Included in the Rieder Anthes family fonds is a unique group of letters. Within the Anthes archives are 28 letters in German, totalling over 78 pages, which were written between 1867 and 1872 primarily from the Carrick and Port Elgin Ontario areas to family members in Baden and New Hamburg in Waterloo County. The letters were found in the donation still tied with decorative ribbons and one can assume had probably not been looked at for over a century. These letters, along with those of the Breithaupt family, are among the earliest extant documents of local German families.
The Anthes family became one of the very important local families in Waterloo County and the surrounding areas in the field of business and manufacturing as well as in local Evangelical churches.
The writer of most of these letters is the Rev. Jacob Anthes (1836-1874), second son of Martin and Catharine Anthes. Martin Anthes is listed in the 1871 census as a farmer in Wilmot Township.
Jacob married Magdalena Stricker (1840-1914) ca. 1857. The 1861 census lists Jacob as a farmer, religion as Methodist, located on land close to his father's. By 1871, his occupation is listed as "preacher" and his religion as "Evangelical Association." In 1867 Jacob Anthes and his family travelled through raw April weather to Carrick Township, near Mildmay, where Jacob was to preach for the Evangelical Association. He had a local congregation but also rode far and wide across the countryside through all weathers to preach to widely scattered congregations. He and his family moved again in 1868 to Port Elgin where Jacob helped to build the Evangelical Association Church. In 1873 Jacob relocated to Berlin, Ontario, now Kitchener, as pastor of Zion Evangelical Church. He died unexpectedly in 1874 at the age of only 38 of what is described as "brain fever."
Jacob and Magdalena were to have six children, five girls and one boy. At least one daughter died in infancy. The letters Jacob wrote home to his family recount with humour and kindness the challenges faced by their family in the wilds of Ontario.
Funded jointly by grants from the Waterloo Regional Heritage Foundation and UW's Waterloo Centre for German Studies, the letters were transcribed and translated by Dr. Susan Thorne whose special skill is in reading handwriting from the 17th century to the present.
Letters dated only with a year are placed in order with others from that year based on relevant information they may provide: allusions to the season, for example. Failing such information, they have been listed last among letters for that year.
|Date||Description of Letter||Comments|
|January 2, 1865||Shoe Repair Bill|
|May 3, 1867||Without a Home|
|June 7, 1867||A Long-Awaited Letter|
|August 30, 1867||Leaving a Child Behind|
|November 19, 1867||Many Meetings|
|December 7, 1867||Financial Concerns|
|February 27, 1868||A Letter Concerning a Sick Child|
|1868||Letter is dated 5th day, without a month|
|September 8, 1868||Household Economics and Building a Church|
|1868||A New Daughter||Letter is dated 16th day, without a month|
|1868||Assemblies and Conversions||Letter is dated 27th day, without a month|
|December 15, 1868||A Sick Wife|
|1869||Several Mennonites Converted||Written early in the year: Ewald's note refers to a meeting coming up in April|
|March 1869||Ewald and Anthes Letters||Probably later than "Several Mennonites Converted" since the number of conversions has climbed to 50|
|July 13, 1869||A New Assignment|
|July 27, 1869||Toothache|
|August 26, 1869||A Fatal Accident|
|November 17, 1869|
|January 5, 1870||Religious Rivalry|
|March 10, 1870||Theobald Anthes Letter|
|June 10, 1870||Request for a Loan|
|November 10, 1870||Sebringville Letter|
|June 12, 1871||A Death and a Burial|
|December 1871||Boots and Shoes Repaired|
|October 2, 1872||Plans for a Visit|
|none||Take the Money Straight to Breithaupt||Undated|
|none||I Will See that the Cow is Fetched||Undated|