Steinauer Family in the United States

Category: Letters (page 1 of 2)

Brief 13

4 Febr 1896


Dear Sister and Brother-in-Law


The times are very bad, worse than when I was a shephard taking care of the goats in Wagithal fur den Schalitoneli. The boys are educated and they can earn more money with a pen in their hand than being a shephard.


Steinauer, one of the youngest of seven towns in Pawnee Co., has two taverns and naturally that gave Steinauer a very bad name and the people thought they were the biggest sinners. But there were worse criminals outside than in the bar in Steinauer.


Brief 12

11 Dec 1893


I will end the century of 2000 by writing a few more lines.

The Kaiser of Berlin feels the Americans will do as they did during the Spanish War. Where Nazi says he would have made six countries out of it.

Till I inform you, leave the money in the bank which will draw interest until you hear more from me with the 1000 franks which belong to Nazi so I will always have money on hand that I can draw on when I go to Falken to give to my mother. Ha! Ha! Ha!

In the large city I saw the telephone so now we can speak to the whole world. Now the streets are lit up with gas. Now we have more light than the three Einsiedeln street lamps. The gas also has been in many homes and in time will be much cheaper.

Since I’ve been here the world wide big cities have suddenly sprung up. I cannot compare to Switzerland any more. There the mountains are too close together. Omaha, Nebraska has more people than Kanton Schwyz.


Brief 11

The mother is healthy and her hearing is very good when she has no beer or wine to drink. Potatoes, bread, and meat are enough for her and she won’t get too skinny and she is satisfied.

The happy hours she had with Cousin Melk were just too short and the time went too fast. Money cannot pay those happy hours she had with Cousin Melk.

I have some flower seeds from Einsiedeln that I planted and will see if they grow. Have to wait and see. The Frau Nazi does not have it as easy as she was used to in Einsiedeln, there she had 2 or 3 servants.


Brief 10

I don’t know yet, how Ignaz will be pleased here. But I think that he should be happy here because there is no restaurant. There is no comparison to where he came from, no pub and no Ash Wednesday. We don’t know if he is happy or lonesome. He helps the boys to take care of the cows, cut the wood and repair the horse saddles. Winter has been very easy with very little snow and very little cold. We will have a very early spring. We had been sowing our grain Mitre Homer, but we had a snow storm on Ash Wednesday. We cannot keep the cows in the stalls because our corn and wheat is getting very low. There was plenty of it but is now getting very low and we have to buy it from whoever has any left over and it is very expensive. Every week we are sending 3,000 ton of potatoes to New York.


Dear Sister Josepha – the long trip was very hard. You said you were dizzy and shaky before you landed in Zurich. If you would have seen the bad storm we had traveling over the ocean, the waves lasted 3 – 4 days. It is better you did not see what we went through. We had to hang on to everything and could not stand on our feet. We had no good time at all in the taverns. The brother-in-law (Schwager) Melk and Holzhandler Zehnder would be very lonesome in Nebraska. You cannot forget Einsiedeln quite so easily. So Schwager Melk,- ………


Brief 9

(Wages/Traveling Money how he can get it)

For those that want to go to the tavern every day, it is not good. In Pawnee County, which is not as big as Kanton Schwyz, there are no eating places where you can buy a drink, and it has to be closed on Sundays.

(You know how it is with wages. We pay Nazi and other workers $200 per year. During the summertime for a very good worker we will pay $16 – $20. If one works only one day, he gets only $1.00 per day. If someone wants to come and work, it is best if they can pay their own travelling money. This will make them independent to come and go as they please.)

If the men cannot go to the pub, it is very good for the women; they know their men will be at home.

There was not enough to write about history, he can always look back to the 17th and 18th centuries and write-about it.

The Missouri River is very fertile on both sides of the river not like anything like it in America. The economy, traveling, selling or buying is very good so the farmer can sell anything he wants from the farm with no problem; better than the last 20 years.


