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Dominica’s Castle

by Wilma Andrews i


Illustrations by Jacqueline Haltom. Jacqueline is a freelance artist, designer, photographer who has illustrated several children’s books featuring the Independence Kansas area. Her art studio is located in Indepencence Kansas where she creates original artwork and displays her paintings, prints and original jewelry designs. www.jacquelinehaltom.com

Dominica’s Castle Copyright © 2008 by Wilma Andrews, Independence KS, 67301 This publication may not be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in whole or in part, in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise without prior permission of the copyright holder. International Standard Book Number: 978-0-943049-01-4 Library of Congress Control Number: 2009900259 Designed by Jim L. Friesen Printed in the U.S.A by Mennonite Press, Inc., Newton, Kansas ii


This book is dedicated to all those pioneer families who made many sacrifices in their lives to settle our great nation and more specifically Independence, Kansas. It is through their dedication, example, and determination to overcome adversity and forge ahead that our nation was settled and is still strong and thriving today. Many of those pioneer families who settled this area of Kansas in the latter years of the 19th century could tell similar stories. Family names that come to mind would be the Jabben, Meyer, Baden, Calflisch and Lange families to mention only a very few. Further, this book is dedicated to historical buffs, and the youth of our nation. May you never lose your quest and curiosity about your family and your history! Learning about our past always helps us become stronger in the future. Lastly, this book is dedicated to all “the dreamers in this world.� Continue to dream your dreams, document your goals and work toward making those dreams become reality. Dreams really do come true.

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Acknowledgments

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irst of all, I would like to acknowledge all of you who, over the years have asked me about the “Belmont House” and asked, who built that house and what is the story behind “Belmont?” I have answered countless times, “it was built by my grandparents, my father Carl, their one armed son, Uncle Glenn and Uncle John. Consequently, I want to thank those who said, “You should write a book about Belmont.” Of course the years went by, I went away to college, married, lived away from Independence for 40 years. When my husband and I retired and moved to Independence, the same question was continually asked. Thanks to my endearing husband of over fifty years, the Independence Public Library Kansas Room and the Independence Historical Museum: I was able to research this story. From my research and memory of stories told to me by my father Carl Tucker Sr. and Grandmother Dominica Tucker: This is a true story.

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Introduction

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elmont is a story about Immigration. It is also a fascinating story about a little girls’ dream. She had heard stories handed down from generation to generation about the Belmont Castle and the Barons and their families who lived there. They had large areas of land and forests. They had wonderful horses and servants. They had everything a little peasant girl could dream about and wish for. I hope you will enjoy this true story about the trials, tribulations and courage our pioneer forefathers endured during their determination to make a better life for their families.

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Table of Contents Acknowledgements................................................................................................................v Introduction........................................................................................................................ vii Chapter I Dominica..............................................................................................................1 Chapter II Felix Decided to Go to America.......................................................................3 Chapter III Felix leaves Switzerland................................................................................... 7 Chapter IV Seeing Land Again............................................................................................9 Chapter V Felix is Stranded............................................................................................... 11 Chapter VI Felix heads Westward..................................................................................... 13 Chapter VII Felix Arrives in Winfield, Kansas............................................................... 16 Chapter VIII Felix Returns to Switzerland...................................................................... 18 Chapter IX Family Settles in Independence, Kansas.......................................................21 Chapter X Dominica Finds Employment........................................................................ 25 Chapter XI Dominica’s Courtship and Marriage............................................................. 29 Chapter XII Life Changes With Three Young Sons........................................................ 32 Chapter XIII Independence Falls on Hard Times........................................................... 34 Chapter XIV A New House For Grandma and Grandpa................................................ 37 Chapter XV Dominica Gets Itchy Feet.............................................................................41 Chapter XVI What Happens to Belmont......................................................................... 43 History of Belmont............................................................................................................ 45 Authors’ Notes................................................................................................................... 43 Chips from the Family Tree of Felix and Ferena Calonder............................................ 49 Chips from the Family Tree of Dzondra and Miranda Tucker........................................51 Mystery of Dzondra Tuckers’ Two Gravesites In Mt. Hope Cemetery........................... 53 ix


