Letters from Ora Labora – November 30th, 1864

November 30th, 1864. Ora Labora. Emil Baur to Baker and Henrici

Ora Labora

30 Nov. 1864

Mess. Baker & Henrici

Economy, PA

Honored Friends!

My last letter from the 2nd of this month you will have received. Unfortunately, I have in these troubled times nothing pleasant to report to you. For already, because our Town is still 14 men in arrears, again 4 members from the Colony have been drafted, among them Brother Faul and Froebe. The first one is almost indispensable for us. I wash just then absent, when the news came that they were also on the way to the Provost Marshall in Flint, when I was returning home. Yes, we let our trust be in the Lord, who has already helped us so much, not failing and not ceasing with prayer and work, until the Lord calls us.

Our people enjoy a very good health, God be praised. Unfortunately, the work becomes very broken-up due to the many drafted, and it appears as though that  would not cease, because of the fact that the Americans drafted here almost to a man ran away to Canada.

In this, and also in other manners, where we have reckoned in reference to the profits, though, especially through the blows of two bad harvests, one after the other, last year because of too much rain, this year because of too great a draught, we are in consequence of an early closing of the shipping season in a sad situation and are completely in your hands, in which I at the least am greatly comforted, because of the fact you have given me in your last letter of the 18th of October the fatherly assurance: “if the Colony isn’t able to make it through the winter, then one will look further what there is to do.” Because of the present, exorbitant prices and our depleted funds, and, since we absolutely have to complete the dock this winter, extending out at least 1500 feet into the water so that ships are able to dock ad we are able to off-load our boards and other products, and also due to the work on this dock, which requires a lot of wood, however for the moment only a little brings-in, and will hinder other work, which in the Spring would immediately bring us money; so we must either cede the Spring your premises, because we are not able to pay the interest even with the best efforts, or you, dear friends, help us from the emergency by a loan of $5,000 for 6 years, from which you immediately subtract the 6,000 dollars interest for $10,000. In this we could remain peaceably at our work and also have the assurance of a steamer-line, which in case the dock is built, we’ll receive weekly two arriving steamers, via which commerce is brought here. Mortgage insurance we are not able to give any further, because our purchase of the Kate Chai Island was not approved by the General Land Office, because it is not on the market yet even though it is surveyed; it was pointed-out that we should [buy] it, which already is happening, so that we have made the first chance to purchase it as soon as a decision about it is made. However, if such a loan is impossible for you,  then I would like to ask you to take into consideration our poor harvests and other conditions, to dispense with the interest for this year. The Lord, who certainly has covered you thus far with blessings, can and will compensate you for that which you are doing and have already done for your little brothers.

In the anticipation of a charitable and love-filled reply, you are greeted heartily. Your completely devoted servant,

Emil Baur.

P.S. We have experimented and found that with the exportung of lumber from our dock, as the circumstances are currently we have the greatest loss, because of the fact that we must load firstly from the dock onto a scow and then have to load the cargo from the scow onto the sailboat lying at anchor. This has therefore become a question of survival for us, just like a further loan for the achievement of our goals is.



German Christian Agricultural and Benevolent Society of Ora Labora records, 1862-1895. – Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

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