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Lake, Alpha dau of George & Sue Lake


Posted By: Wilma J. Vande Berg - volunteer (email)
Date: 4/26/2020 at 17:05:44

Lake, Alpha 1883-1989- George Lake family history
By Alpha Lake

Submitter’s note: This story in the Hawarden Centennial book struck the submitter as valuable in that it describes the pioneer life and time to give insight into daily life, a lovely human interest story.

I am 95, very close to the century mark, and a friend suggested that I write what has happened to me in that time. I think that I have lived through one of the most interesting periods of history if we consider the way we live today compared to a century ago.

I was born on a farm in Dakota Territory. May dad homesteaded a quarter section of land and then bought another quarter form a neighbor who was in a hurry to get out of the country. All the cash Dad had was fifty dollars but the man was glad to get that.

At first Dad plowed with oven, but by the time I came along he had horses. We thought we were rich. We raised just about everything we needed in the way of food right there on the farm; fruit, vegetables, meat, and when we needed flour he took the wheat to the Otis Mill on the Big Sioux River and had it ground while he waited. We even made those big round cheeses like they did in Wisconsin where he was born. Mother canned everything on the hot wood stove in the kitchen. I remember that for awhile she bought “green” coffee berries and roasted them in the big pan in the oven. The Arbuckles sold roasted coffee in paper bags.

We even had our own ice house. I can taste those strawberries and ice cream yet! In the front room was a hard coal heater and on winter evenings we would gather around the ‘center table’ with it’s kerosene lamp and read My sister Agnes was the only one of us girls who could read at the time. We had a book of Grim’s Fairy Tales and it was grim. But if she made a mistake we were quick to correct her for we knew them by heart. I can still repeat some of it. “if I could only learn to shudder!” And we criticize the TV pictures the kids see now. As we got older we progressed to the Louise Alcott books. Our gifts were mostly books.

But I remember a rag doll with a china head. Each Christmas it got a new outfit of clothes and a new head if the old on had not survived. Once dropped it and it hit the stove. I knew I would have to wait till Christmas for a new one, so I picked up the cat and dressed it in doll clothes.

Mother had one of the first sewing machines in the vicinity, but was glad to have the neighbor women come in to use it. She also, had the first ‘store bought’ carpet in the neighborhood. She saved her butter and egg money until she had enough for a carpet and Uncle Will brought it out from Chicago. I remember it was red ‘ingrain’, not very heavy but pretty. She put straw under it for a pad and that had to be renewed every summer. Before that she had a rag carpet. Rags cut in strip and braided by hand.

We did not know what a mattress was until we moved to town in 1893. We had ‘ticks’ filled with straw, fresh each year when the threshing was done. But Mother picked the soft inner husks of the corn for hers. Of course, by the end of the year the filling was pretty will powdered.

Many of Edison’s inventions came along about then years before I did, but they were not used in this part of the country until later. I can remember the first electric lights that came to town. I was nine year old then. They were little bulbs, about ten watts, hanging on a cord from the ceilings. No shades, but we thought they were marvelous.

I remember the first ‘Talking Machine’ I ever heard. A neighbor called us kids as we were coming home from school, ‘we have a talking machine and I want you to hear it.’ And we stood with dropped jaws as ‘Hot Time In the Old Town Tonight’ wheezed out of the little tin horn. Unbelievable!

I can remember my first telephone. A friend had a party and entertained us by letting us use the telephone. I can’t remember who we talked to for there were very few phones in town. But it was exciting.

My first automobile ride was in Des Moines also. A few of us girls paid the owner a dollar apiece to take us down town and back.

My first moving picture experience was also in Des Moines at a nickelodeon. You peeked thru a hole of some kind and there were little men and women moving around. What a thrill! An all for a nickel. Then real movies, the silent kind, then talkies, the radio and television in quick succession.

Gas heat, how much easier to turn the thermostat than to split wood or shovel coal. Air conditioning, I haven’t got that, but it is pretty nice. Airplanes and now rockets that put man on the moon! I think kids now a day have missed so much. They take all these things for granted. To me they have all been thrilling.

(The above was taken form a taped interview by Alpha on Sept. 18, 1978.)

Alpha’s parents were George and Sue Lake, she was born on a farm in Big Springs, SD. She lived on a farm until she was nine years old. She had two older sisters to keep her company, Libby and Agnes. When she was nine years old her father decided to move to Hawarden and purchased a two story home at 1205 9th St. He wanted his daughters to have an education. The home was located across from the school they were going to attend. It was located on the corner where Dr. Eneboe’s home now stands.

On year after they moved to town the school burned down. She said ‘Then I had to walk to the brick block in Calliope. ‘ Alpha said it still stands in Calliope. She graduated from High school in 1902. After graduation she went to business school in Des Moines. IA. She lived in the school dormitory, “Oh! There were bed bugs and no indoor plumbing.”

She worked as a stenographer in Des Moines for many years. Later she got a job in Toy National Bank in Sioux City, in charge of the note department. She worked in the bank for many years.

When her father passed away she returned home to Hawarden to care for her mother. After her mother’s death she lived alone, but was very active in the first Baptist Church. She enjoyed playing bridge and scrabble with her many friends. She did all her yard work unto she was past ninety. After a fall on her steps, she decided to move to Hillcrest Care Center.

She celebrated her 101st Birthday on Aug 12, 1985. Alpha’s sisters were Agnes Lake and Libby Lake March; Libby’s children were George March and Phillip March.

Added by b the submitter.

