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A Letter to Sweden - May, 1898

Contributed by R. M. Parkhurst

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The following letter was written in 1898 and found in a box in the attic of a house near Helsingborg, Sweden. It was recently translated into English. It contains errors, such as the report of 500 American and 2000 Spanish Casualties at Manila, but we submit it here as a period piece.

The Letter:

Bird, Montana, May 2, 1898

Dearest Brother Anders,
God's Peace!

Those are truly holy words, and should be accepted that Jesus came to us in this world to forgive all the sinners. It was a long time since I last wrote to you, so I'm not sure which one of us wrote last. Since letter writing is a good way to pass the time especially at night, I will now take the time and pen to do just that - write to you. So, now we have war here which I'm sure you have read about in the newspapers at home a long time ago. The U.S. Navy bombarded Mantanzas (sic: Matanzas) the other day just as a small experiment and then the day before yesterday, there was a big fight near the Philippine Islands. The US sank four Spanish Navy ships with 2,000 men. They had 500 who died but lost no ships. The Americans will soon make cabbage soup of the Spanish, as long as no other European country gets mixed up in the pot. The French are mad at us, because they are holding a lot of Spanish valuable papers and holdings. Well, I hope the USA will clobber the Spanish people-torturers so they soon will quit this war. War is nothing we want to be mixed up in at anytime. Please send me some newspapers that started when this dumb war started if you still have them. It would be interesting to read what the Swedish people think about this mess. I suppose the Swedish press symphathizes with the Spanish.

I mentioned about things to make the time go by at night especially. You see, I'm now up at night to welcome several little lambs into this world tonight. If I was not here, they would get a cold welcome, due to chilly and stormy weather tonight. But fortunately, I don't think there will be too many born tonight. As the lambing has just begun, there is plenty of time yet.

We have been seeding now the last 11 days. It took four men and seven horses to seed 85 acres. Of those acres, we had to plow about 50 acres. We don't treak up the earth or dirt so much here as they do in Sweden.

No, I must now go out and take a look at how the herd is getting along. We have about 2,500 females who will be lambing this year.

May God be with you and yours!

Your loving brother,


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