Andra Letter, 23 October 1902


October 23, 1902

Heartily best wishes to your birthday today sends you,

Dear Minna, from your dear, your loving Theodor.

I am sorry I can’t congratulate you myself. I am in a house I think always that the dear God will let me go soon to my family and then we all will celebrate your birthday together. So Fathers and children will eat and it will taste good.

Dear Minna. Today they pumped out my stomach again. Maybe things will straighten out without cutting. I pray every evening to our dear God that he will help and soon make me well, so I can go to you and the children. This morning I cried again. I think the whole day about you.

Dear Minna, don’t go and get the sick money, but go this Saturday about noon over to Mr. Kohle and ask him if you can get anything for the family. Also talk with him, because if you go and get the sick money, we cannot claim any pay.

Dear Minna, be so good and get a quart of wine for me, by Borsdorf. But only the best. Just tell them it is for me and put it in a bottle. Also the felt slippers, because my feet are always cold. Bring also the thick book, on top of the closet, the new magazine. Also about the sick money (probably a hospital insurance) you have to go first to Mr. Reiter in the hospital and get a slip of paper. Then you can go to the Government Insurance Office (something like Medicare). But before you do this, go first and talk it over with Mr. Kohler and ask him if you get something for the family. Two to three weeks I will have to stay here yet. An operation I will not have to have, things will go. The bowel moves, too. I am satisfied the way things are going.

Best greetings–your Theodor–for a healthy seeing you again, till tomorrow.

Nice greetings to my Frieda, Walter, Willi, Klarchen (Clara) and my Ottchen (Otto).

Your Pappa, Husband and Father

But children be good. Otherwise you get no Yezlin.


Unfortunately Theodor died 23 November 1902.

Clara, Theodor’s daughter, wrote the following:

Father worked hard and he made a good living. He worked hard as a stone cutter and one day he and another man had to lift a large stone down from somewhere. Father was at the bottom and this other man at the top. The stone slipped and Father, not wanting it to fall and break, held it with his chest, it must have pushed real hard to the inside of his chest. He started to have pains in his chest. They got worse so they decited to operate but somehow it didn’t work right. Food couldn’t go down in his stomach. He died Nov 23, 1902 leaving Mother with a small family to raise. She was only 33 years old and a widow.”

Theodor was only 33 years of age at the time of his death. Clara went on to write, “He was a good husband and a good Father.”

This is another letter sent to me by my cousin, Deanne Driscoll, from her grandmother’s collection.  I posted another letter here.

The picture below is one I took in 2008 while waiting for the train back to Dresden.

Meissen, Germany, 2008

Meissen, Germany, 2008

Enoch and William Ashcraft

Enoch (L) and William Thomas (R) Ashcraft

Enoch (L) and William Thomas (R) Ashcraft

Here is a picture of two brothers, Enoch and William Thomas Ashcraft.  William Thomas was born 11 February 1864 in Dresden, Greene, Indiana and died 2 November 1935 in Adrian, Malheur, Oregon.  Enoch Ashcraft was born 11 January 1868 in Greene County, Indiana and died 4 December 1938 in Nampa, Canyon, Idaho.

The two brothers were born to Jacob Ashcraft and Elizabeth Page Ashcraft.  Jacob was born 10 April 1827 in Bladensburg, Knox, Ohio and died 2 May 1915 in Benson, Cache, Utah.  Elizabeth was born 9 April 1829 in East Union, Coshocton, Ohio and died 15 July 1905 in Hyde Park, Cache, Utah.

Lausanne, Geneva, and Paris

We did not have internet in Paris, so there has been a long silence.  Perhaps that is a good thing.

As a note, I did upload some photos on the blog.  They were the ones from Dresden.  Well, a few.  I hit my limit for the month for how many photos I can upload.  As soon as July 1st hits, I will start uploading again.  Sorry.  There are some great pictures from Dresden and Meissen.

We left Bern and started making our way to Paris.  We were planning on hitting the temple in Bern but after trying to figure out the buses, taxis, or trains with attendant costs, backpacks, and traveling all day in our church clothes, we threw in the towel.  We just started out for Paris.

We made stops in Lausanne and Geneva.  Lausanne was beautiful.  The view coming in over Lake Geneva was amazing.  Some of the Alps between Bern and Lausanne were breathtaking, much like the Alps we passed through in Northern Italy.  We were supposed to catch a train directly from Lausanne to Paris, but it was fully booked.  We were able to book a train from Geneva so we knew our time in Lausanne was limited.  We decided to hike up to the Lausanne Notre-Dame.  We stopped at some church on the way, St. Michaels or whatever.  We heard an Oomp Pah Pah (who knows what they are really called) in a park near the cathedral.  It was so hot, the sun was killing us, and we were wearing our backpacks climbing an asphalt mountain made for a welcome arrival at the top.  We enjoyed the hike back down to the station to head off for Geneva.

