One of my oldest proven ancestors on my maternal grandfather's side was a man by the name of Stefan Nicolaides (which means 'sons of the victory people' in Greek). He was born in 1743, possibly in Hungary and moved to Kameral Ellgoth, Austria in 1782. There, he became the first Lutheran pastor and founded a chapel - which was later enlarged to a church - and wrote the church's parish history. He also built a parsonage (in essence, his home), a house for the sexton and a school. After serving as pastor for twenty-six years, he died at the age of sixty-five in 1808.
Stefan's eldest child, a son, Karl Josef (born in 1780) married a (polish?) girl, Sophia Kordiak and they had three children: Rosa (November 10, 1808), Henry (June 13, 1813) and Alexander (October 22, 1815).
Many letters were written by Sophia to (her son) Henry and by Rosa to (her brother) Henry. They were kept by Henry, preserved by his son, William, then translated from Gothic German to English around 1967.
The following is a letter that was written by Rosa (Mrs. Thomas Wodiczkal) to Henry on October 17 in 184? (Due to historical time lines the year was probably sometime between 1852 -1855). Rosa had received word that Henry left the army (due to illness) and emigrated to America with his new wife, Maria Josepha Tacchini (whom he met while stationed in Milan, Italy).
(The original letter)
Dear good brother,
I feared you were dead! I can only expect death, which seems to follow me. I am so lost, with my poor children.
You know we were in Pest (Budapest) during the Revolution (Began early 1848-1849 - Russia joined with Austria to crush the Hungarians). My dear unforgettable husband described the whole Revolution to you. After that we were transferred back to Gross Karuly. My husband became an official then we were happy, knowing life would be better for us. But suddenly my husband got an acute inflammation of the bowels. After a day and a half he passed away despite all the efforts made to save his life. I buried him four years ago, in July.
I wrote you three letters but never received an answer. After that I wrote to Mr. Killia. He wrote that I should write to you and send it to him; he would try to forward it to you. He also wrote that you are well off and also healthy.
I've had a very hard time with my poor children. Winter will soon be here and I don't have suitable clothing for them. I, alone, cannot make enough money for all of us. Everything is very expensive here; a loaf of bread costs four gulden, a basket of fruit - thirty florins, corn - twenty florins, one egg - four xr (coins), one pound of butter - twenty-four grapfin.
You can well imagine my position after the death of my dear husband. No money and no bread. I was very ill and too weak to walk. I wrote to Trempfin, to Wagner and Langa asking for help, and also my husband's mother and brothers. No one answered.
If only I could send my Emerich (Rosa's son Henry) to you. He could help you on the farm, and he would love to come. I want to send him now to learn a trade. Ludwig and Karl (Rosa's other sons) are still in school. They will have a hard time this winter because they have no winter clothing.
Day before yesterday my employer called for me, saying he had very pleasant news for me, and he gave me a letter from Wagner in Pest (Budapest).
Dear brother, if we could walk over the wide ocean to you, we would do so. I feel I could die easier if only I could see you again. We haven't seen each other for such a very long time; it hurts me for us to be so very far apart. I would love to talk with you and also to complain about my problems. are you truly happy in America, dear brother? Wagner writes that you are homesick for your homeland. Farewell, dear brother, and many greetings to you all. We kiss you many times. Truly yours,
I await your answer with great longing.
I send many kisses, write soon.
I don't know what happened to Rosa after that . . . Henry and his wife landed in New York (in 1846). Their first child, a daughter, Sophia Eugenia died in New York in 1847. They moved to New Jersey, then to Pennsylvania where William (1848), then Henry (1849) were born. They left Pittsburgh, traveled down the Ohio River to Mississippi, then down the Arkansas River to Little Rock where they settled in Pulaski County, Arkansas. They remained there during the Civil War - while Arkansas was under martial law. All of Little Rock became a military base camp; with a huge hospital and a prison for captured Confederate soldiers. The territory was swept by raiders, supply scouts, guerrilla forces and troops of both sides. Banks became unsafe, stagecoaches ceased and private transportation did not exist. Ex-guerrillas became bandits and Indians reverted to savagery. The southern people were starving - Living in Little Rock became very expensive. Sometimes supper was a corn pone, carefully divided to give each a share. Life in the America suddenly became very difficult.
The Nicolaides family eventually settled down on farm in Caney Creek, Union County, Illinois where Henry (pitured below) died on December 28, 1879.
And just when I thought my life had become difficult!