[John Hospers, writer of the diary of which the following is a translation from the Dutch language, was born at Amsterdam, The Netherlands, on the 30th of August, 1801. He taught school from an early age until he emigrated with his family and scores of other Hollanders to the State of Iowa, where in the year 1847 several hundreds of his fellow-countrymen under the leadership of Rev. Henry Peter Scholte had established Pella in Marion County.
The reason which moved Hospers to seek American shores was later expressed by himself in a brief autobiography as follows:
"In all my positions the Lord had furnished me a liberal income and livelihood. . . . When I made busy to emigrate to America, everybody expressed surprise and asked why I should go, I who was so well-to‑do and so generally esteemed.
"I had an income more than sufficient to enable my family to live in a respectable manner, but inasmuch as I laid most stress on the education and training of the youth, I could not bear to see the Bible kept out of the schools and education no longer Christian.1 And although God's Word had never been excluded from my school, and the instruction — however defective — had been presented in a Christian way so far as I could, since the inspector of my school, Haefkens, never personally forbade me, I knew nevertheless what his orders were, and therefore I preferred to remove to a free country where I could worship my God unhindered according to the dictates of my conscience.
"My desire to emigrate was increased also by social relations with true Christian people who were rare in that day. In the winter of 1848‑1849 A. C. Kuyper, J. Maasdam, and myself united to act as a committee to promote a second exodus to North America. Kuyper had Rotterdam and vicinity; Maasdam took Utrecht and North Holland; and I had South Holland, North Brabant, and Gelderland."
Thanks are due to Mr. Nicholas Hospers of Pella, Iowa, for permission to read and use his father's autobiography and diary. — Translator.]
Tuesday, May 1, 1849. With regard to the Danish warships, I journeyed to Rotterdam from Hoog Blokland to inquire concerning the arrangements to be made in behalf p364of all my fellow-passengers to Pella: whether to go by way of the English channel protected by Danish warships, or even to charter an American ship, or to sail by way of Havre. Learned at Rotterdam that the vessel "Franziska" (of Bremen construction), Captain Hagedoorn, is sold to a Russian firm and shall henceforth fly the Russian flag, by which means international complications are rendered impossible.2
Wednesday, May 2. With the aid of C. Timmermans, A. A. Hupmans, and Woutrina Sterk, the bedding which we slept upon during the night in the Blokland schoolhouse was fairly well packed up and then conveyed by wagon to Gorinchem. E. Aanen, burgomaster of Hoornaar, with his little covered wagon, and A. Aanen brought my family to the steamboat at Gorinchem, leaving Hoog Blokland at 4 o'clock in the morning, a large number of people having assembled at that early hour. At half-past 5 o'clock we left Gorinchem by steamboat. At Rotterdam women and children rode in cabs from the steamboat landing to the Danish, now Russian, ship "Franziska".
Thursday, May 3. Passed a fairly restful night in our strange abode. Everything is being done to make our sojourn on the ocean as pleasant as possible. At 11 o'clock P.M. the "Franziska" left the docks and put out to sea while we were asleep.
Friday, May 4. Arrived at Hellevoetsluis at 2 or 3 o'clock P.M. Here the captain called a roll of passengers, and as a result of the discovery that there were two more passengers than the number allowed, viz., 160, a second roll-call was held on deck towards evening. Now it is perceived p365that the transportation agents, Hudik and Blokhuizen, dealt very roguishly with us, with the result that the captain will have to take the two extra passengers into his cabin upon his own responsibility in New York, and for this we must pay eighty-five gulden for each of the two persons to the captain. With regard to this matter I have addressed to the agents a letter (which I shall give to the pilot to post), asking them to send a draft for 170 gulden on their office at New York where we may recover on our arrival. When the passengers had gone to sleep, I went out on deck and listened for the last time to the song of Holland's water nightingales, otherwise known as frogs, and it is difficult to describe the emotion which now takes possession of me.
