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                   William "Bill" & Ida Eschenbaum

                                    

                                   William (Bill) Eschenbaum, died in March of 1956 in Faulkton, SD
                                                                       Webpage of Bill's family

                        The photo of Bill is the only colored photo the family possesses.  This was taken sometime in 1955-56. 

                                  

                                                                                   Ida C. Eschenbaum

             The photo of Ida was taken about 30 years later while she was a resident at the Shirk Home in Faulkton, SD.

                                                            

                                                                           Taken in early 20's    Bill & Ida

 

                                                  

This is a photo of a water colored portrait of Ida when she was a young teenager.  (13 yrs. in 1908)  She had this on her bedroom dresser while living in the Senior Center in Faulkton.  It is now held by her grandson, John Eschenbaum.  [ The portrait is now 100 years old and needing
some attention.  It is presently in a restorers shop dealing with acid-free matting and attention to the frame.  He says that he can make 'print' copies of any size and or imprinted on canvas.  If anyone is interested please contact me for further details.]

Photo on right is of Bill in his early 20's.  This was in Virgil Hansen's collection from the Hansen brothers estate.

From Ida's autobiography:

William Eschenbaum married Ida Hansen in 1916.  We lived on the Bartley O'Donnell farm for 2 years, then moved onto the H.A. Howard farm and eventually we bought it; one quarter, buying two more quarters later, rented a quarter from Howard.  We also rented a Roseland quarter and a State quarter for hay ground.  We finally bought the Roseland quarter.  We had a hard, but happy life.  Bill was not too well.  He was premature and was a very sick child.   But was a hard worker and after being under doctors care, he passed away at Faulkton Hospital with a combination of leukemia and Hodgkin's disease March 27th at the age of 62 years old.  I had my son Bill (Rolland) & Rosie living with us in the other house on our farm. 

                                                   
                                                     One of two formal photos of Bill and Ida in their youth. 

L to R: William, Ida, Signie Kinsley (Ida's cousin) Back of Ida her brother John and then Herman brother to William (Bill)

Don't know why this photo was taken.  It is not their marriage photo. ( I don't think).  Though it seems that the Hansens and Eschenbaums took photos like this on occasion for no particular reason then to do it for something nice to experience and possess.  

                              
                                 This is a mystery photo of Ida and Bill Eschenbaum standing in the back.  I can not identify the
                                 elder couple sitting.  It appears to be their wedding day and perhaps Ida and Bill were attendants.
                                 From the age appearance of Ida and Bill, I would guess the was taken circa 1915.


Arnold Bellack, 3rd grandchild to William & Ida Eschenbaum  graciously agreed to offer his memories of  William "Bill" Eschenbaum.  These memories were especially appreciated by myself, in that I have very little recollection of our grandfather.  For those reading this, please think of contributing your memories of a family member now passed, as this is the website's main purpose. 

                                        Memories of Grandpa Eschenbaum by Arnold Bellack

"Sorry it took so long for my reply but I had to think on this one.  My mental rolodex had to spin around for awhile.  It has been >50 years since Grandpa passed away so my memories are not exactly fresh!

 

You stated in a letter that Grandma stated “Bill was a good guy”.  Grandma was right “Bill was a good guy”.  Our cousin Larry attended my Father’s funeral and we met at the Faulkton restaurant for lunch. I had not seen Larry for a couple of years. But one thing is obvious - Larry is our Grandpa re-incarnated. I remember Grandpa as being a calm gentle man with a warm smile and a personable demeanor. Larry possesses all these qualities. He even looks like I remember Grandpa. Larry is also “a good guy”. So if you want to remember what Grandpa was like, just visit with Larry for awhile. You will remember.

 

Grandpa would refer to me as “little Abe”. I was tall and slim. He would hug me which was quite pleasing to me as my Father would never do that. He was quite the opposite of my Father as was my Mother. His warmth and my Mother’s warmth came though all the time.

