Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthFebruary 28, 1897
Place of BirthRat Portage, Ontario
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinJohn Hedlund, Eveleth, Minnesota
Service Details
ForceUS Army
Address at EnlistmentEveleth, Minnesota
Date of EnlistmentOctober 20, 1918
Age at Enlistment21
Death Details
Date of DeathFebruary 14, 1973
Age at Death75
Buried AtRest-Haven Memorial Park, Eugene, Oregon

Hedlund, Carl

Carl Gustaf Edward Hedlund was born on 28 February 1897 in Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora) in northwestern Ontario. Both of his parents were from Sweden, his father Johannes Gustafsson from Bäck, Skaraborg in Västergötland, while his mother Hilda Karlsdotter was from Fredsberg, also in Skaraborg. With the encouragement of the Swedish government back in the day to adopt new surnames to steer away from the many people with the same name, by the time that he immigrated in 1890, Johannes was going by the name of John Hedlund. His mother, anglicizing her name to Hilda Carlson, immigrated in 1893, with the couple marrying on 19 December 1896 in Rat Portage. Son Robert John was born in Rat Portage in 1899. At the time of the 1901 Canada census, the family was listed as living at the Sultana gold mine on Lake of the Woods, Rat Portage/Kenora on the shore of the lake. The mine thriving at the time, along with other mines in the area they had attracted many immigrants to work as miners.

A short time after the census the family relocated to the Eveleth area in northern Minnesota in the United States. Iron ore was discovered underneath Eveleth in 1895, with the town relocating to its present site in 1900 so that the ore could be mined. Eveleth’s population increased dramatically between 1900 and 1910, with Scandinavian settlers arriving in large numbers, including the Hedlunds. A third child, Philip Arthur, joined the family in 1901. At the time of the 1910 US census John was listed as a craneman in the iron mine and in later censuses as an engineer. Carl and likely his brothers were also to work in the mine.

Carl signed his WW1 US Draft registration card in the spring of 1918 in Eveleth. At the time he was working for the Oliver Iron Manufacturing Company in Eveleth and gave his father John as his nearest relative. Although the details of his service are unknown, according to his US Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File, he enlisted on 20 October 1918 and was discharged from service on 14 December 1918.

On 10 April 1925, in nearby Duluth, Carl married Margaret Gilpin. Born on 24 April 1893 in Cloquet, another community in the area, Margaret was the daughter of Louis Gilpin, a saw mill filer, and Ann Bella Simons. Both of her parents were from Pennsylvania where they had married on 29 October 1885, Louis living in Minnesota at the time.

By the time of the 1930 US census, Carl and Margaret were living in Racine, Wisconsin, with Carl working as an instructor at a vocational school. They had given birth to son Lewis and would later give birth to daughter Ann. The family lived in Racine for a number of years, with Carl working as a teacher in the public school system and Margaret later working as a superintendent for the city Board of Vocational Education. A 1952 city directory also had Carl working as an Air Force coordinator.

In 1964 Carl and Margaret moved to Springfield, Oregon, a suburb of Eugene, where their daughter Ann and husband James Rodriguez were living. Margaret died on 22 February 1966 in Springfield followed by Carl on 14 February 1973 in Eugene. At the time of his death Carl was survived by his son Lewis in Aptos, California, daughter Ann and family in Springfield, three grandchildren, and his brothers Robert in Fort Myers, Florida and Philip in Eveleth, Minnesota. He was predeceased by his father John in 1927 and mother Hilda in 1931, both in Eveleth. Carl and Margaret are interred in the Rest-Haven Memorial Park in Eugene.

By Judy Stockham

Grave marker photograph by Rebecca Boardman,