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Aurora, 3rd of Mai, 1854
Dear brother Johann:
I am so much surprised that I don't know what to write you. This is the third letter now I write home. But I never received an answer except by chance today. This winter I bought a district of wood three miles away from Aurora to work there during this winter. Every day I went to the post office but I never could find a letter from Germany. Therefore I thought you didn't wish to write me.
Now I decided to go to California. I sold all I had and wished to go there with a person who had told me many good things of this land. But I did not have to get my money till a certain day so I could not go with my friend. Now I decided to take the way by sea.
Today, the third May I went to Napperville, 10 miles from here to let change (by jury) the agreement between Seller and buyer. This done I went to a public house to take a dinner. I took the newspaper to read the news from Germany. All the letters from there were published in this newspaper. I was very surprised finding my name there. At first I thought there was an other person with the same name, but I went to the post office to see the letter. It was addressed to me. But I can't describe my feelings with the pen. Tomorrow I should receive my money and the day after tomorrow I should go to California.
Dear brother Johann, my brother Joseph write to me that he and some more of our brothers and sisters had decided to come overseas (but he doesn't know how many of them and if our mother wish to come too). I would be glad having her here. We would make her some pleasure the rest of her days.
But the voyage will be very troublesome for her. I know many old Germany persons here. They don't become ill so often as the young ones. If I would know that they hadn't left Germany, I could send as much money as my brother wished to have. It would me cost ten dollars, therefore I had to go to Chicago to send it. If you could give them some money for the voyage I will repay it to you as soon as possible.
If they haven't left their home I will give them the best advice: I think you should take with you 10-12 toasted breads, dryed fruits, 20-40 pounds of white flour, and some sacks of potatoes, some hams, some beans, vinegar and onions a. c. o. You should not buy clothes except one or two pairs of good trousers. Shirts are cheaper than in Germany. One shirt costs 50 cents. Do not bring boots and shoes with you. My sisters being here have to change the manner of wearing their hair. Also take a pot for cooking and a cake mold with you. The other cooking utensils you should buy better in the seaport. Eiderdowns you have bring with you - not the other house-utensils. The charge for carriage is to high. Many peoples have left in the lurch all they had because the charge was too high by railway.
You have to be careful in all seatowns! Don't go into a hotel for every meal. It will be too dear for you. Every time you must ask the price at first. Never pay more than you have arranged. After having arrived New York you have to prove your tickets. Perhaps you could take the best train to Chicago for five dollars, or at first to Buffalo for four dollars, to Chicago four dollars and 85 cents to Aurora. There ask of me at a person Peter Rosbach. I wish you shall come as soon as possible. If you don't have enough money I will send it to you. If no one of my brothers and sisters has married they should not do it, because they will learn the English language much better.
You will hear something about churches and houses. Here in Aurora there are 8 churches, one of each sect, a Catholic one too. The houses are build of bricks, many of stones as at home. Most of the houses are build of wood. In the forest the houses are made of logs. I and 3 other persons we have build our house during 2 days. You could believe this!
Here in America all is made with more advantage than in Europe. Also we have not to fear to become soldiers as in Germany. There you have to serve your dear good king of God's grace as long as he wishes. During this (Gervi) time you can earn much money being in America and you shall live in peace. I am glad hearing some things about your daughter Magdalena. I will send her a golden dollar in this letter.
I wish you could be here but I fear it will not be possible for you. I thought you had somethings against me because you never had written to me. Many greetings to my sister-in-law, I hope to see you again. Perhaps I shall come to Germany one day but not to stay there. The winter was not hard. Here we have colder days than in Germany. We have had a good spring. The whole nature is wonderful. I am very glad happy being in America. But I cannot write about that. The experience is the best advice. You being in America you shall not long for Germany. In first time no one likes in staying here not understanding the language. Now I like to speak English as I like to speak German. I can read and write English pretty well too. Now I will close my writing and send you best greetings. I hope you are all in good health and wish to see you at me. Now I shall not go to California. Dear brother write me if they have started. They should write me from the seaport and from New York. Then I know the time they will arrive.
My address: Peter Geyermann
Aurora Kane County SL of Ill U.S.
The letter I received the 15 of March, started from Koblenz the 31 of December.