St Croix River Road Ramblings

Welcome to River Road Ramblings.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Lagoo Family

In thinking about Memorial Day 2015 at the Wolf Creek Cemetery, some of the SELHS members suggested we take the 5 Lagoo brothers who were World War II veterans from Wolf Creek.  Back in 2005, one of the family wrote up a history for the River Road Ramblings Newspaper column.  

The photos and information about the Lagoo family from Marlys Swanson Sacia.   

Orvil Widvey's painting of the Lagoo House at Wolf Creek

Joe Lagoo -- father.  He was, according to his daughter, 1/4 Chippewa.

Mother -- Scandinavian Amanda Peterson Fors 

The Lagoo sons were Albin, Eldie, Edwin, Andy and John.  Daughter Alice was one of the original members of the Sterling Eureka and Laketown Historical society.  Her daughter Marlys has done much family history and provided me with the photos and a writeup of the family back in 2005.  

Here is part of it
Lagoo Family History -- Marlys Sacia
 My mother, Alice Lagoo Swanson (1921-2003) was a charter member of the Sterling Eureka and Laketown Historical Society.  She had always been interested in local and family history.    Much of the following information is from her memories of stories told to her by her father, Joe Lagoo (1877-1951).  More recently I have filled in some bits and pieces by doing a little Internet research.  

  Decedents of the Lagoo (Lego, Legault Deslauriers, Deloria) have lived in northwestern Wisconsin since the mid 1800s.  Oliver (Levi) Legault Dit Deslauriers was born in Montreal, Canada in 1818.  His wife, Charlotte, was born in 1822 and we believe was from the Cadotte family of Chippewa’s from Madeline Island, Wisconsin.  Church records indicate that they were married by Father Barage on Jan 6, 1839 at La Pointe, WI.   Oliver was a hunter and trapper and some sources say that he was a party to the treaty at La Pointe.  

The name Lagoo is probably a phonetic spelling of the French name Legault.  The many variations of the last name make tracing family history confusing.  Each generation  used many of the same first names.  This adds to the confusion of keeping track of who was in which generation or branch of the family.  I think that Oliver and Charlotte had at least six children.   Benjamin (Sophia Cadott,), Levi (Sarah Martin), John (Mary Shambo), Mary (Jack Arbuckle), Vitaline (Joe Powers), and Elizabeth (John Mitchell).  Elizabeth (Lizzie) was a baby when they traveled to this area.  Her daughter, Hattie Mitchell Nelson, told the story that her mother was riding in the back of the wagon and bounced off.  Fortunately they had not gone too far before noticing that she was missing.  

We assume that Oliver (Levi) and Charlotte lived in this area for a while since most of their children originally had some ties to this area.  However, we do not know where Oliver and Charlotte were living in later years or where they are buried.  A Levi Lagoo is listed on the tax rolls at St. Croix Falls in 1849.  His property was valued at $50 and he paid a tax of thirty-five cents.    Son, Benjamin once lived in the Town of Sterling probably around the area now known as Lego Creek.  His son, Levi, lived near Cushing but moved to Federal Dam, MN.  Daughters Mary and Vitaline married and lived in the area of the Clam River.  Lizzie raised her family in the Taylors Falls area.  John (Joe Lagoo’s father) married Mary Shambo on December 1866 in Polk County.  

It is interesting to note that John’s last name is listed on the Polk county marriage records as Deloria while his brother Benjamin who was married that same year uses the name Lego when he married Sophia Cadotte.  By 1879 when John homestead 160 acres in Eureka Township (North West quarter of Section twelve in Township thirty five, north of Range nineteen West in the District of lands subject to sale at Falls St Croix, Wisconsin, containing one hundred and sixty acres), we know that John was using the name Lego because that is what is on the homestead certificate.  John’s three children who died at a young age are buried in the Pleasant Hill Cemetery and the name Deloria is on their stone. We believe that Mary is also buried at Pleasant Hill but there is no marker.  Mary’s Mother Charlotte and Charlotte’s second husband, John Rice, are buried in the Wolf Creek Cemetery.  John Rice and his son Tusang were Civil war Veterans.  

John and Mary had seven other children.  Benjamin, Frank, Joseph, Albert, Nira, Lottie (Charlotte), & Maude.   John and Mary and four of their children are listed in the 1880 United States census as living in Eureka, Polk, Wisconsin.  

