Ma Caskey

                Sarah Francis Caskey came, to the Elk Point district in 1908. She was accompanied by her husband Jesse and two sons, Oran and Roy. Oran homesteaded the quarter section of land that Fred McAleese now lives on, his father settled on the next quarter to the west. Prior to this they had lived in the state of Iowa. Mrs. Caskey quickly adapted to the pioneer way of life as she went about doing the many chores associated with early farm life. When a postal facility was lacking in her district she somehow convinced the Federal Government to establish one in her pioneer home. It was called Caskeyville Post Office, and was put into operation on September 1, 1908. It served the many settlers that year. Founded her home She was titled, postmistress of this post office for nine years.

Mrs. Caskey was a motherly type of person who was nicknamed  ' Ma". by one of our early homesteaders. From that day on she was affectionately known to all by that title.

When the Caskeys  arrived in 1908 there was no doctor located in the Elk Point District. The nearest doctors who practiced medicine lived in Vermilion and St. Paul. When it became known that Mrs. Caskey was an experienced .midwife, she suddenly found herself  in great demand. Often she was called upon to aid mothers during childbirth. She also cared for many early settlers who suffered from various minor ailments.

Caskey remained on the homestead until 1917 and then took over operation of a hotel in Elk Point which was built by her son Oran in 1916. This hotel was known as the Caskey Hotel and was located on the lot where Mrs. Beattie now makes her home. It was a two storey wooden structure which had a numerous  rooms on the second floor which were rented to the travelling public. The kitchen and dining room were located on the ground floor. Mrs. Caskey was an excellent  cook and anyone Who sampled her delicious homed cooked meal s  always made a point to return. At one time she served meals for as little as 25 cents. There was no extra charge for coffee, tea, milk, soup and desserts. "Ma" was a generous and good hearted person who never turned anyone away if they didn't have the price of a meal. She trusted that person and in most cases, was repaid at a later date. Although her husband Jesse operated a livery barn across the street from the hotel he had little to do with the hotel's operation "Ma' was very capable of handling this establishment in own friendly way. Mrs. Caskey was a tall, stocky woman with a distinct American accent. She could relate well, to her early years while living in the United States. She always had an interesting story to tell

She raised a family of four sons. Roy being the oldest and followed by Oran, Francis and Ed. Her son Francis was killed during World War 1, and later she adopted a boy which she named Dewey.

Mrs. Caskey remained in the old section of Elk Point until 1928 and then had the hotel moved to our present main street location. For many years it stood on the lot where the Empress Family Restaurant is now located.  Mrs. Caskey remained in the hotel business until 1938 and then sold out to Stan Cromwell. During the next few years it changed hands a number of times and was even used as a bakery by H. F. Martin during the late 1940s.

When Mrs. Caskey retired in 1938 she bought a small home about a block north of our p resent post office. Being a hard worker all her life she found it difficult to take things easy during her twilight years. She had her own circle of close friends which included Mrs. F. G. Miller,  Mrs. C. A .Johnson, Mrs. E. A.Bullis, Mrs. C. J. Markstad and Mrs. Nellie Cromwell. Mrs. Caskey passed away in 1951 at the age of 88 years. -She was buried in our west cemetery.  

She was without a doubt Elk Point's  most colorful woman pioneer. She was a  well-liked person - a true and thoughtful pioneer who made our community a much better place to live in.