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Chapter I

Dominica

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ominica was a little Swiss girl. She lived in the beautiful country of Switzerland. Her family lived in a barn house in the little village of Trin. She lived with her mother and father, an older brother and sister. In Switzerland, many people lived in barn houses. Families who lived in the village like Dominica’s family would walk to the mountain pasture close by and herd their cows from the pasture to the village so they could milk the cows, keep them overnight, milk them again in the morning and return them to the pasture for grazing during the day. The people who lived in the barn houses always climbed the stairs to reach their living quarters. The cattle stayed on the ground level under the families’ living quarters. Dominica was the youngest child in her family. Her brother Chris and sister Barbara usually helped with the milking and herding of the cattle. They were also big enough to help with cutting grass and making hay. Dominica was too small to help so she spent most of the time in her early years taking care of the house; doing dishes and helping her mother cook and clean. In the evenings, her father often told Dominica and the children enchanting stories about Belmont Castle. These stories were handed down from generation to generation for hundreds of years. On clear days, Dominica could see far up into the nearby mountains. She could see the bare remains of what once was the beautiful Belmont Castle. Often, while her mother and father were tending the cattle, she was left at home Dominica’s Castle | 1


to tidy the kitchen and make the beds. She would stand by the window, look up the mountain toward the remains of Belmont castle and dream about living there. Barbara would often ask, “Why are you looking out the window?” Dominica answered enthusiastically, “I was dreaming about the Belmont Castle that was once just at the top of the mountain on that Gigantic rock. I was dreaming about having my very own room in a castle. I would have a canopy bed and I would wear soft velvet gowns and most of all, I would have a pony to ride. Wouldn’t that be lovely,” she asked?

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Chapter II

Felix Decided to Go to America

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ominica’s father was a stonemason. His name was Felix. Her mothers’ name was Ferena. Dominica loved both parents very much but she was especially fond of her father. Her eyes sparkled and she felt the most grown-up when she could help her father with the chores outside of the house. She often argued with her brother saying, “It’s my turn to help daddy.” She would happily trudge out in any kind of weather to help her father. Felix and Ferena worked very hard to provide the basic needs for their family. Felix worked from early morning until evening every day. It was hard work to cut the stones and fit them together to make bridges, houses and all kinds of buildings. Ferena milked the cows, made cheese and cared for the children and the house. She knit sweaters and made clothes for the family sewing by hand. She taught the girls to cook, knit and sew. She did not have a washing machine so she had to carry water to wash their clothes by hand, rubbing them on a washing board. There was no water in the barn house so all their water was carried in buckets from the central well in the middle of the village. Dominica’s Castle | 3


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Job opportunities were scarce in the little village of Trin. There was very little opportunity for work in the stonemason trade. Although Felix tried very hard to find jobs everyday, he was not successful. He needed to make more money so he could buy food, and have clothing for his growing family. One day Felix came home from a long days work. He said to Ferena, “I have heard about a new country called America. I want to go there and see if I can provide a better living for our family. It made Ferena very sad to think about her husband going to a strange new land where everyone speaks English. Felix did not know how to speak or write the English language. It was a very scary thought. Ferena thought about what her husband had just said. Finally she smiled and said thoughtfully, “Husband, if you think it is a good opportunity and we can save enough money for your passage on the ship, you may go. I am sure my mother can come stay with us while you are gone. The children and I will take care of the cows while you are away. When Dominica heard her parents talking about this great adventure, she began to cry. “I can’t bear to have daddy gone so far away and be gone for such a long time.” Felix and Ferena comforted the children and as time went by, they began adjust to the idea; daddy would take a long journey. “We can tend the garden and take care of the house. We will take care of the cattle. Everything will be ok while you are gone,” said Ferena.

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To finish reading Dominica’s Castle, order from:    http://www.tagalongcreations.com    OR    Karen Tucker at   http://www.onestoppack‐n‐ship.com/  620.330.9101  325 N Penn, Suite 104  Independence, KS 67301     

Dominica's Castle by Wilma Andrews  

Dominica's Castle is a story about immigration. It is also a fascinating story about a little girl's dreams. She had heard stories handed do...

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