New York, 1761. Jacob Ten Broek writes a letter to his brother in New Jersey to inform him that their mother has died. It is the hand of a farmer, no punctuation, some awkward spelling, sometimes indicating how Dutch was pronounced in 18th century New York.
1761, April 8
Waerde broeder dese tot bekent makinge onser aller redelike gesontheyt hopende het selve van u alle ick heb u gescreve met de post als dat moeder overlede is de nagh tusse de darteijnde en de veijrteijnde februarie ick en weet niet of die uter kant is ge koeme ick wenste dat dat gij met gelegenheyt eens schreef waanneer dat geij heijheen denckt te kome met weer bey dese als syet van meyn en meyn vrouw ge grut
Dear brother this is to let you know that we are all of good health and hoping to hear the same from you. I wrote you by post that mother died the night between the thirteenth and the fourteenth of february. I don’t know if it arrived. When you have the opportunity, I wish that you would write to say when you are coming here. Receive the greetings from my and my wrife.
very nice – but: where did that letter come from? it is a rare example of a written version of Jersey/Mohawk Dutch, a spoken language. is there more where this came from?