William "Bill" & Ida Eschenbaum
William (Bill) Eschenbaum, died in March
of 1956 in Faulkton, SD
Webpage of Bill's family
photo of Bill is the only colored photo the family possesses. This was taken
sometime in 1955-56.
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
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
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.