Saturday, May 5. At 3:30 in the morning, the "Franziska" set sail. The voyagers were summoned early to appear on deck, and there at the captain's request I read to them the ship's regulations for the preservation of order and cleanliness. We sailed with an east wind, slowly at first, but we soon lost sight of Holland: the wind grew stronger and we sailed three or four hours3 in one hour. At about 11 o'clock P.M. we could see the lights of England and France. Very few people free from seasickness.
Sunday, May 6. Strong, east wind: in the channel a distance of five hours is covered in one hour. We see numerous ships, and at 4 o'clock P.M. we catch sight of the chalk cliffs of England. General complaint about seasickness. Difficulties have arisen with regard to the use of the cook's galleys, the maintenance of cleanliness, and the care of firewood.4 p366Religious exercises on deck led by Kuyper: Psalm 1. A number of ships in sight. Birds follow and rest upon our ship.
Monday, May 7. East wind, and rain. In the channel, at 4 o'clock P.M., sight of the chalk cliffs of England.
Tuesday, May 8. Wind southeast, nice weather. At nine o'clock in the Atlantic Ocean. The captain informs us that the water at Hellevoetsluis is green, farther out dark green, then blue, and in the Atlantic Ocean dark blue. Until to‑day we have seen ships every day. While I am writing in the cabin, a little bird comes flying to me and sits sociably on my paper.
Wednesday, May 9. Wind east-southeast, good headway. We see three or four swine fish. According to the mate's assertion, from 4 to 8 o'clock this morning we covered a distance of eighteen hours. At 4 o'clock P.M. we are speeding along at the rate of 75 hours a day. The captain says that Rotterdam lies 900 German miles from New York, (2000 hours). We pass a large drifting beam. Last night we passed three ships.
Thursday, May 10. Wind southwest. Three ships in sight this morning: at 10 o'clock we have sailed past one; at 12 o'clock, the second; and in the afternoon the third. The "Franziska" overtakes everything she meets.
Friday, May 11. Wind southwest: speed 90 hours a day, and we pass another ship. High seas, and a terrific jolt jumbles up all the boxes in the ship. My ink-well is upset and a cup of sago stains my little book. The passengers are becoming very seasick. Religious exercises in the afternoon, led by Maasdam. Afterward Kuyper catechises the children.
p367 Saturday, May 12. Wind west; very tempestuous sea, and seasickness increases rather than decreases: in general the passengers care very little for food. We are sailing far north and so the air is cold.
Sunday, May 13. The captain says that we have finished one third of the journey, and are now sailing at 24° 8′ longitude (Greenwich) and nearly 50° latitude. An English ship which we approach is hailed, whereupon she bears down on us full-sail, but upon seeing the Russian flag, she pulls in her own flag and goes on. In the afternoon religious worship below deck, on account of the rough, cold weather, led by Maasdam: 1 Cor. 10.
Monday, May 14. Wind northwest. We are all suffering from seasickness or its effects. We are sailing nicely in good weather; the sea too is fairly calm, so that almost all are again on deck. Gerrit has a fever. Upon invitation Maaike Hospers and Suzanna de Boer are sewing and darning for the captain in his cabin, where they are pleasantly entertained. Father Middelkoop has a high fever.
Tuesday, May 15. Father and Eva are suffering from diarrhoea, my wife too, while Peter Hendrik is recovering. Wind east, with rain. We are making good progress. The captain invites William H. into his cabin and gives him cookies. Father Middelkoop lies sick abed all day. Peter H. is improving a little. At 5 o'clock in the morning we are awakened; the healthy men go out to scrub the deck; then sweet-water is distributed, a cup of tea is drunk, breakfast, common prayer in our part of the ship, reading, singing, and thanks. Every forenoon the ship is scrubbed and cleaned below deck by two men — a new shift each day — under the supervision of one of the three committeemen, A. C. Kuyper, J. Maasdam, and J. Hospers.
Wednesday, May 16. Making good headway. There is p368much preaching from God's Word. Religious exercises every day as proposed are sometimes hindered by the wind and cold rains. To the prevailing seasickness one person has fallen a victim: a two‑year‑old child died last night at 11 o'clock. First, Maaike van Gorp.
