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Friday, August 26, 2011

11. July 18 1869. Part 1

Another letter from Johan August.  Sven Petter is writing very little now.  The letter continues answering questions about the pros and cons of coming to America.  You can almost feel the anguish on both sides as you read the letter.  Those in America want to give an honest answer, but don't want to keep their relatives from coming.  Again, the heat is one of the difficulties in getting used to Illinois.

Andover 18 July 1869
Dear Brother Albert (Gustav Albert) and also present brothers.

It is a great responsibility for me to answer this letter because it is about an important thing.  You are in despair and do not know whether you should come over here or not.  I cannot decide for you.  It must be difficult for you to hear and more difficult for me that I cannot give you any answer.  You must think it is odd because I have been in Sweden and know how it is there, and now I am here and know how it is here.  Sweden has its difficulties but also some nice things.  The difficulties here are large, therefore it is hard to say whether you should come.  I could gladly tell the difficulties if I had that ability.  I will tell you what I know and understand.  Then I cannot do any more.

First, I will tell you that the letter arrived to Hans Olson (his brother in law who also immigrated) on Midsummer Day and I got the letter the same day, when I was there working like any other day.  Perhaps you think it was odd that I should work on a day when it was a holiday for you.  Here the Americans do not celebrate a holiday during the week, nor the farm hands whether they are Swedes or Americans.  The Swedish clergyman has divine service that day (Midsummer Day) like Sundays.  The farm hands have only the right to go to church on Sundays.  The other days are only for those who can decide for themselves like Hans.  He does day work and has the right to be free, which he also makes use of.

I wish that I could l give you advice, but it is hard to put it into words that you can understand.  Perhaps it would be easier if could speak to you.  I cannot give you any advice, but I will do as well as I can.  You wonder if you can bear the heat.  I think you could do as well as the others.  It is something that is difficult until you get used to both the heat and other things.

When you leave Sweden, you leave all the difficulties that are there and also all the nice things like your health and a nice country to live in, which it will never be the same here.  You should know that at first it is dreary .  You are uninformed and unaccustomed with the work that is here and you cannot speak with anybody.  As I have written before, this country is a heavy oppressive country.  That is the reason that both people and cattle are tired and slack and cannot do anything.  The limbs are so frail and feeble and then you have to force yourself to work.  What pleasure is it to be in America during such a circumstance?

If you come over you you might have a deplorable time like Johanes Peter (maybe a neighbor).  He walks heavy like he was walking deep in the soil.  The work here is not that difficult, but you will be tired enough you may not have enough strength to walk.  After Johanes Peter came here we have done different things.  We have plowed and by afternoon he was so tired that he could not walk, so he had to take off the horses and rest some.  The work was not so severe.  It was the climate and the air.  I have never been as tired as he.  Johanes Peter has a heavy body and it is a strain both for him and others.

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