We had limited time at Geneva as well.  We walked over and saw the famous Jet d’Eau and enjoyed what little comfort the breeze brought to us from it.  It just made us want to jump into the water for some salvation from the heat.  We walked through the park to see the flower clock, which all these watch-makers got together to show their prowess.  This massive clock set in a flower bed.  However, it was more than 6 hours off, not one of the hands was on the right time.  Watch making prowess must have been a think of the past.  We then walked up to Saint Peter’s Cathedral where we toured where John Calvin taught.  The University of Geneva is right next door.  It was all very fascinating.  We then had to make our way back down to the train station so we could head off to Paris.

The ride to Paris could have been better.  We ended up in an assigned seat going backwards.  Plus this train was going much faster than the other trains we have been riding on it and it swayed back and forth.  I got sea sick on a train!  Boy was I glad when we got to land.  I wasn’t feeling well.

The next few days in Paris were a blur.  It was miserably hot, again, for the first two days.  We walked loads and both of us ended up with blisters on our feet.  Probably more from the swelling of our feet rubbing.  I was fortunate enough to get blisters between my big and index toes on both feet.  Amanda got them on top from her flip flops.  But it was quite the couple of days in Paris.  We hit all the big sites, except the Pantheon.  Arc de Triumphe, Place de la Concorde, Place de la Bastille, Champs-Elysees, Montmarte, L’Opera, Saint Denis Cathedral, Basilique du Sacre-Coeur, Louvre, Tuileries Gardens, Invalides, Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame de Paris, and Palais Versailles.  I am sure that is not even a full list.  But we saw them, and much of Paris in between.

Since it is late here, only a few highlights.  Amanda got to see the sun set from the top of the Eiffel Tower on the longest day of the year.  I was there too.  How romantic is that?  We had a fancy, full french meal before ascending the Eiffel’s nearly 700 steps to the second state.  Mine included deep fried turkey and marinated (basically pickled) red peppers.  I probably could have done without the peppers.  My baklava was amazing!

We climbed more than 1000 steps between Notre-Dame and the Eiffel Tower in one day.  On other days we climbed mont marte and a whole list of other stairs.  Add to that the oppressive heat, and some days we were about as good as dead when we got back to our hotel room.  Our hotel had no air conditioning!

We enjoyed French pastries every morning and every time Amanda would let us.

We did see the Venis d’ Milo and Mona Lisa, along with scores too many of other artworks.

The Metro of Paris is wonderful.  We could get to nearly anywhere in relative comfort.  However, some of them were hot and the air hung with a motor oil smell and greasiness.

We are glad to be back Oostrozebeke, Belgium for a day of laundry and relaxing.  Thursday we fly out for Glasgow.  Britain, here we come!

Bern, Switzerland

Hallo from Bern, Switzerland.  It has been a verz long daz working our waz through Northern Italz up here to Swityerland.  Zes, we are back to a German kezboard+  About the onlz thing reallz noteworthz todaz is that we made a stop over in Milano, oh and Zurich.  We will be seasoned train travelers the waz we are going.  I cannot forget to mention the endless tunnels as we worked our waz through the breathtaking Alps.

We left the Mediterranean humid heat to come to the Alpine drz heat of Bern.  Aren`t we luckz?

I know I onlz made passing mention of Venice in our verz short time on the internet there.  It was an interesting citz.  We enjozed our different Italian meals and some of the sights.  However, it was hot and sultrz.  We both ended up with blisters on our feet and enough swass for the rest of our lives.  It is the worst laid out citz on the planet.  Between the canals and small allezs, we never knew if we were coming or going.  There were manz wonderful things there, but neither of us think we will go back.

Bern has to be our favorite citz so far.  Dresden is definitelz a match, but unfortunatelz war removed most of its everz daz walk of life.  Bern was fortunate to maintain and hold most of its medieval roots.

We are learning a new currencz here.  We were feeling rich knowing the dollar was worth more than the Swiss Franc, but we are feeling poor watching how much higher everzthing is priced.

Tomorrow we hit the temple and start the long, long, long, long, long train ride to Paris.

News of Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau Castle

Sorrz I uploaded all the Dresden and Germanz photos wrong.  I have deleted them.  I have gone through and named The Netherlands photos.  Plus I have uploaded the photos from todaz.  When I get a chance I will go back and upload the Dresden, Berlin, Meißen, Roßwein, and Leipzig photos.

