THE HOFFBAUER LETTERS, Part 2
From Kathy (Johnson) Price a collection
of family history and pictures by a joint effort with cousins, Mary
Slyter, James Cornell, Madison
Overmoen, Carole Hoschstetter, Mel Meyer & Tom Hoffbauer.
Family Photos can be found at Hoffbauer
Family Tree can be found at Hoffbauer
Letters written by Mathilda T. "Schneidewind"
Hoffbauer to her daughter, Julia S. "Hoffbauer" Junkermann.
Julia was the 3rd child born to Friederick G.H. &
Mathilda T. Hoffbauer and she was born November 21, 1841 in Prussia, Germany.
Julia was 7 years old when she immigrated with her parents to America from
Julia married Karl Frederick "Otto" Junkermann on September 29, 1858
in Blue Grass, Iowa.
"Otto" Junkermann was a leading druggist in Dubuque, Iowa for many
years and the farm in which Otto and Julia owned there is now known as the
"Mines Of Spain" in Dubuque, Iowa.
Mathilda was born in Prussia, Germany in 1817. At times in some of the
letters she depicts a strong German trait of often speaking her mind without
"beating around the bush so to say."
Her letters tell of their struggles, of the events of the times and of family
She mentions at times in her letters names of others that lived nearby and some
names of those she knew who lived and visited her daughter Julia in Dubuque,
Mathilda was very devoted to her family and a very loving person who worked very
hard in her life and died very young at the age of 49 years.
To me, Mathilda in ancestry is my GGGGrandmother. I still am at awe that
through the efforts of my cousins, Jim Cornell and Mary Slyter, that we are so
fortunate to be able to read her wonderful letters. ---Kathy
(No formal salutation)
My dear Julchen, I received your little letter a few days ago and was glad to
read that you are doing fine. I will only write a few words today, for I
am very busy. As you will learn from Aline's letter as well, (Aline
being daughter of Mathilda & Friederick G.H. Hoffbauer and sister of Julia
or Julchen) a little boy was born here on the 16th of this month. It
is our first male grandchild, and Hugo is very proud of him. I am glad
that the worst is over; again, it was quite straining for me. It is also
the reason why I could not find any time to write sooner. My health is
still no better; for three days, I felt those pains again, but I did not have a
full-blown attack. I did not even tell father about it.
Well, another three days have passed during which I was unable to send my
letter. The threshers arrived here suddenly. You know what that
means as far as work goes. In addition, the little baby is always sickly.
You will have to forgive me, my dear Julie, for closing now. Otherwise,
more days would go by before you receive news.
Is Mrs. Haake still there? If so, please ask her to write to me and tell
me all the news from Dubuque sometime. I would really appreciate it, even
though I have not written to her in a while. However, I am still not quite
well. Yesterday, I screamed out loud from pain, today I am working hard
again. Friedrich had some bad luck as well: he almost lost 3 fingers in
the machine. Father is treating him. He sends you his regards.
Farewell then; next time I will write more. Give my regards to your dear
husband, to Fritz (Note: who is Frederick W. "Jr." son of Mathilda
& Friederick G. H. Hoffabuer who is staying with sister Julia and family in
Dubuque) and all our friends.
Your loving mother.
Give lots of kisses to my deal little darling.
October 1, 1860
My dear Son-in-law,
(Note: This letter is written by Mathilda Hoffbauer to her son-in-law, Otto
Junkermann, husband of her daughter "Julia"-Julie & Julchen as
Mathilda often writes to her.)
I did not wait this long to answer your dear letter out of carelessness.
At first, we were not doing well here at all. Then one of those wretched
things happened; a small thing really, but occurring quite often, and with great
We were very pleased with the pictures you sent us. I was very surprised,
for I no longer expected you to go and get your picture taken for me. I
like the darling, chubby little child the best. I can't stop looking at
the picture and keep wanting to take the child in my arms. It has gained
as much weight as the parents seem to have lost.
What is it, my dear Junkermann? You look so think and quant, as if you had
been seriously ill. My poor Julie looks very haggard as well. Please
do something to put on some weight and get stronger again. It makes me
very sad to see you like this. I think I might have to come up again and
pester you a little; it seems to be necessary for your well-being. (Note: In
notes from my cousin James Cornell, Great Grandson of Julia and Otto, Otto
Junkermann during his life time was not a man of good health.)
Unfortunately, I cannot follow your invitation to spend the winter with your
family. It is impossible for me to leave my poor husband and children
alone for all that time. However, if I can find someone reliable, I will
try and tear myself away for a few weeks at least. I do think it would be
good for my body and spirit.
How is the Lager family doing? Why don't they write? Please tell
them I would love to hear from them.
My daughter-in-law Jinni (Note: Jinni is Virginia, wife of Hugo Hans
Hoffbauer) was quite ill, and so was her little boy. But they are
doing better now. She wants to take on all the work again if I decide to
leave for a while. However, I don't want to burden her like that. By
the way, she would be very happy to receive a little letter from Julie.
Hugo could translate it to her. Jinni is very nice and good now.
Father sends his kindest regards and would like to thank you and Julie as well.
A heartfelt hug from your loving mother.
January 4, 1861
My dear Julie, what in God's name is the reason that none of you send me any
news? Eight weeks have passed already since I last received a letter from
you, and six weeks since I heard from Aline. (Note: Aline also being daughter
of Mathilda & Friederick G. H. Hoffbauer.) Tell me, did something
bad happen? Or did you all forget about us? Or are you so happy that
you don't need our love anymore? There has to be a reason. I can't
imagine that it should be mere carelessness, for you and your family know well
enough that I get very scared and anxious if I don't hear from you for a long
period of time.
Fritz has not written to me either; I just don't know what to think. With
every mail day that passes I become more worried. (Note: Fritz is son of
Mathilda & Friederick G.H. Hoffbauer and is staying in Dubuque with his
sister Julia and family.)
Wouldn't Aline have gone through her ordeal by now? (Note: Aline also being a
daughter of Mathida & Friederick G. H. Hoffbauer.) If I had the money I
would come up there; that's how great my worries are. I implore you, my
dear, beloved Julie, please write immediately upon receipt of this letter if you
haven't done so already, so that I don't have to live with this uncertainty any
longer. Please let me know at once how everybody is doing, whether your
dear husband is well and in good spirits, whether your precious little one has
grown and is well behaved, and what Fritz is up to. Tell me how you are
doing yourself and what's on your mind as well. Are you still good friends
with the Lager family? A little while ago, I felt like I could relax a
little, since my children were doing fine, and we had what we needed to get by.
But now I am all worried again. I wonder if I committed a sin and caused
something bad to happen, as punishment.---
Give my kindest regards to the Lager family and ask them to write to me right
away. I am working on a few small items for Aline. I had intended to
send them for Christmas, but did not get them finished in time. I have
been quite sickly again since Christmas, and in considerable pain. We
celebrated Christmas in rather simple fashion. Two weeks earlier, our
modest income had dried up entirely. God only knows when things will get
better again. Jinni and little Karl were quite sick but are feeling better
again. (Note: Jinni being Virginia, wife of Hugo Hans Hoffbauer, and little
Karl being their son, Hugo being son of Mathilda and Friederick G.H. Hoffbauer.)
Our three little ones were sick as well. I received another letter
from Karl. (Note: Karl also being Charles, son of Mathilda &
Friederick G.H. Hoffbauer.) He is not doing much better, either; I think he
would rather be home. Father is doing fine and sends you his kindest
regards; and so does everyone else. I wish you all a happy New Year,
your loving mother
February 1, 1861
My dear, beloved Julie!
Again, you have had to wait a long time for a letter from me. The reason
was my being ill again, unfortunately. I was already sick in bed when we
received Albert's letter. (Note: Albert Loeper, son-in-law, husband of
Mathilda & Friederick G. H. Hoffbauer's daughter, Aline.) I had
terrible pains in my liver and stomach. But I am better again and have
been out of bed for a few days. For a while, I was plagued by excessive
salivation caused by the medicine. Before I got over this problem, the
pains came back, only this time much stronger. Today is the first day I have
been up all day, but I still feel pain. I fear-soon-the pain will return
in full force. My right side is covered with big hives from all the
liniments I was prescribed. These hives bother me quite a bit.
However, I would gladly tolerate them if only I could get well again.
I have lost almost all hope of becoming completely healthy again. Every 3
or 4 weeks, I am plagued by these attacks; and they are getting stronger.
It is quite sad for all of us. Not only am I unable to run the household
properly, but it is also very expensive. Each month, we spend 3-4 dollars
on doctor's fees and medicine.
Writing letters is becoming more difficult as well. But it is obvious to
me that I won't receive a letter from you unless I have answered your last
letter first, even if it takes me a year to do so. Oh, my dear Julie, I
could be wrong about this, but lately I keep getting the feeling that there is
something between us. Your letters seem less cordial, less natural to me.
Is my perception correct? But no, I don't want to know. Instead, I
will try not to worry you about it.
How are you all doing, my dear ones? Are you well? Is your little
sweetheart almost walking? I wish I could see it, if only once.
Please write me more often and tell me everything about the little one. I
don't want to become a stranger to your family. I haven't had any more
news from Aline, either. (Note: Aline being daughter of Mathilda &
Friederick G. H. Hoffbauer and sister of Julia.) Albert's letter arrived
right after the little girl was born. (Note: Albert Loeper, husband of Aline.)
