About the authors and compilers of this article: John Linn Ragle, is the oldest son of Richard and Jane. Margaret Ragle Carter is their youngest daughter. We have jointly tried to set down our recollections of our parents, with whatever data we could recover. The text and pictures draw from many other sources, relatives and friends, far too many to be listed here. JLR owes special thanks to our second cousin JoAnn Eakin Lewis, and my uncle's wife Elizabeth Sperber Ragle, for their many important contributions.
In 1938, Richard, Jane and John moved from the "lower 48" to Alaska, then a "Territory" belonging to the United States. Alaska was the final addition to a long list of such entities (vide "Organized Incorporated Territories of the United States," an article contained in Wikipedia). It achieved statehood on June 30, 1958. One may imagine this move to be the latest part of a general diaspora, in which the Ragles (Riegels) of Pennsylvania "Dutch" country partook beginning in the mid-1700's. The move to Fairbanks was probably most immediately caused by the economic disaster that has come to be known as "The Great Depression" and its immediate consequences…one simply went where employment was available.
The move to Alaska made many ties to the immediately related family very vague. None of the siblings other than John have any recollection of their Ragle and Hulbert grandfathers, who passed away soon after our parents arrived in Alaska. The constellation of great grandparents, great aunts and uncles existed only in the stories told to us by our parents. Connections to the early colonies, the move westward, the Civil War, and other parts of the American pageant were unknown to all of us.
Synopsis of events:
We present obituaries of Richard and Jane at the beginning of ths story, since obituaries often serve as outline sketches of the significant parts of a person's life, and in this way they fit in sensibly at the start. Obituaries, like other newspaper accounts, may not be 100% accurate, and the facts presented in these also require a little "tweaking."
After writing the short introductory sections, it seemed logical to me to back away from these individuals and present something of their backgrounds. The first subsection presents our greatgrandparents in pictures. Neither of our parents knew any of these people, their grandparents, except by hearsay.
None of my siblings have any recollection of their Ragle and Hulbert grandfathers, who passed away soon after our parents arrived in Alaska. I have faint memories of both of them, but not useful ones: I remember Horace Ragle lying in misery on a couch at 1722 N. Royer in Colorado Springs, recovering from having a number of teeth pulled. Although I have been told that he delighted in reading to me from the National Geographic, the only connection to this fact is the National Geographic subscription which Grandma Ragle maintained until 1948 or so. I also have very dim memories of Charlie Hulbert, an invalid, lifting himself with a chain hoist from bed to wheelchair, and of being told not to play with the hoist.
Richard Charles Ragle: b. October 13, 1908 in Colorado Springs Colorado, second child and only son of Horace Mann Ragle and Carrie Gertrude Davis, d. March 20, 1987 in Anchorage, Alaska. Richard attended Colorado College in Colorado Springs, from which he obtained an MS in Geology. After graduating from Colorado College, Richard was on active duty in the Army in Colorado, Texas, and southern California.
"Richard C. Ragle, a 45-year resident of Alaska, geology professor and Air Force career pilot who served in the Aleutian Campaign, died March 20 at Providence Hospital [Anchorage]. He was 78.
"Born Oct. 13, 1908, in Colorado Springs, Colo., he spent his early years in that area. From 1927 to 1937, he received bachelor's and master's degrees in geology from Colorado College, took flight training in the Army Air Corps Flying Cadet Program at Kelly Field in Texas and served in the Army Air Corps at San Antonio, Texas, [at Brooke Field], and at Fort Riley in Kansas.
"In 1938, he moved to Fairbanks with his wife Jane and son John, and began teaching geology at the University of Alaska. The couple also operated a flying school at Weeks Field in Fairbanks.
"In 1941, Mr. Ragle was called back to active duty as a pilot at the Army Air Corps Cold Weather Testing Facility at Ladd Field. A year later he participated in the Aleutian Campaign, piloting a B-17 bomber and flying long-range missions in search of the Japanese fleet. For his service, he received many decorations and citations, including the Asiatic Pacific Medal with one bronze battle star and the Air Medal with two oak leaf clusters.