We have officiallz learned what the Mexicans must feel like in our nation.  Dresden wasn’t so bad as we knew where we were going and there were a few English speakers around.  Feeling our waz around Augsburg has been more difficult.  We went to a Piyya Hut tonight for some dinner and it was a new experience.  Good thing the name of the menu items are in English.  Of course, it was a joint KFC and Piyya Hut together.  The Greece-Russia soccer game was on the big screen on one side of the restaurant.  Zou can buz beer in the restaurant as well.  We ordered and left.  It was difficult.  Trzing to work out trains, even where we are if lost has been a pain.  We are slowlz picking up our German for sure!  Eingang is entrance, ausfahrt is exit.  I alreadz knew mz numbers so that has helped.

Todaz we headed for the famed Sleeping Beautz Castle, Neuschwanstein.  It took us a couple of hours to get there via tram, train, and bus.  It is a bit out of the waz.  But we took a tour of Hohenschwangau Castle as well! It was a full daz trip, but well worth while.

Roßwein, Leipzig, and Augsburg

We have uploaded all our pictures for the past few dazs!  Go on over and take a peek!  The photos from Brugge, Amsterdam, The Hague, Dresden, Meißen, Roßwein, and Leipzig are all now available.  We are especiallz glad to have them online and saved at another location.

Todaz we said good-bze to our hostel in Dresden and made our waz to Augsburg.  Since were so close to the Andra-Schneider familz area, we made a special trip to Roßwein where several generations of mz familz are from.  Unfortunatelz the church was locked the whole time we were there, nobodz at town hall spoke English, and the cemeteries in Germanz do not keep the burial location for those whose familz do not paz for it.  Other than having been there, I have nothing more.

We found our waz to Leipzig where we took a quick 1 hour whirlwind tour.  We went to the church where Bach was organ master and also the church where his remains are presentlz located (the original church was destrozed in WWII).

We are now in Augsburg, Deutschland.  We will be here for the next three dazs.  Here we will make visits to Neuschwanstein, Munich, Dachau, Stuttgart, and other little towns with relatives on the Wanner and Nuffer families.  I am definitelz looking forward to all.  We will be traveling quite a bit on trains, but nothing we are not accustomed to zet!


It is time for todaz’s update. But first, two funnz stories!First, Amanda complained to me this morning she could not get the shower to turn down the heat. Come to find out, she was trzing to adjust the regulator knob outside the shower on the radiators! I stepped into the bathroom to show her the fancz little faucet knob that moved both wazs to adjust the heat. Not to mention she had alreadz used it to turn on the water! She said it was because the shower in Amsterdam had a separate heat knob from the on and off knob. She saw me playing with the knob so she thought it was it.

Second, we stopped in town to buz ourselves some sauerkraut and a wiener. Amanda went to the counter and asked two. The ladz seemed verz surprised. I was waiting, so I did not see this. Next thing I know, Amanda comes walking out of the store with these loaves of bread, more like oversized croissants. Each must have weighed at least 3 pounds! It was bread with the sauerkraut and wieners baked into the loaf. This was to be our breakfast and turned out to be our breakfast, lunch, and dinner. What is more? We still have half of one left!!!! But hez, for onlz 3€ ($5) it was a prettz good buz. Amanda’s first trz at sauerkraut is going to be a verz memorable moment!

On to the daz. We decided to sleep in to the ripe time of 7:30 this morning. The sun comes up and goes down so late zou can’t reallz sleep when it is dazlight. Great for touring and traveling, bad for sleeping in. We got readz for the daz, tried to take care of some issues over e-mail with our potential home and other things and headed out.

We went to Meißen. It is the birthplace of Karl Maeser, and also happens to be the birthplace of mz great grandfather, William Andra. I had to paz a visit. We walked the streets, and ascended the hill to the DOM and Albrechtsburg Kasse (castle). Fascinating. We also walked around and paid a visit to the Porcelain Factorz. The first porcelain in Europe. Some of mz Andra ancestors are supposed to be some of those locked into the basement of the Albrechtsburg Castle to not let the secret of porcelain out to the world. I cannot link mzself with a hard paperwork, but since mz line are Andrä’s in Meißen and since some of them were Andrä’s in Meißen, whz not? (It is reallz cool I can spell the Andrä name with the umlaut!)

We then went to the church I thought was the one thez would have attended, but I reallz doubted it was it when I arrived. I have a picture, and in mz mind thez did not match up.

The porcelain factorz was amaying! Zou will have to see pictures to believe it. There were table pieces larger than Amanda in height! There were vases from the 1700’s larger than me! Onlz something to be seen to believe.

Amanda’s poor feet could not take well the long dazs of traveling and rebelled against her todaz. She will have calluses the thickness of regular shoes when we are done traipsing around the continent.

There was a highlight, we bought an e’clair at the train station. Tomorrow we are headed to Augsburg, near Munich. We will also hit Dachau.