I haven't heard anything since. Much could have happened in the meantime.
It doesn't seem right of.....
( Note: letter incomplete and fragments of letters found seem to fit the
No Date-Or Place
My dear Junkermann,
(Note: Otto Junkermann, husband of Julia and son-in-law of Mathilda &
Friederick G.H. Hoffbauer.)
Thank you so much for sending Juliane and the small party/company down to us.
We only feel sorry that you couldn't be with us and hope to see you here later.
You cannot imagine how happy I am to see my Julie again, and the children are so
adorable and dear that we almost crush them with all our affection. The
small young lady Thekla has such a courtly, aristocratic flair that I can't get
enough from looking at her. Also, I think that she really resembles her
father a lot.
Now I would like to make a proposal to you, but please don't regard me as
unhumble for that. Julie has told me that you will have to go on another
trip as soon as you return. Wouldn't it be possible to go for this other
trip at first and come to visit us afterwards to pick up Julie? I would
then have the pleasure to have my dear children around me for a little longer.
But I really don't want my request to annoy you. In case we don't receive
a response by Monday morning we will wait before we----(unreadable)
Julie told me that Miss Hans would feel like coming down with her. In case
that she will accept our poverty and you would like to take her, she will be
Father and Hugo send their best wishes. (Note: Father being Friederick G. H.
Hoffbauer, husband of Mathilda and Hugo being their son.) Receive a hearty
Mathilde H. ( Note: in this letter she spells her name Mathilde.)
Jan. 1862 as little Emily Caroline Friederike was born January 4, 1862 and
Mathilda writes of Thekla's little sister Emily. Letter is not dated.
Acting in opposition to my ow habits, my dear Julie, I have talked about myself
first in this letter, (Note: first part of this letter has not been found.)
but please don't think that your affairs would interest me less, it's just
inherent in the case of this time. That you are all hale and hearty ad
generally happy is the only joy that I have. I can hardly express how much
I miss your children, but when will this longing be ever satisfied?
You are the ones to have the ability to give pleasure through a visit. But
don't say anything and I probably won't be able to make it possible in years.
Does little Emily again look like Thekla? Is she also that sweet?
Yes, I have to see her soon. You have to come this summer, when the new
house is ready I expect you and the children, even if your good husband should
despise to come to the beautiful Walcott.
Is Miss Speitel still with Miss Hans? Please send her best wishes and tell
her that she quite neglected me. Her brother told me that she would go
back to Germany, is that true? I'm sorry and sad that I will loose the
only place I could go to.
So, you have a sewing machine? So you will probably sew up a whole house,
I bet! Well, you can think of me a bit, too, or rather of the children,
you will sure have some little leavings/rests you can use for them, they are
quite worn out.
I received Alina's letter and I am very happy about that. (Note:
Alina-Aline, also daughter of Mathilda & Friederick G. H. Hoffbauer.)
Say hello to her, and Hugo soon as will be leaving, what will happen next
Wednesday, I will respond to her.
There is still much left I would like to tell you, but Hugo has brought me a lot
of work again. (Note: Hugo being son of Mathilda & Friederick G. H.
Hoffbauer.) So Adieu, dear Julie, don't let me wait so long for your
response again. Send best regards to your dear husband and give a hearty
kiss to the children.
From Father and me
Father was very happy to be named godfather for the little one; he wanted to
respond right away but of course has not done so yet. He sends his best
regards and wishes her luck.
October 8, 1862
My dear Julchen!
How would you feel if I left you without news for as long as you did us? I
would like to see the kind of thoughts that would start crossing your mind.
I would have been even more worried if I didn't know about your
"passion" for writing. Well, you recognized your mistake on your
own, which usually is the first step towards improvement.
I can't describe how lonely, how abandoned I felt when you all left last time.
Let me tell you, my dear Julchen, the other day I kept pacing back and forth,
plagued by unrest and fear, much lie a criminal who has committed a serious
crime. I missed you terribly, as well as the little children. Come
back soon, my Julchen, won't you? If you hadn't been here, I would still
be living with the feeling that something strange has come between us. But
no, my Julchen, there is nothing standing between us. We still love and
understand each other lie we used to, and it will always remain this way.
You can probably imagine the kind of fear and anxiety I am suffering constantly.
We expect an order for Hugo to have to leave at any moment. (Note:
Mathilda is referring the their son Hugo and he is awaiting orders to join in
service during the Civil War.)
I worry that he might suffer a premature death as well. This is the
hardest thing for me to deal with: the likelihood that Hugo will have to leave.
I picture the future as being very sad. I cannot dispel the thought that I
might not see him again. Could this be a premonition? My dear boys-I
wish I had all three of them home again. A little while ago, Karl sent $10
for Max and $10 for Hugo's little Karl. He is healthy and in good spirits.
He sent me another picture of his. He sent Hugo a plate showing himself,
Ed, Don, and another young man. (Note: being son Karl who went by the
Americanized name Charles, being Karl in German, Max being also another son as
(Note: Karl or Charles Hoffbauer enlisted from Walcott to join the Union
Alliance in the Civil War on September 23, 1861 at the age of 19 years and was
assigned to the 12th Missouri Unit, Company C, Mustered out in St. Louis,
Missouri as Corporal on September 23, 1864 with Distinguished Service.)
(Note: Fritz or Frederick W. Hoffbauer enlisted to join the Union Alliance in
the Civil War on October 18, 1861 at the age of 13, however reported that he was
in fact 15 years old, he was assigned to Company 1st Indp. SS Regiment. He
was wounded April 6, 1862 at Shiloh, TN and once again wounded March 20, 1865 at
Bentonville, NC. He Mustered out on July 26, 1865 in Chicago, Illinois,
with Distinguished Service.)
(Note: Hugo Hans Hoffbauer enlisted to join the Union Alliance on November
16, 1862, reporting residence as Walcott, Iowa at the age of 26 years.
Hugo enlisted as a Lieutenant 1st Class and served Company A in the 14th Iowa
Infantry. He was promoted to Full Major on August 4, 1864 and Mustered out
on August 8, 1865 in Davenport, Iowa with Distinguished Service.)
Fritz, too, sent me his picture, which had turned out very well. He also
sent me $10. He writes to me quite often now. Today, father received
his first letter from him. In it, Fritz asks father to forgive him and to
forget about everything that happened. He also wants father to put in a
request to have him sent home, if father doesn't mind. He seems to be
tired of the soldier's life. Father should attempt everything possible to
try and get Fritz back-if he is still alive. His letters were all written
before the last battle at Corinth.
Hugo is very popular with his men. They insist that he should be promoted
to captain. He is still trying to hold off; he wants to know first where
his company will be sent. I think, if Albert had joined here as a common
soldier he would have been promoted to captain by now.
(Note: Albert Loeper, son-in-law, husband of Aline "Hoffbauer"
Loeper, daughter of Mathilda & Friederick G. H. Hoffbauer, Albert joined the
Union Alliance from his residence of Dubuque, Iowa on October 4, 1862 at the age
of 24 years and was assigned to Company M of the 6th Cavalry Regiment of Iowa,
he was promoted to Full Sergeant 2nd Class on June 1, 1865 and Mustered out from
the same company on October 17, 1865 in Sioux City, Iowa.)
Jinni (Note: wife of Hugo Hans Hoffbauer, her true name being Virginia and
daughter-in-law to Mathilda & Friederick G. H. Hoffbauer) doesn't know
what to do. At first, she wanted to go back to Pennsylvania. Then
she considered moving to Davenport.
I don't know if she will stay here. She changes her mind every minute.
Her behavior has become very changeable as well. We can expect her to give
birth any day now.
I am always glad to hear that all of you are in good health. We are doing
O.K. as well. Father is doing much better again. How is my young
lady doing? Does she still want to have a ham? And the chubby little
butterball seems to be starting to stand up? When will I see them again,
the ones I love so dearly? How did your wine harvest turn out? I
wish I could have seen Junkermann's pleased expression at the sight of a
particularly beautiful bunch of grapes. I wish I could have been there to
watch him take care of the "wine business."
You wrote that you had quite a bit of trouble with your canning goods. So
did I, especially with the crate of peaches. Now I hope that our grapes
won't cause as many problems.
How is Miss Haas doing? Is Emilie a happy bride now? I wish little
Clara was here. Give my regards to both of them, and tell Clara, that
Father would like her to come and visit again as well. What else is new in
Dubuque? Please write again soon. I don't see why we should have
such long breaks between letters.
I have to close for now. I still want to write to Aline. Her
stubborn silence makes me very unhappy. Kindest regards to you and your
dear husband from all of us. Give the little ones a kiss from me.
December 14, 1862
My dear Julchen!
Please forgive me for only writing a short letter to you today. Believe
me, I am so swamped with work, I don't know where to start. The children
badly need new clothes. I have been sick since June and haven't had any
time yet to start sewing again. I will gladly do all the work on my own
again, for we just can't afford the washing woman any longer. Father was
sick as well. Thank goodness he is better again. However, it was
hard on me to try to get everything done. And so I got sick again for
We had a very good time when the boys were here, especially on father's
birthday. They all want to come back for next year's. Hopefully you
and your family will be here as well. God, Julchen, if our boys died, it
would be too terrible for us. (Note: Mathilda is referring to sons Hugo, Karl
" Charles" and Fritz-Frederick W. serving in the Civil War at this
time.) We wouldn't be able to make it without their love and support.
