The Life and Times Of Allan Lincoln Truax

The Allan Truax Time Line

Introduction To Allan Truax

My interest in Allan Lincoln Truax was first triggered my curiosity about an inscription, “A.L. Truax, Crosby, ND, Jan 3rd 1922,” written on the flyleaf of a used copy of A.E. Housman’s Last Poems given me as a gift.

I began tracking down information about A.L. Truax on the internet to satisfy my casual inquisitiveness about what kind of guy living in an isolated North Dakota town in the early 1900s would purchase an early printing of Housman’s poetry.

At least in this case, that kind of guy turned out to be an extraordinarily accomplished individual.

Allan Truax’s job was in the railway mail service but his heart and mind were given over to his involvement with his community and church, his extensive travels, and his devoted pursuit of his intellectual interests, especially horticulture, literature, and family, local, and American history.

I produced two posts about Allan Truax and how I came to be interested in him in mid-February 2007. Since that time, I’ve accumulated more data, including photos and published descriptions, much of it from Roger Truax, who is Allan’s grandson, and Roger’s wife, Rosalie.

I’m posting this material about Allan Truax and his wife, Evelyn, not only because it is intrinsically interesting but because it also offers insights into an era and an environment that, while they are only a couple of generations and a few states removed from me, are so unlike my own experience that, in many ways, the circumstances of Allan Truax’s life are as unimaginable to me as those of a Jules Verne character residing on another planet.

I’m also motivated to record this miniature biography by my conviction that Allan Truax – and Evelyn Truax – are special, stalwart individuals who deserve to have their story written and read.

Finally, I confess that I feel compelled to pursue this task in part because I have come to identify with Allan Truax, a state of affairs that is surely routine in this line of work and one that is not without its benefits.

Tracking Allan Truax

My admiration for the man notwithstanding, Allan Truax is a flawed character. He did not, for example, thoughtfully leave a well-organized diary of his childhood for future biographers. At this point at least, I know little about his life until he becomes an adult. And, while there is much more information about his later years, that data is not available in one place as a linearly arranged listing.

By pulling together material from a handful of sources, however, I have organized a compact time line, that, which it proves more useful than exciting, is the place to start and is the extent of the Truax history contained in this post. Future Allan Truax posts will reference this time line and elaborate on these and additional events.

Allan Truax

October 24, 1871: Born to John Galbraith Truax and Louisa (Rouse) Truax in Mayville, Michigan

1887-1891 [age 16-20]: Worked as a rural school teacher in Michigan

1892-1894 [age 21-23]: Served as Superintendent of Schools in Page, North Dakota1

1894-1895 [age 23-24]: Served as Superintendent of Schools in Hunter, North Dakota

1895 [age24]: Attended State Normal School (now Valley City State University) in Valley City, North Dakota

1895-1933 [age24-62]: Held position as railway mail clerk2

January 8, 1901 [age 30]: Married Evelyn Maude Baldwin

1902 [age 31]: Continued work as railway mail clerk while Evelyn Truax “proved up on a homestead near Portal,” North Dakota.

1908 [age 37]: Moved with Evelyn to Crosby, North Dakota where he lived the rest of his life

Maps
The locations where Allan Truax lived are shown on these maps.

The green marker below indicates Allan’s birthplace, Mayville MI; the orange marker represents Crosby ND. For other locations, see the 2nd map.


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Identification: Allan Truax, Allen Truax, and A.L. Truax

“Allan Truax” and “Allen Truax” appear with approximately equal frequency in the written material I’ve reviewed, with “A.L. Truax” occurring somewhat less often. The name Mr. Truax inscribed in his books was “Allan” so I use it preferentially

Previous Allan Truax Posts

  1. There is some ambiguity in the accounts of this period. According to an entry by Allan’s son, Richard Truax, entry in a history compilation called Divide County 1964, Allan and Evelyn Baldwin, who would become his wife, were described as having “taught school in Page, during 1893-1894.” The Who’s Who For North Dakota entry lists Allan’s job from 1892-1894 as Superintendent of Schools in Page, North Dakota. Those descriptions are not mutually exclusive. []
  2. Again, an ambiguity exists regarding the beginning date of this job. The 1894-1933 dates were those found in the Who’s Who For North Dakota entry. According to the entry by Richard Truax in Divide County 1964, “Mr. Truax accepted a position as railway mail clerk on the train from St. Paul to Portal in 1902. []

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