Sunday, September 4, 2016

James Hyde Sr.

  • Name: James Hyde Sr.
  • Born: March 18, 1761 Stratford, Connecticut
  • Died: October 4, 1834 Strattford, Vermonth
  • Related through: Elvira Wilde
On New Year's Day, in 1777, a young lad of only fifteen years, by the name of James Hyde (or Hide, before he later changed the spelling), enlisted in the Connecticut army from Stratford, Connecticut, the town of his birth. His desire to serve his country on the struggle for independence from England, as his older brother Agur was doing, was so strong that his family could not keep him home, in spite of his youth.

He spent the next summer and fall with the troops along the Hudson River. He then joined the troops in Pennsylvania under the command of General George Washington, and was soon "engaged in the sharp action of Whitemarsh," where the army "lost a number of officers killed and wounded." On December seventeenth of the same year, Washington's army, young James included, made quarters at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, the enemy, under Sir William Howe, being secure in Philadelphia. That winter was one never to be forgotten by James Hyde. Seeing and experiencing the gnawing pains of hunger with food scarce, the snow and cold, the wind howling through the threadbare tents, the damp cold of the makeshift log huts, the sore and bleeding feet when the shoes finally gave way and rags that replaced them would hardly hold together, the itch and resultant sores — from not being able to bathe for so long; but through it all he resolved that he could do it if the others could, if their honored leader George Washington would continue to do his best in their behalf. By the time the Prussian soldier, Von Steuben, came and started drilling and training the troops, the food, clothing and sheltered situation was somewhat improved, and things looked better with something to do besides think of hardships, especially for James, young and energetic, though he sometimes wondered if all this marching and maneuvering was going to serve any good purpose in the future.

Summer approached at last, and Clinton, who replaced Howe, left Philadelphia. James Hyde and his companions were elated when the word came that Washington was ready to "set out in pursuit of Clinton," and they were soon on their way.

"On the night of June 17, the British army, 8,000 strong, . . . was near Manmouth Court-House (New Jersey), . . . It was Washington's plan to strike . . . with an advance of 5,000 men, following with an attack by the main army, . . . He had offered Charles Lee command of this advance, Lee being senior major general in the army. . ." "The morning of June 18 came on intensely hot (and sultry); the thermometer registered 96 degrees in the shade. The British army . . . had passed the court-house . . . when . . . the advance ordered by Washington. . .

"Out across the fields, reeling with heat, they marched, exuberant, foreseeing victory; over a deep ravine on a causeway where swamps steamed in the hot sun; on for a mile, and over another ravine, and then out upon the plain, . .." where the British, "perceiving them, had hastened to give battle. The American lines were beginning to fold (the British) in; . . .  But Lee ordered the Americans to retreat!
"The soldiers, at a loss to understand, disappointed, fretting to be at the red-coats, halted, wiping their brows, cursing. . . Their ground was superb for offense; they outnumbered their foe at this time, and nearly surrounded them; but they must fall back! What could it mean? What sudden and unknown danger forced them their vantage? . . .victory within their grasp, was slipping away from them. Back they turned to the high ravine they had so lately crossed, and so proudly. . . Across the ravine, out upon the fields, hot under the sun, straggled the soldiers of liberty, angry, sweltering; many fell by the side of the way, stricken by the terrible heat. Behind them came the British, making the most of the strange retreat.

Then came Washington, having received word of what was happening, "riding furiously. . . The sight of the commander was terrifying; his face worked with a rage as mighty as his soul; his eyes flashed fire. . ." Hot and fast the words flew" between him and Lee. (It was later learned that Lee was indeed a traitor, planning and working with the British.) The soldiers, "pouring around them, raised a cheer at sight of Washington." After letting know, in strongest terms, that he had expected his orders to be obeyed, Washington "set about restoring order from the confusion."

"The British were coming, not a quarter of an hour away. Hastily with great skill, a line was thrown along an eminence behind the ravine, commanding the causeway crossing it. In a moment the shock came; fiery red over the quivering fields, the British lines advanced. . ."

It was fearful fighting "quietly shepherded by Von Steuben, who thought that "this truly new army fought with as much precision as . . . veteran troops." Others had been skeptical about the value of all that wheeling and marching and pacing on the Valley Forge plateau. "Alexander Hamilton admitted that never until that day had he 'known or conceived the value of military discipline.' "

"Despite the inhuman heat, despite the endless, killing march form Philadelphia, Clinton's men came on and on until the sun or American fire took them out of action. . . By now both sides were staggering with heat and exhaustion. Men died right and left under the touch of the sun or collapsed, helpless, with purling faces while sweat pattered down on scarlet coats, blue coats, or mended thread bare homespun."

