Beyond Zoar Valley, Second Edition, by Edna Elizabeth Busekist

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ISBN-13: 978-1-941075-13-5. Total pages: 196.

Kindle Edition ISBN: 978-1-941075-14-2

Beyond Zoar Valley

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About Beyond Zoar Valley

Beyond Zoar Valley is the fascinating biography of Friedarike (Carrie) Meier Busekist, who emigrated from Germany to Otto, New York in 1865. She married a widower, Frederich (Fred) Busekist, who already had two boys and was renting a farm on top of a hill in North Otto, NY. Fred and Carrie lived in a log cabin, raised four more children, and eventually made enough money to buy their own farm and build their own house.

Edna Busekist, a school teacher in Cattaraugus County (New York State) and later a professor at a Lutheran college in Minnesota, was a powerful writer who elegantly captured what it was like for her grandmother to start all over in America and live a very difficult but extraordinary life.

She only had a few copies of the first edition printed, and it is virtually impossible to find. We decided to publish the second edition in time for the Otto, New York bicentennial celebration. And, we've added several appendices of information about Otto, Zoar Valley, and the 150-year Otto celebration (1972). Thank you Ernie Dankert, John and Rhonda Busekist, and espeically Ron Pfeffer and the Otto Historical Museum!

Kindle Readers:

This book is available on Amazon, including Kindle, in December, 2022. The Kindle price is $9.95.

Important note: The links embedded in the Kindle version work properly for the Kindle itself, Kindle for PC, and Kindle for Mac. The links do not work with Kindle for iOS; if you're using Kindle for iOS, please use the QR codes to activate the links.

About the Author

Edna Elizabeth Busekist was born July 19, 1912 on the same farm where Carrie lived and went to the same one-room school that Carrie’s children attended. Miss Busekist graduated from Buffalo State Teachers College. She received her MS degree in home economics from Cornell University and her art degree from Mankato State College.

For eighteen years she taught home economics, English, and art at schools in New York State, including Beaver Falls Union School, Granville, and Little Valley Central School. She owned and operated the “Waverly Tea Room” in Otto, NY for a while. She finished her career teaching at Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato, Minnesota for 26 years.

During retirement, Miss Busekist painted, gardened, and volunteered to teach English to Asian refugees living in the Mankato area. She passed away on July 4, 1999 at the age of 86 and is buried in the Woodland Hills Memorial Park cemetery in Mankato, Minnesota.

From the Publisher...

Beyond Zoar Valley contains the biography of Carrie Busekist and her family.

Last spring, a friend of mine from Cattaraugus High School named Ernie Dankert approached me asking questions about what it would take to publish a second edition of a fascinating biography called Beyond Zoar Valley. Edna Busekist wrote the book about her ancestors, Frederick and Friedarike (Carrie) Meier Bueskist. Fred and Carrie emigrated from Germany (at different times) and settled in North Otto, New York in the mid 1800s. Ernie’s goal was to get the second edition published in time for Otto’s 200-year anniversary (bicentennial) celebration. Edna’s book was originally published in 1984 but was very limited in distribution and is virtually impossible to find.

Ernie hired Susan Diesel to retype Beyond Zoar Valley – scanning and character recognition simply didn’t work on the original type. (Thank you Susan!)

Upon reading the manuscript, I was deeply moved by the elegance and power of Edna Busekist’s writing and by how incredibly difficult life was in the 1870s and 1880s. Edna was a school teacher in Cattaraugus County (New York State) and later a professor at a Lutheran college in Minnesota and was a superb writer. Even after almost 40 years had elapsed, her writing needed almost no editing (which is unusual) or updating.

So, after communicating about this with John Busekist, Ron Pfeffer, and Keith Blatner (all of whom we went to High School with), we all decided that Debbie and I would publish a second edition of Beyond Zoar Valley. Later, John’s sister Rhonda joined the discussions. I started doing research to validate as much of the book’s content as possible and research the geneology of the people mentioned in the book.

This all intersected my ancestry, as my grandfather’s grandfather’s father, Nathan Charlesworth, came over from England in the 1840s to work at a woolen mill in... Otto, NY! The Busekist book got me interested in the geneology of both the Busekist family and the Charlesworth family. Nathan Charlesworth and his wife Hannah had quite a few children, some of whom stayed in the area. Nathan’s son Joseph was in the Civil War. He fought in several major battles, and was honorably discharged after a six-month stay in a Philadephia hospital where he recovered from wounds he received at Gettysburg.

One of Nathan’s grandchildren was named Vernon Charlesworth, and Vernon owned a farm in North Otto that was only a little ways from... the Busekist farmstead!

These connections carried forward, as my parents were good friends with John and Rhonda’s parents, Bob and Mary Busekist, who used to own and operate the farm on Gibson Hill Road that Fred and Carrie Busekist bought. They were also friends with Ernest and Dora Dankert, Ernie’s parents. Ironically, one of Ernie’s ancestors, Minnie Dankert, transited to America on the same boat and same voyage as... Carrie Busekist!

And, when Carrie first came from Germany in the 1860s, she was befriended by a next-door neighbor girl named Anna Botsford, who went on to be the first woman professor at Cornell and wrote a handbook on nature study that is still in print today. One of Ernie’s and my best friends at Cattarugus High School was a young man named... Steven Botsford, who was descended from the same Botsford family group.

We very much appreciate Ernie for starting the project and the many photos that he provided. John and Rhonda Busekist answered many questions and provided some of the photographs. Ron Pfeffer opened up the Otto Historical Society building for us so we could scan some of the photos there and consulted significantly thoughout the entire process. We also appreciate Kathy Mayo's help with geneology research.