Brief 8

Last year in Nebraska was very, very good. Everything grew in abundance. The corn, where the farmer makes the most money, grew extra well. Of course, that drove the price down, because it was so good, to only $3.00. And it won’t be any more expensive in the next year but we just have to wait and see how the harvest will be. The farmer just has to sell the corn. The Steinauers have a lot of corn. For two months we reaped corn every day. By Fall we got rid of everything to make room for the new harvest coming in. The train took 40,000 lbs. of corn which took many hands to deliver to the train. The bank, the Post Office and the stores didn’t want anything to do with handling the fruit, pigs or anything else, because they had to be careful handling it.

We hope that next year the price of everything will be better, and it will be much better doing business with Schwager Melk as he is much more easy going.

Brief 4

Sister Ann is good. of her.


She is getting better every day. It would be better if some new comer could take care



Brief 4

    The conditions in America are slowly getting better especially should our harvest be very good. Uncle Nazi is much better and he is very good. Everything is good with Nazi. His boys are growing up fast and we hope to make farmers out of them. Nazi bought a farm for his boys and he made a very good down payment on it. I am a grandfather already for 18 years and there are more grandchildren coming every year.


There are no poor people or beggars here. The world is large enough for everyone to live in if they desire. We don’t have to buy much food as we have our own meat, flour, bread, butter and lard. The farmer has all this. We just have to buy a few items. We can buy for half the price you can in Switzerland.


Brief 3

My boys in the springtime, were sowing grain in a very large piece of land so now we have much more grain to reap in the summertime to put in our silo. And the corn that we planted is very good.

Brief 2

No one ever lived as a land owner with changeable circumstances in his life. Come to America, they never even had 5 franks to their name, no knowledge from the youth. They never learned anything or learned anything to it either. They don’t know what a Fingerzeig is where they want to go. That was the circumstances that brought us here 15 years ago. There was no one living here but it was good farming. We thought my home was very small but is better than none. The first year the potatoes and corn was our bread. We learned to cook at home. We have to use the coffee mill to grind the corn or go 40 miles to the city to get it ground. So we lived and the Indians let us live also. They thought we didn’t have it so good. Many years we did not think a better time would come. But we had patience and a lot of hard work in the field. Better times were coming. If he could have seen ahead for the last 15 years, I would have told the County Recorder he should apply his money on land. It would be better to buy the land than to go hungry. We could buy for $5.00 – $8.00 an acre as many as we want. We could buy the land for 20 – 40 miles in every direction, north, south, east or west. You could buy anyplace. It is very fertile land all the way through. With no problems, we can raise our own food. There is enough for everyone to eat. It can ………


anywhere in Omaha, St. Joe and Kansas City, all three being on the Missouri River. They can be reached in one night. Every one of the three towns has a market and there is a lot of traffic with cows and you can buy grain. The people in Switzerland have no understanding what they can do in the market. Daily the railroad cars are full of grain, cows and pigs. They all will be butchered and it will be sold all over the world. We really are fortunate to be here, rather a thousand little towns that have been before in Nebraska.


We have good heating material, which is brought to the house and is better than the turpanloch.


Another word about our new home. The ones that come after us can be satisfied. The first people that lived there are older now. They have overcome many, many hardships and had to fight for everything they have. There are very few left, they all went into Jenseits. The young people have no idea of the hard times we had and the many hardships, what is necessary, what you want and what you could have. Everything lives like the birds and in comparison to the first years.


To end, I wish Mr. Landschreiber and family and all men, friends and acquaintences, and relatives a happy Christmas, luck and blessing for the New Year. The beginning of the 20th century, that with the New Year we have peace on earth in every home and that the persons living there in Einsiedeln be happy, that is my wish.


We might not come together again so drink a glass for me for my good health and both of our families and hopeful with God’s Will we will see each other again. I thought Mother would love to see me home once more.


I’ll make it a point that we will drink a glass of wine once in awhile for her.


I’m so happy and thankful it isn’t any worse than it is. And I’m sending you 50 franks for you. If you want to give some money away I’ll leave that up to you.


Greetings from Nazi, the boys and me, the Mother and the whole family to all relatives and friends in Biergarten, Falken and the good Raben, and all the friends I can’t name.


J. A. Steinauer


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