Business is almost at a standstill; the few people left here have no money to
spend. And now we are supposed to make a $20 payment, which we are unable
to do. We will continue selling beer until we are forbidden to do so; then
we will have to stop. I am terrified at the thought of Hugo having to
leave. He gives us so much; he is so kind toward us. He got father a
new wardrobe-from head to toe-for the winter. He also gave us a fat pig, a
barrel of flour, and two dollar's worth of coffee, not counting all the little
things. Jinni (Note: Jinni or Virginia, being wife of son Hugo)
gave me a warm underskirt and a hat, as well as some wallpaper for my little
living room, which looks very cozy now. Karl (Note: Karl or Charles,
son of Mathilda and Friederick G. H. Hoffbauer) bought some very nice things
for father as well, a nice silver watch among other things. Oh, my dear
children, may God watch over you for our sake. You cannot imagine how much
I love you all. I was very surprised to learn that your little Milchen (Translators
note: Diminutive form of Emilie, used as an endearment) is walking already.
You are so lucky with your children. Is she potty-trained yet? Jinni
is feeling better again, but she lost her milk. Now the little boy isn't
doing so well. Our outlook for Christmas is not the greatest. If at
all possible, we will send you our pictures, but I can't promise anything.
Well, then, my dear Julie, I will write more soon,
January 2, 1862
Happy New Year, my dear, beloved Julie!
"Happy New Year," commonly the first words at the beginning of a new
year-it certainly is my wish for you.
For me personally, the year probably won't be a happy one. I don't think I
have ever entered a new year quite as I have this time, with so little hope for
a better future, or more discouraged by the sad conditions that loom ahead of
us. However, I cannot do anything but be patient, which I am, to a certain
degree. My dear Julchen, the reason why I did not respond immediately to
your nice invitation to come and see you again was because I was not sure if we
would stay here or move to Davenport. I was quite ill for the past week,
as you will find out from Aline's letter. I was unable to write; I am sure
you will forgive me for the delay. (Note: Aline being another daughter of
Mathilda & Friederick G. H. Hoffbauer and is living with husband Albert
Loeper and children in Dubuque at this time.)
My dear Julie, as much as I would have liked to follow your wish to be by your
side and take care of you during your imminent delivery and lying-in period, I
have to tell you that it is absolutely impossible. Father has not been
able yet to pay back the money he borrowed from you for his trip back. I
wouldn't know where to find the means for another trip. But if it was just
for the money. My wardrobe also looks quite shabby right now; the same
goes for the children's clothes. I wouldn't want to leave them in this
piteous state. Our income is just too small at present, and I often don't
know how we are supposed to be able to make it, especially since Hugo is having
all kinds of trouble as well.
Please don't be sad, my dear, beloved Julie. I am sure you will find
someone who will take good care of you, even though it won't be like having your
mother there. I would so much like to be with you! But it is
impossible. I am very afraid for you, but God will have mercy on you and
watch over you, and you will make it through unharmed. However, should you
become ill and absolutely need my help, let me know immediately, and no
sacrifice will be too great. Please write to me soon and let me know when
you expect to deliver. Well, maybe it is better if I don't know exactly.
How is your dear husband doing? And pretty little Thekla? I long to
see you all, but unfortunately it is impossible.
I wrote everything else there is to tell to Aline; I don't want to repeat it all
here. I would like to get the letter into the mail today. (Note: Aline
being daughter also of Mathilda & Friederick G.H. Hoffbauer and with husband
Albert Loeper and their children are living in Dubuque at this time.) Our
kindest regards to all of you. Please forgive me for not coming.
January 9, 1862
My dear Son-in-law!
(Note: this being Otto Junkermann, husband of Julia)
We were very happy to receive the news that Julie's delivery went well.
Please accept our best wishes for the well-being of mother and child.
Instead of the desired little son, another little girl made her entrance into
this world. But let's hope that there will be another chance for a little
Being surprised by the news spared me a great deal of anxiety. I am
convinced that, even without my being there, Julie is in good, caring hands.
My dear Junkermann, please inform me again soon how Julie and the little one are
doing. Also, let me know if sweet little Thekla is feeling left out now.
Unfortunately, I won't be able to come to the christening, as much as I would
love to. However, following your wish, I am sending you a few names.
I am suggesting them without any expectations, should they not be to your
liking. The name Emilie has always been my favorite, because it is the
name of my dear, beloved sister. If the baby were named Emilie, it would be a
nice gesture toward Miss Emilie Haas, Julie's nurse, as well. Ottilie
would be very pretty as well. Father suggested the name. In this
case, the little girl would be named after you. I am curious to see if the
lot will have to decide once again.-
(Note: Otto & Julia Junkermann named the baby girl, Emily Caroline
Friederike Junkermann and she was born January 4, 1862 in Dubuque, Iowa.
Emily was as per Mathilda's suggestion and Friederike was in honor of Friederick
G. H. Hoffbauer, unfortunately Emily passed away young on January 9, 1870, cause
of death unknown.)
It is my greatest wish now to get to know the little girl, and to see dear
little Thekla again. However, since I don't expect to make it to Dubuque
for a long time, you will just have to decide to come and visit us with your
family this spring. This way, our sad loneliness would be broken up by a
happy reunion. Kindest regards from all of us to you, Julie, the Lager
family, as well as to Miss Haas.
Your Mother M. Hoffbauer
October 28, 1862
My dear Julie!
I can only write a short letter to you today, for I don't have much time.
On the 21st of October, after an exhausting five days, Jinni finally gave birth
to another boy. (Note: Jinni being Virginia Susannah, wife of Hugo Hans
Hoffbauer who is first born son to Mathilda & Friederick G. H. Hoffbauer.)
She is still very ill. A few days ago, we even feared for the worst.
As you can imagine, I was kept very busy, especially since Hugo hardly ha any
time to be here. Unfortunately, nobody else seems to be able to do things
just right for her.
I had started my letter a few days ago, but then had to set it aside again.
Now I can let you know, though, that Jinni is doing somewhat better. The
fever is down, and she is starting to regain some of her appetite, however
little. I hope that she will get better now. The little boy is very
delicate, but cute-and very quiet.
I haven't been able to do any of my own work. Now I don't know where to
start. I wish I had your sewing machine for a few weeks; it wouldn't be so
bad then. Jinni's illness also is the reason why I still haven't thanked
you for the grapes. I was very pleased with them, and all of us enjoyed
them very much. Give our regards to your dear husband, and tell him we
would like to thank him as well.
It looks like Jinni is going to have all the boys, and you all the girls in the
Father is not feeling very well and has to lie down most of the day, but doesn't
want to call a doctor. (Note: Mathilda is referring to her husband
Friederick G. H. Hoffbauer as father and in her letters always writes of him as
"father.") The one he used to see is no longer here.
I received a letter from Aline and was very glad to hear from them. As
soon as I have some time, I will respond to it. I hope that you don't
mind, my dear Julie, that I am only writing a short letter, but I just don't
have much time right now. (Note: Aline Hoffbauer Loeper, is also daughter of
Mathilda & Friederick G. H. Hoffbauer and she is either living in Dubuque,
Iowa at this time or has moved to Montana with her husband Albert Loeper and
Give my kindest regards to everybody, and give the little ones a kiss from
Note: Jinni (Virginia Susannah) gave birth to Carl Hoffbauer, 2nd child born
to Jinni and Hugo Hans Hoffbauer on October 21, 1862. This child would
have been born in Walcott, Scott County, Iowa and to date we have not found the
exact date but little Carl Hoffbauer died young and is buried in Rosehill
Cemetery, Buffalo, Iowa near his mother.
Translators note: The year is not readable on the letter, nor is the month.
However, guessing from the context, it was written in the month of October.
The year must be one in which Jinni had another boy
My dear, beloved Julie!
After pondering whether he should write a letter for almost a week, father
finally decided to have me do it. As mad as I was at him for not making up
his mind to write and to thank Junkermann himself, I now understand he does not
seem to be able to do so. He did promise me again this morning that he
would do it. However, I wasn't going to rely on it any longer. My
dear Julie, please tell Junkermann that is not malice on father's part, but an
aversion against writing. The paint containers arrived here as early as
last Tuesday, and we put a coat on the house already. A big thank you to
your husband for getting the paint so fast and conveniently for us. This
will now have to do until we can take care of everything properly.
I am quite happy with our little house now. Although I don't care too much
for its exterior appearance (it looks very low), I do find it quite cozy inside.
I wish we could move in, but the plastering is taking longer then we had
anticipated. Initially, we did not intend to do the plastering before the
fall, because we did not have the money. But then I decided to sell my
only cow to be able to finish the house.
I would like to ask you, my dear Julie, to keep your promise and to come and
visit us this summer. And since Junkermann promised as well, I don't see
why you couldn't come. You don't know how happy father and I would be if
you could bring the whole family. We would like to do whatever we can,
given our financial straights, to make your stay as pleasant as possible.
We are expecting Aline and the children to come next Wednesday. As much as
I look forward to seeing them, I wish I could postpone their trip by a week.