An old news clipping written by E.E. Husband in 1953 about Polk county wild game stories relates that  “John Lego, Sterling, sold 19 deer to P.B. Lacy, St Croix Falls merchant, in January 1873.”  Husband also says that  “Wild game was legal tender in pioneer days.   J. N. Johnson of Osceola sold and shipped 5,000 pounds of venison in December 1877.  Markets called for the best of meat and old timers have told about hauling just the saddles or hind quarters, to Stillwater.”  John Lagoo was a farmer, hunter, trapper, and also worked in the woods.  After his wife, Mary, died, John sometimes lived in the area of Cloquet, MN, where he had another daughter, Rose Lagoo Ritchie.  He died there in 1914. 
    Of  John’s children, only Joe Lagoo remained in this immediate area.    Alice thinks that her father attended a school call the Nash School in the Eureka area.  Joe married Amanda Fors (1893-1978) (her parents, Vedick and Wilhelmina, came here from Sweden in the early 1880s and sometimes used the name Peterson) in 1911 in the town of Sterling.  Marriage records show that they were married by George E. Wilson, Justice of the Peace in and for the County of Polk.   
    Joe and Amanda raised seven children in the Town of Sterling.  (Albin, 1911-1977;  Eldie, 1914-1976;  Edwin (nicknamed Dick because he had blue eyes like his Swedish Grandfather, Vedick), 1914-1984;  Andy, (nicknamed Buck because he favored his Indian ancestry) 1916-1985;  Alice, 1921-2003;  John Levi, 1924-1997;  and Mary who was born in 1920 and now resides in the Good Samaritan Home in St Croix Falls.)  They lived in various places around Sterling but lived the longest in the home where daughter Alice and many of her siblings were born.
            As a teenager (early 1930s), neighbor Orlow Widvey painted a picture of the Lagoo Home.   He used a Holly Sugar bag for the canvas of the oil painting.  About 25 years ago Orlow gave the painting to my mother Alice Lagoo Swanson.  Another old neighbor and rural mail carrier, Wally Peterson, made a frame for it from old barn boards.    The home was located at the southwest corner of River Road and Sunny Acres Lane.  Looking at the painting of the small home now, it is hard to imagine nine people living there.  Alice remembers it having a kitchen and living area and a small bedroom downstairs. A screened porch offered some relief in the hot summers of the 1930s. Upstairs there were two small attic rooms, one for the older boys and one for Mary, Alice, and baby brother Levi.
Mandy and Joe didn’t actually farm but always had a big garden and raised a few animals.  Sometimes Mandy sold butter and eggs.  Mandy was often called upon by a neighbors to help deliver a baby and would sometimes receive a pig or lamb for payment Mandy’s mother was also a midwife.    Joe worked at Nevers Dam and also the WPA (Works Project
Administration) in the 1930s. Some of the boys worked for the Civilian Conservation Corp during the depression.  Money that they earned was sent home to help out the family.  Alice also remembers that a couple of her brothers rode the rails out west to try and find work.  All five boys served in the military during World War II.   Joe and Mandy never owned a car.  They used horse and buggy as their transportation around the area until their horse, Babe, died in 1942.
            In the mid 1940s they bought the Hanson place on the corner of G and River Road.  At that time County G did not follow its present path.  There was a road between the house and the creek.   Some history says that this property was once the location of one of Wolf Creek’s two Black Smith shops.  A wooden dam on Wolf Creek was located just south of the property.   Great grandson Brad Swenson and his family now live on the property.  There was an old barn near the location of Brad’s garage.
            Mandy worked hard but always had time to have fun and to be a good neighbor.  She was known in the area for doing monologs at various community functions.  She cooked delicious simple meals.   She was probably happiest working at or sitting in the corner by her old wood cook stove.  There was always a pot of beans, fresh baked biscuits, and snickerdoodle cookies for who ever might stop by. 
             There wasn’t a well on the property so drinking water was hauled from neighbors in cream cans.  A pail and dipper sat on the kitchen counter right next to the cookie jar.  No one seemed to mind that everyone drank from the same dipper.  Milk came from a quart jar from a neighbor’s farm.  A telephone call could be made by going to Roger’s Store where you could also get a huge ice cream cone for a nickel.  Water from the rain barrel was used for washing.  The wringer washing machine that sat on the porch was a

 luxury that was not available until electricity became common place in the 1940s.   The many inconveniences were just an accepted way of life and Mandy made everyone feel comfortable in her humble home.   

