The Fergus Falls Farmer
The early life of Jack roehl
John William (Jack) ROEHL was born on 28 April 1862, the first child of Gertrude and Wilhelm RÖHL. Jack would have been just 5 years old when he witnessed his mother’s rape and murder. At that age, he would certainly have retained some memory of the traumatic experience and the subsequent turmoil in his life. We know that the family relocated to Mankato before he entered first grade. When Jack was six, his father married a young widow, Mary Catherine TONNER. By the time Jack was ten years old, his mother, father, and younger sibling would have died and he would have acquired a stepmother, a stepsister, a stepbrother, a half brother and a half sister. When Jack’s father died on 26 Dec 1870, he was left in the care of his stepmother, Mary Catherine ROEHL.
When he was a young teenager, Jack left home and began to work full time as a farmhand. Over the course of the next 20 years, he built up business interests in livery stables (boarding of horses) and dray line (moving and storage) services in southern Minnesota [Footnote R5-1]. On 27 September 1894, Judge SHISSLER married John ROEHL and Hulda Victoria DALLEUGE in Mankato, Minnesota (see photos above). At the time of their marriage, John was 32 and stood six foot one; Hulda was barely 20 and was just over five feet tall. Hulda was born in September 1874 in Germany and immigrated to the United States when she was 10. After the wedding, John and Hulda lived in Minnesota Lake, Faribault County, Minnesota.
Pictures of Jack and Hulda about the time of their marriage.
The Adult Life of Jack ROEHL
Jack and Hulda had nine children over a period of 23 years:
Esther G ROEHL – Born 11 Jan 1896 in Elysian Township, Le Sueur County, Minn.
Erma ROEHL– Born 2 Dec 1897 in Elysian Township, Le Sueur County, Minn.
John William ROEHL, Jr – Born 3 Nov 1900 in Fergus Falls, Otter Tail County, Minn.
Leona ROEHL – Born 31 Mar 1903 in Fergus Falls, Otter Tail County, Minn.
George F. ROEHL – Born about 1909 in Fergus Falls, Otter Tail County, Minn.
Harry Albert ROEHL – Born 13 Jan 1914 in Fergus Falls, Otter Tail County, Minn.
Gladys S. ROEHL – Born about 1915 in Fergus Falls, Otter Tail County, Minn.
Mildred A. ROEHL – Born about 1917 in Fergus Falls, Otter Tail County, Minn.
Helen D. ROEHL – Born about 1919 in Fergus Falls, Otter Tail County, Minn.
The 1900 census indicates that Jack ran a livery stable and lived with his wife and two children, Esther and Irma, in Minnesota Lake, Faribault County. In 1907 they sold out their interests in southern Minnesota and purchased a dairy farm several miles northwest of Fergus Falls, Minnesota. Jack and Hulda lived on the family farm for 32 years. In 1939 they moved into the city of Fergus Falls because of health problems. On 14 May 1942, Jack ROEHL died at his home (317 Beech Avenue E) from complications of pernicious anemia. He was 81 years old and left 8 surviving children, 16 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren. Hulda lived for another 16 years. She died on 29 March 1958 in Correll, Minnesota at the age of 83. The lives of Jack and Hulda’s children are summarized in the following paragraphs.
JACK AND HULDA'S CHILDREN
Esther G. ROEHL was born on 11 Jan 1896 in the small town of Minnesota Lake in Faribault County, Minnesota (roughly 23 miles northwest of Mankato). When she was 11 years old, her family moved to a dairy farm several miles northwest of Fergus Falls, Ottertail County, Minnesota. The family members attended the Trinity Lutheran Church (Missouri Senod) in Fergus Falls. At that time the services were in German and the men and women were seated on opposite sides of the church.
Esther and her siblings attended a country grade school about three miles from home. In nice weather they would walk to school, but when it got cold, the hired man would drive them to and from school on a horse-drawn sled. After Esther graduated from eighth grade, she spent a year in parochial school, which was held in the basement of their church in Fergus Falls. During that year, she roomed and boarded with a family that lived near the church. Pastor FIRTAG was the teacher for the class of 14 students. Mornings were made up of Catechism and Bible study, all in German. Afternoon topics were in English and included arithmetic, reading, spelling, and writing. On Friday afternoons the pastor’s wife would teach the girls to sew and crochet. Attending a dance at the Ottertail County Fair in 1915 with her friends,
Esther was introduced to a handsome Norwegian by the name of Severt Peter MYRON (1920) (photo right). Severt, born 5 Dec 1878, had actually grown up just west of Vermillion, South Dakota, but owned 320 acres of rental farmland near Fergus Falls. A week after the dance, Severt called Esther for a date and they were married a year later, on 22 Nov 1916. When they were married, Esther was almost 21; Severt was nearly 32. Severt’s ancestors had actually changed their surname from “SEVERSON” to “MYRON” after they had immigrated from Norway.
After their wedding, Esther and Severt lived on his farm west of Fergus Falls. Over the next 20 years they had six children:
Evelyn Winnifred MYRON. (born 9 Nov 1917) Married Ralph Woodrow JOHNSON and had three children: Myron Ralph JOHNSON (born 2 July 1938); Ann Sharon JOHNSON (born 27 Oct 1939); and Jean Carolyn JOHNSON (born 6 July 1949).