For it won't be very pleasant for them to stay here at the house at this time. (Note:
Aline Hoffbauer Loeper also daughter of Mathilda & Friederick G.H. Hoffbauer
and Aline and Albert Loeper and children live in Dubuque, Iowa at this time,
Albert Loeper enlisted to serve in the Civil War in Dubuque, Iowa in October
Are you doing fine? Are your dear little children all healthy? Lina
Speitel told me all about how lovely and how intelligent little Thekla is.
She must be taking after her daddy. But supposedly, she has a little
"Hoffbauer face"? How I wish I could see her! Give Lina my
regards and tell her to write to me sometime. I feel sorry that I was so
unhappy the last few days she was here. I am still unhappy and have reason
Things are taking a little longer with Hugo's planned trip to California.
I am not sure how it is all going to turn out. Jinni is back again-and all
American. Little Karl means everything to me. He is very much like
Hugo and only speaks German. (Note: Jinni being wife of Hugo Hans Hoffbauer,
so of Mathilda and Friederick G. H. Hoffbauer.)
We haven't had any news from the boys yet. (Note: I would believe that
Mathilda is referring to Karl or Charles and Fritz or Friederick W. Hoffbauer
who have been fighting in the Civil War at this time.)
Well, then, my dear Julie, enough for today. I still have to do a little
work in the garden. We won't get much out of it this year. The soil is
still hard to work with, and we have to do everything on our own. Besides,
you know how good a gardener your father is.
Until next time, then. Give your dear husband our kindest regards.
Please write soon again to your loving mother.
July 21, 1862
My dear Julie!
This time, it took quite long for me to respond to your letter. But you
know how it is with letter writing; once you start postponing, it seems to
become more and more difficult to find the time.
This month is almost over. I suppose we cannot expect you to come and
visit this month. Well, my dear Julchen, to be honest with you, I did not
mind that you and your dear family have not come to visit us yet. Business
has not been good at all, and I would hardly have had anything to offer you.
Now that the harvest has begun, however, things should get better around here.
Therefore, I am asking you to not wait much longer, or things may not work out
at all in the end. You cannot imagine how much I look forward to seeing
you here. I have never had to wait this long to see you all. You
will like it too; we will be able to have you as guests in our own home.
You have no idea, my Julchen, how cozy our new little house is. Now, if we
had a little more income, we could add a bit to its interior.
Poor Aline! I had thought that I cold offer her a very comfortable time here.
But then, we did not have anything special to offer her at all. In
addition to that, her departure did not go very well. I wouldn't be
surprised if she remembers this trip as a rather negative experience. I
have to tell you, I am still bothered by the whole experience. I had
imagined that everything would go so much better. How is her health?
I am afraid that she might have to suffer for quite some time. And please tell
Aline to drop me a few lines soon. Otherwise, I will keep worrying.
(Note: Aline Hoffbauer Loeper, being also daughter of Mathilda &
Friederick G. H. Hoffbauer and at this time Aline and family are living in
Give my regards to the Lager family.
Hopefully, Bertha is with Aline now. (Note: Bertha is also a daughter
of Mathilda and Friederick G. H. Hoffbauer and was born in 1852 so would be 10
years old at this time.) I only let her go with the idea that she would be
of help to Aline. I thin Bertha would probably like it better at your
house, but then I would feel sorry for Aline. My dear Julchen, please go
and find out for yourself if she is of any help, or if she is just another
responsibility for Aline. I would also like to know how she gets along
with Klarchen (Translators note: Klarchen is diminutive for Klara, little
Klara), whom she likes to order around. Should they both, Aline and
Bertha, have been wrong about doing this, please bring Bertha home when you come
How has your family's health been? Is your dear husband doing fine now?
And how are the little ones doing? I wish I could see them right now.
Surely you will inform me about when you are coming in your next letter, which I
expect to receive early next month. I hope you worked hard, so that you
will get permission to stay here a little longer.
Father sends his kindest regards. He is doing fine, and so are the rest of
us. We haven't had any news from the boys since Aline left. (Note:
once again Mathilda would be referring to, Karl or Charles and Fritz or
Frederick W. Hoffbauer their sons who are at this time fighting in the Civil
War, their son Hugo enlisted on November 26, 1862.)
Well, then, good-bye for today, my Julchen. I still want to write a few
lines to Bertha. Give my regards to your dear husband and all our friends.
Your loving mother M. H.
Davenport, May 22, 1863
My dear, beloved Julchen!
Finally, after letting me hope and wait for so long, you have decided to write a
few lines to your mother. Believe me, it hurt me very much not to hear
from you for all this time. You knew that I was ill and suffered terribly;
I am still suffering. But it seems that, no matter how I am doing, I don't
receive any sign of empathy, especially in our very often sad situation.
Five months have passed without a word from you. And now you are telling
me that you haven't had a moment's time? One can be totally overwhelmed by
duties and obligations and unable to wrote for maybe 2 weeks, but not for 5
months. I told myself that it is mere laziness on your part when you don't
write for a long time.
If I had to believe that it was carelessness, I would be terribly unhappy.
In your letter, you state that you wrote to Aline, but did not receive an
answer. That sound crazy, my dear Julchen. Aline wrote to you and
did not receive a response. The way we saw it, it was a great humiliation
for Aline. We did receive an envelope containing $6.00 and a small piece
of paper with "Julie Junkermann" written on it-in your husband's
handwriting. Aline was very distraught about the whole thing. It had
been very difficult for Aline to as for money. She only forced herself to
do it because she knew that we were in need ourselves at the time. Be that
as it may; all I can say is that yesterday we finally received a letter from you
since Christmas. (Note: Aline Hoffbauer Loeper is also daughter of
Mathilda and Friederick G. H. Hoffbauer and Aline is back with her parents as
her husband Albert Loeper is serving in the Civil War at this time.)
You will notice that my letter is mailed from Davenport. I have been here
for over a week already to assist Jinni with the care of her youngest on. He has
been ill for two weeks and will probably struggle for quite some time to get
better. He has water on the brain. Jinni is sad, but send you her
regards nevertheless. (Note: Jinni is Virginia Susannah Hoffbauer wife of
Hugo Hoffbauer son of Mathilda and Friederick G. H. Hoffbauer.)
Hugo sent us some pictures recently. He sent one for you; it is included
with this letter. (Note: Hugo Hans Hoffbauer enlisted to fight in the
Civil War in November of 1862 so at this time he is away.) You wanted to
know if Hugo has written yet. Every week, I receive two letters from him
in which he writes to me in the tenderest way. I am unable to answer all
his letters because I am not doing well and have too much work to do.
Whenever he hasn't had a letter from me his letters sound so sad; but after
receiving a letter from me they are full of joy.
Albert wrote again as well. He is healthy now and has joined up with his
(Note: Mathilda is writing about Albert Loeper who is the husband of their
daughter, Aline "Hoffbauer" Loeper, and Albert is fighting at this
time in the Civil War as he enlisted in October of 1862.)
Yesterday, Aline and father were here. Aline received some money and
bought some much needed items. She has it quite nice now and is healthy.
We are quite content. If one of us has something, he or she shares it with
the rest of us. Aline sends her regards; she will write to you herself.
Unfortunately I have to turn down your kind invitation to visit you this spring.
Our circumstances don't allow us to take this kind of trip anymore, even though
I think that I would get better at your house-although not totally cured.
It isn't the few dollars the trip would cost. I could probably come up
with the money, for Hugo, Karl, (Note: or as he used the Americanized name
for Karl being Charles), and Fritz (Note: Frederick W. Hoffbauer) send
money again. And I am sure Aline would gladly share hers with me.
However, I cannot leave house and garden alone. But the main thing is my
wardrobe. It is so worn that I almost look shabby for Walcott, not to
mention Dubuque. It has been 2 years since I was last able to buy blouses.
I am sure you can imagine what they look like by now. I could not afford
to buy everyday clothes and started wearing my good ones. I would even
think of adding appliques or making alterations. And so I would be a sorry
sight to your family. Possibly, we will be better off in the fall, and I
can try to come then. Why don't you come down here again, my dear Julchen:
your wardrobe is good enough for Walcott. We put all the money that Karl (being
Charles) and Fritz (being Frederick W.) sent into the house and
garden. Making improvements to the house is my only pleasure. I am
getting a summer kitchen, and we are wallpapering the bedrooms. What was
left from the money went to the children. I'll have to see how I make it
through. Aline bought me a pair of shoes.
Our dear boys are all still fine. Hugo is in Cairo; he assumed the duties
of a captain, even though he does not officially hold that rank yet. Karl (being
Charles) is constantly involved in battles at Vicksburg, and Fritz in "unreadable
by translator", God only knows where that is. (Note: sons of
Mathilda & Friederick G. H. Hoffbauer.)
Farewell then, my dear Julchen. Don't let us wait too long for news again.
After all, this is the only form of communication we have. Give my regards
to your dear husband, your children, Miss Haas, and the Ahlers family.
Hold dear in your heart,
I would have liked to write a letter to Mrs. Ahlers yet, but am too tired since
I have written 4 letters already.
Buffalo, October 28, 1863
My dear beloved Julchen!
