Letter # 12 - This letter tells of the birth of the second child of Marchien and Detmer less than a year after their first. Jan’s father had already died in 1863 at the age of 49, but his grandfather Heije Berend was still living. He was born in 1786. Jan and Jaantje Rubingh are living near Fremont, Michigan.
West Hartlepool, June 7, 1872
Dear Brother and Sister, Here’s a little letter from me to tell you of my good health, and our heartfelt wish is that you may share in the same privelege. We have perceived from Mother’s letter that you are on a farm, but not the one you had purchased earlier. We also rejoice that your little Mettje is so precocious. Our Elziena can not only walk, but walks far! She is a very happy child. People love to have her on board….
You have surely received Mother’s letter saying that we have been given another baby girl, so that they are eleven months apart. The little one’s name is Mettiena… She is a precocious child and at five weeks I took her on board when Elziena was a year old. When you write us then you must tell us how you talk to each other and if you are teaching your little Mettje to speak Dutch, because surely they talk English there.
On June 20 we received a letter from our Mother and Sisters and perceived her good health, but learned to our sorrow that Grandfather Heije Beren has exchanged the temporal with the eternal. He passed away in the night of June12 to 13, so now his lot is decided for eternity. …and his strength was diminishing. He was boarding with Marchien Huisman. His house was sold during the winter because he was nearly…He will surely in his own…in the ground. Our Mother wrote us that they did not notice that he changed his…and that is the most tragic because what remains of such a great old age?A few weeks ago Marchien’s Egbert died. He was 17 years old. So there are constantly voices calling, Prepare your house because the Lord calls the young and well as the old. Marchien is wondering what she must say to Aunt Annechien. She was with me to do baking last spring, but even then it was already not good but nobody knew what was going on with her. I did say to Mother once that sometimes she…Aunt Annechien. May the Lord give her another point of view.
To Jan Rubingh and Wife in North America.
Dear Brother and Sister, also here a little letter from me to testify to our good health. We all desire that you together may participate in that same well-being. Were it anything other we would be heavy of heart. We are lying here more than a day already waiting for coal. We must go from here to Koningsbergen. The last time we came from Sweden from Gothenborg…With the shipping it’s not very favorable this year because the freight situation is very bad because the corn prices in Russia and Prussia are just as high as in the Netherlands or England. May the Lord grant that the temporal situation may change a little bit and that together we may earn a little something so that we can pay what we must on time.
It gave us joy when we understood from a letter from Mother that you had received a letter from us and that you together were doing well because it took a long time since we had news about you. We rejoice, too, that you are on a farm because I think it’s more pleasant for one’s nature that you get something by yourself rather than earn it by working for someone else. Are you renting or buying it? Because Mother didn’t write us about that. Now dear Brother and Sister, I don’t know other details to write about. Write us back soon. Now with affectionate greetings, your loving Brother and Sister, D B Dekker, M G Rubingh