These were not happy scenes of which James Hyde was a part. "All through the remainder of the terrible day the English strived to breakdown Americans defence; all through the day the patriots held. Deeds of valor were done on every hand. Molly Pitcher, wife of an artillery-man, while bringing water to the battery saw her husband shot down by his gun. Without hesitation she took his place and fought the gun throughout the battle. . .

Against such spirit the attack grew hopeless. When the sun was sinking in the west, the British broke, withdrawing to the ground where Lee has encountered them early this morning."

"On the morning of the next day the British were gone, marching in the night toward New York. . ," and James Hyde, though he was still a youth, shared with the other Americans a feeling of bitter glory, knowing that if the first plan had succeeded the war might be over instead of just seeing the British go on their way.

James Hyde wintered the next season (1778-9) with his company at Redding, and during the following two years continued to serve wherever his regiment was called.

By the fall of 1781, he was a part of the force commanded by Marquis de Lafayette, and had moved south to Williamsburg, Virginia, preparatory to fighting Cornwallis at Yorktown,

Washington was commander-in-chief of the whole army, which included the Americans under Lafayette, reinforced by several thousand French troops, and with a strong French fleet off shore on the Atlantic.

On October 6 the battle began; with Cormwallis ill-prepared for the attack. "Day in and day out the big guns of the besieged and the besiegers roared and stunned. It was probably the heaviest artillery concentration that the continent had ever known..."

During the evening of October 14th a bayonet and musket assault was made on the foremost British fortifications. "Surprise seems to have been complete, and the enemy works were taken quickly and smartly."

Three days later, with Cornwallis having launched but a weak counter-attack, probably because of his knowledge that he needed, but could get no reinforcements, the morning dawned with the "French and American artillery thundering into fullest action. . . 'The whole peninsula trembles under thundering of our infernal machines,' wrote Dr. James Thacher. . ."

"It must have been difficult for gunners and observers to make out the British works. The haze of a lovely Virginia October day was thickened by heavy cannon smoke, and by clouds of soft earth hurled skyward. Somewhere about ten o'clock . . . the air cleared a little. . . Cannoneers began yelling," pointing toward what turned out to be "one little British drummer" beating the request for a parley. . (then) "A bigger man appeared on the parapet. . .and waved a white handkerchief. There was a moment of stunned unbelief through the American and French lines, though every man must have expected (this) sooner or later."

"Back at Williamsbburg, the commander-in-chief was busily writing letters. Later he meant to ride out and watch the morning's bombardment. . . As he wrote, gunfire down by Yorktown seemed to be slacking off a little, but it was nothing to notice. . . Up to Washington's quarters galloped a sweating dragoon curies with a letter. The Virginian broke the seal, read it, and was on his feet in an instant, staring and staring. . . '. . .Surrender. . .'. . .

"George Washington had rallied swiftly and coolly from many an adverse blow. Now the hand of success had fallen stunning on his back, and the effort must have been almost as numbing as, say, the sight of Charles Lee's unbeaten men in full retreat from Monmouth. But he soon shook off the impact of the news. . . an answer to Cornwallis was approved."

"Couriers went out with this reply, with warnings too commanders in all parts of the allied line. Slowly the gunfire died away. . .Far to the right,"

James Hyde and the other men in the "Massachusetts-Connecticut battalion, worked out into the warn air, peered at the silent British lines, and then stretched out gratefully on the sun, yawning in luxury in spots where a man could not have lived a few hours ago. Throughout the day men walked cautiously, as though afraid that a sudden move, a loud noise might shatter the brittle-seeming hush that hangover the peninsula. . . Night fell and the air cleared. . . Dawn came and the hush was still unbroken and men began to believe in it and in its duration."

"Bright sun on the noon of October 19, 1781, poured down on the fields of the peninsula. . . The allied camps were a boil with men shuttling about as drums beat out their urgent clamor. In the calm air that was rich with the smell of trampled grass and wood smoke and tobacco and oiled leather, company after company formed. . . The fields then began to flow. The long columns" of smartly dressed French troops "swung off toward the road to Yorktown, and halted at its flat western edge, . . ."

"To the east, dabber troops were on the move, (but it was also) dazzling, hypnotic. Swarming men and women stood on tiptoe, trying to catch a glimpse of (the men of who, they had heard or read.) There was a deep murmur from the massed bystanders, a rising tide of welcome and wonder as these people saw their own massed army for the first time."