Thursday, May 17. Ascension Day. Good headway. The Lord leads us tenderly and with love. The second mate gives William H. handsful of prunes. Wind east, with rain, so that the ship pitches terribly; one can hardly make use of the cook's galley; and passengers must stay below. In the evening the captain comes to give me instructions as to letting the body overboard tomorrow morning at 7 o'clock, desiring that then the passengers be present: he would lead in prayer and we should sing a couple of stanzas. At the captain's request I notify all passengers. The body has already been wrapped and sewed in canvas by mate and seaman, and placed in the sloop which stands on deck.
Friday, May 18. At 4 o'clock in the morning dies Cornelius Louwe, second, of Goeree, 34 years of age. At 7 o'clock the passengers come out on deck; the first mate fastens the child's body to a canvas sack filled with stones and places the corpse on a board, which lies with one end resting on a cask and the other extending overboard. The captain stands at one end near the cask, reads solemnly in high-German, and then commands the seamen who stand on opposite sides of the board to let the corpse slide into the water. All stand with uncovered heads. At the captain's word Maasdam announces the singing of Psalm 103:8 and 9. The solemnity is impressive. Storm in the evening; much commotion in the ship.
Saturday, May 19. Strong west wind. Mighty waves, one of which comes to make us a visit in the ship. The captain notifies me to let the body of C. Louwe overboard p369at half-past 2 o'clock, and asks me for a prayer-book. After consultation with Maasdam and Kuyper we suggest to the captain that he read the 90th Psalm at the ceremony. The captain asks me to do so after the corpse is let down into the sea. This takes place at half-past two; the people are gathered on deck; the seamen are lined up on both sides of the plank which bears the body; the captain reads high-German; and then the corpse is delivered to the waves. Hospers then reads Psalm 90, and announces the singing of Psalm 89:19. Storm from the northwest.
Sunday, May 20. Northwest storm. Numerous waves enter the ship; the rolling and pitching is violent; everything rumbles and jolts and tosses and breaks. Prayer-meeting in two groups. Great dejection reigns. Nothing can be cooked — only cold things to drink. Never in our life a more wretched Sunday. The storm increases its fury as the darkness of night comes on. Sailors run on deck with knives in their hands to cut the ropes in case of necessity.
Monday, May 21. Wind northwest. Storm calms a little — fearful waves still rolling.
Tuesday, May 22. Strong west wind. Since Saturday, May 12, the barber has not dared to shave us on account of the ship's rolling. At about 5 o'clock an English ship is hailed. The wind grows fiercer and fiercer. A. C. Kuyper wakens us all in the night on account of the heavy storm, whereupon a general awakening takes place in the ship. A. Kuyper offers up prayer in the midst of his family.
Wednesday, May 23. Storm. The captain who has made 50 voyages to America declares it noteworthy that we should meet with so many storms this time. We earnestly desire to find more contrition among the passengers. Klaas Vos, of Den Hitzerd, 54 years of age, dies. There are still p370sick people on board. Light cases of scarlet fever prevail, manifested especially in sore throats.
Thursday, May 24. Fine weather, but cold. We are shaved. Now people come out to sit on deck. We ate pancakes, with good appetites. After I had, at the captain's request, notified all passengers of the ocean burial, the ceremony took place at 2:30 o'clock — the people on deck, sailors bareheaded lined along the plank which bears the body, captain at the end, Hospers next to him. Captain reads in high-German, orders the corpse to be lowered, gives the word to Hospers who reads Psalm 12, and asks for the singing of Psalm 39:3 and 4. The pleasant weather lures us out to smoke a pipe on deck. Father Middelkoop, Gerrit, and I are soon seated thus, conversing about Pella. I inspect the quarters below, where the captain burns chloride of lime for disinfection.
Friday, May 25. A calm north wind with which we sail into the west. Towards evening we see near the ship thousands of creatures called lobes or dew-laps as large as big goose-eggs, striking out with their legs, of yellow, gray, and blue color. They are poisonous; when one picks them up, one's hand will swell. They are not seen in the written. Scarlet fever still prevails in a light degree: Keetje, Gelder, and Eva are not free. Father Middelkoop was on deck once more yesterday: he made pancakes on the cook's galley, also pork and cheese cakes.
