Lee began work with the railroad at age 15, doing various jobs in the Galesburg, Illinois, yards. He attended Galesburg High School, Browns Business College, and LaSalle Extension University. He became a brakeman with the CB&Q railroad in McCook, Nebraska, in 1907. Lee had some kin precede him to McCook: Roy Weidenhamer (from 1905), and Jess Jagger (from 1905). Lee’s cousin Jesse Roy Weidenhamer remained in McCook for the rest of his life. Lee’s brother Jesse Edward “Jess” Jagger was only briefly in McCook, as conductor & night yard master, before moving on to Denver, where he was living in the 1910 census, and when he registered for the draft during World War I. Lee and Edna Glaze Jagger (married in 1913) had two children: Harriett and Eldon. In the 1918 Weidenhamer Reunion photo, Edna would have been pregnant with Harriett (born Nov. 5, 1918, Holdrege, Phelps County, Nebraska). Eldon was also born in Holdrege, on Aug. 19, 1925. The Lee Jagger family was in the 1920 Holdrege census, but lived in McCook, Red Willow County, in censuses and directories before and after the 1920 vicinity. By 1915, Lee had been promoted to conductor.
On November 4, 1935, Robert Pierce Muffley (my father) became a brakeman with the CB&Q railroad in McCook, with some help from his Uncle Lee. Lee’s wife Edna died on June 30, 1936, when Harriett was 17 and Eldon was 11. Nearly a year later, my parents Robert and Frances Lindstrom Muffley were wed (June 2, 1937) in Galesburg. Frances and her daughter Shirley Coad/Muffley moved to McCook that year (see photos “Shirley Muffley, Ken Muffley and Eldon Jagger, August 1937”; and “Bob, Fran, and Shirley Muffley, August 1937”). For a time the Muffley family lived in a duplex with the Jagger family while Robert Muffley was building a home on West 3rd.
Lee Jagger married Lucy Jane Kennedy Witham in 1938. I have tried in this blog to minimize criticism, but it has to be said that Lucy managed to bring substantial unhappiness into the lives of Harriett, Eldon, and Lucy’s biological daughter June Witham. Lucy’s daughter Jean was the favored child.
I recall June Witham (1918-1979), and agree with Shirley that June had a sweet disposition. June had club feet and had difficulty walking. June was a good friend to my mother. June required mental health treatment in mid-life. She was hospitalized at a psychiatric facility at Hastings, Nebraska, and lived for some time in Hastings while receiving outpatient care. She is said to have spent the rest of her life in Hastings, but the Social Security Death Index reports last residence as Colorado Springs.
Shirley recalled that Eldon played trombone in the McCook High School Band. He had a black dog named Smokey. Eldon raised pigeons in his back yard, as did his friend and neighbor Yule Dorwart. Eldon was “friendly and good natured”, according to Shirley, and loved to dance.
Harriett Lee Jagger married Dale Storey in 1941, the year that the Muffley family moved into the new home on West 3rd Street; Harriett and Dale had two kids: Judy and David. Barely into the new Muffley home in 1941, Shirley answered a telephone call informing her of the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor. After Eldon graduated from high school in 1942, he joined the navy, probably as a radio operator. A photo of him in his navy uniform appears to show him aboard the destroyer Farragut, which had previously been at Pearl Harbor during the attack. Farragut was quite active in the Pacific during the war. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Farragut_(DD-348)
In 1946, both Eldon and Shirley entered McCook Junior College. Eldon was in pre-engineering, was called “Jag”, and was active in football. He played guard in the Sept. 20, 1946, game against Hays State College, and Yule Dorwart played end. McCook won. According to an online newspaper, Eldon was still a guard in the 1947 season, in which “…the Indians went undefeated during the regular season play for the first time in the school’s history”. In 1950, Eldon married Ruth Joan Barr Walker, who had lived as a child in Columbus, Ohio (where I lived for a time). Eldon and Ruth raised a family in California. In late 2010, I have been in first contact with descendants of Eldon and Ruth, some of whom have made entries at Ancestry.com. This Jagger Blog has been of interest to these Jagger cousins. Lee Jagger retired in 1954 at age 65. Lee and Lucy were still in a 1956 directory of McCook, but likely had vacationed in Colorado by this time. The photo of Lee, Lucy, Bess (Lee’s sister), Florence Weidenhamer, and Will Hardy Jagger (Lee’s brother) was taken at Lee’s and Lucy’s cabin at Evergreen some time prior to Bess’ death (February 1957). Will died in October, 1958. In 1972, Lee and Lucy lived at 1912 East Lake Blvd., Colorado Springs. It was from this address that Lee sent my father Lee’s article “Rerailing a Mountain of Steel”.
Eldon and Ruth Jagger divorced in 1971 in Los Angeles County. Lee died at Colorado Springs in 1975. At some point, Harriett and Dale moved into a house at 1966 East Woodman Road, Colorado Springs. Their son David had become quadriplegic following an accident while in service. Government payments to David enabled the family to live at that house in Colorado Springs, but the home was lost a few years ago when seized for road development, I think; residence in Arizona followed. At some point Judy married Michael Valentine and moved to Alaska. David died in 2000, Dale in 2007, and Judy in 2010. Harriett has had no contact with Eldon’s family for some years. She has talked of moving to McCook, and being buried eventually by her mother.
Harriett has little recall of her grandfather James Jagger (d. 1930), who died just after Harriett turned 11. Harriett recalls having ice cream at the Galesburg pharmacy of her Aunt Allie Jagger Schneider and Allie’s husband Carl H. Schneider. Allie’s work to preserve Jagger history is much appreciated by me.
Jagger and Weidenhamer railroading kin covered virtually all of the CB&Q (later Burlington Northern) main line from Chicago to Denver. I tend to think of the adult kids of James and Frances Jagger (b. 1843) as Jagger-West (mostly Nebraska & Colorado) and Jagger-East (Illinois & Iowa). Siblings Lee, Will, Jess, Bess and Mattie are in the western group. The rest are eastern. My Grandmother Edna Jagger Muffley lived in Galesburg with her family for much of her life until the move to Arizona, but in times past might have been found motorcycling in the Dakotas, walking atop Colorado mountains, etc.
So far, of the 12 adult kids of James and Frances Weidenhamer Jagger, I have been in contact with descendants of 4: My Grandma Edna (besides my own family, Cousin Karren in Arizona), Lily (second cousin Helen of Iowa City), Will (his great-granddaughters Catherine & Margaret), and Lee (Harriett, & descendants of Eldon). Future blog entries will cover more about these kinfolk.