"Now the army was halting on the east side of the road to Yorktown, facing its French allies with the deserted enemy works looming somber on its right. Drums began to beat, orders snapped out, and right and left the waiting ranks bristled to attention. There were hoofbeats far off to the American left, . . . There on a huge bay horse, gleaming in blue and buff, rode the one man who could have been, the living embodiment of those hard, drab ranks to his right, who could have welded them to the white and blue men on his left. From the beginning George Washington had met every blow, stood up under every, discouragement, every frightening disaster that the army as a whole had known. . . The hoofs clopped on," and, as Washington rode by him, James Hyde's bosom swelled with pride at the thought that he had known this special man.

"Washington took his post at the far right of the American line." "Then from Yorktown, . . . sad drums began to roll," and the British army marched out between the French and American lines, stacked its arms, and at last marched back, empty handed, to Yorktown for further orders.

"On the plains about Yorktown the music was gay and soaring again as the French and American armies filed away, quietly joyous, to their quarters." Thus James Hyde, Private, was part of the last major battle of the Revolutionary War and watched the British army Surrender — an experience that would remain vivid for a long time.

It wasn't until June 8, 1783, however, that he was mustered out of service, the peace treaty negotiations taking all this time. He was discharged at West Point, having been with he army in New York for quite some time. He felt indeed honored that George Washington, him self, signed his release papers (as attested by his application, in 1818, for a Revolutionary Service Pension.)

James Hyde had served his country for six years, being now twenty two years of age. He had seen more than his share of valor and bravery, of death and suffering — and emerged a man. After his release he went to Manchester, Vermont, where his father, Nehemiah Hide, had located. James' brother, Clark Hide, deeded land to him at Manchester in 1785, and his father deeded some more to him there in 1788. In these deeds James is called a tailor. Perhaps he learned this skill during the was years, as possibly an assistant to a tailor in his company, most probably during his long stay at New York before being discharged.

James was married at Manchester, 16 April 1786, to Betty (or Bettsey) Pennock. One child, Heman, was born here in 1788. Soon after this family moved to Stratford in northern Vermont, a "new" town to the white man, James' wife's grandfather, James Pennock, being the first settler just twenty years before. There was still land to be cleared and much building-up to do. In Stratford five more children were born to Betty: James, Roswell, Betsey (who died), Hiram, and Betsey Florinda.

Things were going well for James Hyde: his family was growing; he was able to buy land — also received bounty land for his Revolutionary War service — and through hard work this land supplied his family with the essentials; in addition he was active religiously, in 1798 being among those who founded the Universalist Society in Stratford. His name appears in connection with town affairs, on the grand lists, and on the list of voters. But it seems, in this life the blows must come, and James was no exception. His wife Betty died in February of 1802, when she was but thirty years of age, and their youngest child just a year old. (On her gravestone she is called the wife of "Ensign James Hyde," so James must have been active in local military affairs.)

In August James married Betty's cousin, Eunice Pennock, to help him raise his family of young children. As the years passed Eunice became the mother of twelve boys and girls (Willian Henry, Alpha, Alvira, Emeline, Eunice Maretta, Hannibal, Harrison, Matilda, Edwin, Daniell, Marinda, and Jannette), making James the father of eighteen. Seventeen of these children lived to maturity and raised families of their own, settling in many different parts of the United States. James Hyde recorded his children's births, and the original paper is still preserved in his Pension file.

In 1818 James applied for a pension for his Revolutionary War service, at this time calling himself a farmer. Following is a copy of his 1820 confirmation of his application, which contains much interest: (The original document is entirely handwritten and hard to read.)