Saturday, May 26. North wind, nice warm weather. The captain asks everybody to declare the number of boxes and amount of property.
Sunday, May 27. Strong wind. All passengers remain below. Little progress. Keetje has scarlet fever. Klaas and Gelder too are not feeling fresh. Peter Hendrik is becoming very thin and causes us much alarm.
p371 Monday, May 28. Pentecost Week. Wind northwest. To‑day we celebrated with C. van Andel the birthday of his father. To that end C. can Andel gave two bottles of wine, and we furnished thin little pancakes with currants.
Tuesday, May 29. East wind — we are sailing straight towards America. Rain prevents us from staying on deck. Afternoon, strong west wind; at 10 o'clock P.M. the wind becomes favorable and the passengers who were still awake help the seamen with their sails.
Wednesday, May 30. Wind west-northwest, nice weather. By order of the captain bedding is brought on deck and aired, while the floor is scrubbed and unusually well cleaned. In the afternoon I am called out to see a whale which I caught sight of twice. No matter how big and broad the ocean may be, the whale tells of his presence by spouting water about six yards high. Once I saw him at full length, which I cannot estimate, but he was large.
Thursday, May 31. Last night a child of Anthony Klein died at the age of eighteen months. I told the mate, who had the body brought on deck by a sailor. Favorable north wind — good progress. As we sail along we express our surprise at the large number of sea birds which we see flying every day, especially in the middle of the ocean, far distant from land. They are called sea-mews. Flying fishes were seen.
Friday, June 1. Nice, calm weather. The ocean is smooth and shiny as a mirror. The little body was let overboard at 2:30 — ceremony as usual. I read Revelations 20, and we sang Psalm 89:19; Maasdam closed with prayer. About 4 or 5 o'clock we saw a few large fishes, dolphins, which pursued the birds. These fish swim so fast that the birds have difficulty in outstripping them. Then we saw these robber fish with big, wide-open jaws leap high above p372water and the low-flying birds which, as from terror, appeared unable to fly high. Thus we saw how swift-flying birds can fall a prey to the greedy, pursuing fish.
Saturday, June 2. Strong south wind. What a difference between the sea now and yesterday! Very rough — how the waves roll, how they foam; it is as if the sea were boiling. The foam flies and drifts or hovers upon the waves; the ship points skyward to descend immediately into the ocean trough, and then descends suddenly with such violence that one cannot imagine it: one must experience it! Once a wave found its way over the top of a protecting wall •nearly five feet high, a visit which we did not desire — the ship pitches terribly, sometimes at 45 degrees. It is well that all things suitable for the purpose can be fastened.
Most people stay below, only young people go out on deck to watch the seething ocean, and with all this I see no sign of fear. Indeed, I even hear someone below playing a flute, so accustomed a simple landlubber becomes to the foaming sea. In this colossal power of nature we perceive only the wonder of the Lord's handiwork, and the sea unchanged as at the creation. All of a sudden it becomes dead-still, with heavy rain: we are off the Newfoundland banks. The captain stands, seriously watching the weather. In this sea many a ship has lost its masts in a storm which very suddenly follows the rain and the dead-calm, and comes from another direction, so that the seamen have no time to haul in their sails. In that calm followed by high seas the rudder can do nothing and so the ship is surrendered to the mercy of the wild waves, which is very dangerous.
Sunday, June 3. We are still off the Newfoundland banks with north wind. Good progress. Yesterday evening the mates saw a ship, to‑day at 8 A.M. we see that it is an p373English brig; at 10 o'clock we approach so near that the captains can call to one another with or without a speaking-trumpet. They have already journeyed 40 days and come from Liverpool. The ship is also filled with emigrants: we were so near them that we could follow their movements clearly. Religious worship led by Kuyper: Psalm 107. Again in the afternoon. Our daughter Maaike and Suzanna de Boer, a God-fearing girl, were invited by the captain to partake of dinner in his cabin. She went reluctantly, upon our insisting that she keep Suzanna company, because it was promised and the captain had depended on her coming. Hardly had dinner commenced when Maaike comes back ill and goes to bed.
