Early Herbert & Fruth Documents
Posted 4 February 2018
Mary Fern Souder

The following five documents were obtained by Fruth family historian, Charlotte Fruth Esswein of Germany, who transcribed them from old German script into modern German. They were all transcribed into English by Wallace W. Souder in 1977.

The first three letters were written by Christine Herbert (1845-1925), daughter of Friendrich Wilhelm Herbert and Anna Margaretha Peter.

In 1861 freidr. Wilhelm Herbert, age 49 and a carpenter, departed Germany from Bremen on the 24th of June with six children: f. Wilhelm, Jr. (27), David (25), Andrew (22), Margarethe (26), Susanne (20), and Christine (16). His three sons were also listed as carpenters. See New York Passenger Lists, M327, 1820-1897: Roll 211 or 212. Freidrich Wilhelm Herbert’s late wife was Anna Margeretha Peter (1806-1849), daughter of Jacob Peter and Susannah Fruth.

As with many immigrants from Beindersheim, the family joined relatives who were already living in Louden Township near Fostoria, Seneca County, OH. In this case the two older sons of Frederick Wilhelm Herbert and his late wife Anna Margaretha Peter came to Seneca County before 1860. They were Jacob Andrew Herbert, b. 1828, who married Adeline Schlemmer in 1857 and Conrad Herbert who married Syvilla Fruth, daughter of Jacob Fruth and Syvilla Shardon, in 1859. (In the German language the letter "B" is pronounced as "V," and although it was written in the German script as SYVILLA, it was always pronounced as SYBILLA).

The first two letters were written in the 1860’s when Christine Herbert was an unmarried girl, and the last one was written in 1891, after her 1870 marriage to Andreas "Andrew" Dippelhofer (1843-1911).

The three letters were shared among the German relatives and then preserved in subsequent generations. They were obtained by Charlotte Fruth Esswein on a visit to Mrs. Christina Fruth, nee Rauscher, before Mrs. Fruth’s death in 1972 in her 96th year. They are now in the safekeeping of Ms. Esswein.

The letters are addressed to Christine’s "friend." In the German language the spelling of "friend" is gender specific, and young Christine Herbert was writing to a female (or girlfriend) in the first two letters. Unfortunately, the envelopes bearing the names of the persons to whom the letters were addressed were not preserved.

Document 1

Sunday afternoon, 1861

Dear and much beloved friend! (1)

I grasp the pen to write you a few lines and to let you know that I have received the small letter, which gladdened me that you have not forgotten me. I believe however that my comrades have forgotten me, for I have written them a letter and have received no answer, which saddens me. Since I don’t know if they have received my letter, I have written few lines here about it so you can ask them. Write an answer as to whether they have received the letter. Write me how the Church Festival(2) went, whether you had much pleasure(3). We have also had fun. We had our Church Festival at Jacob Fruth’s, held with your Susanna. But I felt especially sad. Imagine how we felt. Susanna and I have cried much; if we could only be with you for one hour. Because of that, do write to me so I can hear something about Beindersheim. But in Germany I no more wish to be, for here pleases me better now that we are acquainted. In America people have it better. Nothing more would I wish than if you only were with us; then would I not think so much of home. With that, I close my letter. I wish yet to tell much more. Father will write more news. Greet my comrades, acquaintances, and relatives and all those who ask about me. Greet Andreas Fruth, Philipp Ludwig Ungefehr, Johannes Heinrich Heck (or Heckmann). I must stop writing. I would like to tell you so much. No time would be too long for me, if I only could spend one day with you! Farewell. Goodbye.

Christine Herbert

Susanne greets Anna Eva Herkelrath and says she has forgotten us. I hope to see you soon, for it is now already a half year.

  1. "Freundin" means female friend
  2. "Kirchweih" is an anniversary celebration of the consecration of a church. It is like a folk fair and is a festive event.
  3. "Bläsier" is probably "Pläsier," a word borrowed from French which means pleasure.

Document 2
(Apparently addressed to someone named Susannah)

Louden Township, September 3, 1865

Dear Friend!