"State of Vermont" On this 4th day of July 1820 personally appeared before the County James Hyde 43 Court for the county of Orange said court being a court of record agreeably to the laws ofthis State having the power of fine and Imprisonment &c. James Hyde aged 58 years resident in Stratford in said County of Orange who being first duly sworn according to Law doth on his oath declare that he served in the Revolutionary War as follows he enlisted Jany 1st 1777 in the second Continental Regiment Col Gharles Web commander in Capt Willls Company during the war and was discharged at West Point the 8th day of June 1783 and when discharged was a soldier in Capt Hopkins Company 3 Connecticut Regiment. That he made his original declaration on the 7th day of April 1818 has
received a pension Certificate No. 11236 and I do solemnly swear that I was a resident citizen of the United States on the 18th day of March 1818 and that I have not since that time by gift sale or in any manner disposed of my property or any part thereof with intent thereby so to diminish it as to bring myself within the provision of an act of Congress entitled an act to provide for certain persons engaged in the Land and Naval service on the United States in the Revolutionary War passed on the 18th day of March and that I have not nor has any person in trust for me any property or securities contracts or debts due to me nor have I any income other than what is contained in the schedule hereto annexed and by me subscribed to wit. Ninety acres of land 1 old house 2 small barns 2 yoaks of oxen 1 old and 1 young cow 4 yearlings 30 sheeps and lambs 2 hogs 6 pigs 1 ox cart 1 plough 1 Harrow 1 good chain part of chain 1 yoak and irons 1 pitch fork 1 axe 2 **** some old Iron 1 Grindstone 2 old Tables 9 old chairs part broken 1 5 pail kettle 2 old wheels 1 tub crockery knives forks Iron spoons and other household furniture consisting of articles of small value in all $30.00 I am justly owing $150.00 in all amounting to - - - - - - - - - - - - - $750-- I am by occupation a farmer and unable to pursue it by reason of sickness and being afflicted with the Phthisic I have 11 person residing in my family including myself My wife Eunice is aged 41 years week and feeble having had a large family of children and rather poor keeping my son William is aged 17 years Alvire 14 years Emeline 13 & of a feeble constitution Eunice is 11 years old Hannibal 9 Harrison 7 Matilda 5 Edwin 3 and Daniel 1 Year old

The pension he received amounted to eight dollars per month. This was a help in raising his large family and caring for his "feeble" wife, who lived to be eighty. He continued to farm, as well as buy and sell land, especially dealing with the Pennocks. James Hyde's death occurred on the 4th of October 1834, at the age of seventy-four years, six months, and ten days. His widow died almost twenty years later (January 12, 1859). His grandson, William Hyde, later wrote of him. "He was an active, good man through life, and died with honorable old age."

An additional tribute, by William Morse:
"James Hyde is a fine example of the sturdy pioneers, who made the unkind soil of New England productive, and succeeded by hard work in rearing families, the members of which have spread over the country and made possible by their energy the development of this great country of ours."

Contributed By Bobby Blankenbehler
Compiled 1965, by Myrtle S. Hyde

Sources of Information:
 Descendants of Humphery Hide of Fairfield, Conn., by Willard S.
Morse (written about 1913)
44 James Hyde
 Connecticut Men in the Revolution, pp 162, 331, 353.
The Real America in Romance, Vol. 9, Edited by Edwin
Markham, 1912, pp. 310, 311, 313, 322, 323-330.
From Lexington to Liberty, by Bruce Lancaster, 1955, pp. 327,
329, 334-5, 355, 446, 449-454.
Revolutionary War Pension File of James Hyde, General Services
Administration, Washington D.C.
Manchester, Vermont, Deeds and Vital Records.
Stratford, Vermont, Deeds and Vital Records.
Vermont Historical Gazetteer, by Abby Maria Hemmenway, Vol.
2, 1871, p. 1080.
Private Journal of William Hyde (1818-1874).2

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Hanni letter

This is the last letter that was in the box of Hanni letters. A huge thanks to our friend Marion Wolfert who translated all these letters for us from the Swiss German Script!
Salt Lake City, the 21 Mar 1924

My Dear Loved Ones!

I have received your card today, thank you very much. I would have loved to see Walter, when I was so excited with joy. Sugar City is great. Wow, now it is a little boy and that means so much, I send my congratulations. Me and Marthalie laughed last night and she said, “now Martha is very happy that Walter’s wish came true ”. We hope that Martha is in the best of health. Tell her we admire her for giving birth to such a heavy little Baby boy. I have bought something little last week, but I only go very seldom into town. When I go to work I take 7th East Street, that is not so hilly. I will be sending later a “Tschoegeli” (don’t know what that is, it is a typical Swiss expression). I am sending this package so that you receive at least something from me and also socks for you, Martha. Mildret is doing fine, she is a good little housewife, a big help. Next to us lives a Misses Larsen and she hat twins, one weighs 7 ½ pound and the other 6 pound and she has her work cut out for her.

