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Howard County IAGenWeb
George W. Borst Family

collected information
Submitted by Betsy Wright on Oct. 28, 2019

What was life like for a widow and her only child in Elma, Iowa, 1901? The following material gives a picture of that time. It includes school compositions by a 17-year old George William Borst (b. October 12, 1873, d. June 19, 1947.) , and letters by his widowed mother, Charlotte Trotter Borst (b. August 8, 1849, d. December 27, 1925.) The father George Benjamin Borst and wife Charlotte were “the shortest couple in Howard County.” They had met in the church choir. Both had obtained teaching certificates.

George Benjamin BorstCharlotte Elizabeth Trotter Borst
George Benjamin BorstCharlotte Elizabeth Trotter Borst

Their son, Will, also acquired a teaching certificate in 1900. He was sometimes called George Washington Borst for his honesty. Despite the teaching certificate, in 1901, Will attended the Armour Institute in Chicago and became an electrical engineer, later working on the electrification of the railroads of the time. Life was not easy in 1901, but with a mother’s sacrifice and a son’s ability to maximize his opportunities, the true Iowa spirit pulled them through.