Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthDecember 16, 1887
Place of BirthKenora, Ontario
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinMary Ann Begg (mother), Warroad, Minnesota
Trade / CallingLabourer
Service Details
Regimental Number241533
Battalion20th Engineers (Forestry), 33rd Company
ForceAmerican Expeditionary Forces
BranchCorps of Engineers
Place of EnlistmentRoseau County, Minnesota
Address at EnlistmentWarroad, Minnesota
Date of EnlistmentJanuary 1, 1970
Age at Enlistment29
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathJune 23, 1967
Age at Death79
Buried AtForest Hill Cemetery, International Falls, Minnesota
PlotVFW 3 33 NE Corner

Begg, Julius

Private Julius Begg joined the U.S. Army Forestry Engineers in 1917. He served overseas for more than a year and returned home in February 1919.

Julius was the son of William Charles Begg and Mary Ann Muggaberg. William was likely born in the Red River Settlement, which became part of the province of Manitoba. His father, Duncan Finlayson Begg, was Scottish Métis and he worked for the Hudson’s Bay Company as a blacksmith, interpreter and trader. Julius’ mother, Mary Ann Muggaberg, was also from the Red River Settlement. Her father was born in Norway and her mother was Scottish Métis. During the 1870s and 1880s both the Begg and Muggaberg families moved to northwestern Ontario and settled in the Rat Portage area.

William and Mary Ann were married around 1887 and Julius was the oldest of at least nine children. He was born on 16 December 1887 with his birth registered in Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora). His family’s address at the time was the neighbouring town of Keewatin. Julius was followed by a sister Lillie in 1890 and a brother Frank about two years later. William and Mary Ann moved to the U.S. around 1894 and took up farming in the township of Warroad in Roseau County, Minnesota. Children born there were Edna (1901), Edith (1903), Victor (1906), Helen (1908) and Cora (1911). According to census records a ninth child had died young but it’s not known if the child was born in Ontario or Minnesota.

The U.S. entered the war in April 1917 and Julius registered for the draft on 18 June 1917 in Roseau County. His address at the time was Warroad and he was an unemployed labourer. He joined the 10th Engineers (Forestry), a newly-organized regiment that trained at American University in Washington, DC. He was assigned regimental number 241533. The recruits left camp on 9 September and sailed from New York on 10 September on the SS Carpathia. Julius was listed as a Private in Company ‘B’ and next of kin was his mother Mary Begg in Warroad. The ship arrived in Glasgow, Scotland on 2 October then continued on to Europe, arriving in Nevers, France on 9 October.

Over the next year the 10th and 20th Engineers established and operated 81 sawmills in France. On 18 October 1918 the two units were combined to form the largest regiment in the U.S. Army, the 20th Engineers (Forestry), which had over 18,000 officers and enlisted men. The Armistice was signed in November and the troops began returning home in January 1919. Julius sailed from Brest, France on the SS New Jersey and arrived in Newport News, Virginia on 1 February 1919. His rank was Wagoner and his unit was the 33rd Company, 20th Engineers (Forestry). He was likely demobilized a short time later and within a few weeks he was back home. Several of his relatives also served during the war including his uncle Thomas Muggaberg and his cousins George Allen Muggaberg, Walter Muggaberg, Duncan Begg, James Begg (died in the war), Louis Lalois and Frederick Lalois.

Julius was married in Roseau County, Minnesota on 3 March 1919. His wife, Mary Johanna Dumais, was born in Manitoba in 1899, the daughter of Achille (Archie) Dumais and Clemence Harrison. Johanna moved to Roseau County with her family around 1902. She had a son, Donald Mack Dumais, who was born in March 1918 while Julius was overseas. After they were married Julius and Johanna had a daughter, Gertrude Marie (1920), followed by two sons, Raymond Dale (1921) and Harold Moses (1923). Sadly, Johanna died on 29 April 1924, when their youngest son was eleven months old.

When the 1930 U.S. census was taken Julius was a widower living in Koochiching Township with his mother and the three youngest children, Gertrude, Raymond and Harold. He was working as a labourer in a sawmill at the time. Donald, age 12, was staying in Warroad with his grandparents, Archie and Clemence Dumais. Julius was a member of Veterans of Foreign Wars. He was living in International Falls when he completed his World War II draft registration card in June 1942. Donald and Raymond both served with the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II.

Julius retired in January 1954 and passed away on 23 June 1967, at age 79. He’s buried in Forest Hill Cemetery in International Falls. Also buried there are his father William (1865-1955), his mother Mary Ann (1873-1965), his son Harold (1923-1988), his daughter Gertrude (Mrs. Clarence Moone) (1920-1999) and other family members. Donald (1918-2005) is interred in Sawtooth Mountain Cemetery in Silver Bay, Minnesota and Raymond (1921-1984) in Oakwood Memorial Park in Chatsworth, Los Angeles County, California. Julius’ grandparents and other relatives are buried in Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora.

By Becky Johnson

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Family photos courtesy of Begg public family tree on

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