Walter, you write that you heard from a missionary that Emi Bieri was excommunicated from the church a year ago. Wursi’s wife had a child from some Mister Zimmermann and they were both excommunicated. Emi Bieri has admitted and realized that she did sin, I would have never thought it would happen to her. I feel sorry for Adolf, he is such a good and active man and he has to suffer and go through a lot, two operations and his wife also had an operation about three months ago. Brother Brieri has told me himself that he does not like Emmi as much as Johanne Loosli. I am glad that I am not there and have to witness all of this with Emmi Bieri. I told her off in a letter and told her that I knew about her situation for about nine months. I had been informed by a missionary but had been asked to keep it to myself. Now it is nothing new anymore. Now other things happen and I am horrified by much that happens. I have never heard of such things and get dizzy, thinking of all the things that one could be effected by in the “outside world”. 

I will stop now, I am getting tired, I had a hard day today. Tomorrow is Saturday and it will be another hard day for me.

Best greeting from your mother.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Walter Hanni letters Part VI

Gravama, the 28 Sept 1913
                                                                            (don’t know where this is in Utah???)

Dear Martha!

I have received you dear letter and read it with great joy. It makes me feel so good to receive mail from you. You are so very good to me and I know that will always be in the future the same, I don’t doubt that. You are the dearest to my heart and I want to be true to you throughout eternity. I will provide for you and take care of you with all my strengths and being. 
I am longing for the day we will live together and built a beautiful home. How happy will I feel to come home after work and be able to go home to my dear wife who will welcome me with a kiss. Let us always be faithful and true to the Lord and in return he will guide us and provide for us. Let us be strong in prayer and God will always remember us. 

So, Martha, you will be in Salt Lake in September. A new life will begin for you. Do not be worried or afraid, all will be well. You will not experience the real life. Learn the English language for it will be of advantage for you. There are many good people, but if one does not know the language one is like a lost sheep without a shepherd. Take the book (Book of Mormon) and study it, you probably have never really done that.

 I will soon write to you in English and you have to learn the language so you will be able to read my letters. That will be interesting if we someday converse together in the English language. I will kiss you in English and embrace you. Now it is soon time for General Conference and I wished I could be there and attend it. My cousin comes from Stiching, Alberta to be there, as well as Bingerer, Kaner, Steiner and Cie. How many of the well-known elders will be there? (I assume he is talking about General Authorities or former ward members), (perhaps dear sister Frieda Ryter will also attend)
 That will be a superb day. You have the wonderful opportunity to be there and attend it. 
I am happy that all goes well for you and that you are healthy. You are my dear Martha, oh, that is so certain, my dearest “Schueggerli” (sweetheart). I wished so much I could kiss you now and embrace you. 

Be always loyal and good to me

Greetings from your loyal and dear Walter.

P.S. I dreamt that you were on a mountain and I came to visit you. When I was doubting again, you walked a few steps with me. That was all you walked with me and that was not very nice of you and did hurt me.
 These flowers will welt and dry up but the loyalty and the love will last forever, dear Martha.

Give my greetings to the Leo Woodruff family. 

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Walter Hanni letters Part V

Colten, the 12 Sept. 1912

Dear Martha

Did you receive my letter? We are having beautiful weather here. But it is cold during the night hours. In the morning there is a little frost on the ground. Everything is going well. I have enough to eat. I have met a colleague who is from Walperswyl, only 5 ½ kilometer from Biel. He knows Fritz Gutmann. He has been here already for eight years. I recognized right away the he was a Swiss man, first by his accent and second because of his milk (pale) face. One can always recognize when someone is from Switzerland. How are you doing in Brigham? Keep on eating those peaches faithfully, they are healthy and good for you. I always eat plenty and I will not marry you until you are “fat”. So you can eat as much as you want, and I will do the same. You have to take care of your health and be sure not to have too much free time on your hands.

I visited the Niederhaeuser family and had a good time with them. Bieri send me a group picture from the Basel Conference. Gutmann and I are looking good on it; too bad that you are not in that picture. But you always look good and I know that the two of us are a beautiful pair and will look good on a picture. The photo was like a post card and Bieri did not wrap it very good. The frame was broken and the picture torn on one side. Brierli sent a note with it, however he only wrote five lines, kept it very short. I guess I have not been very good in writing to him. 
I wish I was in Brigham, a visit is overdue. I have given peaches to Mathilde. I was not able to eat any more when I found out the news about my work. May God keep on protecting you. Let us remain faithful at all times. Please write to the local post office in Colten.

Greetings, from your Walter.