I grab the pen to write you a few lines how it goes with us and how America suits us. It pleases all of us very much that the war is now over. The harvest has turned out not so badly as with you. The wheat is medium quality, the winter barley is also good, but the oats have turned out very good. The hay turned out so good that many people haven’t mowed all of it. We have filled 14 two-horse wagons from 5 acres! We have had a damp early part of the year, and the summer was not dry. The corn is very beautiful and there are enough potatoes. A bushel of wheat costs $1.25, barley 60¢, and oats 30¢. Meat is expensive, a pound 8¢ to 10¢, pork 14¢, butter 20¢, and eggs 20¢. What one buys is also expensive. However, it is yet better in America than in Germany. Dear Susanna, we received the letter which you have sent via Johannes Fruth, and we heard from him that you are all healthy, which pleases us very much. Johannes Reich stayed 4 weeks with us when he arrived from Germany. He has related much to us, that Konrad Fruth has built a new house which must be magnificent. My brother Jacob has become a soldier, it will soon be a year. He has hired himself a helper for $900; that is a pretty piece of money! I know no further news to write you, other than we had a very merry Church Festival at Franz Fruth’s. As concerns our family, we are all still healthy and all send you greetings. My father is yet healthy and has lived to see nine little grandchildren. He sends your mother and father sincere greetings and also to the entire circle of friends. All my siblings greet you all together. Johannes Fruth also sends his greetings. Mother, father, and I wish nothing more than we could all be together again one time. I have so much to tell you, but I cannot write it. With that I close my letter and remain your true friend Christine Herbert. My greetings to my comrades.

Dear Susanna, I give up hope that we shall yet be together again, not in this life. But I hope you will invite me to your wedding, which Johannes has said will not be much longer. Greet your dear friend Johannes Rauscher for me. My letter is short and poorly written. You must be satisfied, it is Sunday morning and father is not at home, he has driven to Jacob Fruth’s. Thus I am alone and time has become long for me. Write me also how the Church Festival went and all news there is with you. Next year I will go to the Church Festival; I want to see the new dance halls. Now it is no more a shed). Write me soon an answer, for the time will be very long for me until I again hear how it is with you. I have still not forgotten you, even though we are far apart from one another. If only I could be with you once more for 8 days, I would tell you so much, but I cannot write it. I am yet lively and healthy and greet you many times.

Christine Herbert

Beindersheim will not go from my head. If only you were with us. Greet my Heuschelheimer* friends.

Christine Herbert

Write an answer soon.

*Heuschelheimer means a resident of Heushcelheim. It was the small region in which Beindersheim was located. This region is mentioned again in the subsequent documents.

Document 3

Louden Township, March 23, 1895

Dear Friends!

I grasp the pen to let you know how it goes with us. We are still all healthy and spry. Also I have seen from your letter, that you are all healthy and spry, which gladdens us. My joy I cannot express to you that we have again heard something from you. For it has been a long time that you have not written me. I already believed that you have forgotten us. Dear friends, it will soon be 34 years, that we have not seen one another. That is a long time and how much has changed. It would be my greatest joy to once more see you all. The times are now very bad. Business doesn’t go well, the farmers feel it not as much as the people in the city. The grain has a bad price, a bushel of wheat 50 cents, oats 32 cents, corn 40 cents, a 100 pound bushel of potatoes 60 cents, butter 18 cents, eggs 8 cents. The livestock is also very cheap, pork 8 cents/pound, beef 12 cents. I continue to live on the old place. We have built a new brick house, which cost 22 hundred dollars. My husband has also hired a farmhand, he receives 16 dollar per month for 8 months. He is a grandson of Jakob Fruth (Haarschwanz). He is 19 years old. Our Johannes is 20 years old, but not very strong. Concerning my siblings, they are all healthy, except Fritz who is chronically ill and cannot work. He has two daughters of 18 and 20 years. Konrad’s family is also still healthy. Jacob’s are also yet healthy; his children are all married. David and his wife are still healthy; they have no children. Andreas and his family are also still healthy; he has two daughters already married. Susanne is healthy as far as I know. She lives far away from here and Gretchen has already 10 years been there. We are all soon old. I am the youngest and will soon be 50 years old. Dear friends, when you again write tell me whether my Heuchelheimer female cousins still live and whether the cousin Adam Fruth yet lives and my Gretche (godmother) and Mrs. Vogel and my comrades. I wish I could see you all again one time. I must close my letter and greet you all without exception.

Christine Dippelhofer, Andreas and Johannes Dippelhofer.

