In the early 1990's, a friend gave me a copy of the typewritten letters he had obtained when visiting relatives in Detmold. Although a novice, I began the long laborious task of translating the correspondence and wrote explanatory notes regarding the communications.
The early correspondence was written by Ferdinand Engelking mainly to his mother, but there are also writings to other relatives from the time he boarded the ship in Bremerhaven, which took him to America, until his old age. There is also a letter from his brother during his ill-fated journey to the United States to his mother; diary entries and letters from Engelking’s brother-in-law who, with his wife, another Engelking sister, visited the Engelkings in Texas; from Engelking’s oldest son to his relatives in Germany; and from his widow, born Caroline von Roeder, to her sister-in-law.
There are a couple of places in the series of letters where there seems to be some missing text. Perhaps a page of the original letter was lost and it was unavailable for the typist. Superscripts in the text coordinate with explanatory notes at the bottom of the pages.
My cousin Stephen (Steve) Engelking of Tuningen, Germany, inherited a copy of the rough translation from his late Aunt Leona Engelking and posted it on the Engelking website. After the 2012 Sack Family USA Reunion, he contacted me and stated that we needed to publish this material before the Engelking Reunion in March 2013 at which time a Texas State Historical Marker will be dedicated at the Engelking Cemetery site designating it as a Texas Historical Cemetery. So the month of November was devoted to overhauling the manuscript, rewriting some of the notes, and communicating via e-mail with Steve as he set the text and designed the cover. We believe you will find in this correspondence a very clear picture of the contrast between what was the comfortable life style Engelking left behind him to pursue his dreams in a raw wilderness on the other side of the ocean.
Flora von Roeder,
Houston, Texas, January 2013.