Lehi, 19 Sept 1913

Dear Martha

I did receive your letter, It was sent back to Thistle, Utah. I was so happy to hear from you. We are now in Lehi, have to repair a large part of the old train. Lehi is five miles from SLC. There is much work to be done here and the mosquitos are wild here. One can’t go outside in the evening hours without being bothered by them. Brigham is probably not plagued as much by mosquitos. I received a photograph from the Basel Conference. Bierly put the picture inside an envelope and it got ruined. Too bad. We all look good on the picture but Martha is not on it. It is a beautiful memory from Switzerland and it stirred up memories inside of me. 
Once we get used to life here and have our own home we will feel just as happy as we were in Switzerland. We just need to be patient, all needs time. The dear Lord will bless us and He will prepare thing for us.

Did Adele receive the money by now? I send 34 Dollars while in Thistle, Utah. The Swiss guy from Walperswyl wants to go to Switzerland next year. He is single, just like Adele is. He has a farm in Colorado. I told him that I know a single Swiss girl and she wants to also go back to Switzerland. Perhaps those two can travel together. He is a larger man, handsome and has red cheeks. Adele would travel in good company until they reach Biel. We chuckled about this, but please don’t mention anything to Adele. 
We have to keep all the commandments and you dear Martha, please attend all the church meeting whenever you have an opportunity to do so. I am not able to do so right now. I wished that I had a work schedule so I could attend Sunday meetings. It would be a lot more beneficial to me than working on Sundays. Now I keep on praying that the dear Lord will prepare a way so I can attend Sunday meetings and hear about Him. But I do not doubt the truth.

You are writing and informing me that we should buy land from Leo and that Leo would love to have us as neighbors. How do you feel about it? I know we would get along fine with Leo; but what about the rest? I have also looked at Alfred’s area. I love peace and want to have peace. That is my opinion. It is good that your siblings are now apart and you will appreciate each other more and learn from each other more. Freedom is like a choice flower. We will look into this some more. It would be a beautiful place to live, but I have to see where I find work. Please let me know your opinion about this. I agree, Martha, it is a quiet place and would be nice to live there. We will just have to see what will happen. Leo is a good guy but he is not really settled yet. How are you doing dear Martha, are you healthy? Keep on eating, you are now in a  spa town and I wish you much luck and the Lords richest blessing.

When will I be able to kiss you again? I am healthy and good. Greetings to Leo, how is Sanni doing?
Please write to me to the following address:
Walter Haenni
c/o Joe Witlock
B & B Dpt. D8R.G.R.R
Salt Lake City

Greetings from you loyal Walter, whom you sometimes claim to love

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Walter Hanni letters Part IV

8th Aug 1913

Dear Martha

We have been gone from Thistle for a while and work not about 28 Miles away from Thistle. 
Yesterday we returned to Thistle since there was a flood and it destroyed a bridge. We drove back straight to get there and worked until midnight. While in Thistle I go to Mrs. Blackitt's to eat, she prepared good food. I sleep in one of the railroad cars, one that we transfer goods in. It is not really comfortable when so many of us sleep so close together. Sometimes you feel more tired when you wake up then you did when you went to bed the evening before.

We always have to work on Sunday and it is not a good feeling if one can’t attend Sunday meetings. 
It is hard to be with inactive members who have fallen away, they become dangerous and can’t be trusted. If it was not for some others, I would have probably been beaten up. Living in these conditions, one learns the principle of humility. I have much time to think about things here. It surely is not a moral lifestyle here, Martha, it is more a life of a vagabond, I would not want to live my life like this. That is something for single people and I sure hope it will get better soon. 

I am learning English quite well. No one speaks German here. How are you doing with your English, are you learning more words? Just talk English to everyone; it will be of benefit to you. You are not learning the language for anyone else, but for yourself. You should try it very hard, I just mean well for you. And how are you? Are you healthy, “I am healthy”. 

I am wondering when I will see you again. It is hard to get away when one has to work every Sunday. I am not a specialist here, only a laborer/worker. So if I don’t appear for work, I can surely lose my job. Americans are just a little different, one day they say this and tomorrow they mean something else. Perhaps I can manage that we can see each other.

Martha you are my beloved, I love you very much. Even I can’t always show my love and you might not see it as such, but you will experience it once we are together. I will make sure that you will have a good life with me as my wife. I just wish that the time would be here already. I am sure many have to work hard like me, if they want to come to Zion.
 I hope to see you very soon. I have received the package and the letters. They were forwarded to Tucher (?) where I am working since August. Mister Blackitt works with us here. He brought the things to me when he arrived. Please write me your detailed address in Brigham City. 

Thistle, the 11 August.