I have a chance to go to Davenport and thought I would take the opportunity to
write you a few lines. This way, you will hear from us again, something
that doesn't happen to often. I am very sorry that you mistakenly thought
that I was coming up there at this time. I myself had thought that I could
do it, even though I mainly said it to put Bertha at ease. It was quite
hard for her to say good-bye. However, now I cannot really promise
anything. Should things change for the better, I might just come
unexpectedly some time. I am assuming that I would be welcome at your home
anytime. Should I not be able to come and see you soon I would certainly
come when you are expecting another "citizen of this world."-
The fact that you are not getting much help from Bertha and that she is actually
causing some frustration for the other children worries me quite a bit. I
will write to Bertha directly about it. I know that she is not as good
with the children as she is with Emma. (Note: Bertha is also daughter of
Mathilda & Friederick G. H. Hoffbauer and she is in Dubuque living at her
sister Julia's home at this time and is 11 years old and Emma is also another
daughter of Mathilda & Friederick G. H. Hoffbauer who at this time is at
home in Buffalo, since the last translated letter Mathilda & Friederick G.H.
Hoffbauer have moved from Walcott to Buffalo, Iowa.)
Bertha should at least realize how well you are treating her and do everything
for you to show her gratitude. I hope with all my heart that things are
better now. Otherwise I would get quite angry with her. If you are
going to stay in the country again next summer and will have another little one,
I would suggest you take Emma along as a nanny. The children would have
the best imaginable care, just as long as you don't as too many other things of
her. Aline's and Hugo's children are inseparable from her.- (Note: Emma
is Emma Mathilda Hoffbauer, daughter of Mathilda & Friederick G. H.
Hoffbauer and at this time would be 8 years old.)
Now, my dear Julchen, I would like to make a suggestion. However, I want
to tell you right now that you should not worry if yo do not like my suggestion.
Keferstein received a lot of things again from Germany. There are a few
items for us among them; two very nice dresses and a piece of cloth for father.
However, the dresses are the kind that none of us here can wear. You are
the only one who cold; her, the conditions just aren't quite right.
Therefore, I am sending you one of them with the idea that you would pay me half
of it price, and I would give you the other half as a thank you present for your
next birthday. Please don't be too surprised about my request; I am going
to explain what my intention is. As you know, father's birthday is coming
up (#52) a week from Friday. He does so much for us that I would like to
present him with a pleasant little surprise. I would like to give him a
woolen shirt, which he needs badly. Since we cannot start brewing Lager
beer for another two weeks or more, my household budget is very limited and I
cannot spend a penny on anything but household items. This is why I would
very much appreciate it if you liked the dress and followed my suggestion.
I have no idea what the value of the material is, but I am only asking for a
small amount. If you agree with this little deal, please let me know
immediately. If you do not want to keep the dress, please keep it until I
come up there myself, or sell it to someone else if you have an opportunity.
I should also mention that I am not sure whether Karl (being son Charles)
can afford to pay for the shipping charge. Should he be unable to pay for
it, please deduct it, or else I will pay you back.
Albert came home last night. (Note: Albert is Albert Loeper, husband of Aline,
daughter of Mathilda & Friederick G. H. Hoffbauer and at this time Albert is
serving in the Union Alliance in the Civil War.)
We are all doing fine and hope the same is true for all of you.
I have to close now. IT is terribly cold here in the living room all of a
sudden and my fingers have become stiff.
Farewell and give our kindest regards to your family. Please write soon to
Your loving mother.
November 15, 1863
My dear, beloved Julie!
Maybe you were beginning to think I might deliver my answer to your dear letter
in person. After all, it has been close to a month since I last wrote.
However, it isn't that easy to fulfill your wish and mine, that is for me to go
up there and see you. But I will get to that later. First, I would
like to wish you all the best for your birthday. May
God see to it that you are always healthy, content, and happy in your love for
your husband and children. May He safely guide you through the difficult
time you are facing again. This is what all of us wish for you from the
bottom of our hearts. Be merry and think about us.
Father's birthday was a few days ago. We did have a few friends visiting,
but we did not have a merry time. Last year's memory was too vivid to
allow merriness to enter our hearts. In the morning, we received letters
from all the boys. We were happy about that. Otherwise it would have
been quite a sad say. (Note: Mathilda is writing of the sadness at this time
that their son's are away fighting in the Civil War and remembering the joyous
time that had at the time of father's birthday the year before when all were
As far as visiting you goes, I really don't know what to tell you. If I
knew, I would have written to you some time ago. Father does not want to
hear about it. Aline and all the children are telling me that they don't
want me to be gone over Christmas. (Note: Aline being also daughter of
Mathilda and Friederick G. H. Hoffbauer.) Father says that if I go (which I
cannot do) and can be back by December 10 or 12, he would let me go. But I
don't want to do that, even if I had the means to go right now. I wouldn't want
to leave you when you need me the most. Let me tell you this, my dear
Julchen: if you would really like to have me there, I will prepare to come and
get as much of the children's old winter wardrobe ready as I can, so I don't
have to leave them behind looking to shabby. If big Karl (being son
Charles) sends us a sizable amount of money again, enough that I can take
the cost of the trip out of it, I will come. Even if I couldn't leave
until the day after Christmas, I might still get there in time. My dear
Julchen, please write again soon and let me know what you think. Should I
be able to come, please don't mind my wardrobe; I really can't buy anything new.
The whole family needs shoes and boots, and that takes quite a bit. Karl (being
son Charles) is the only one who at times sends me amounts of any size.
He is always trying to make some money by trading things if the opportunity
arises. His regiment marched to Tennessee. We don't know where he is
right now. In passing, he saw Fritz for ten minutes. Supposedly,
Fritz has become very grown-up and good-looking. (being also one of Mathilda
& Friederick's sons, Frederick W. who volunteered to serve, Union Alliance
in the Civil War reporting at the time he was 15 but in fact was only 13 years
old and at the time this letter is written Fritz is in fact 15 years old.)
A few days ago, we received news from Albert. He is supposed to be sent
here as a recruiting officer. We expect him by the end of the month.
Aline is very happy about it. (Note: Albert being Albert Loeper, husband of
Aline, daughter of Mathilda & Friederick G. H. Hoffbauer and Albert at this
time is serving, Union Alliance in the Civil War.)
We too, think that winter won't be as sad this year. If Albert stays for a
while, there is more hope that father will let me go. Bertha has been in
Davenport again for a month. I did not really want to entrust her to Jinni
(being Virginia S. wife of Hugo Hoffbauer, son of Mathilda and Friederick G.
H. Hoffbauer) but I could not pass the opportunity of having Hugo take care
of her and sending her to German school. It's about time the two girls
learned something. Aline is doing better, and so are the children.
However, she hasn't received any money for four months; no payments have come
in. As you can imagine, we have to share with her what little we have.
How is little Klara doing? Say hello to her from me, as well as to the
I am so sorry that the doctor is ill. I have some old news I want to tell
you; Karl Friedrich got married and guess whom he married: I am ashamed to spell
it out his sister in law. Would you have thought he would fall so low?
But farewell now. Father, Aline, and the children send their kindest
regards to you and your dear husband.
My kindest regards and kisses to al of you,
January 7, 1863
My dear, beloved Julchen!
Although it is somewhat late, I wish you all a very happy New Year! I hope
you started it in good health and with joy. It isn't the case here, for we
are neither joyful, nor am I healthy.
This is the reason why I haven't written sooner. I have terrible problems
with my head again: I can't hear and it is as if I had a veil in front of my
eyes. (Note: Mathilda Theresa Hoffbauer died almost 2 years later, on
December 16, 1865 at the age of 49 years and is buried in Rose Hill Cemetery,
Buffalo, Iowa the cause of her death is unknown at this time.)
We would like to thank you very much for the nice Christmas present you sent us.
We were very happy about it. The pictures turned out extraordinarily well;
you never looked this good on previous pictures. And the two little
ones-don't they look precious! The little miss looks somewhat morose, or
afraid, rather. But the little one is sitting there with such a daring
expression, as if to say: "I know how to do this!"
They are adorable.
Bertha and Emma were incredibly happy with their present. They are quite
proud of it. (Note: Bertha & Emma are daughters of Mathilda &
Friederick G.H. Hoffbauer and at this time they would be 12 years and 9 years
I felt sorry for Jinni, however. (Note: Jinni is Virginia S. "Myer"
Hoffbauer, wife of Hugo Hans Hoffbauer, Karl and Ed are their sons, Karl being
age 1 at this time and Ed being age 3, and she is daughter-in-law of Mathilda
& Friederick G. H. Hoffbauer.) For some time now, she has been talking
about you having promised her your picture in return for the picture of Karl and
Ed she gave you.
Junkermann promised it as well when he was here. And now I received one
and she didn't. She actually started to cry when I showed her the one I
received. (Note: Mathilda in her letters refers to Otto Junkermann, husband
of their daughter Julia as only Junkermann.)
Overall, Christmas turned out to be better for us this year then last.
Hugo sent us a tree, which we decorated, however sparsely. I gave the
children only small items to play with. Hugo gave the girls accessories to
go with their dresses and Max received things to go with this pants and jacket.
I received a pair of warm shoes, and father a goose and a big mutton roast. (Note:
in reference to "the girls" this would also be the daughters of
Mathilda & Friederick G. H. Hoffbauer, Bertha & Emma and Max or
Maximillian being their young son and at this time he would be 7 years old.)
While Jinni stayed here with the kids for three days, Hugo only stayed for one
evening. I don't think it has ever been this quiet at Christmas time; not
even Friedrich was here. (Note: at this time we have not found out exactly
who "Friedrich" is.)