Greet all your siblings and I have not yet forgotten you. Answer soon; don’t wait as long as the last time. Pardon me because of my poor writing. Greet all my comrades and acquaintances.

- - - - - - - - -

The following two documents were found in the home of Johannes "Adam" Fruth (1816-1900), of Beindersheim, Germany, and both are now in safekeeping with Charlotte Fruth Esswein. Johann Adam was the husband of Susannah Fruth, daughter of Jacob Fruth, III, and his wife Sybilla Margaretha.

Document 4 is a letter that was dated April 1, 1891, but was uncompleted, unsigned and unsent. It was found folded in the household record book of Adam Fruth in Beindersheim, and was probably intended for Adam’s brother-in-law, Franz Fruth, (1813-1903) of Seneca County, OH, husband of Margaretha Katherina (Catherine) Fruth (1820-1854). It was probably also intended for Adam’s sister-in-law, Sybilla Shardon, b. 1871, widow Jacob Fruth, III, (1801-1873).

Document 4

Beindersheim, April 1, 1891

Most valued relatives, brother-in-law, and sister-in-law!

We received your letter on the 16th of March and were all elated that you still think about your relatives from Germany. I wrote the last letter to you in 1874, brother-in-law Franz, and have since that time no answer received. Then we believed you wished no more to know about your relatives in Germany, which saddens us very much. But then we did see that you still think about your relatives in Germany. We have often longed after you and discussed how it goes with you, but have never learned anything. It has given us much joy now that you have written. Nephew Johann wants to know whether the old Andreas(1) Herkelrath yet lives. She died in December, 1890. She was for many years stricken with age and was 81 years old. You have written that you had a dry, cold winter and the wheat and clover froze. It was likewise with us. It had frozen already on November 19th and lasted until March. It has snowed very little so that the earth is frozen 3 feet deep and all large rivers have ice one meter thick. The winter grain has suffered much from the long, great cold. Much wheat and rye were plowed under and barley and summer wheat sown. Many potatoes are frozen in the excavation(2) and there is little hope for the wheat and rye that is still standing. The wheat costs 20 Marks per 200 pounds (100 kg), rye 18 Marks, barley 18 Marks, Potatoes 7 to 8 Marks. Beef is 66 to 70 Pfennig per pound, pork 66 Pfennig, veal also 66 Pfennig. The last harvest turned out very well and the fodder and hay were also very good.

Now we will make you aware of our family conditions. Our mother died on June 23, 1883. She was very sick for 8 days with rheumatism and abdominal damage. She was operated on and had suffered a ruptured intestine, on which death came. After death She was dissected(3).

My son Andreas has 4 children; three girls and a boy. The girls are 20, 17, and 7 years old and the son is 10 years old. Leonhard also has four children; two girls 12 and 10 and two sons 8 and 6 years of age. Margarethe has no family. Christina has 2 girls. The oldest was confirmed on Palm Sunday and Lina is 9 years old. The wife of Andreas is a daughter of Johannes Peter. The wife of Leonhard is from Heuchelheim, born Deobold. Margarethe’s husband is David Peter, son of Jakob Peter, who lives in Herkelraths house opposite us. He was the only son. Christina’s husband is Storzum Johannes(4), son of Jakob Peter’s Charlotte. Children of brother Heinrich are the 4 girls dead, one in Edigheim, one in Ruchheim, one in Flomersheim, one in Hessheim and all had families. Franz is also half dead. I want to send you also a picture of me. I was 75 years old July 2.

  1. "die alte Andreas …" the adjectives indicate female; Andreas is masculine. This may refer to his wife.
  2. "Gruben" is a hole dug into the ground and probably lined with straw. It is used to store the year’s supply of potatoes. Perhaps ‘outdoor cellar’ would be a valid translation.
  3. An autopsy was performed.
  4. The first and last names appear to be swapped around; probably is Johannes Storzum.

Document 5

In a book that appears to be the household diary of Adam Fruth (1816-1900) of Beindersheim, he wrote the following:

On January 26, 1842 our mother died. On April 6, 1850 our father died. On April 7, 1854 our sister Katharina and her husband and children and our brother Jacob, his wife and children went to America and on July 23 of the same year our sister Katharina died; she is buried in Cleveland.