Former resident pens book about her family secret

book reading
About 15 members of the public attended a Meet the Author session with Peggy Hale at the Prairie du Chien Memorial Library Nov. 11. Peggy (holding the book) read excerpts from her new self-published book, “Tied With Red Cord,” and talked about the basis for her story—a family secret she and her sister uncovered years ago. The hour-long roundtable discussion was so engaging, nearly everyone left with a copy of Hale’s book. (Photo by Correne Martin)

By Correne Martin

When Margaret “Peggy” Hale accidentally uncovered a family secret, she never could have imagined a more powerful story about a grandmother she never knew.

She and her sister, Wendy, set out to enjoy their first-ever “sister trip and made a spur-of-the-moment decision to veer from their planned route to stop at a small county museum. After being escorted to the resource room, a volunteer, wanting to show them how the system worked, asked if they knew anyone who had been born in that county.

“We gave her our mother’s birth date, and she retrieved some microfiche and fed the tape into the machine. Scrolling down a birth record, she came to the Dent name,” reads an excerpt from Peggy’s book, “Tied With Red Cord.”

“We strained to make out the hand-written ledger that appeared on the screen and to scan the columns searching for our mother’s name. There it was: Marion Cordelia Dent. We traced across the line to see her mother’s name, but instead of Carrie Dent, it read Margaret G. Dent.

“We looked at each other and then in unison, told the woman that this was wrong. Margaret was mother’s oldest sister. Their parents were Milton and Carrie Dent.

“Then we looked at each other and my sister said, ‘Do you suppose?’

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