1910 US Government Hearings on the NW Wisconsin Indians. From book:  Page 628
   (Mary Lagoo Arbuckle)
Mary Arbuckle, a Bad River Indian, having been first duly sworn by the chairman, testified as follows:
Mrs. Arbuckle. My name was Mary Lague before I was married.
The Chairman. Where were you born?
Mrs. Arbuckle. I was born up to Marion.
The Chairman. In Minnesota.
Mrs. Abbuckle. Yes. sir.
The Chairman. You are of Indian blood?
Mrs. Arbuckle. Yes; I am a half breed.
The Chairman. Of what tribe?
Mrs. Arbuckle. Well, the La Pointe tribe. That is what we belonged to.
The Chairman. La Pointe band of Chippewa Indians?
Mrs. Arbuckle. My mother was born there. She was raised there and married there.
The Chairman. What was her name?
Mrs. Arbuckle. Charlotte Cadot. Her father was Gus Cadot, and ho used to keep the trading posts all over there—La Pointe and Superior. He used to trade with the Indians all the time. Of course, my mother, she was quite young when her mother died. After her mother died then the old folks took her. Then the old folks died, and they put her in the missionary school. Then she was married from there to a man by the name of Lague.
The Chairman. Where was she married ?
Mrs. Arbuckle. At La Pointe.
The Chairman. And then afterwards they went down to Marion?
Mrs. Arbuckle. Yes. sir.
The Chairman. Did they live there long?
Mrs. Arbuckle. No, sir; I was not a year old when they moved there. They moved up to the Falls.
The Chairman. St. Croix Falls?
Mrs. Arbuckle. Yes; St. Croix Falls on the Wisconsin.
The Chairman. On the Wisconsin side?
Mrs. Arbuckle. Yes; the Wisconsin side.
The Chairman. How long did they live there?
Mrs. Arbuckle. They lived there until I was quite a girl. I guess I must have been about——
The Chairman..Where did you move to then?
Mrs. Arbuckle. From there we—well, we lived there on along until she raised her family, and then we were on a farm a little ways from there.
The Chairman. How long have you lived here at Odanah?
Mrs. Arbuckle. Well, it is going on eight months since we moved up here.
The Chairman. And you moved up from St. Croix Falls?
Mrs. Arbuckle. Moved from Shell Lake; about 11 miles from Shell Lake we had our farm, and we sold our farm.
The Chairman. Is your husband a white man.
Mrs. Arbuckle. Yes. sir; he is a white man.
The Chairman. And you have never been put on the rolls here?
Mrs. Arbuckle. No, sir; not here, but in Shell Lake; there was an agent there, and he called up all of the Indians, you know, there that belonged there.
The Chairman. That was Mr. Allen, wasn't it?
Mrs. Arbuckle. Yes, sir. That belonged up here, and so
The Chairman. Have you ever applied to the council or committee up here?
Mr.s. Arbuckle. No. sir; I did not. 1 was going to. I came downhere when they were holding the council, of course, and I asked about it.
The Chairman. Your name is on the Allen list.
Mrs. Arbuckle. Yes; it was down there.
The Chairman. That is all, I guess.
Mrs. Arbuckle. So they didn't have time to bother with me, they were putting down other names, and I have got my two girls I would like to put on.
The Chairman. Aren't they on the Allen list?
Mrs. Arbuckle. Yes, sir: I think they are. Here is the paper that was made out [producing a paper].
The Chairman. All you .can do here is to give this evidence. If they are on the Allen list then they will follow whatever becomes of the Allen list, probably. We can't do anything except take the evidence.
Mrs. Arbuckle. I think they are.
The Chairman. Are your girls married?
Mrs. Arbuckle. Yes, sir; two girls married. Only one now, and the other one is a widow. She lost her husband.
The Chairman. What was your daughter's husband's name?
Mrs. Arbuckle. Ferguson, and one is named Nell Powers. That is the oldest girl. I didn't have them all on. I don't think. One was John Arbuckle, one Matty Arbuckle, the other one was Joe, the other Lizzie, one Ledy Arbuckle. and Mary Arbuckle. I don't know whether he put them all on or not.
The Chairman. Was Ben Lague a member of your family?
Mrs. Arbuckle. He is a brother of mine.
The Chairman. Do you know where he is enrolled?
Mrs. Abbuckle. Well, I know he was at White Earth, but I haven't heard since. I don't know what he is doing there. I haven't heard from him for years, only what I get from other people that goes over there.
The Chairman. That is all, I think.

Mr. Beaulieu. Well, with regard to the Mille Lac Indians; I represented them about twelve years. I looked after their interests, and I wanted to ascertain where they were living, but during the last twelve years I had a great deal to do with (heir removal; that is, I assisted them to select allotments after they removed to White Earth. In fact, up to this week I gave an estimate to the Chippewa Commission, just before I left—and I arrived in Mille Lac on Tuesday night, where I have been to look after the interests of those Indians, and. of course. T inquired where the Indians were. I knew them. I knew most of the families. ;ind I have a list that is an original list, an enrollment list, and I inquired where they were—and I will say that this is this family allotment—and the Indians would tell me, that they were living at Tamarack or at Sandstone. They called the St. Croix River 'Kechesebe.’ and they say they live on both sides of the river.

SenatorPage. Did you ascertain where they lived, how they existed fifty or sixty years ago, or did you make our investigation to cover the present time ?
Mr. Beaulieu. No, sir; there were a good many Indians who claimed to belong to Mille Lac. and in 1902 there was $40,000 paid to them for their improvements, and at that time those St. Croix Indians claimed that some of their relatives and parents lived there and that they were heirs to the improvements that had been made there, and at that time I looked it up and found out that those Indians lived all along Snake River and the St. Croix.