children, Johanna is in Oregon, Gertruida is in New York, Hendrikus died in the war and therefore I receive a pension of 8 dollars each month. The youngest daughter  is in Arkansas. Those who live are all married. The youngest daughter has 13 children, from which two are married. (LvdH: I assume he is speaking of Maria Magdalena?)

Herman Finkenvleugel and Ana Maria Lauterbach from Kobelens.  (LvdH:  I think this must be Koblenz in Germany)

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