"During World War II, he was also involved in the Russian Lend-Lease Program under which aircraft were ferried to Alaska for transfer to Soviet pilots who then flew them in combat against the Axis forces.
"Mr. Ragle also served as chief of search and rescue at Ladd Field and was involved in a number of air rescues in Alaska.
"Upon his release from active duty in 1957, he moved to Anchorage and became chief of education and training at Alaskan Air Command at Elmendorf Air Force Base. In 1969 he retired from the Air Force with the rank of lieutenant colonel and in 1973 from civil service.
This paragraph is not accurate. Richard's release from active duty came in 1947, and he and Jane returned to Fairbanks, pulling an Airstream trailer over the "nearly" completed Alcan Highway. At this time, he resumed his prior position in the Geology Department at the University of Alaska Fairbanks' campus, eventually becoming Chairman of that department. In 1957 the family moved to Anchorage, where he became Chief of Education and Training at Elmendorf Air Force Base.
"After his retirement, he and his wife lived briefly in Hawaii and California. He returned to Alaska in 1984 after his wife died. His interests in these years were Alaska aviation, history, geology and gardening.
"He leaves four children, John of Amherst, Mass., Ann of Anchorage, Margaret Carter of Anchorage and Dr. William of Anchorage; and 10 grandchildren.
"A private memorial service was conducted with arrangements by Witzleben Family Funeral Homes and Crematory, Bragaw Chapel.
"The family suggests memorial contributions to the American Heart Association, 2330 E. 42nd Ave., Anchorage 99508, The American Diabetes Association, 201 E. third Ave., Anchorage, 99501 [sic] of the Federation of the Blind."
Jane Addams Hulbert: b. April 18, 1911 in Chicago Illinois, fourth child of Charles Eri Hulbert and Esther Margaret Linn, d. January 21, 1982 in Walnut Creek, California. Jane attended Rockford College and Redlands University, and graduated from the University of Alaska at Fairbanks in 1955 with a B.A. degree in English after nurturing four children.
"A private memorial for Jane H. Ragle, 70, who died Thursday at her Walnut Creek, Calif., home, will be [held] Saturday in Walnut Creek.
"Mrs. Ragle was born April 18, 1911, in Chicago, IL. She came to Alaska in 1938. The family lived in Fairbanks before moving to Anchorage in 1957. She worked for several years at the Alaska Native Medical Center.
"Mrs. Ragle did volunteer work for the National Federation of the Blind of Alaska. She was a member of the Alaska Association of Retired Persons.
"In 1977, she and her husband, Richard C. Ragle, moved to Hawaii.
"She leaves her husband, Richard, of Walnut Creek; two sons, William of Anchorage, and Jack of Amherst, Mass.; two daughters, Margaret Carter of Anchorage and Ann of Eagle River; two sisters, Mary Hulbert of Berkeley, Calif., and Louise Torchia of Walnut Creek; and 10 grandchildren.
"Memorials may be made to the National Federation of the Blind of Alaska, 242 E. Fifth Ave., Anchorage 99501.
"Arrangements are by The Neptune Society in Concord, Calif."
Jane Addams Hulbert, her sisters Louise and Mary, and her brother Eri, were the last members of this branch of the family to bear the Hulbert name. Hulbert descendents of George Henry Hulbert, an uncle of Charles E. Hulbert, exist.
Previous Generation 2. Author's Great Grandparents:
Previous Generation 1. Author's Paternal Grandparents:
Horace Mann Ragle, father of Richard. Born in Raglesville, Indiana, in 1881. Moved to Toronto in southeastern Kansas as an infant. Lived with his older brother Algern's family in Coffeyville until about 1900. Moved to Colorado Springs, probably with his brother Frederick Alonzo Ragle. His marriage to Carrie Gertrude Davis was performed by his older brother, the Rev. Nathan Shumate Ragle. In the newspaper announcements of the wedding, Horace and Carrie are referred to as "high school sweethearts."
