David & Florence Boutilier

The parents of David Fredrick Boutilier were John Peter Boutilier, eldest son of George Henry Boutilier and his wife, Maria Susana Brown, born October 17, 1843 in Synday, Nova Scotia, Canada. As a young man, he worked as an engineer. He met and married a young Scotch girl, Agnes Russell Fulton, on June 5, 1866. Agnes had come from Shamokin, Pennsylvania, with her uncle, Alexander Fulton, who was involved in mining operations in the Anthraote region of Pennsylvania and Nova Scotia.

In 1870, John Peter, Agnes, and their young children, Maria and David Fredrick, moved to Shamokin, where John Peter Boutilier worked as a mine superintendent until about 1881, when the family again moved, this time to the Britt, Iowa area, where rich farm land was available. Near Britt, he operated a 400-acre stock farm, and took care of other business interests in Britt. The family grew to include nine children, with George Henry, William Fulton, Alexander Fulton, Thomas Samuel, Peter John, Elizabeth Addie, and Delia Frances.

Learning of land opportunities further west, young David, who was then thirty, and the oldest child, accompanied C.A. Stubbins, land agent and banker, to North Dakota to explore the possibilities of settling there. Dave, along with other representatives from the Britt colony, believed this to be a land of opportunity, returning to Britt to persuade his parents of what they were looking for. The family began liquidating their property in Iowa, making plans to move westward.

In the fall of 1899, brothers, William Fulton, Alexander Fulton, and Thomas Samuel, worked their way westward, threshing through Minnesota, arriving at their original homestead southeast of Granville, North Dakota.

Here, they began to prepare for the rest of the family to join them. First, they built a dugout for the horses, buying hay from a Mr. Rensla who had a homestead to the south. The boys hauled lumber from Velva with wagons and horses to prepare a house for their parents, John Peter and Agnes, as well as their brothers and sisters.

Early in 1900, John Peter Boutilier and sons, David and Peter, were passengers on the immigrant train that came from Britt carrying machinery, animals, seed, and whatever else might be needed by the homesteaders.

That spring, sod was broken and some crops were planted. Later in the year, when the house was made more livable, Mother Agnes and daughters, Bessie and Delia, arrived by train. The other daughter, Maria, was already there with her husband, Jason Geddes, who had also come from Britt to file a homestead claim. The other family members all filed on homesteads, raising crops in 1900, 1901 and 1902.

David Boutilier returned to Iowa and married his sweetheart, Florence E. Manuel, on November 12, 1902. He returned with his wife to his homestead, which was adjacent to John Peter's.

David and Florence Boutilier had three children: Esther Pearl, David Manuel, and Russell Edward, all born at the family farm.

David died in 1974, and Florence died in 1952, just five months short of their 50th wedding anniversary.

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