Source: Hawarden Independent (10-31-1929)
Born: May 18, 1848
Died: October 28, 1929
George Palmer, pioneer resident of Union County, South Dakota and for thirty-seven years a well known Hawarden citizen, died at his home in this city at 9 o’clock Monday evening following an illness of about six months from heart trouble and complications. He was bedfast for about two months preceding his death.
Funeral services were held at the home at 2:30 Wednesday afternoon, conducted by Reverend G.A. Patterson, pastor of the Baptist Church of Hawarden and interment was made in Grace Hill Cemetery.
George Palmer Lake was born at Clinton, Wisconsin May 18, 1848 to Stewart and Myranda (Willis) Lake and died at Hawarden October 28, 1929 at the age of 81 years, 5 months and 10 days. He grew to young manhood in Wisconsin and in 1872 came to Dakota Territory and took a homestead four miles southwest of Big Springs, where he resided for twenty years. In 1892 he left the farm and moved to Hawarden and has since continued to make his home in this city. On October 16, 1878, he was united in marriage with Sue Carpenter, who survives him. He is also survived two daughters, Mrs. Elizabeth March of Vermillion, South Dakota and Miss Alpha Lake of Hawarden. One daughter, Agnes, preceded him in death November 17, 1925. He also leaves one brother, L.M. Lake of Hawarden, one sister, Mrs. Sarah Dennis of Bismarck, North Dakota and two grandsons, George and Philip March of Vermillion.
Mr. Lake was raised in Congregational Faith. He engaged in no business enterprises after moving to Hawarden but devoted his time largely to gardening and looking after matters of the his farm, which he continued to own until his death. He was always a hard worker when his health permitted and honorable in all his business transactions.
Out of town relatives and friends who were here to attend the funeral include Mr. and Mrs. J.F. March and son George and Mr. and Mrs. Philip March of Vermillion and Mr. and Mrs. Lake Larkin and Miss Catherine Crane of Sioux Falls.

Source: Hawarden Independent (4-24-1930)
Born: September 15, 1857
Died: April 18, 1930
Mrs. George Palmer Lake, a pioneer resident of Union County and a long time resident of Hawarden, passed away at her home here at 11 o'clock last Friday morning. Although Mrs. Lake had been in poor health for the past 22 years her death came suddenly and peacefully. It was known that her condition was critical but she was up less than an hour before she passed away and talked with those about her. For a number of years during her long illness she was tenderly cared for by her daughter, Miss Alpha, who spared no efforts in doing all she could to relieve her constant suffering.
Funeral services were held at the home at 2:30 Sunday afternoon with Reverend G.A. Patterson, pastor of the Baptist Church, in charge. Interment was made in Grace Hill Cemetery. Her two grandsons, Philip and George March, her two grand- nephews, Lester Wakeman of Sioux Falls and Gilbert Wakeman of Akron, and J.E. Tilgner and Rayford Anderton acted as pall bearers.
Sue Carpenter was born near Springfield, Illinois, September 15, 1857, and passed away in Hawarden April 18, 1930, having attained the age of 72 years, 7 months and 3 days. She came to Union County with her sister and family in a covered wagon when she was but 14 years old and they located near Akron. She was united in marriage with George Palmer Lake October 14, 1877, and to this union were born three children, one of whom, Agnes M. precede her in death November 17, 1925. Mr. Lake passed away October 28th of last year. After her marriage she lived on a farm four miles southwest of Big Springs until 1892 when with her family she moved to Hawarden. After the death of her sister, Mrs. Mattie Larkin, with whom she came west, she looked after the needs of her six nieces and nephews and was practically a mother to these young children.
She united with the Baptist Church in Akron when a young girl and when she came to Hawarden, she united with the local Baptist Church. Later she united with the First Baptist Church in Sioux City and she remained loyal to her faith until her death.
Besides her two daughters, Mrs. Elizabeth March of Vermillion, and Miss Alpha Lake of Hawarden, she is survived by two grandsons, Philip and George March, and one great-granddaughter, all of Vermillion, and six nieces and nephews.
Out of town relatives and friends who attended the funeral were Mr. and Mrs. Lester Wakeman, Lake Larkin, Mr. and Mrs. Lou Crammond and Miss Catherine Crane of Sioux Falls; Mrs. Gust Johnson of Montrose, South Dakota; Mr. and Mrs. Ed Larkin of Le Mars; Mr. and Mrs. George Wakeman, Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert Wakeman and Mrs. E.E. Mellon of Akron; Mr. and Mrs. Fred Larkin of Vermillion and Mrs. Cora Holten of Sioux City.

Sioux Center News (8-16-1989)
Born: August 12, 1883
Died: August 11, 1989
Alpha Lake, 105, of Hawarden died Friday, August 11.
Services were at 1:30 P.M. Tuesday, August 15, at First Baptist Church in Hawarden with the Reverend Harley Betzolt officiating. Burial was in Grace Hill Cemetery.
Alpha Lake was born to George P. and Sue (Carpenter) Lake on August 12, 1883, in Big Springs, South Dakota, and moved with her family to Hawarden when she was nine years old. She graduated from Hawarden High School in 1902 and went to a business school in Des Moines. She was a stenographer in Des Moines for many years, later working at Toy National Bank in Sioux City. She returned to Hawarden and moved to Hass Hillcrest Care Center March 10, 1981. She was an active member of First Baptist Church.
Survivors include two nephews, Phil March of Spirit Lake and George March of Arizona.


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