From the Fatherland
From The Honey Grove Signal, 1899
On June 13th I started from New York to Germany on the express steamer Lahn, which is 565 feet long, 67 feet broad, 3 decks (50 feet) deep, and 5800 tons burden. The vessel is built entirely of steel, has a crew of 218 men and carried over 400 passengers. The first day we had to anchor for ten hours on account of a heavy fog, then all went well until Sunday night, the 18th, when a heavy storm set in and raged until Wednesday, and Oh, how sick I was; I never shall forget.
On Wednesday, the 21st, at 4 o'clock p.m., we landed in the French harbor and fortification, Sherbourg, and what a sight it was to be surrounded by miles of heavy walls and hundreds of guns on them and seven towers, from which cannons boomed in salute as we entered. We left at 7 p.m. and arrived at Antwerp at 11 p.m., and at Bremen harbor at 4 a.m. the 23rd. We landed at 10 a.m. and after the usual searching for taxable goods started for Bremen city-32 miles-by rail-a very poor railroad indeed compared with the splendid roads of America. Bremen is an old city with streets so narrow that wagons can only pass each other at certain points.
On Saturday, the 24th, I arrived at my sister's, and what a surprise it was to them. Friends, relatives, and schoolmates are visiting me to make my visit a pleasant one, but here is such a feeling of sadness when I see the ranks of my dear beloved ones reduced to such a small number. And nobody knows me-not even my relatives, and I am longing to go home to my dear folks, friends, and country. All the towns are as when I left them 31 years ago, no improvement whatever. At 3 o'clock in the morning I can see men and women mowing with the old scythe, and working cows to wagons and plows as in years gone by; but the people seem to be contented. It is daylight from 3 o'clock a.m. until 9 p.m.
The weather is very wet and cold-uncomfortable for me. Cattle and horses are about double the price of such animals in Texas; the best flour is $4.50 per hundred, beefsteak 20 cents per pound, lard 25 cents per pound, cornmeal, which is shipped here from America, is $2.00 per hundred pounds and cottonseed meal is $1.25 per hundred; other things in proportion.
Tomorrow I will make a trip of a week's duration to points in Baden where I worked in flour mills when young. After my return here I will visit my sisters in a short time and then start home.
With best regards for you and all friends, I am