Apr 15, 2021 - Sale 2564

Sale 2564 - Lot 341

Estimate: $ 500 - $ 750
(WEST--TEXAS.) A.G. Campbell. Letter by a patient taking the water cure at Kapp's Hydropathic Clinic. Autograph Letter Signed to J.S. Hoyt in Hays County, TX. 3 pages, 9 1/2 x 7 1/2 inches, on one folding sheet, with address panel on final blank with manuscript "5"; short separations at intersections of folds. Sisterdale, TX, 4 June 1854

Additional Details

Sisterdale was a predominantly German settlement in the Texas Hill Country, founded in 1847. One of its earliest businesses was a water-cure clinic founded by philosopher Ernst Kapp (1808-1896), who had just recently fled Germany as a political dissident and became the locus of a community of free-thinkers and abolitionists. One of his patients here offers detailed commentary on this interesting time and place. He begins with a discussion of his health: "I cannot say since the first excitement has fully subsided that there is any perceptible improvement in my general health other than an increase of strength & cheerfulness. . . . The doctor says that the treatment has not yet brought my condition to what he calls a crisis, but says with apparent confidence that all my symptoms are favorable & that a crisis is near, after which my progress to health shall be both rapid & certain. . . . You will have but little time to devote to books if you will strictly follow the Doctor's prescriptions. . . . Your outfit must include two blankets, four Osnaburgh bedsheets, a few towels & a syringe." One disturbance to the peace is "rumours of Indian depredations from abroad & even from the immediate neighborhoods of the largest towns."

Moving on to the surprising intellectual ferment of Sisterdale, he explains: "The only question of excitement among the Germans here now is slavery, on which there is a considerable division among the German population of San Antonio, New Braunfels & Fredericksburg. I have attended a party a few weeks ago which in selectness, behavior & taste throughout would do credit to the aristocracy of Jamestown, Va. I was indeed surprised to perceive the tone & cast of the community in this settlement, among which there are men of the highest & best calibratted minds. They are now forming a club which is to meet once a week for the purpose of aiding each other in learning the English language & interchanging sentiments on different & general subjects."