back of me kept putting Mountain Ash berries down the back of my dress which had been made from one of my Dad’s woolen suit pants. It was a warm day and the neck area of my dress felt sticky. I jumped out the window and the boy after me. Luckily the basement doors were closed or we could both have been hurt badly. The next day I refused to go to school so that was my last day as a student at the Lee School. I completed 6th, 7th, and 8th grades in the Bell School in Allamakee Co. When registration for high school was announced in the Decorah papers for the fall of 1929 I asked my folks if I could enroll there. Grandpa Nelson and Aunt Ida Nelson agreed to let me stay with them and Mother and Dad furnished much of the board from their garden, orchard, and beef. While in high school we walked to and from school twice a day 4 miles, except in the very worst weather when we would bring lunch. On the farm we needed to buy only sugar and flour. Then we had to meet the tax bill when it came due. We also bought kerosene for the lamps and lantern and gas for the car.

Bio Photo

Ensign Mildred Ruen

I graduated from high school in Decorah in the Class of 1933 with a Normal Course Diploma. I didn’t get a teaching job the first year out of school. By Sep 1935 I had completed all the requirements to entering nurses training at Norwegian American Hospital in Chicago, IL. On entering the 3 year program offered by the hospital we spent the first weeks touring Chicago to become familiar with our surroundings, with using public transportation, and seeing the various places of interest. We were issued our uniforms, books, and room assignments and we were informed that 33% of the class would not complete the program. I did complete it, however, in Sep 1938.

A month before completing the program I applied for a position in the pediatric department of the Cook County Hospital. I worked there until Jan 1941. I had taken an examination for a position with the Veterans Administration and on the 19th of January I became a Junior Nurse at Hines Veterans Administration Hospital. I remained there until in Jul of 1941. Mother wasn’t feeling well so I went home for 3 months. I returned to Chicago and did private duty from the Illinois First District Registry subject to call where needed. The day of Pearl Harbor I was doing private duty nursing at the Illinois Masonic Hospital in Chicago which was within walking distance of our quarters at the time. I walked to work at 10:00 at night. I did private duty for one year after which I worked (1 Sep 1942-1 Jun 1943) as an Industrial Nurse at the Foote Brothers Gear & Machine Corporation. One night when working the 11:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. shift the night nurse at another Foote Brothers plant and I decided to take the physical examination for the Navy Nurse Corps. I passed and received orders to report for duty to the medical officer in command of Naval Hospital, Treasure Island, CA for duty.

I was assigned to the Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat Clinic and Surgery while there as Ensign Mildred Irene Ruen, Nurse Corps, U.S.N.R. My next assignment was 14 Apr 1944 at the Naval Air Station Dispensary, Klamath Falls, OR. The 8th of Dec 1944 I received orders to “consider myself detached there and proceed to Seattle, WA to report to the medical officer in command of the naval hospital for treatment.” On 6 Feb 1945 I reported to the U.S. Naval Hospital, Seattle. On 20 Feb 1945 I received orders to proceed to Astoria, OR. On 10 Mar 1945 the rank of Lieutenant (jg) (NC) USNR was awarded. As of 21 Feb 1946 I was released from all active duty; I remained as a member of the Navy Nurse Corps of the U.S. Navy Reserve until 17 May 1954.

Reeves, Fannie (Axtell)

(Robert A. Reeves)

The Axtell family originated in Berkhamstead, Hertfordshire England. Thomas Axtell, the son of William and Thomasine Axtell of that village left England as early as 1643 with two children born at Berkhamstead. In October of that year he purchased 5 acres of land in Sudbury, MA from Edmund Rice who himself had come from Berkhamstead 5 years earlier (in an interesting side note, this same Edmund Rice appears as a forebear in the extended Reeves genealogy). The first 3 generations all lived in this same general area. Some of the 4th generation moved to New Jersey and in the 6th generation they appear in Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, and Lorain Co., OH. Fannie Axtell’s grandfather Augustus Elbridge Axtell (29 Sep 1822-27 Aug 1907) settled in Lorain Co. then later moved to Strawberry Point in Clayton Co., IA. Her father, Herman Austin Axtell was born in Lorain Co. on 17 Sep 1862 and on 8 Mar 1888 married Leah Lamphiear at Strawberry Point. He farmed for many years 2 miles outside town, retired from the farm, served as Mayor of Strawberry Point in 1931 and died in Oct 1936.

Fannie Axtell, the 9th generation of this family in America, was born at Strawberry Point, IA on 11 Feb 1894,


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