 

I would visit my Grandparents for a week at a time approximately twice a year. This was when I was probably three to twelve years old. A couple of things come to mind. Our Grandfather would always have his morning coffee after the morning chores. It was my time to have coffee with my Grandpa. Grandma would make me a cup of coffee. I believe it was probably 95% milk, loaded with sugar with a splash of coffee for a hint of flavor with a slight coffee color. We (both Grandpa and I) would pour our coffee into a saucer and drink from it. It was a big deal for me.

Grandpa played the accordion. So every afternoon (during my visits) he would drag it out and play some songs. He would also do that on Sunday afternoons when my parents visited his home. My favorite was “You are my Sunshine”. He would play several polka songs and end with “O my darling Clementine”. It was then time to put the accordion away. It was a great time for me. My Mother and I would sing these songs when doing dishes after what we called Supper. She would wash and I would dry.  She would tell me about Grandpa playing these songs at barn dances. She said he would lean back against a wall, close his eyes and play. People would dance to his music until way hours of the night. I do not know how often this occurred but my Mother eluted to it as being quite often. It was just one of numerous pleasant memories she had of her Father.

 

My Mother would tell of times during the depression when Grandpa was working the WPA and also working the farm. He would rise at 4 o’clock in the morning to do the farm chores and then hitch the team of horses and head for what would become Lethem Lake . The team would pull the scrapers that excavated the dirt to form the lake.  He would return late in the afternoon to work the farm.  He would become very exhausted. Mother said he would often drop to the living room floor, fully clothed, to sleep then get up the next day to start all over again.  But – he never lost the farm to creditors as so many did during this time. This is what I perceive our Grandfather was made of!  He was the kind of man who would never give up, a protector of his family and a man who went beyond what would be expected of most other men. I often wonder how many years were taken from this man’s life during these hard times.

 

I remember the farm house burning.  Or I believe I remember it. The memory is what I would describe as an out of focus picture of what I remember it as being. My parents lived on a farm east of Lethem Lake of which I estimate to be within five miles of Grandpa’s farm. I am sure Grandpa’s farm neighbors drove from farm to farm alerting everyone of the crisis and recruiting assistance to fight the fire. I believe my parents would have been one of the first people to arrive.  I remember my Father stating the flames were to hot to enter the house. My Uncle Bill tells the story of how he lifted the cream separator, ripping the screws loose that held it to the floor, and carrying it from the house.  The next day he could not pick it up. His adrenaline must have been pumping!  My Father Dad did not believe I could remember that far back until I proved it to him by drawing a diagram of the house we were living in at that time with the location of the furniture.  I also drew a rough diagram of Grandpa’s farm house that burned. Our memories do go back sometime.  I remember sitting in the car, watching the fire, and my Mother crying.  I could not stand to see my Mother cry and I would usually start crying also.

 

I grew up with a speech impediment with stuttering and was a very nervous child who would become very distressed when faced with adversity.  I still face this problem from time to time. I used to hate that until my Mother told me my Grandpa occasionally stuttered and my Grandmother would conduct most of the business transactions due to Grandpa becoming nervous and stuttering. I would then shrug off this problem because if my Grandpa did it then it was OK.  It gave me strength when I needed it. This may be part of my Grandpa’s personality in me.  Like the old saying goes “the apple does not fall far from the tree”.

 

Grandpa’s funeral was such a sad day.  My second Father was no longer there.  I lived with him the first year and a half of my life. This was when my Father was in Europe during WWll.  He was always the person I thought about when I needed comforting.  I remember sitting between Delynn and Larry trying not to cry.  Our parents put us together for reasons I cannot remember.  I could not contain myself and I remember breaking down. I lost the second closest person to me. My Mother was the first.  

 

I was closest to Grandpa.  Perhaps it was because of my age. Grandma was close to me when I was young but we seemed to drift apart when I got older. I guess I was busy making my life and forgot to stay close to those who were part of making my life.  I regret that!  I often try to imagine what it would have been like if Grandpa would have lived to be an old man. Would I have remained close?  I hope I would have.  But we will never know."

                     Thanks Arnie.  I am sure many in the family will enjoy and definitely appreciate your efforts.