I came back from Tucher to Thistle today. I have received all the letters and have read them and know now how everyone is doing. Two letters were from you and I was so happy to hear from you and from home. I did not have much time to write to everyone, and I apologize for it. I am happy that I am back in Thistle. I am sending you the letter I received from home. All is going will and I hope that is also the case for you, dear Martha.

I can’t tell you when I will be able to see you but I will try that it will be as soon as possible. Well, Martha, I always pray for you, for my parents and for everything, I feel the urge to pray much. Please keep on writing to me, dear Martha.

Dear Martha, you mean everything to me, I love you. Do you feel about things the way you write to me? Please do not leave me, dear Martha. Good bye my beloved. 

Greetings and kisses from your Walter.

Greetings also to the Woodruff family.

Please excuse my bad penmanship.

 Provo, the 2nd September 1913

Dear Martha

I was happy with anticipation, but it was not possible again for me to visit you. I was hoping that we could have spent some good time together. I was for a very short time in Riverton, only 18 miles from Salt Lake. We worked only two days there and then we had to leave again for Colton, which is situated high in the mountains. Dear Martha, we will work long hours until the 1st of October and if I would leave for Salt Lake and the others are being transferred to another place as expected, it would be very bad for me and I had to battle with this by myself.

I would be so happy if I could come and visit you; that would be so wonderful, my dearest Martha and I could embrace and kiss you. I am often thinking for many hours about you, you mean everything to me and I love you very much and you are all I have here. Let us be faithful and stalwart and not get discouraged. The first opportunity I have, I will come and visit you, and it might even be in the middle of the week and unexpected. I know we will see each other again; we just need to have patience.

Again, let me assure you that you are my love and my all. Do not get discouraged and start to doubt. I will never leave you. It is too bad that you can’t write to me. We are staying everywhere for a very short time and I can’t receive your letters. But I am always writing to you so you will know how I am doing.

I send the money to Adele, 24 Dollars. Please keep to yourself what I write to you. Give my greetings to the Woodruff family. How is Alferd doing? Tell him hello from me. Did you forget to send the comb? I have received all the things and I wrote you about three weeks ago.

Greetings and kisses,
Your loyal Walter.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Walter Hanni letters Part III

17th August 1913

My dearest Martha,

I have received the little package you send and thank you very much for it. It is sad that most of the fruit was spoiled, I could only eat about four pieces; the rest was mush. Please don’t send any more. You paid 22 cents for postage and that is quite a lot. I can buy an entire paper sack of fruit here for 10 cents which is much less. But it was wonderful that you thought about me. You are so good and have a good heart. Please don’t be offended about what I wrote. See, the fruit here comes from Provo and Springville. I am not very fond of fruit; however it would be of interest and joy for me to see one of those fruit farms. 

I have read your dear letter. I could tell it was so hard for you to have to wait so long for a letter from me. I was not sick, thank heavens, however we were gone and that was the reason for me not writing earlier. I ask for forgiveness. You know the saying “and please don’t eat me" (because she was upset about him not writing). 

No, Martha, I will never leave you alone, because I love you with all my heart. You mean everything to me, you are so good and I hope you will always be good to me; that would be so great. If you love me as much as I love you, it will be wonderful to be together, my dear Martha. I wished for that time to arrive soon, my Schnugerli (sweetheart). God may lead and guide all and that means all will be well. What was that bad dream you had all about? Forget about it, it is nonsense. Just remain true to all your beliefs and to your associations, that is most important. I do the same. I am healthy and I am getting fatter. It is quite boring here.

Marie wrote me a letter and she complained that I don’t write a lot. It looks as if I don’t think that much about my relatives, but that is not true. Sometimes I wished I could be in their presence. I have answered Marie right away, I also wrote to Aunt Friede? and to the Guttmann’s. Everyone seems to complain that I don’t write enough. But I write to all those that mean a lot to me in this life. Now I will also write to the friends in the ward, which might hopefully do some good. Marie wrote that our Pappa (father) has been active and has improved much. He raises pigeons again and the cat is trying to eat the pigeons. All seems to go okay, according to Marie, but Pappa needs to be more knowledgeable in the Gospel. Now he has done things that no one expected! He is preaching and correcting the members, which shows that he must have been quite upset. It does however take courage and nothing gets people more upset or wound up than religion. I have experienced it here, especially with jack Mormons.

I know I can deal with everything and have to deal with things, however it is sometimes hard. But we have to experience everything for a purpose. 
I have been thinking about how I would react if I would accept my father if he would come into my presence. I am ashamed of how my father treated your parents. Wonder what they think about me now? I will write to them. I am sorry that things happened between our parents. I am still wondering how things could have progressed so fast. I am a little hurt about Marie's letter to me. I know that we will be able to start our own family and get our own home. All beginnings are hard but it can only be better from now on.

