Saturday, January 18, 2014

On the Road to Bathgate: The Odyssey Continues

When the sane among us here in Montana travel in the winter, we go to places like Scottsdale and Tuscon, Honolulu, or the Florida Keys, South Beach and Tampa Bay. As for myself, I am planning a trip to North Dakota -- not a remunerative journey like some of our neighbors, who drive over for a week out of every two or three to work the Bakken oil field, but travel for pleasure. The destination is the state capital city of Bismarck to delve into the records of the State Historical Society of North Dakota.

We have documented in our Road to Bathgate series that my father was born and raised in Bathgate North Dakota.  His father (and my grandfather) was I. J. (Isaac) Foster.  His mother (and my grandmother) was Laura Elizabeth Armstrong Foster. There were 11 children who lived to adulthood, with my father the last born in 1909. Among other things, the State Historical Society of North Dakota maintains records of Bathgate newspapers from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. I am hoping to find a treasure trove of family references and lore and to learn more about the founding, rise and zenith of Bathgate.

To conduct pre-research I opened my wallet to get behind the paywall of which has digitized copies available of the Bismarck (North Dakota) Tribune beginning in 1873. It is proving to be quite a resource.

It turns out Bathgate's Fargo connections are not solely with the movie. I learned from the Tribune that in April, 1911 Sheriff I. J. Foster (my grandfather), with local assistance, roped in an embezzler down in Fargo.
Fargo N. D., April 13 -- Scott Hall, wanted on a charge of embezzlement was picked up in the city by Chief of Police Bowers and Detective Overby of this city, and Sheriff I. J. Foster of Pembina.  He is charged with having embezzled funds of the St. Thomas, Pembina County l, lodge of the A.O.U.W., to the extent of $300.
The Northern Trust Co. of this city was on his bond and will prosecute the case. Last November, according to Sheriff Foster, Hall skipped away from home, leaving his wife and children and they have been
providing for themselves ever since. He told the officers when he was arrested that he had just secured a position with the Great Northern and expected to pay back what he had taken.
When he went away from his home he was wearing a moustache, but is now clean shaven. He was treasurer of the lodge from which he is charged with taking the money. It was stated by the officer from Pembina county that he was short with another lodge, the Yeomen, to which he belonged , and was an officer. He will be taken to St. Thomas tomorrow.  
Hall says when he went away from home he went to Montana and drifted from place to place, and that he wanted to get back home again.
I found reference to I. J. Foster's service on the North Dakota Livestock Sanitary Board in the October 28, 1928 edition of the Bismarck Tribune.


Good progress Is Made in Eradication
of Bovine Tuberculosis




Plan Sought by Veterinarians 
to Aid in Eradication of Abortion 


The livestock industry in North Dakota has been a prosperous one and the campaign on the eradiction (sic) of bovine tuberculosis has likewise progressed, it is shown by the annual report of the state livestock sanitary board. 
The report, submitted by W.I. Richards, Dickinson, and W.F. Crewe, Bismarck, executive officer and state veterinarian, was sent to the governor of the state following the meeting of the executive committee here this week. It was approved
by I.J Foster, Bathgate, vice president; Dr. J.W. Robisonson, Garrison, secretary; Dr. D.F. Seed, Minot; W.W. Brown, Amenai; and Dr. A.F. Schalk, bacteriologist and consulting veterinarian, of the state agricultural college.
The last year has shown the livestock industry in this state to be in a very prosperous condition, the report said.  Prices have gradually increased and reached a point making this ranch of agriculture very profitable.  more st sections of the state have been fortunate in having splendid feed crops.  Pastures and ranges have been good, making an economical gain in the raising of livestock.  There have been no epidemics of any serious disease and loss from this cause has been comparatively light.
"The campaign on the eradiction (sic) of bovine tuberculosis has been carried on with splendid cooperation from the stock grower," the report continued.
"The increase in the value of beef has correspondingly increased the value of salvage secured. This has reduced the amount of indemnity paid and left an increased amount of the appropriation available for service.  In many instances animals have sold in excess of the appraised value.

Through my Aunt Margaret, I met older cousins growing up, Bob and Lee Hoskins, good and kind people who I lost touch with over the years. They lived on a different plane. I did not understand how we were related then. I do now. 

By the turn of the 20th Century my grandmother's sister (my great aunt) and brother in law were prominent citizens in Bismarck. My great aunt, Florence M. Armstrong, married R.D. (Robert Dimond) Hoskins in Bathgate, North Dakota, on Thanksgiving Day, 1884. I am fairly certain that the Bob Hoskins I knew was R.D.'s grandson. 

R.D. Hoskins was a lawyer and editor of the Bathgate Sentinel newspaper. When North Dakota achieved statehood in 1889 he moved to Bismarck where he served as the first clerk of the State Supreme Court for 27 years. R.D. was also a merchant who founded in 1898 Hoskins-Meyer, a purveyor of office supplies, flowers, gifts, film finishing, cameras and, at one time, new-fangled radios as highlighted in this September 14, 1927 Bismarck Tribune newspaper ad.

RCA released its first radio designed to operate on AC current in the fall of 1927.  

On the Meyer side I have uncovered the proprietors were Philip Meyer and his wife Etta Hoskins-Meyer (likely blood related to R.D.) who also founded the KFYR clear channel, 5,000 watt AM radio station (the widest land coverage area in the United States of any AM radio station) in Bismarck and later, KFYR TV, an NBC affiliate, which anchors a statewide TV network. It will be fruitful, perhaps even more so, digging into the history of the Hoskins.
Hoskins-Meyer continued as a florist for more than a century. The firm survived the Great Depression, but could not make it through the Great Recession. It closed its doors for good at the end of 2008. 

I sense we are just finding tips of icebergs. The hunt goes on.

1 comment:

  1. Your posts are very helpful to me and to many others who are searching for our ancestors.

    Thank you for your efforts!