February 10th, 1862
Despite the troubles and disturbances of the Civil War in America, I have to inform you that both of my congregations in Frankenlust and Amelith are enjoying outward growth. Besides these two congregations, I have accepted the responsibility of a congregation in Bay City.*
We sigh heavily under the burden of war. The entire land seems to be transformed into a battlefield. Thank the Lord, there were not too many large battles yet. Every battle it seems increases the tension and suspense between the northern and southern states. Besides the Civil War, it looks very threatening that we get involved with a war with England. Presently it appears that England is inclined to declare war against United States. Michigan is quite a distance away from the battlefields. The bloody spectacles on the battlefields are not in our immediate area. The Lord would turn all things to the best.
All commodities that the colonists need are dreadfully expensive. The cost of all cotton and woolen material is double what it was last year. The taxes on the land are expensive due to the war. Last year the Lord in His mercy provided a bountiful harvest so that there is a surplus and everyone has sufficient food for a good living. Without it the misery of the people would be very great, as trade and transportation are suffering throughout the land. The Lord was exceptionally merciful in our area in these troublesome war periods.
The last two years of drilling revealed that a sea of salt lies beneath our area some 600 or 700 feet below ground level. This encourages the capitalists to invest in building salt mines. To operate these mines large quantities of firewood are required. The salt water is very strong.
Thousands of barrels of salt were produced and shipped since this operation started. The cost for one barrel (280 pounds), include the barrel, is one dollar and forty cents. The salt is of a very good quality, fine and pulverized.
Making firewood for the salt mines, plus oak staves for the manufacturing of barrels, was about the only income our people had this winter. A cord of green wood (128 cubic feet) costs one dollar. In the cities the farmers get $1.50 per cord.
Due to the shortage of money in these hard times, our new church is not fully completed. It has to be plastered yet, as well as the altar, pulpit and pews are still missing. Although we have two stoves for heating, we still have to freeze in the wintertime, just as it was in Germany.
* Immanual Lutheran was organized by Rev. Sievers.