[155] Catherine Hagel - Famous Farmer

3m | Jan 3, 2024

If only I could be so blessed as being able to farm until I’m 100 years old, what a life that would be

Catherine Hagel born Nov. 28, 1894, on a farm near Dayton, MN to John and Mary Dahlheimer. At 5lbs, her father doubted she would survive.

Catherine met her future husband, John at age 16, when he was digging a hole for an outhouse.

They married in 1916. Then in 1918 She worked to maintain the family farm when her husband fell ill during a flu pandemic, while caring for two children

a farmer's wife who made nearly everything from scratch, picking berries and canning hundreds of jars of fruits and vegetables every year, and had no electricity and running water for decades

She made her own soap, sewed her family's clothes and was an avid quilter. She spent all winter tearing rags. Her children would tie the rags together and she would use them to make rag quilts.

The Depression found them struggling to hold onto the family farm. Catherine attributes her deep religious faith for serving her through the ups and downs of it all.

 "She used to tell such stories -- about the Indians living nearby when she grew up, seeing her first car, meeting Dad when he came over to help on the farm, about growing up one of 10 kids and then raising 11 of her own," Her daughter Cecilia said.

"When Mom was about 80 we tried to get her to move after the house burned down, but she refused," her daughter said. "She camped out on a cot in the garage, then in an old trailer house till we rebuilt the farmhouse."

Until she was 100, Hagel stayed on the 40-acre farm near Rogers after her husband died in 1966, keeping up a huge garden, sewing, quilting and visiting relatives. 

Increasing frailty and a painful case of untreated shingles drove Hagel to leave the farm and move to a care facility.

Catherine taught her children, by example and expectation, the value of hard work, a positive attitude and an utter trust that God gets everything right.

“When something bad would happen, Mom always said, 'Well, it's in God's hands,'" Cecilia said

"We grew up poor and didn't eat" her son Al laughs saying, who still lives at the family's farmstead, has fond memories of growing up on the farm.

Catherine had three girls and eight boys; the last four were two sets of twins.

"don't go rooting around" was something that Catherine lived by. In fact, she has only left Minnesota once in her 113 years, to visit a cousin in Wisconsin.

expected and unexpected visitors were welcome to the Hagel home. "Dad was always bringing home bums and mom would always have something to feed them," said Al

He remembers the vagabonds that would hop off cars at the railroad station in Rogers and find their way into the house for a warm meal.

Catherine died on December 6th, 2008 at the age of 114 years, 8 days. 

She is the 2nd oldest Minnesotan, and 81st oldest American to ever live.

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