Vivian I. MYRON. (born 16 Nov 1919). Married Stuart B CURL (born 4 May 1918) on 4 Aug 1949 in Clay County, Minnesota. Vivian died of cancer in Feb 1971 and Stuart died on 17 Mar 1999 in Avon, South Dakota.
Warren W. MYRON. (born 29 Sep 1924). Married Helen BROWN on 23 Apr 1944 in Union County, Minnesota. Helen was born on 19 Oct 1927 and died on 1 May 1998. Warren and Helen had 5 children: Warren Keith MYRON (born 26 Nov 1944), Craig Woodrow MYRON (born 13 July 1946), David Allen MYRON (born 12 Oct 1947), Lynn Marie MYRON (born 18 Nov 1952), and Julie Kay MYRON (born 24 Mar 1964). Further information on these children is provided in a later section.
Marjorie MYRON. (born 2 Oct 1928). Marjorie died in May 1929 of scarlet fever.
Maryann MYRON. (born 1 Sep 1931). Married Roger JERNSTROM on 29 Sep 1951.
Douglas MYRON. (born 8 Sep 1937). Married Doris /?/ in 1959.
Severt was later injured in a farm accident and he developed Parkinson’s Disease. The doctors thought it might help him to get away from the farm, so the family moved to Vermillion, South Dakota in November of 1939. The family cared for Severt in his home for 14 years; he died on 23 Jan 1952. After Severt’s death, Esther worked as an aid at the Dakota Hospital for 10 years. On 21 Dec 1961, Esther married Harry GUNDERSON. Harry passed away in May of 1968. Esther was always active in her church, quilting groups, and other social groups. Esther died on 12 Oct 1997 at the age of 101.
Warren MYRON, with Craig, Keith & David, 1951
Vivian, Esther, and Evelyn Myron, 1918
Erma ROEHL was born 2 December 1897 in the small town of Minnesota Lake in Faribault County, Minnesota. When she was 10 years old, her family moved to a dairy farm several miles northwest of Fergus Falls, Ottertail County, Minnesota. She married Elmer R ENDERSON (born 30 Aug 1898). Elmer and Irma lived in Fergus Falls, Minnesota. Elmer died in March 1963 and Irma died on 25 Sep 1976.
John William ROEHL, Jr. was born on 3 Nov 1900 in the small town of Minnesota Lake in Faribault County, Minnesota. When she was 7 years old, his family moved to a dairy farm several miles northwest of Fergus Falls, Ottertail County, Minnesota. He married Martha Rose SCHMIDT and in 1930 had a 2-year-old son, Robert. Another son, Willis Duane ROEHL was born 25 Mar 1932. The family lived in Fergus Falls, Minnesota and John died on 27 Jul 1969.
Leona ROEHL was born on 31 March 1903 in the small town of Minnesota Lake in Faribault County, Minnesota. When she was 4 years old, her family moved to a dairy farm several miles northwest of Fergus Falls, Ottertail County, Minnesota. She married B J DIEDERICH and lived in Fargo, Cass County, North Dakota. Leona died on 10 January 2003 in Fargo – just 2 months shy of her 100th birthday.
George F. ROEHL was born about 1909 in Fergus Falls, Ottertail County, Minnesota and died on 16 September 1923 at the age of 12.
Harry Albert ROEHL was born 13 Jan 1914 in Fergus Falls, Ottertail County, Minnesota. He married Alma Ella BESKE (born 18 Jan 1915). They lived on the home farm and had four children:
Susan Mary ROEHL (born 31 Jan 1942)
Cathryn Ann, ROEHL (born 31 Jan 1945)
Stephen Harry ROEHL (born 8 Aug 1948) Married Beth Mardell JOHNSON and had 1 child Christopher Jay ROEHL (born 20 Dec 1976).
Ann ROEHL (born 14 Apr 1951) Married Dean SWANSON.
Gladys S. ROEHL was born about 1915 in Fergus Falls, Ottertail County, Minnesota. She married Leo J FASBENDER and lived in Correll, Minnesota. Leo died on 5 Apr 1959. Gladys died on 29 Sep 2017 at the age of 102.
Mildred A. ROEHL was born about 1917 in Fergus Falls, Ottertail County, Minnesota. She married Eugene Walter WILDE (born 21 Aug 1909) on 8 Mar 1935 in Roberts County, South Dakota. Eugene died in Elizabeth, Ottertail County, Minnesota in May 1986.
Helen D. ROEHL was born about 1919 in Fergus Falls, Ottertail County, Minnesota.. She married Walter H. SUNDBERG (born about 1916). They lived in Hawthorne, California.
Opinions and Footnotes
It should be noted that much of the information on Jack ROEHL’s children has been taken from census data, the Social Security Death Index, the Minnesota Birth and Death Indices, and material provided by Danelle MYRON.
R5-1 John ROEHL Obituary, Fergus Falls Daily Journal, 14 May 1942, p 4.