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Carl Magnus and Maria Asplund Berg

Photo page 341

Charles Aaron Berg was the son of Carl M. and Maria Berg, longtime residents of Madrid. He had emigrated in 1882, with his parents from Laggasen, Varmland, Sweden, where he was born June 4, 1880. The family first lived in Des Moines, Iowa, South Dakota, and Minnesota before moving to Madrid about 1891, where Charles entered school and graduated from Madrid High School. Then, he worked with his father at the C. M. Berg and Son Tailoring Est. He was an energetic young man, and enjoyed outdoor sports, playing baseball and football with Madrid teams and later in South Dakota. In 1898, his younger brother, Joseph, nick-named "Monus," was the football team mascot, and Harry Graves was manager. In the late 1920s, he began playing golf, on Madrid's first "golf course," which was a cow pasture in the country on someone's farm east of town.

In 1909-1910, he decided to homestead 160 acres near Chance, South Dakota, as did many others from the community. After completing the homestead requirement, he returned to Madrid, again working with his father.

On September 5, 1912, Mr. Berg and Miss Emma M. Walrath of Madrid were married at the Methodist Church in Indianola, Iowa. To spring a surprise on their friends, it was not announced beforehand. A quote from the Madrid Register-News says: "Mr. Berg is a young man of stability, favorably known over the entire community. Mrs. Berg has been an efficient operator in the People's Telephone Company exchange for several years, and her circle of friends is an extensive one." At that time, she resigned from the telephone company. Other operators with whom she worked were Miss Emma Hull and Miss Alice Peelstrom.

Emma Berg was the youngest daughter of William H. and Lovina Walrath, born at the family farm near Luther, November 20, 1879. The family moved to Madrid when she was a schoolgirl. She entered school and town activities, and at one time played on a girls' basketball team.

Emma and Charles' only child, Lovina Marie, was born February 12, 1915. Again, in 1919, Mr. Berg decided that he wanted to try farming the land he had homesteaded, so the family moved, and stayed nearly two years. After the death of Mr. Berg's father, the family returned to Madrid, where he resumed work at the shop. The shop was later moved to a building on South Water Street. Sanders worked there until his death about 1930.

The family all were active in community affairs. Mr. Berg was a Mason, and the couple belonged to the Order of the Eastern Star. Mr. Berg also was a member of the Rebekah Lodge, I.O.O.F., a Past Noble Grand. He helped promote the Boy Scouts and Camp Mitigwa. Mrs. Berg assisted the establishment of a town library at the City Hall.

The family attended the Methodist Episcopal Church. Mrs. Berg contributed many hours to the Ladies Aid Society, teaching Sunday school and other programs, such as "quilting bees," helping in booths at town celebrations. Mr. Berg possessed a strong, pleasing bass singing voice, and was a member of several musical groups, including the church choir until about 1936. The Imperial Quartette was composed of Mildred Weidman, Jane Christenson, John Dyer, and Charles Berg, with Mrs. Dyer as piano accompanist. On June 19, 1924, the radio program of WHO Des Moines shows that they sang, the whole program apparently performed by Madrid people. Among the numbers was a xylophone solo by Percy Krantz. It is thought this date was the opening of WHO. Another occasion of local interest was December 8, 1925, when the Commercial Club presented the City with the new electroliers, improved street lighting. According to the article from the Madrid Register-News other improvements in the past year and a half included extension of the water works system, a new city well, a pumping engine, and several blocks of paving.

After returning from South Dakota, daughter Marie entered school and graduated with the Class of '32, the second largest class up to that time. She sang in the Girl's Glee Club, and played clarinet in the school orchestra, also in the town band, which usually gave concerts during summer Wednesday nights at the City Park. In the school year of '33-'34, she took the postgraduate normal course at M.H.S., and received a teacher's certificate, but decided against teaching. 1935 ended the happy years of living in Madrid, and was still a year of the Great Depression. She took business courses, working in Des Moines until 1940, when she went to Washington, D.C. and spent the years of World War II there, as a federal employee. In 1950, she married Donald E. Glenney, a native of Union, Iowa, and a member of the U.S. Air Force. They continue to reside in Mesa, Arizona.

In 1937, Mr. and Mrs. Berg moved from Madrid to Perry. The wife of Mrs. Berg's youngest brother, Walter "Tom" Walrath, died, leaving three small children who needed loving care. They were Lewis, Joanne, and half-sister, Betty, who in a short time went to live with her aunt. In a few years, Mr. Berg's health declined, and the couple moved to Des Moines where he passed away March 12, 1947, of cardiac asthma. For a few months before their moving, they returned to Madrid and operated a small restaurant and renewed acquaintances in the town.

Mrs. Berg continued living in Des Moines, remaining active in the work of the Rebekah Lodge, Eastern Star and as a member of Grace Methodist Church. In 1959, she went to Arizona for what was to be only a short visit. She fell, breaking her hip, which accident led to her death June 18, 1962, the last of her parents' ten children.

Many members of both the Berg and Walrath families are interred at Mount Hope Cemetery.

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