How was Christmas at your house? Did you all receive nice presents again?
I am guessing that Aline wasn't at your house this year. Or was she able
to come? I would love to spend time with all of you again sometime, but-oh
well. (Note: Aline is also daughter of Mathilda & Friederick G. H.
Hoffbauer and at this time is living in Dubuque with her family somewhere near
Julia and family.)
I am very sorry that we couldn't send you our picture yet. As soon as he
gets paid again, Hugo wants us to have our picture taken. We would also
like to send one to mother in Germany. I am hoping that we can have one
done for you as well when we do this. I would love to send your pictures
to Germany as well, together with pictures of Hugo's family and Karl's and
Fritz's pictures-pictures only, of course, without frames or covers. It
would be nice if I could send pictures of the whole family, including yours and
Lagers'. You will have to give me Fritz's picture back, my dear Julchen;
otherwise I won't have one. (Note: Karl being also Charles and Fritz being
Frederick W. both sons of Mathilda & Friederick G. H. Hoffbauer.)
We haven't had any news from him for three months, and I wonder what happened to
him. (Note: Mathilda is referring to their son Fritz or Frederick W. who is
serving in the Civil War at this time.)
Hugo's letters to Fritz's captain have remained unanswered, and nobody knows
where his regiment is.
I also wonder how Karl and Ed are doing at the moment. They were both in
the battle of Vicksburg and perhaps already dead-or wounded and helpless. (Note:
Karl being Charles, also son of Mathilda & Friederick G. H. Hoffbauer and Ed
being Ed Myer, brother of Jinni or Virginia S. Myer Hoffbauer.)
Oh, my Julchen, you cannot imagine how great my fear and anxiety are.
Please tell me the truth about Albert's outlook. The bits of information
we received from various people are so contradictory that we do not know what to
believe. (Note: Albert is Albert Loeper, husband of Mathilda &
Friederick G. H. Hoffbauer's daughter Aline.)
How are Emilie and Clara Haas doing? Is Emilie getting married soon?
Is it true that Clarchen (translators note, Clarchen is diminutive form of
Clara, used as an endearment) is engaged to Mr. Beck? Give my regards
to both, as well as to the Minges family.
Bertha is still at Jinni's. She is suffering considerably from tonsil
problems. The doctor cut them open. I hope to God that it is for the
Jinni has to feed her little boy with a bottle since she lost her milk.
The little child is very handsome, but very weak. Hugo has it quite nice
where he lives; over the New Year, I spent two days with them. I wish I
could come and see you and the Lager family once in a while.
I better close now; I am having trouble writing today. I am making a lot
of mistakes, as you can see.
Farewell, my dear Julchen. Please write soon. Father is doing quite
well and sends his regards to you and Junkermann. Tell Junkermann that I
planted the flower bulbs and that I am hoping they will grow nicely. Give
the children a kiss from me.
Aline will receive a letter from me next Monday. I won't be able to get it
Walcott, March 4, 1864
My dear beloved Julchen!
You have had to wait this long to receive a letter from me, and you might well
be thinking that something happened to me, or that I am rude. Neither is
the case. You won't believe that kind of hurly-burly I encountered when I
arrived here. I think it will take some time before I'll feel at home
How much I would have loved to stay longer with you all; you were all so good to
me! I would like to thank you again from the bottom of my heart. How
have you been since I left you, my dear Julchen? Have you been healthy or
well? And how is darling little Franklin doing? May God watch over
your little children and protect them. They are so nice and dear. (Note:
Franklin was the 3rd child born to Otto & Julia Junkermann on Jan. 17, 1864
in Dubuque, Iowa.)
Fritz sends his best regards to all of you. He left here on Monday, after
going down to visit father, who wanted to see him badly. Talmetge promised
father that Fritz would receive time off in Cairo to take his trip. It was
difficult for me to say good-bye to him; who knows if I will ever see him again.
(Note: Fritz being Frederick W. son of Mathilda and Friederick G. H.
Hoffbauer and at this time is serving in the Civil War.)
Father is doing fine and is content with his job so far. We haven't hand
any news from Hugo yet; and it has been close to four weeks since Jinni last
received a letter.
(Note: Hugo Hans Hoffbauer son of Mathilda & Friederick and husband of
Jinni or Virginia S. is now engaged serving in the Civil War.)
Did you receive a letter from Hugo? I have to say that I worry quite a
bit, since he usually writes regularly. There must be a reason for this.
Karl's letter has not arrived yet, either. (Note: Karl also being Charles
also son of Mathilda & Friederick G. H. Hoffbauer and at this time is
serving in the Civil War.) Jinni said that she forwarded it to father.
However, he hasn't received it yet.
Things are not going good here at the house. Aline has terrible facial
pain, and I have had severe colic since last night. (Note: Aline is also a
daughter of Mathilda & Friederick G. H. Hoffbauer and it appears that Aline
and children are with her parents as her husband Albert Loeper is at this time
serving in the Civil War.)
I have been working on this letter since this morning and now it is night again.
However, this is nothing compared to Emma, who is very ill with diphtheria.
I am terribly worried because of the severity with which the illness strikes
people here. I would give anything not to lose that little tomboy.
If only we had a decent doctor. The way things are, I am very discouraged.
(Note: Emma is Emma Mathilda Hoffbauer and is daughter of Mathilda &
Friederick G. H. Hoffbauer and at this time is almost 10 years old.)
How is dear Clara doing? Give her my best regards and tell her to write to
me sometime. Give my regards to Mrs. Ahlers as well and to anybody else
who asks how I am doing.
Bertha is really looking forward to going to your house and is making all kinds
of promises. I hope she will try to keep them. If only I can get her
wardrobe mended and looking decent in time. There is always something that
keeps me from it. I wonder how long it will be before Jinni gets sick as
is always something that keeps me from it. (Note: Bertha being daughter
of Mathilda & Friederick G. H. Hoffbauer and at this time is 12 years old.)
How are things with your maid? Will you be able to keep her a while
longer? Did you pick up my pictures and how did they turn out? Did
you find my hair accessories?
Well, then, my dear Julie, give your dear husband my kindest regards and tell
him that I wish I were there again. For it really isn't very nice around
here right now.
Farewell, my dear Julie, shower your little children with plenty of kisses and
tell them about their grandmother. Please write a few lines to your mother
who loves you dearly.
Aline and the other children send their regards and would like to say thank you
for all the nice presents.
Max is beside himself because of the box. (translator's note, no details are
given about this box, perhaps containing some kind of toys).
Walcott, March 24, 1864
My dear, beloved Julchen,
It looks like I can answer your dear letter right away. You know how much
I love hearing from you! You also know how hard it is around here and all
the people at the house. The last time I wrote to you I said that I wasn't
well yet. However, I did not think that it would last, but I ended up
suffering terribly for 2 days. I only left the bed to assist Emma, who was
very ill, but is now well enough again to leave the bed.
(Note: Emma Mathilda being daughter of Mathilda & Friederick G. H.
Hoffbauer and at this time is almost 10 years old.)
On the day I received your letter I had to lie down in bed again, because the
pain came back. Unfortunately, Jinni kept calling for me half the night as
well. As difficult as it was, I had to crawl to her on my hands and knees.
(Note: Jinni being Virginia S. wife of Hugo Hans Hoffbauer son of Mathilda
& Friederick G. H. Hoffbauer.)
Recently, I was very ill with an abdominal inflammation. I owe it to the
good care of Dr. Davis's wife that I recuperated relatively soon. She
stayed at my bedside day and night. Meanwhile, Aline had to take care of
Jinni. (Note: Aline being daughter of Mathilda & Friederick G. H.
Hoffbauer and she and her children are staying at her parents house while Albert
Loeper is fighting in the Civil War.) I am doing much better again; I
am still very tired and unable to eat anything.
Jinni had another big baby-boy; he weighed 10 pounds. The delivery went
very fast and Jinni is out of bed already. She would have preferred to
have a baby-girl. But the boy is darling and looks a lot like Hugo.
And so Jinni is happy, too.
Now little Klara is ill again; she is in bed with a high fever. I don't
know what she has yet. However, little Ida has had a terrible growth under
her chin for about a week now. Day and night, she can't get any rest.
In the end, it will probably break open.
(Note: Unsure of birth dates of Klara & Ida Loeper, daughters of Aline
& ALbert Loeper.)
As you can see, my dear Julie, times are not very good around here. I am
sure you will forgive me for not writing sooner. Why don't you try to
write more frequently? I hadn't received a letter from Father for two
weeks and almost died from fear, knowing that he wasn't well. Yesterday, I
received a letter from him in which he wrote that he had had bilious fever and a
nasty throat illness. He is better again now. I am sure he would
have liked to be home during that time. But he does want to carry out what
he set out to do. He thinks that he will have good news to tell me in his
next letter. May God let it be true, for we have been tried long enough
lately. (Note: Unsure of where "Father" is at this time,
Mathilda is writing of her husband, Friederick G. H. Hoffbauer.)
We have received news twice from Hugo, once from a place called Cary near
Vicksburg. At this time he hasn't received a single letter from us yet.
However, yesterday we received letters from Vicksburg proper. In there he
says that he has received fewer letters than usual. Of course he hasn't
received the most recent ones yet; and when he does, he won't be able to answer
all of them individually. He has been fine the whole time; he was in
several small battles. His accounts of these campaigns are quite
interesting, but too detailed to repeat them here for you. (translators note
saying that is unsure if reading the name of this place correctly).
