The Adolph Mystery, Part 3

So, now we know that Adolph Borreson, supposedly a single man, had married three times: in 1918 to Herbertine Dettinger, in 1924 to Nina Books, and in 1948 to Florence McDonald. Well, make that four times. I am quite certain he was married twice to Florence McDonald: from 1943 to 1946, and then from 1948 until his death in 1972.

But the greater surprise? Adolph had children!

Adolph had a family of four children with Nina Books. They lived together in Winona, Minnesota, until in 1939 she divorced him for deserting her September 15, 1936 – which begs the question, What happened that she could name that specific day? She married Frank Rossin, a livestock buyer in Winona two days after her divorce was granted, but it appears Adolph was out of her life long before that. She, a woman with one year of high school and few employment possibilities, must have had her challenges raising four children alone.

I find no indication that Adolph’s family remained part of his life. And when he died in 1972, there is no mention of his prior marriages or his children. One can only wonder how much his widow Florence knew about his earlier life.

Adolph and Nina’s four children were:

  • Hugh St. Clair Boreson, born November 13, 1925;
  • Hubert Leslie Rossin, born July 8, 1929;
  • Harold Arden Borreson, born July 28, 1932; and
  • Mabel Diane Borreson, born about 1933.

I have discovered some information about part of this family, but I’ll limit what I put out here in the blog.

Hugh St. Clair used a Boreson spelling with one “r,” a practice that seemed to adopted by some others in the family as well. Hugh went to school in Winona, including Winona Business College, found his way west, and met his future wife Shirley while serving in the Navy in Spokane, Washington. He and his wife had six children who with their families live in the Northwest. Hugh died in 1983 and is buried in Lewiston, Idaho.


Hubert Leslie adopted his father’s surname Rossin. I found his obituary in a Waterloo-Cedar Falls, Iowa newspaper after his death September 1, 2013. He’d married a Georgia Todd in Winona, Minnesota in 1950, and it appeared he lived a good full life. He worked many years for a Viking Pump Company, and he’d served as Superintendent and teacher in his Lutheran church’s Sunday School. Hubert and his wife had three sons and four daughter, most of whom lived in the Midwest.

Harold Arden, as well as his sister Mabel, also adopted the Rossin name as  some point. After a stint in the Air Force, it appears that Harold lived in or near Winona until his death in 1993. From the old Winona newspapers I consulted, it appears he had some brushes with the law but I doubt he ever served time. Before they divorced, he and his first wife Charlene had six children, about whom I know nothing. He married again and his widow Betty survived him until her death in 2004.

The youngest of the four, Mabel Diane, probably is still living at Dakota, Minnesota, at least she was in 2013 at the time of her brother Hubert’s death. In 1951 she married Wayne Albrecht, and they had three sons.

The mother of these four, Nina Rossin, died September 20, 1988 in Winona, Minnesota where she must have lived most of her married life, first to Adolph and then to Frank Rossin.

These four children of Adolph and Nina would be third cousins to us “Borreson Cousins” of this blog (Emil and Gina’s grandchildren) – although I would be surprised if they know we exist (any more than I knew they existed until very recently). Who knows if contact from us would even be welcome. (Still, I find this a very interesting discovery.) There are a few Boresons among them, spelling the name with one “r”.

After I began this three-part posting on Adolph, I had some surprising good fortune of learning about his first wife Herbertine Dettinger of Galesville, the one from a family of thirteen. Nevertheless, a major quesstion remains here too. By the 1930 census,  Herbertine was married to Jewitt Lund – whether her second marriage or third, I’m not sure – and one of their children listed is Herbertine’s daughter Helen. That would mean Helen was born about in 1922 when, as far as I can tell, Herbertine was still married to Adoph. So, would Helen be another child of his?

In looking through Clara’s 1980 family history, I think the minimal information she had about Adolph reflects his lack of connection and contact with the rest of the Borreson family. Perhaps his marriage to a Scottish woman meant that he had found a home among people of his father’s ancestry. I hope so. But I’m saddened by what appears to be a lack of contact with his own children, the reasons for that we may never know.


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2 Responses to The Adolph Mystery, Part 3

  1. Tim Albrecht says:

    Thanks for sharing. I am Tim Albrecht, the youngest son of Mabel. I love near Pickwick with my wife and 7 children. I can happily report that myself and siblings have all been married once. I am at 507 four 59 two 722and would love to meet you.

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