Monday, June 4. Nice, calm weather. This was our best day on board. The Lord took pity on my daughter Maaike. After a spiritual struggle and attack by Satan, she was able to learn to know the Lord in His pitying love and the all-powerful mercy of Him who had chosen her before the foundation of the world. We saw a school of fish like large cod defending a dead fish against the sea-gulls; some jumped high out over the water, captured a preying gull and pulled him down into the depths.
Tuesday, June 5. Wind southeast, good progress. 54° longitude, 40° latitude, New York 65° longitude, 42° latitude. Birthday of C. van Andel. Maaike is losing strength; her bodily condition does not improve, but her mind is active. A little child of W. van Vark dies.
Wednesday, June 6. Maaike's physical condition grows more serious, her chest loosens, phlegm gurgles in her throat, the captain's medicines appear fruitless, Jesus loves her and she loves Jesus. We see her end approaching — at 12 o'clock the Lord takes her unto Himself! Who can fathom God's ways? Oh, let us not murmur!
p374 Thursday, June 7. The death of our dear Maaike shocks us terribly.
Friday, June 8. This night there died: Gerrit Bezemer, 5 years; Adriana Klein, 7 years. We see many swine fish, even very large ones. The captain who had invited me and my wife to lodge a few days in his cabin now invites me to have a glass of Malaga and small stuff, and gives me American newspapers in the English, high-German, and French languages.
Saturday, June 9. In the morning at 7 o'clock the little bodies were lowered into the ocean. I read Psalm 39 and we sang Psalm 39:3 and 4. East wind, good progress. We pass Sable Island which is desolate and uninhabited.
Sunday, June 10. At 9 o'clock, worship of God, led by Maasdam: Romans 13. My wife and I dine with the captain. After measurements, captain with sextant and first mate with octant, it is discovered that we are still 135 German miles and two hours from New York. East wind, and we sail at least 80 hours per day. Our ship is busily visited by swine fish. Died, the ninth. Hendrik Obertop, 7 years.
Monday, June 11. The body of H. Obertop is let overboard at 7 o'clock. East wind, also northeast. We make rapid headway, the fastest of the whole journey. This night 20 hours in one hour. Died, the tenth. Peter Hendrik Hospers, at 5 o'clock in the afternoon, at the age of 2 years, 4 months.
Tuesday, June 12. Northeast wind. Nice weather. Good progress. At 10 o'clock A.M. we were at 68°, and as New York lies at 74° 3′ and a degree is about 14 hours, our voyage will last 84 hours longer. At 2:30 the earthly remains of Peter Hendrik are lowered into the ocean. From the p375preparations on board, it appears we are expecting land; as cleaning, better clothes, anchors, chains, sounding-lead, looking for the pilot, etc.
Wednesday, June 13. In the morning we see land. At 10:30 the pilot comes on board, at 5 o'clock we are in New York bay — land and trees on both sides. Then we cast anchor.
Thursday, June 14. Doctor on board to see Keetje. Hope for recovery in two days. Keetje in the cabin. Captain and mate very accommodating. A powder followed with a little syrup, every five hours half a wine-glass of castor-oil, every 2½ hours a powder in water. The passengers enjoy the beautiful scenery on both banks. Doctor investigates the physical condition of the passengers. The same quarantine doctor visits Keetje who comes into the cabin.
Friday, June 15. Thank God, Keetje is resting. Busy packing up goods. By steamboat from the "Franziska" to New York. Lodged at No. 132, Greenwich Street. The population of New York is estimated at 600,000 inhabitants, yes, some say one million. Sometimes five-hundred horse-cars are seen driven up a very broad street; the sidewalks are broad, floored with large, flat stones.
Saturday, June 16. Lodging New York. Doctor van Siers, $3. In the evening at 6 o'clock on the boat to Albany, •400 feet long.