(Note: in finding "fragments of letters" and the translator
studying them she believes that this letter is a continuation of this letter and
is added below.)
Now they are on a march to Texas and back, which means that the earliest we can
expect news is in 4 to 6 weeks. No letters from Karl or Fritz yet. (Note:
Karl being also Charles and Fritz being Frederick W. Hoffbauer sons of Mathilda
& Friederick G. H. Hoffbauer also serving in the Civil War at this time.)
All I have been doing thus far is writing about us. It is time I asked how
you are doing? I hope you have better news to tell; you are not exposed to
all these diseases like we are. I can see you in my mind; I picture your
dear husband coming home at night. And I can see you all cozily sitting
around the table and reading, or talking about the events of the day or the
future over a glass of wine. Of course, all this happens after the
children have been kissed and loved up and sometimes teased a little. You
have no idea how often I have longed to be with you! Your warmhearted
nature, my Julchen, and the pleasant conversations with your husband have always
had a positive effect one me. However, it is usually wears off quickly in
the face of my daily worries and troubles. I was very happy to receive the
seeds your dear husband kindly sent me. Tell him that I would like to
thank him and that I look forward to receiving the promised trees and shrubs
soon. Now, if only he could send a worker along with his shipment!
For, right now, it does not look like I will have any help planting.
I received the pictures as well; I am only sorry that you took a dozen photos of
this ugly face. (translators note, Mathilda does not explicitly say
How is little Franklin doing? Is he behaving, and is he getting bigger?
And how about little "Miss Tomboy"? You didn't get a dog, did
you? How is dear Clara doing? Is she going to St. Louis? Give
her my regards and tell her that I would be very happy if she wrote to me
sometime. How is Mrs. Ahlers doing? Does she come and see you often?
And the Minges family, how are they doing?
But now, my dear Julchen, I have to say farewell. I hope to hear from you
again soon. It won't be too long before I will b e able to send Bertha, if
only I can find some time to work on her clothes. Aline sends her regards
to you and your family. Life is quite hard for her right now, and I gladly
forgive her on those occasions when she makes my life more difficult. (Note:
Bertha being daughter of Mathilda & Friederick G.H. Hoffbauer and is 12
years old at this time.)
My kindest regards and kisses to everyone,
Your dear mother
May 22, 1864
My dear Julchen!
Thank you so much for your little letter from the 17th of this month and for the
invitation to come and see you again next month. How I would love to give
you a definitive "yes." However, you know that it always depends
on the circumstances around here at the time. But I can promise you that I
will do everything possible to try and arrange it, so that I can see you again,
my dear ones.
My dear Julchen, after reading your little letter I had the impression that you
were not very happy with Bertha, and this worries me considerably. I told
you at the time that Bertha could use quite a bit of discipline yet, something I
was not able to provide sufficiently under the circumstances here. It will
take some time for her to get over her faults. I do hope that Bertha does
not cause you or Junkermann any serious problems. My dear Julchen, I ask
you to be patient with her; don't let it wear you down, even if you have to
repeat some things more than once. Bertha is still a child, and her
upbringing thus far has left something to be desired. (Note: Bertha is daughter
of Mathilda & Friederick G.H. Hoffbauer and at this time is 12 years old and
staying with her older sister, Julia and husband Otto Junkermann, in Dubuque,
June 4, 1864
My dear Julchen, as you can see from the date above, my letter should have been
sent a long time ago. However, I was interrupted and did not find the time
to write again until today. Father returned unexpectedly and we had to
organize things and change everything in the house back to the way it was
before. The whole 17th Army Corps has left Cairo; and since father's
little business depended entirely on the soldiers, he couldn't earn any more
money. His living expenses amount to less here than down there.
Father will go back should there be more military stationed in Cairo. He
is doing well and sends his kindest regards to you and your family.
(Note: Father being Friederick G. H. Hoffbauer, husband of Mathilda and Cairo
is Cairo, Illinois.)
The fact that father came back is probably going to affect my plans as well.
I don't really see any possibility to come and see you again soon; but I am not
giving up hope yet. I will keep trying to arrange it.
We received news from Karl, (who is Charles and a son) Fritz (who is
Frederick W. and a son) and Ed (who is Edward Myer the brother of Jinni
or Virginia S. wife of their son Hugo Hans Hoffbauer). They are
together now. They were involved in some fierce battles again, but made it
through unscathed. The boys seem to be blessed with good fortune. (Note:
at this time each are fighting in the Civil War.) May it stay that way
until the danger has passed! We don't know when Karl and Ed will be coming
home; probably not before their time is up-and who knows if they will at all.
We haven't heard any news from Hugo for a long time, except for what we read in
the newspaper. What we read there was not very comforting. (Note: Hugo
Hans Hoffbauer is also their son and fighting in the Civil War.)
By now Albert must be marching his troops as well. He is doing fine and
sends his regards. (Note: Albert Loeper, also fighting in the Civil War
& husband of Aline "Hoffbauer" Loeper, she being daughter of
Mathilda & Friederick G. H. Hoffbauer.) Aline sends her regards as
well. For two weeks, she was quite ill. She had to wean the child
since it became impossible for her to nurse any longer.
A few days ago, I received Bertha's letter with Franklin's cute little picture.
The little fellow must be adorable. Aline and Jinni would love to have his
picture as well. Little Hugo is a sweet little boy, too. Judging by
Franklin's photo, little Hugo must be twice as heavy as little Franklin.
Should I be unable to come up there, you will have to come down here with the
children. (Note: Franklin is son of Julia & Otto Junkermann and would be
about 4 months old at the time of this letter & little Hugo is son of Jinni
or Virginia S. & Hugo Hans Hoffbauer and little Hugo would be about 2 months
old at the time this letter was written.)
How is Bertha behaving these days? Does she do everything she can for you?
Should you have any serious complaints about her please let me know, and I will
try to work on her.
I feel terribly sorry about the tragedy that befell the Minges family again.
If you see them please give both of them my regards and my sincerest
condolences. How is Clara doing? Did she go to St. Louis?
Otherwise give her my regards as well. (Note: Clara Haas, believed to be the
sister of the partner of Otto Junkermann in his drug store business) We
couldn't follow your kind invitation to the picnic at this time; it was too hot.
Goodbye for now then; give my kindest regards to your dear husband and children.
June 21, 1864
My dear, beloved Julie!
Instead of being able to come and visit you-as I had thought I could-I have to
let you know once again that it has become impossible for me to leave here.
Until yesterday afternoon I was full of hope that I could leave today, since
father intended to leave at the same time. (Note: Father being Friederick G.H.
Hoffbauer, husband of Mathilda.) Now something has come up again, and he
needs to stay here longer. It is possible that he won't be able to leave
at all, and that would mean that I can't leave, either. I can't tell you
how much it hurts not to be able to come at a time when I probably could have
been of some use to you. But this is the way it always is around here;
something always happens. We can never tell today what we will be able to
do tomorrow. it is very possible that in another week things will look
totally different again and I might be able to come. By then, you probably
won't want me there as much! I just cannot say anything definitive.
Should I get an opportunity to leave, would you like me to come without a
special invitation from you? Don't tell Bertha yet that I might not come.
She might be longing to see me and might become wither impatient or sad,
depending on whether I can come or not. In a few days, I will write to her
personally. Maybe I will know more by then. I am really upset today,
but can't give you details at the moment. When I received your last
letter, which you had written so nicely, I was just getting ready to write to
you that I wouldn't be coming. At the same time, however, father received
a letter from Cairo that made him decide to leave. This offered an
opportunity for me to leave. I couldn't write you any sooner; I would not
have been able to tell you anything definitive at all.
We received news from all the boys today. (Note: this would be sons of
Mathilda & Friederick G. H. Hoffbauer, Hugo Hans, Karl or Charles, Fritz or
Frederick W. and son-in-law, Albert Loeper and brother of wife of Hugo, Jinni or
Virginia S., Ed Myer.)
Thank God, they are all still alive, even though they have all had to face great
danger again, and still do. Hugo is currently in Memphis; he is ill with a
fever. Hopefully, it is nothing worse. He went through some tough
times on the Reed River, but made it through all right. He was hurt when a
bullet grazed the tip of his nose. Karl, (being son Charles) Ed, (being
Ed Myer) and Fritz (being son Frederick W.) are still in Georgia.
They were in the last battle at Resaca. There again, Karl (Charles)
walked away far enough for a rebel to come up to him and shoot at him from a
distance of less than six feet. Fortunately, he missed. Fritz (being
Frederick W.) says that his company suffered terribly and that his comrades
fell all around him, but that I shouldn't be afraid, that it wasn't dangerous!
The time will be up on August 16 for Karl (Charles) and Ed. I hope
they will come home then.
(Note: Battle at Resaca, Georgia, May 13, 14 & 15, 1864 was the first
major encounter of the Atlanta Campaign involving 150,000 men. In 7
different assaults by Northern and Southern Troops between 6,000 to 12,000
causalities were inflicted).
My dear ones, I hope from the bottom of my heart that you will have a few nice
days. Think of me once in a while. If I were with you, my sick heart
and soul would find some relief and peace. Here they don't.
