Posted By: Phyllis Hazen (email)
Date: 2/14/2017 at 11:00:19
The Cedar Rapids Gazette
Sunday, 7 August 1932, page 4
Drilled Through 52 Feet Of Rock To Return To la.
Special to The Gazette.
NICHOLS—Mr. and Mrs. William Oostendorp, sr., on their golden wedding day Monday will recall the hardships of their first years of wedded life on the Kansas frontier when they drilled through 52 feet of rock to get back to Iowa.
Soon after their wedding which occurred fifty years ago Monday at Nichols, la., they moved to a farm near Little River, Kan.
After the drought burned out their first crop, the growing of which had eaten up all their savings, the young couple decided to return to Nichols. Mr. Oostendorp contracted to dig a well to earn the necessary funds for the journey. The well, when finished, was 52 feet deep, and was dug through lime stone for much of the depth. Mrs. Oostendorp drew up all the dirt from the well in a bucket and the two labored for fifteen days to finish the job. Later they picked broom corn, and last earned enough to bring them home to Nichols where they located on a farm five miles west of town.
Mr. Oostendorp relates many stories of the hardships which the young couple endured during the several months of their stay in what was then pioneer Kansas. The barn and chicken house on the farm were made of sod, and one day, when Mrs. Oostendorp reached into a high nest to gather eggs, she found instead a large bullsnake. Rattlesnakes were also plentiful in the vicinity, and once while carrying water from the walled-in spring a half mile from the house she encountered two of them coiled on the rocks around the spring.
In 1907 Mr. and Mrs. Oostendorp retired from their Iowa farm and built a home in south Nichols. A few years later they built the home in which they now live. Mr. Oostendorp was born March 19, 1857, in Gendringen, Holland, and came to West Liberty when he was 19 years of age. Mrs. Oostendorp was born Dec. 16, 1857, in a residence which is still standing on the U. S. arsenal grounds In Rock Island, where her father was then employed. For fifty-seven years Nichols and vicinity has been their home. Five children were born to them and will be here to help them celebrate the happy occasion. Mr. and Mrs. Oostendorp also have eighteen grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Mr. Oostendorp during his residence in this community has held many public offices. He was director of schools for many years, president of the Pike township school board for two years, president of the Nichols Telephone company for a year, member of the town council for three years, city marshal for 19 years, and township constable for 15 years.
NOTE: William Oostendorp & Katherine Schlapkohl were married 8 August 1882 in Nichols, Iowa.
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