Sunday, June 17. At 6 A.M. arrived at Albany. On a bridge kneels a handsome young minister of the gospel, praying in a loud voice, surrounded by about 50 American men, no women. After him an aged man begins to preach. This takes place every Sunday. Refused to admit our sick Keetje (who was sitting in a carriage) into a lodging-house near the steamboat. Further to German lodging-house, on the railroad street. Inhospitable treatment — willing to p376keep night guards, but no day guests. In the evening we rode in vehicle to the hotel of William Schmidt, Liberty Street, No. 41. In the evening A. C. Kuyper preaches in the Wyckoff school.
Monday, June 18. In Albany our baggage is weighed and at about 9 or 10 o'clock my fellow-passengers embark in two canal boats. Father, mother, Gerrit, Sijgje, Klaas, Gelder and van Andel accompanied them, also Dingman. In Albany there remained behind: J. Hospers and wife, Keetje, Eva, Wm. Hendrik, and Janna. In the evening Keetje is removed from the hotel of William Schmidt, Liberty St., No. 41, to Stubenrauch, South Pearl St., No. 213. (We had in all 5,250 pounds of freight to Buffalo).
Tuesday, June 19. Albany consists of about 50,000 inhabitants. Many houses have silver knobs, plates, numbers, and keyholes on their outer front doors. Albany is beautifully situated on the broad Hudson River, surrounded by hills and mountains. It is much hotter here than in The Netherlands. Everyone complains of the heat. At night one sleeps with open windows on mattresses with only a sheet as covering.
Wednesday, June 20. A letter from Albany to Henry.5 In the evening we saw fire in our vicinity. At the ringing of alarms, fire-engines and men hasten to the rescue: hurry and bustle everywhere, but yet with caution, in true American style. Even women who dwell in the adjacent houses clamber out upon their roofs to sweep off the sparks. The fire originated in a lumber yard, which was all that burned and was quickly extinguished.
p377 Thursday, June 21. Early in the morning before Keetje woke up, bought in the market a bunch of carrots for 5 cents. Friendly welcome by Rev. Wyckoff to Kuyper and myself. In the afternoon there was fire in a house on the hill.
Friday, June 22. During the night two fires. 96 degrees Fahrenheit, Albany. In New York: 96 degrees in the shade and 108 degrees in the sun.
Saturday, June 23. Zwiers, runner for Doge and Spaan, receives a letter from Kok who accompanied the passengers as guide to Cincinnati, reporting that K. Middelkoop had lost his ticket. Zwiers gives a duplicate ticket gratis to Buffalo and St. Louis, which with letters from Zwiers and Hospers are despatched by post to Buffalo. In the afternoon John, the seven-year‑old son of A. C. Kuyper, dies in Albany and is buried there in Rev. Wyckoff's churchyard. I attended the funeral ceremony in the carriage which bore the body.
Sunday, June 24. In the morning in the Reformed Protestant Dutch church Rev. Wyckoff preaches in English on 1 James 2:1; in the afternoon Kuyper preaches on Psalms 115:3, with Psalm 97, verse 3, as an introduction. Keetje is 16 years of age.
Monday, June 25. Three new American potatoes for 2 American cents. At 3 o'clock in the afternoon a child of Nahuis is buried in Rev. Wyckoff's churchyard.
Tuesday, June 26. In the afternoon went to see steamboats and departure of the railroad train.
Wednesday, June 27. A runaway, two horses into the Hudson. For the first time [in America] I saw a horse tied to a post. Went to look into a farm-implement shop.
Thursday, June 28. With Stubenrauch and A. C. Kuyper p378sought and found a place in which to hold this evening's prayer-meeting. The Mission Sunday-school of the Presbyterian church being let to us, A. C. Kuyper preached in the evening at 7 o'clock to an audience of 40: Psalm 86:17.
Friday, June 29. Dr. de Nieve advises me to give my children, if the Lord allows them to survive the spring, medicines to purify the blood — tamarind, two medicine ounces, in a bottle of water, half boiled, to be taken with syrup or sugar, about four spoonsful daily. Fire at 11:30 P.M.
Saturday, June 30. A letter to Henry at Pella.
Sunday, July 1. Lord's Supper attended by Kuyper and myself in the Reformed Protestant church of Rev. Wyckoff.