Jinni just walked in. (Note: Jinni being Virginia S. wife of Hugo Hoffbauer)
She sends her regards to you and Bertha. She would like Bertha to write to
her. Now let me close for today, my dear, beloved Julchen. Kindest
regards to you, your dear husband, Bertha, and the children from your father and
your mother, who will always love you. (Note: Bertha is the 6th child born to
Mathilda & Friederick G. H. Hoffbauer and would be 12 years old at the time
this letter was written.)
Emma and Max send their regards to you and Bertha. (Note: Emma is 7th child
born to Mathilda & Friederick G. H. Hoffbauer and she would be 9 years old
at the time this letter was written and Max -Maximillain, was the 8th child and
last known to be born to Mathilda & Friederick G. H. Hoffbauer and would be
8 years old at this time.)
July 18, 1864
Dear, beloved Julie!
Thank you for your nice letter; I received it a few days ago. I see that
you are all healthy and well. I am glad to hear that you did not get angry
when provoked. However, I am not too worried about you in this respect.
I think you are too good of a housewife and too understanding to become upset
over things like that. Even if your temper arises once in a while, your
good nature helps you get over it quickly. (Note: no reference is given as to
what Mathilda is referring to that may have upset Julia.)
In spite of everything, I would have loved to be with you. Since I had
already planned to do so, it was difficult to abandon the idea of visiting you.
Now I don't see any opportunity to come up there for quite a while. I
would like for you and your family to try to visit us here sometime during the
summer of fall. Many times we have wished that your were here with little
Franklin. We would love to see you both boys together and to find out
which of the two wins the beauty prize. (Note: Franklin is son of Julia &
Otto Junkermann and the other boy Mathilda is referring to is Hugo Waldo, son of
Jinni-Virginia S. & Hugo Hans Hoffbauer.)
Jinni says she won't send you the pictures of her children until you send her
the pictures of yours. She says you promised so many times, but did not
keep your word that she has stopped believing it. Hugo, too, writes:
"It is a shame that we have to ask Julie so many times for the pictures,
but I won't say another word." But he does send his regards to you.
Yesterday, we again received letters from Hugo (son) and Ed (brother-in-law
of Hugo). Thank God, the boys are still healthy. Karl, (son
Charles) Ed (Ed Myer, brother of Jinni) and Fritz (son Frederick
W.) are still near Atlanta. Karl and Ed are hoping to get discharged
in August. How I wish it would come true! That would take away some
of my fears and worries. Hugo's unit is marching again; however, he
doesn't not know the destination. His time is up in three months.
Poor Fritz will want to go home as well. (all fighting in the Civil War at
Father is doing quite well. (Note: Father being Friederick G. H. Hoffbauer,
husband of Mathilda.) He has to work hard on the harvest to support such a
big family. For we haven't received anything from the boys for 6 months.
Albert (Albert Loeper, husband of Aline, daughter of Mathilda &
Friederick G. H.) has not sent anything since he visited, either. You
can imagine that things are not very good around here. Hard work and bad
food is all we have. Aline, of course, is living with us. Should
Albert send a considerable amount of money again, she would move out. I
don't know where, though. (Note: Albert Loeper is fighting in the Civil War
at this time.)
Aline and father send their kindest regards. On the 4th of July, we went
to Fuhrman's. In the meantime, the hotel has burnt to the ground.
This is quite a loss for Walcott, which now resembles a face without a nose.
Please let me know whether you are satisfied with Bertha, whether she works hard
and obeys your orders. I will write to her directly as well.
Farewell, my dear, beloved Julchen. Say hello to your dear husband and
kiss you little children for your mother.
You wanted to know if anything special has happened around here. Nothing
has, really. I had hoped for some better times to come and was greatly
disappointed. I will have to go into more detail when I talk to you again.
Buffalo, February 1865
My dear Julie!
Don't be mad with me that I didn't respond to your dear letter earlier, and
thank you for the things you sent so plentiful.
There was a lot of confusion, so that I didn't really have time to reflect.
We just had to move up here, because father needs the cellar flat for
restoration, too. When I wrote the letters to Germany, and although I only
filled eight sheets full, that had made me so tired that I had to wait some days
and rest before I could go on to write more. (Note: in this letter Mathilda
is saying that they have had to move from Walcott to Buffalo and
"father" is husband, Friederick G. H. Hoffbauer.)
On Monday, Kieferstein finally left us again. If I had known
earlier/before that it would take so long before he would leave, I would have
-----(translator writes that this is unreadable) all so that we would
have come a little further.
The flat, as simple and small it is, still costs a whole lot of money, so we had
to borrow quite some, but we only borrowed from Hugo and Fritz, and of them I
think that they won't hurry us along and that we can pay it back to Hugo bit by
bit, and Fritz won't need his money so soon anyway. The same has sent us
260 dollars last week. At least, we suppose it come from Fritz; the money
came per express from Dayton in Ohio, but not one line written to it and nothing
else. It is that Fritz is quite a bit away from these places, but who else
should have sent us the money?
(Note: Hugo & Fritz-Frederick W. are sons of Mathilda & Friederick G.
We look forward to the spring when you will come visit us. We want to be
very merry then! Please tell your dear husband that despite all his
incidental remarks and endless question marks you really have to come.
It's already been a year again that I came to visit you, how time runs by.
Often I have been thinking of the young ladies and Bertha's birthday, but I
wasn't able to write. (Note: Bertha is daughter of Mathilda & Friederick
G. H. Hoffbauer and she is in Dubuque, Iowa staying with her older sister Julia
and family, at this time Bertha would be 13 years old.)
For today I have to say "Adieu" my dear Julie, and write back soon.
Hearty and warm wishes from all of us, and thank you once more.
Buffalo, March 26, 1865
My dear Julie!
I did not receive your dear letter from the 9th of this month until the 18th.
The same happened with the newspaper your dear husband sent us. I would
have liked to respond right away to let you know how happy we all are about the
possibility that you might visit us soon. I also wanted to let you know
how sorry we are about Mr. Haas' accident. However, for several days I
felt so bad that it was impossible for me to write a letter. (Note: Mr.
Haas is Otto Junkermann's business partner in the Drug Store business in
Dubuque, Iowa and in writing to her daughter Julia, Mathilda refers to Otto
Junkermann as "Junkermann."
My dear Julie, we will be happy to have you and your family here. Your
dear husband will bring you here or-at least-pick you up afterward, won't he?
I suppose his business would not allow for him to stay here for weeks or even
months on end.-
As much as we would like to have you immediately, I would not recommend you take
the trip before May. By then, the weather will be more consistent and the
roads more manageable. How I look forward to having the children near me
again! They will be able to play nicely together while we can sit and
enjoy ourselves. O Lord, let me have this pleasure! Nothing makes me
happier than to have my children with me.
Jinni will return with the children at the beginning of May as well. We
are supposed to rent a house for her here in Buffalo. For once I will have
all my grandchildren together. I want to see which one of them is the
nicest. I am especially curious to see the two little boys, since they are
fairly close in age. I would like to see if they are equally as nice.
(Note: Jinni is Virginia S., wife of Hugo Hoffbauer who is the son of
Mathilda & Friederick G. H. Hoffbauer and the boys that Mathilda is
referring to are Franklin Junkermann, 3rd child born January 17, 1864 to Julia
& Otto Junkermann & Hugo Waldo Hoffbauer, 3rd child born March 16, 1864
to Jinni-Virginia S. and Hugo Hans Hoffbauer.)
In his last letter, Hugo told me to find out from you whether your little one
also goes and gets his daddy's slippers without being asked, as soon as his
daddy takes his boots off. I would like to know all the things little
Franklin can do at this point.
How is Mr. Haas doing now? Is he fine again? We were very upset, and
I could not get poor Klara out of my mind. Give them my kindest regards.
How I would have loved to come up there, if only we had the means! I was
very sorry to hear about Mr. Hauk's accident as well; I did not know about it.
I had meant to write to him sometime and to have Junkermann ask him for some
advice on wine-growing.
For quite some time, father had two bad fingers, which caused him a great amount
of pain and hindered him in his work. But now they are better again.
The brewery is doing all right; people are very fond of the beer.
Unfortunately, we don't have the means to produce more. Had we been able
to start a good three months earlier, we could have made some nice money.
Now we just have to be patient; in time it should get better. Karl is now
very interested in the business and learning fast. (Note: Mathilda is writing
about Hoffbauer's Brewery in Buffalo, Iowa and Karl also being Charles, son of
Mathilda & Friederick G. H. Hoffbauer.)
We haven't had any news from Fritz. Hugo and his family are doing fine.
Aline is healthy again as well. She has it quite nice where she lives now,
and she is doing O.K. She does a lot of things for the Fuhrmanns. She
sends you her best regards as well and is looking forward to your visit.
Bertha wrote to me that she is doing well. Are you still happy with her?
I look forward to seeing her again. I just hope that she doesn't give you
any reason to complain.
(Note: Fritz-Frederick W., Hugo, Aline and Bertha are all children of
Mathilda & Friederick G. H. Hoffbauer.)
Well, then, good-bye, my dear Julie. Say hello to your dear husband from
all of us. Please write soon to let us know when you are planning to come.
(Note: Karl or son Charles mustered out of military service, in September
1864, Fritz or son Frederick W. mustered out of military service in July 1865
and son Hugo mustered out of military service in August 1865, all having served
the Northern Alliance during the Civil War.)