After marriage to Carrie Davis, Horace worked for the Investment Securities Co. of Shove, Aldrich & Co. and Shove, Hager & Co. and later as the private secretary to Mr. Shove. Horace was a stern but loving father and a highly regarded member of the community, known for his personal generosity to people in dire straits. He was an active Mason. He died when John was very young. None of his other Ragle grandchildren knew him.
Carrie Gertrude Davis, born in Elk County Kansas, moved with her parents to the Colorado Springs area around 1890 at the age of 7. The family lived temporarily in a tent on the hillside, where, the story goes, her mother Abigail treated a grizzly's nose to a large cast-iron skillet. According to the wedding announcements in the local paper, Carrie was working as a telephone operator when she met Horace. The two were married on October 18, 1905, about a year after brother Fred married Belle Williams. Older sister Lola May Davis was the Maid of Honor and the Best Man was C. B. Lore.
From viewer's left: Carrie, Richard, Mildred, Horace Ragle in 1913 on the steps of their new house at 1722 No. Royer Street in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Ann and John enjoyed the hospitality of this house in 1942/1943, and it still stands on this site, in good condition and with minimal modification.
A somewhat later view of the family, showing the addition of Katherine Ellen Ragle. From viewer's left: Mildred, Katherine, and Richard Ragle, at home in Colorado Springs. About 1916.
Previous Generation 1. Author's Maternal Grandparents:
Charlie Hulbert, Jane's father, was born in Chicago into a line of Hulberts from Burlington Flats, New York, about 15 miles west of Cooperstown, and originally derived from William Hulbert, a Freeman of the Massachusetts Bay Colony who arrived in America in 1632. At the time Jane was born, the Hulberts lived in Chicago, probably at 7136 Princeton Ave.
In 1905, Charles Eri Hulbert operated the Harvey Indian Store at the Railroad Station in Albuquerque, NM.
Later the couple moved to Claremont, CA, and still later to Ft. Lauderdale, FL.
Charlie developed multiple sclerosis in 1915 and spent most of his adult life as an invalid. He died when John was very young. John has vague recollections of the chain hoist which Grampa Hulbert used to navigate from bed to wheelchair. None of the other Ragle children knew Grampa Hulbert.
Esther Margaret Linn (Hulbert) in Florida in 1935, with apologies for the poor quality of the picture. Mother of Jane Addams Hulbert. From a line of long-time Illinois residents. Niece of Laura Jane Addams, who was the co-founder of Hull House in Chicago in 1889, together with her friend Ellen Gates Starr, and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931. Laura Jane Addams was Esther's guardian when Esther was young.
After Charlie's death, Esther moved to Berkeley, CA where she lived with daughters Louise and Mary. When John attended UC Berkeley, he stayed briefly with them in 1951.
Intermission: Richard accepted a position in Geology at the University of Alaska in 1938. In a letter written to others, Grandma Carrie Ragle writes "Dick and family have left for Alaska; I expect they'll be back rather soon." The "soon" was to turn into a "never" or at least a "hardly ever," for except for trips and the necessities of military service, the Alaska Ragles never "went outside."
The move to Alaska occured in the summer of 1938. It began with a drive to Seattle in a new 1938 Studebaker sedan. In Seattle the car was stowed on board an Alaska Steam Ship Lines steamer, and the three of us settled in for a voyage up the Inland Passage and across the Gulf of Alaska to Valdez, the southern terminus of the Richardson Highway.
There are four children of this marriage, all living :
John Linn Ragle, b. February 4, 1933 in Colorado Springs, Colorado
Pre-1950 Fairbanks Recollections -- by John Linn Ragle.
Katherine Ann Ragle, b. October 31, 1938 in Fairbanks, Alaska
Margaret Judith Ragle, b. July 22, 1942 in Fairbanks, Alaska
William Horace Ragle, b. April 13, 1947 in Fairbanks, Alaska