Monday, July 2. Keetje is very critically ill. A. C. Kuyper starts out with his family on the journey to Buffalo.
Tuesday, July 3. Great preparations, exercises in fireworks, for the celebration of independence day.
Wednesday, July 4. 1776‑1849 — seventy-third anniversary of American independence. In the morning the militia marches in uniform to drum and fife, followed by a fire-engine decorated with flowers. Early in the morning the celebration is announced by the toll of bells. All public business comes to a standstill. Everyone is dressed in gala attire. On the public squares of the city gatherings according to place, where orators address the people from high platforms on the subjects of independence, liberty, and so forth, as compared with other parts of the world, so that the people's enthusiasm is roused to a high pitch. Even an aged minister, Rev. Wyckoff, rises and under the open sky prays that many of the oppressed people of the earth may with good fortune cross the seas and come to share in the freedom of spacious America.
p379 At the chief meeting-place military music is rendered. From there starts a procession which parades in stately fashion through the city, as: militia companies with their officers, two cannon-wagons, besides a countless number of wagons and men on horseback, representing every branch of trade and industry such as teamsters with their carts loaded with barrels, boxes, and packs; cabinet-makers with splendid furniture, everything in finest trim; carriages drawn by six or eight horses of one color; corporations with their banners or colors, etc. Holiday everywhere — flags, bells, dress, fireworks, no employment, etc. All orderly and very unanimous.
Thursday, July 5. In the evening at 8 o'clock died Cornelia Gertrude Hospers, born June 24, 1833, aged 16 years and 11 days.
Friday, July 6. At 3 o'clock in the afternoon Keetje is buried, only a hearse and one other carriage, in the Wyckoff churchyard. We have agreed to take with us Jan van de Roovaart with his wife and two children, he agreeing to reimburse me for the traveling expenses either by means of his earnings or by direct payment. Thus we shall have traveling companions.
Saturday, July 7. Our intention to depart on the 12 o'clock train for Buffalo is prevented by the extraordinary crowd of emigrants, which causes us to fear the unsanitary results of close packing together, while we note in this a gentle reminder of the Lord's mercy not to desecrate the Sabbath.a
Sunday, July 8. Among the crowd of emigrants who arrive on the steamboats from New York this morning, with Zeelanders, Frieslanders, and Gelderlanders, was the Rev. Verschuur who has been called to preach at –––––. In the afternoon he preaches in the school-church of Rev. p380Wyckoff, from Galatians 6:14, while I read and lead the singing in Dutch style.
Monday, July 9. At 2 o'clock by train to Schenectady — Amsterdam at 3 o'clock, in 40 minutes from Herkimer to Utica, 15 miles (4½ hours).
Tuesday, July 10. Arrived at Buffalo at 6 P.M. Hotel. A hemorrhage compels me to summon the medical assistance of Dr. Haksteeg at Buffalo. Buffalo was first laid out 22 years ago and now counts a population of fully 56,000 souls. It grows every year with the building of houses, all of brick. It is a fine city, they say the most healthful in America, and lies on the shore of Lake Erie, opposite Canada which belongs to England.
Wednesday, July 11. In the morning we meet Kuyper who had arrived at night by canal boat. Paid the doctor $2. He is a friend of Haefkens and corresponds with him.
Thursday, July 12. In the morning we leave the Dutch hotel, Washington Coffee-house (Itjen and Haijen), No. 5 Commercial St., Buffalo, and with A. C. Kuyper we embark on the steamboat Louisiana to Chicago.
Friday, July 13. At 10 o'clock in the morning left Buffalo with steam up. View of Canada belonging to England. In Buffalo temperature with cloudy sky 96° F.
Saturday, July 14. 9:45 at Cleveland, extraordinary calling and shouting at the pier by hotel-keepers and transfermen for patronage.
Sunday, July 15. In the morning religious worship led by Kuyper from James 1, first half. Steaming through the canal between lakes St. Clair and Huron. In the afternoon second half of James 1.
Tuesday, July 17. 10 P.M. at Milwaukee.
