Merk/Merck and Eberle Letters

A number of German-language newspapers were published in North and South Dakota in the early 1900s. They were used by immigrant Germans from Russia, as well as those who remained in South Russia, to communicate with their friends and families located in the old country and several areas to which they had emigrated. Subscriptions originally cost around $1.50 per year in the U.S. and $2.00 per year elsewhere. This was an economical alternative to postage charges. It appears that 'agents' were used to report the news from the various regions. Most letters report the news from the community as well as from the family. Some of the newspapers are on microfilm at the North Dakota Heritage Center in Bismarck, North Dakota.

My grandfather, Joseph Merk (Merck), posted several letters to der Staats-Anzeiger, his preferred newspaper. Some of them were written in Argentina and others after he arrived in North Dakota. At least one of his sons also wrote to the paper. His brothers-in-law, Felix and Joseph Eberle, were also letter writers. Felix reported from McHenry County, North Dakota, and Joseph reported from Mt. Angel, Oregon.

The Germans From Russia Heritage Society (GRHS) from Bismarck, North Dakota, is conducting a project to translate the letters and post them on their website ( However, membership in GRHS is required to view those letters. These letters present a good picture of the hardships these people endured and the conditions they encountered once they relocated. Because of this, they are a valuable resource for those who want to learn about the heritage of the Germans from Russia.

This page was updated July 21, 2006.