Hubbard County, MN

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Submitted by Tim Rovenstine whose wife is Roberta Carol Nagle.

William agle and Lillie Mae Waterman were married in Park Rapids, April 3, 1900. Their daughter, Violet Nagle was born June 3, 1910 and died May 29, 2002 in Oregon. She married Fred Ludhe.

The following letter was transcribed from hand written notes of Violet Nagle. They were found after her death, in the family’s files, and were written in 1968 to her little brother, Richard Nagle, who had asked Violet about their family roots.

[Lillie Waterman Nagle]: Her mother, (our grandmother) was married to a man by the name of Bergren or Bergman. (I can’t remember). It was something like that. Uncle George he was married to a lady by the name of Hattie. Uncle George was a victim of a stroke and was in a wheel chair for years. He was paralyzed from his hips down. He died when you [Richard Nagle] were about 2 years old. I was about 14.

Then grandmother married a man by the name of Waterman. She had Aunt Florence, (Flora) and Mother [Lillie Mae]. She divorced him and then married Grandpa Edison who is buried in Park Rapids. I only remember seeing him once.

The Waterman’s that lived in Park Rapids were related to mother. Do you remember them? I went to school with Byron. 1either them, nor us, ever acknowledged that we were related. I guess it was just ‘shirt tail’ relations.

Mother and Dad were married April 3, 1900. They lived on a farm at Ponsford near the Indian Reservation. They had friends and neighbors of the Indians. Also the Farr’s from P.R were Ponsford neighbors of theirs. Of course you know Mother died in [28 September] 1931. She was buried the day before her 47th birthday. Her birthday was October 3rd [1884]. She was teaching school when they married.

1ow about Dad [William Nagle]. He was born in West Union, Iowa. His natural mother and fathers’ name was Lansing. The 1agle’s adopted him when he was about 1 year old and Aunt Mary was about 3 years old. Mrs. 1agle had been married before to a man named Barbarick. That is where Uncle John came from. Dad left home when he was 9 years old and lived with a family named Bigaulk. Pronounced BEEawk. He went to school for about 4 years but all that was taught was German because it was a German settlement. Then he went to another school 4 years that taught in English. That is why he had such a poor education. In later years, early teens he learned the barber trade and spent one day or so in each town and the small towns’ couldn’t support a full time barber. He got tired of this, and went to work on the farm. [There was 3 divorces, probably incest, adopted kids ran away from home. I think sometimes William Nagle probably came to Minnesota on an orphan train.]

When I was little, (maybe 4 or 5) Grandmother 1agle who was then on a sheep ranch in Oregon, wrote and wanted us to move to Oregon but as she and mother didn’t get along very well, they didn’t go. I never do remember of hearing when she died or anything else about her.

Now about Dad’s [William J. Nagle, died 15 May 1951] natural mother and father. Their name was Lansing. They were not German, as we all claimed, we were of German descent. Just because Dad could speak and write German we said the 1agles were German. Dad even said he was German. But the Lansings were of French descent. They came from a part of France whose hair is dark and very curly and the skin is darker than a Swede. It was called Black French. So that is where the curly hair etc. came from.

I do not believe that Mother or Dad knew where the Lansings were. Dad and Mother were married April 3, 1900. I have forgotten the minister’s name now although I used to know it. It was on a stained glass window in the Baptist Church in Park Rapids [First Baptist]. Mother was baptized in the LIttle Brown Church in the Vale, in Iowa (a popular hymn with that name). When Mother and Dad left the farm at Ponsford they moved to Cresco, Iowa. This was where Frances was born. Then they moved back to Park Rapids where Arthur, Ivan, and I was born. Then we moved back to Iowa again. I was so little that I don’t remember living in Iowa, but I remember very well the day we decided to move back to Park Rapids. We lived in the little house on the hill. I think you would remember it was Bethel’s House. It was back of Lewis’s and East Side School. It was just 3 years later that Grandmother Edison died. She died in March and left her home to Mother. We moved over there and that is where you were born. When you were about 2 years old, we moved to a farm across the road from Hostetter’s. Their son married Doris Johnson. There was only a Mr. H at the time, his wife had died and the son was in the service. We moved to 2 other farms, then to Bagley, and then back to Park Rapids. We seemed to always go back there, as we did have a house to move into.

