19 September 2013

An 1887 Suicide Causes an "English" Girl to Mourn

[note: I've blogged about this letter before in February of 2008, but this is something of an update]

This is part of a letter written by Noentje Lena (Grass) Ufkes on 20 September 1887 to a relative of her husband's family in Nebraska. The original is in the possession of a member of the Nebraska family that received the letter. This is the only part of the letter that mentions a recent suicide.

Starting with the word "Dirk" in the first line, it basically indicates that Dirk (can't read last name--Frieden?) shot himself in the barn of Enne Koffman and that an "English girl" is in mourning.

Noentje was living in Bear Creek Township, Hancock County, Illinois and was from the Wiesens area of Ostfriesland, Germany. The Ufkes family was also from that area of Germany as well. Because of those common connections, I am assuming that either the suicide victim or the barn's owner had some connection to the Hancock/Adams County, Illinois, area or to the Wiesens area of Ostfriesland. [Lesson/reminder: include your "reasons" as to why you think things--just be certain to clearly mark off your commentary as your commentary and not part of the actual document. There's nothing blatant in the letter that indicates the geographic connections I've mentioned--those connections are based upon my perceptions.]

The names of Dirk and Enne make it fairly clear to me that there's an Ostfriesian connection (those are Ostfriesen names)--it is just determining what that connection is. 

It's been a while since I've tried to find out more about this reference in Noentje's letter. Maybe it's time to try again.




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