Local author writes ‘The Land Seekers’ | Local News


SPEARFISH – If there’s one thing to take away that Dr William Bosch, author of the new historical fiction novel, The Land Seekers, would like to convey to his audiences, it’s the fact that there is tremendous pain. leaving their homeland and incredible pain leaving behind family members who will probably never be seen again.

“I would like readers to feel the pain migrants go through when they leave their families behind, perhaps never to see them again,” Bosch said. “During that time, most likely, they would never see the people they left behind again and that kind of pain is rare for most people. We leave our families and go to college, but we we have every chance of coming back to see them, even if it takes a few years, sometimes. But these people, when they said goodbye to their families, it was permanent, and they knew it. Now, they never came back to see them. their families in southern Russia, but not all of them did. And that’s what I would like people to feel and understand that migrating to a new country is a big business and not done for frivolous reasons.

Bosch’s The Land Seekers is written about fictional families living in Western Europe, who, when Catherine the Great invited Western Europeans to Russia in the 1760s, accepted it.

“And they migrated, with the help of Russian guides, scouts and financial aid, to the Volga region of Russia,” Bosch said.

At that time, around 25,000 people actually migrated from Western Europe to the Volga Valley.

Bosch’s 330-page novel is the fictional tale of 13 families who have moved.

“And they and their descendants lived along the Volga for a while, as it did in history, until about 1870, and then the Russians started breaking the promises they made at people, in 1760, “said Bosch. “So for these families, in 1883, of course, at that time new generations were born and died, but the descendants emigrated to America, landed in New York, traveled to Yankton, in South Dakota, stayed there for a year while they made some money and got used to the new land, then eventually settled near Ipswich, South Dakota.

Bosch said the reason he wrote the novel is the desire to convey the hunger for land that these people have.

“And the pain of separation from their families that they had to undergo to seek their destiny,” he said. “I wanted to pass this on because it is a whole story that our ancestors lived. One writer said: “They pioneered two continents in the space of a few hundred years. It’s quite unique, because a lot of Europeans who came from America crossed the Atlantic directly and were pioneers here, it’s true. But the German Russians have done it twice. Once went to Russia and stay there for several generations. And then, from there, come here, and again, set up in the open country, so to speak, and develop agriculture and industry in this region.

Bosch, who grew up and graduated from high school in Lincoln, North Dakota, and grew up speaking German, shared his family’s immigration journey.

“My father’s family lived in the Crimean Peninsula, which is again part of Russia, but recently part of Ukraine,” he said. “The maternal side of the family came from a little north of Crimea, in what is now Ukraine, or maybe, though, depending on how the – and then there’s a little piece of land there that is disputed. So, I think my mother’s side was in Ukraine, barely. My mother was born in this country, but her parents grew up in Ukraine. My father was actually 2 years old when he was brought in with his family in 1899.

Bosch finished the novel in July, but it’s not his only published work.

“I also wrote a German Russian history book,” Bosch said. “Which came out in 2014. It was more of a story. It’s a non-fiction book and the title is German Russians in Words and Pictures and it kind of gives an overview of German Russian history. Their migrations to Russia and their subsequent migrations to the North and South American continents. When I wrote my first book, I decided that someone needed to write some kind of outline for this story and this book worked really well, which I like. So I thought about writing a follow-up novel. I wanted to be a writer all my life, but English was my second language, actually. I grew up speaking a German dialect. All my relatives spoke a German dialect.

Bosch is also the author of Russian Agriculture in the 1880s.

A retired math teacher, Bosch said he spent his life wanting to write.

“I only entered the history of German Russia after I retired and thought very little information was available on how our ancestors lived,” he said. “But I was really surprised to find that there are people who know a lot about the history of German Russia.”

Bosch attended North Dakota State University, where he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. He then taught for two years at Northern State University in Aberdeen before enrolling at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, where he received his doctorate in 1970.

“Then I went to the University of Northern Colorado and taught there for 28 years and after I retired a few years later my wife and I moved to Spearfish,” Bosch said.

Since then, Bosch has joined the Black Hills chapter of the German Russian Heritage Society.

“I think more people should study history and, maybe, their own history,” Bosch said. “Because all ethnic groups have an interesting story to tell and maybe we would do well to take a look at what our ancestors went through to get us to where we are. “

The Land Seekers, Russian Agriculture in the 1880s and The German Russians in Words and Pictures are available on Amazon; the latter two are also available at the Western Heritage Center, where Bosch volunteers.

Bosch is also a featured author at an upcoming Western Heritage Center event on December 11, where he will sign copies of all three books, which will also be available for purchase there.

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