Wednesday, July 18. Noon, at Chicago, a fine business city, 23,000 inhabitants. Here there is no brick or cobblestone pavement in the streets, because they would sink if it rained, but the streets paved with three-inch sawed boards on solid stringers, •100 feet wide, the highway being four boards in width and •2½ feet below the sidewalk along the houses on both sides. At 4 o'clock, on board the packet boat to Peru.º Departure 7 o'clock. The boys here are especial lovers of kite-flying. Van Malsum has been deserted by his wife for the fifth time — he fears that she will return to Holland. Plij earns $5 per week in a store in Michigan.
Thursday, July 19. In the packet boat which is drawn by three horses on a fast trot, we travel a straight distance of •ten miles — therein we pass through a wooden basin which crosses a river and is supported by two stone-arches. Through this basin flows the canal in the same width, a towpath of boards alongside. The basin is 100 yards long, the river •100 miles. What a wonderful view in passing through! First our artificial canal with towpath, then beneath a broad streaming river, further on numerous waterfalls pouring over and among the rocks, etc.
At 11 P.M. arrived at LaSalle, a neat little town. There on Friday night of July 20, at 1 o'clock, embarked on the steamer "Feinolon" to St. Louis, to go as far as Peoria, where we arrived at 10 P.M. A German family of our traveling company recommends to us a hotel which does not suit us on investigation, so that we are allowed to pass the night with our baggage in the steamboat which thus serves as warehouse.
p382 Saturday, July 21. In the morning from Peoria to the Clinton house — contracted with the stagecoach company to convey our family of seven and that of Kuyper of ten persons with two coaches, each drawn by four horses, to Keokuk for $100, including the transportation of our bedding. All other baggage, about 5000 pounds, is carried by way of St. Louis to the address of Graham at Keokuk. At 9 o'clock we leave Peoria in the two coaches. We keep on riding with changes of drivers and horses, even at night, until 5 A.M. Sunday, July 22, when we reached Oquawka on the Mississippi River and ferried across to Burlington. Burlington is a town where our hotel was the first house 14 years ago, and now counts fully 14,000 souls.
Monday, July 23. My wife is ill.
Tuesday, July 24. Meet Mr. Bousquet. My wife not improved. Called doctor.
Wednesday, July 25. At about 10 A.M. in company with Kuyper, in three covered wagons, we left for Pella, at $20 per wagon and each driver seventy-five cents per day, for their meals and feeding the horses. Passed night at New London for $6.
Thursday, July 26. Baited at Mt. Pleasant. Mr. Wijkoff gives news of Henry. Arrived on a farm in the neighborhood of the Skunk River for $2. In the evening we reached Brighton and spent night.
Friday, July 27. [Blank.]
Saturday, July 28. At 6:30 P.M. reached Pella, and housed with P. Welle.
Friday, August 3. Father K. Middelkoop and J. Hospers upon making their confession of faith before the church consistory were received as members.
1 This was one of the potent factors which led to the emigration of hundreds of Seceders from the State Church of Holland to Michigan and Iowa: they desired the doctrines of pure Calvinism in their churches and schools.
2 Two thousand emigrants must have chartered this Danish sailing-vessel before Denmark and Prussia got into difficulties over Schleswig-Holstein. The declaration of war seems to have frightened the Hollanders into anticipating some interference with their proposed journey.
3 This method of measuring distances is still quite common among the people of Europe: Walking at the rate of three miles an hour is a convenient unit. Hence "three or four hours" on land is nine or twelve miles per hour on sea.
4 Four thousand passengers prepared their own meals upon the ship's stores, taking turns, and were responsible for the cleanliness of their own quarters.
5 Henry Hospers, oldest son of the writer of the diary, was a member of the pioneer band of Hollanders who founded Pella in 1847. He was then seventeen years of age and in 1870 became the chief promoter of emigration from Pella and vicinity to the fertile lands of Sioux County in northwestern Iowa.
a Many 19c Americans felt that train travel was a desecration of the Sabbath, and sometimes railways even accommodated them, or more accurately, refused to let anyone else travel on Sunday, running no trains on that day. The topic is discussed — in connection precisely with train travel in New York State — by Harlow, The Road of the Century, p156 f., p347.
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