Branch: U. S. Army

   Rank:  Private

   Status: Died of disease

   Date of Service: WWI

   Home Town: Copley                          Township

Bemidji Pioneer article about Carl Westberg

Carl Theodor Westberg was born December 10, 1895 in Bagley, Minnesota to Ole and Gunhild (Julia) Knutson Westberg. Ole was a Swedish immigrant who came to this country in 1883 when he was 21 years old and located at Bismarck, North Dakota. He met his wife in Gary, Minnesota and they were married in 1891. 

After living three years at Gary, the pair moved to Clearwater County and homesteaded a large farm in section 14 of Copley Township northeast of Bagley. Carl was the only son among three daughters; Bell, Gena (Jean) and Olga. The family members were devoted parishioners of the St. Paul Lutheran congregation.

Carl was working for E. Hudson Pioneer Farm in Lakota, ND when he registered for the draft on June 5, 1917 in Copley Township. He was a single man with no dependents, of medium height and with the blue eyes and light hair of many with Scandinavian heritage. 

Carl answered the call to the colors and left Bagley on February 7, 1918. He was sent for training to Camp Dodge near Des Moines, Iowa, where, unfortunately, he encountered the first wave of Spanish Influenza in April of 1918. Though few who caught the virus that spring died, those who did were often healthy, young adults like Carl whom influenza rarely kills. The disease went on to kill 20 to 40 million people worldwide. Twenty-two year old Carl died on April 3, 1918 of pneumonia caused by influenza. His grieving family buried him in Bagley City Cemetery. His parents and sisters were eventually all buried nearby. Carl has the distinction of being the first Bagley boy to succumb after entering the military in World War I.