McIvor’s bought that house I always called home. I know that you remember the kids. The McIvor’s kids father, Asa, had a brother who was in Alabama or Louisiana, wherever the leprosy colony and hospital is. I happened to be there one day when they got a letter from him. They told me about him.

You’ll find many mistakes in both spelling and grammer, I am sure it is hard to write memories and think grammatically at the same time.

Right now I can’t think of anything else about “Our Roots”. But if you have some questions, I’ll try to answer them. Just thought of something, Oh, yes, Aunt Florence was married to a man who’s name was Lee Greenbaum. He was a Jew, and owned a large grocery store. Aunt Florence died in a car accident out west here, not Oregon about 1934 or 1935. They had one adopted girl named Helen, whose birthday was January 25th. She was 1 year older than Ruby who was born January 30th.

Frances birthday was March 7th, Arthurs Birthday Sept. 26th, Irenes, Chuck’s mother was Sept. 18th, Ivah’s April 20th, Violet June 3rd, George July 27th. Debbies July 24th, Dick 1agle Oct. 20th, Dad’s birthday was Aug 17.

About Bill Fox, we always called him Billy or must not have remembered that he didn't have arms or hands from his elbows down. I noticed in Don Wright’s letter to you he mentioned how neat he ate. This is his story, when he was a teenager, the train made it's 1st stop in Park Rapids,* there was a big celebration (do you remember the canon in the park?) Well, to celebrate the new train making it's first stop in P.R they decided to shoot off the canon. Billie was helping with 2 other teen age boys, and something went wrong and blew off Billies hands and arms. One of the other boys I think was Zimbrick a brother to the one that lived across from the Eastside school, got an arm blown off at the elbow and the other arm at the shoulder. I saw him just once that I remember. The other boy lost his arms and a leg. I never did see him and I don't remember his name, though mother told me once what it was. I can remember the 1st time I saw Billy I was three. He was helping dad bring (move) a single room to add to ours. Upon the hill, past the Howard’s garden, where Bethel’s lived. The building was on skids and Billy Fox was driving the horses. I've never seen such beautiful horses. A matched pair of Dampled Greys. I RA1 inside and told mother THE MA1 HAS 1O ARMS. She told me he hat to eat like a cat, like a kitty because he couldn't hold a fork, a cup or a spoon. She said kitty, because we had one, and didn't have a dog.

Yes, I remember Ira Robinson's orchard. He was always talking about them, but never gave away fruit from his orchard. He always kept his gun loaded, all the kids were afraid of him. Once he asked Dad if he could marry Frances. She sure kept out of his way after that, but of course dad said 1o. And boy did that ever make him mad. He had a terrible temper.

Yes, I remember the Zimbricks, but when I went to East Side School, Mr. Bailey was the janitor. That is the Mr. Bailey that had the laundry, he didn't have it at the time. I remember swimming in the hole. One time when I was home, I took you and Chuck there to swim. Chuck fell on his head, I had to go in all dressed and grab him out. The place where the rest of us swam was by East end of the bridge.

I do not remember Oliver Plummer’s surgery. That must have been after I was gone to Walker. Mr. Bemisful was after I left P.R so I didn't know what happened.

Yes, I remember Mrs. Warner’s knees and legs. Her knees were close together and her legs far apart. She looked like as if she was upside down. I always thought it might be a curse by malnutrition. 1o one knew much about food eating for health in those days.

Yes, I remember Mrs. Buss. They adopted 2 boys when the oldest one was about 10 and the youngest was about 8. They never took the Buss name so I can't remember their other names.

*The photo is posted in the history room of the Hubbard County Historical Society, and is also discussed in one of the soft cover histories of Park Rapids. The first train in PR arrived about 1894.
~Peter Wilson

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    Last Updated:  03.08.2016