Sunday, February 3, 2013

On the Road to Bathgate: I J Foster for Sheriff

I. J. Foster for Sheriff
Circa 1911
We stretch out generations in our family – big time. My paternal grandfather, Isaac J Foster, was born in 1862. My youngest child was born 2005.  Grandpa Ike (who left this earth a couple of decades before I was born) was a farmer and real estate developer, who was active in politics, a church goer and Grand Mason, engaged in commerce (auctioneer and insurance) and devoted to civic life. We know a fair amount about Ike but not so much about Grandma Elizabeth, who spent her life taking care of everything else, plus the 11 children, when Ike was off being Ike. 

I’m researching and writing a piece around my father’s early life, combing the net to find out as much as I can about his nuclear family’s origins and experiences nestled up against the Canadian border. I’m digging deep in my memory banks to recall Dad’s stories. On the net I’m finding tidbits here and there, identifying a long lost relative or two, accumulating maps and pictures and developing images of bygone days in narrative and pictorial form. It’s a labor of love. I’m enjoying the process enormously. It will take a while, but when I’m done I’ll publish an extended piece here, which I expect to supplement from time to time. It’s gonna be a lot more than name, age and place, and it will give my kids a sense of where they come from that they will appreciate for as long as they are on this earth.

In the process I have come across this narrative published in the Bathgate (ND) Sentinel in 1883:

Operating a Dakota Farm

Men who have carefully counted the cost before starting are the ones who hold valuable claims and who are aiding in the development of the country and growing rich from their labors. Dakota is full of poor men who are growing rich but they are men of good, sound judgment, indomitable pluck, and enterprise. This is no place for drones and sluggards. They had better stay away, but for men of limited means, who are possessed of grit and pluck there is not a country on the face of the globe that offers better inducements. Where under the sun can a man obtain 160 acres of rich farming land with six months' labor and an outlay of $500 except on the prairies of the west? But there are persons so carried away with excitement and so devoid of practical reason as to expect such a gift for nothing.

There was a time when to engage with the government to build your future and earn your keep you had to give of yourself and work off your tail. Imagine that! My, things have changed.

1 comment:

  1. I have enjoyed reading all your different "on the roads...". My great grandparents August and Josephine (Justine) Milke Eisbrenner settled in Neche around 1900 and then onto Bathgate where they lived until their deaths in 1941/1933. August was the City Marshall per the 1930 town census. Since I live in California I am unable to research to find information on their time there but your stories have included so much information that is helpful for me finding out more about their lives. Helen_lallo at yahoo