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Friday, August 5, 2016

Correspondence between Johann Cornies (b. 1789) and his son Johann J. Cornies (b. 1812)

Dr. John Staples (State University of New York) has been kind enough to provide a translated letter between father and son from his research on the life of Johann Cornies (b. 1789).  Dr. Staples writes...

 "This was written about a year after Johann Jr.’s wife Justina Wilms (the step-daughter of Wilhelm Martens) died. Jr. was traveling in Prussia. The “Justina” mentioned in the letter was the daughter of Johann Jr. and Justina, who was left in the care of her grandmother while Johann Jr. was away. Johann Jr.’s son, also Johann, was left with his sister Agnes and her husband Philip Wiebe."

The letter is as follows...

Johann Cornies to Johann Cornies, Jr.

5 April 1847

My beloved son,

Your dear Mother caught a severe cold on Wednesday immediately after Easter and became ill. It was an illness that included severe diarrhea that quickly weakened her to such a degree that the doctor, who had been called immediately, could only provide a little relief but do nothing to cure her. She grew weaker and weaker and, to our great sorrow, departed for a better life at two o’clock in the afternoon of the fifth day of her illness, 30 March. She was buried in the Ohrloff community cemetery on 2 April.

As painful as the passing of our beloved mother is, we must remember, to our own great comfort, that the departed had experienced long years of repeated illness and prepared herself for this release with a steadfast Christian belief and that she went to sleep with peace in her soul.

I write to you out of fatherly love to give you support and consolation, but in the certain hope that you will accept God's unfathomable wisdom and not give yourself up to continuing, irrational sorrow and grief. ‘What God does is always well done.’ You know that Mother wanted you to make the journey to Prussia as much as I did. She encouraged me to write to you and grant you permission to travel even farther than Prussia. So do not despair. Carry out the purpose of your journey. May God grant you a quiet, peaceful heart and cheerful contentment! Time will lessen your pain little by little. This is the advice and the simple wish of your father who loves you with all his heart. Amen!

Your uncle and Klaassen, his travelling companion, arrived safely and in good health during the Easter holidays. All of us were pleased to hear that your health is good and that you were happy and in good spirits. He arrived just when spring seeding was beginning.

Your son continues to be healthy and well and is already wearing pants. This gives him a great deal of pleasure. Mrs. Martens, who was here for Mother's funeral, told me that Justina is well but did not want to bring her along because of the raw weather. I repeat, and cannot press it upon you sufficiently, that a good governess is absolutely essential for you, especially for little Johann. Very good qualities are revealing themselves in the boy. He is an eager child who understands his aunt quickly. She is giving him good direction. Almost all of the people who had known his great-grandfather say that your son resembles him entirely in regard to his features, characteristics and behaviour.

In conclusion, I ask you to give many hearty and sincere greetings to my beloved friend Johann Wiebe and his dear wife, and also to all the relatives and acquaintances who remember me with love. Your brother-in-law, sister and Uncle Klassen send greetings to you. Keep God in your sight and in your heart. This is the wish of your loving father, Johann Cornies.

From State Archive of the Odessa Region, 89-1-1260/39