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Plympton and Rosaline

June 6, 2013 by Hubbard County Historical Museum Director

I happened upon an old photo in a file cabinet.

Dr and Mrs P A Walling (2) for Dropbox

Mrs. and Dr. Walling

This photograph was most likely taken in  1882 or 1883 shortly after the couple arrived in Park Rapids Minnesota.

Plympton  Ayers or P.A. Walling as he was known was the first Doctor in this area. (Dr. Cutler came three weeks later)

I will relate a story: It is said that lack of road and transportation often caused the Doctor hardship.  Once when he was gone several days and the weather turned very cold and stormy, Rosaline piled split wood around the stove to form four walls.  She kept the children within the walls near the stove..but even then the babies hands froze.

Rosaline’s Obituary She died April 5, 1929.

Resident here since 1882 Passes Away at Age of 79 years
Mrs. P. A. Walling, one of the last of the earliest settlers of Park Rapids and the Shell Prairies, died at her home here last Friday evening at about eight o’clock. She had been unconscious for two days following an illness which lasted for several months. She was 79 years of age.
Mrs. Walling came to Park Rapids with her husband, Dr. P. A. Walling, who survives her, on May 29, 1882. Within three weeks they were settled in their new home, which the Doctor built largely with his own hands, and in which they lived thereafter for 39 years. The house stood at the corner of what is now Park Avenue and First Street at the site of the present dwelling which was built in 1921.
Rosaline Kennedy was born August 21, 1850, in Wayne Township, Erie County, Pennsylvania. Her father’s name was DeWitt Clinton Kennedy. On August 11, 1875 she was married to P.A. Walling, at her home in Erie county. The young couple made their home at Clymer, N.Y. for three and a half years then moving to Columbus, Pennsylvania, where they resided for two and a half years. In 1882 they came west deciding upon the settled Shell Prairies as the location of their future home. They were among the first inhabitants of the village of Park Rapids.
Three children were born to them, being Mrs. L. J. Vacek (Iva Ellen) of Park Rapids, Jason Marion, lieutenant-colonel in the US Army, stationed at Toledo, Ohio and Ivan Elmer. of Cleveland, Ohio. Besides these three children Mrs. Walling is survived by five grandchildren.
For many years Mrs. Walling was active in the social life of the village and was a member of the Baptist Church. She was a loving mother and a good homemaker, and will be sadly missed by her faithful companion of more than fifty years.
Enterprise April 11, 1929

Plympton’s Obituary He died May 12 1929, he died just five weeks after his wife Rosaline’s death.

Dr. Plympton Ayers Walling was born January 1, 1850, in Warren County Pennsylvania. His father, Asaph Walling, was born in New York and his mother, Ann Negus, was born in Pennsylvania. His wife, Rosaline E. Kennedy, was born in
August 1850 in Pennsylvania. Her mother was born in New York. He married Rosie
August 11,1875, in Corry Pennsylvania. He received his M.D. degree from the
University of Buffalo N.Y. in 1876 and practiced medicine in Clymer New York from 1876 until the spring of 1882, when he moved to Park Rapids. He was the first doctor to reside in Park Rapids, and lived on the southwest corner of 1st and Park Streets. He served as county coroner from May 19, 1883, until November 23 that year and again from January 1893 until January 1895. In January 1885 Dr. Walling established a weather service in Park Rapids with Instruments provided by the federal government and made reports without pay for about 11 years before it was made a corn and wheat reporting station and a small payment was authorized. This reporting has been continuous since 1885 and copies of the reports are on file in Park Rapids, Minneapolis, and Washington D.C.. Dr. Walling was on the school board in 1887, and was active in every civic improvement. In 1892 his new office In Park Rapids was valued at $600.00. In May 1885 Sam Churchill enumerated the Wallings 35th in Park Rapids. On June 8, 1895, B. F. Wright enumerated the Wallings 97th in Park Rapids. He opened a drug store In 1898. Doctor Walling enjoyed writing in verse and I remember from childhood a stanza from one of his poems, “I have lived in Park Rapids and watched how it grew on the banks of the Fishhook with the heavenly hue” Doctor Walling loved his community and had a generous sense of humor, especially with children. In January 1900 he could be reached by phone at his office and drug store by asking the operator for “80” and at home by asking for 116.11.
Dr. Walling had three children: Jason Marion, was born in 1878 or 1879 in New York. In 1895 Jason M. Walling was a teacher in the public school; Ivan Elmer,was born November 19, 1885 in Hubbard County; Iva, was born July 8,1881, in Columbus, Pennsylvania. Iva was a member of the first class, four strong, to graduate from Park Rapids High School, in 1900. Iva first married Herbert W. Cutler in 1904 and he died in 1918. Iva married Joseph Vacek second, and he died in 1956. She married John W. Hill third, on April 7, 1963, and Iva died with him in an auto accident near the Assembly Grounds on October 29, 1969. Iva and had many momentos of her father,including a velvet-lined sterling tray for his detachable white collars. Another momento was a Russian Orthodox Icon, now in the county museum, given them by former chairman Sloan of General Motors. Iva was a member of Riverside Methodist Church, Eastern Star, and P.E.O.. T. K. Walling was present at the first meeting of the Todd Township supervisors, March 18, 1884.


Plympton Ayers Walling


Stop by and see the Russian Orthodox Icon sometime!


Please join us next week on Thursday June 13, 2013 at 12 Noon here at the museum.  Local Author Jill Johnson will be sharing her book Little Minnesota 100 Towns Under 100.


  1. Rod Nordberg says:

    Fun history of our town, thanks for posting. How was T. K. Walling related to the others?

  2. Linda says:

    Very interesting! Just think in 1880 we (our little part of the world) was just being found.

    Loved the post!


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