I received your letter on the 17th. I was so happy and your wise words have thrilled me. You are wonderful and good, and I, your Walter, will always be good to you. You don’t have to be worried, my loyalty and my love will shield you and keep us together, my dear Martha. While we are far apart right now, our love is strong and keeps us together. I have learned to value and appreciate you more than ever before. You are so very good and I know you will remain that way, dear Martha.

Thank you also for forwarding the greetings of your parents to me. How do they feel now that you and I live so far apart? It is too bad that your family can’t be here with you also. If we are patient time will work for us. Patience will award you with roses; first buds are growing and then grow the blossoms. We just can’t get offended and have to endure in love. There are many who are suffering like we are and who are going through trials.

We now have to learn the language and that is very hard. But each day we are progressing with the language. We are many people sitting at the table. They always ask me something in English. Since they are aware that I am just learning to speak the language, they think I will answer something stupid and are ready to laugh. But I am not upset about it at all. I always seem to answer somehow and I know I have to keep on learning the language. It is all okay and we don’t have to be afraid, we just have to watch and study. Talk as much as possible with your relatives.

Today is Friday evening the 22nd and I have not yet received my vacation pass. I have reported it to my superiors. They promised they would call the office in Salt Lake City. Only with that official pass can I leave here and come and see you. I sure hope that it will work out and that the superiors will really follow up with this and that I will have the pass by Saturday. I can’t wait to see you again. It will be a wonderful reunion for us, I am sure about that. It is often times so hard to be without you. You are my chosen one. Please send the mail only to the postal office.
I wished we could be together already.

Kiss and greetings, your loyal Walter

Walter Hanni,
Thistle Utah

Greetings to the Woodruff family

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Walter Hanni letters Part II

The next group of letters appear to be written after the move to America but before they got married. Our translator couldn't figure out what "banten" was but it appears to have to do with his work. He was working for a railroad company at the time.

2nd August 1913

Dear Martha

I have received your letter and thank you for it. I was glad to know that you are in Brigham City. Recently some new “Banten” surfaced of which I had not known before. I asked myself how much longer this might last? If I am required to stay here, it will be until November.

I feel often times very discouraged and have to tell myself “you have to truly fight/battle”, I have never thought that this would happen to me. I don’t know where the end will be. Perhaps these are trials, I just don’t know. Things happen how they are supposed to. I am happy about your paper (maybe a drawing?). I do not laugh about it, for I have forgotten how to laugh. I will laugh again in the future, and I don’t know if that will be in Switzerland or in America. 
I have hiked too much in the Swiss Alps and I am constantly thinking about it. In my mind I vision see the elder bush in the yard were we loved to sit while the moon was shining. Some things are not as clear on my mind as others.

I always think about you, Martha. 
But now I want to discuss another subject. I have promised to marry you. But now I am making way fewer wages than in Switzerland and that makes me think about the future. You have had to wait so long already and I have not fulfilled my commitment to marry you yet. Your sisters are all doing very well and I would like to have the same status for you. In Switzerland I was doing very well and would have had a good future. I love you and I do not want another one in my life. But if you have a better choice, besides me, then it is up to you. You need to decide. Please don’t be upset with these words for I want everything to be okay for you. I am sure your dear parents don’t know what to think about our situation. May the dear God guide and lead us. I have been having deep thoughts about this. I want you to know that I will never leave you, Martha. What I have promised you I will keep. Please answer me as soon as possible, please dear Martha.

Something else:
 Please send me the following: three shirts one of which should me my white hunters shirt, hair brush, razor knife, cloth brush, a mouth harmonica, the small one which is in the photo box or the suit case, the letter box which is on top of the closet. 
Also three pairs of socks of which one will still are stuck inside my Sunday shoes. The keys are in back of the bed in one of the boxes. 
Money for postage is inside the black box in the wooden suitcase. You can take some of it for your work in my behalf. 
Ask Adelle if she can deposit my money in the bank; please give her my savings book. She can deduct money for her time spent on this. I will send her money once she lets me know how much I owe her. I am not allowed to keep money here, so I need it put in the bank. Send me please the address from Adelle.

I send my greetings to all, to you hugs and kisses,

Good Bye.

Underlined side remark: Private Mail
remark on top (should be inserted somewhere but I don’t know where) the tools are behind the bed, please wrap them in paper and put in the suitcase.