Sterling and His Family

Sterling and Gladys North – Mid 1950’s. Arielle North, Sterling’s daughter, notes that this is her favorite photo of her parents.



Sterling’s Aunt Lilly McCarthy North, wife of D.W.’s brother Fred.

Sterling, Gladys, son David  and daughter Arielle North – 1936. Photo taken by Gladys North’s father, A.M. Buchanan.

Gladys Buchanan – 1924

Sterling North – High School Graduation Photo

Sterling North in the canoe he built in the living room of the Rollin Street home.

Sterling North paddling in the canoe he built in the living room of the Rollin Street home – 1923.

This is the canoe Sterling built in the living room on Rollin Street. He used cheese box balsam wood for the ribs of the canoe.

The canoe Sterling built sits on display at the Albion Museum. Unfortunately, a fire destroyed the museum including Sterling’s canoe.

Young Sterling

Sterling at approximately age 14

Sterling and his father, D.W., pose with Theodora’s daughter, Beth.

Sterling stands by the side of the Rollin Street home – about 1915.

(Left) Ernest North, son of Sterling’s Uncle Fred and Aunt Lillie, and Sterling with the construction they made with blocks ordinarily used in Uncle Fred’s beehives. Uncle Fred took this picture at his house around the time Sterling had Rascal.

Herschel North (brother of Sterling North) in training, WWI.











This is the school that Sterling attended.  It’s located on Swift Street, near the post office.  Not sure if Sterling is in this picture!

Herschel North (brother of Sterling North) in training – WWI.

Herschel North (brother of Sterling North) b. February 8, 1893 – married Bessie Nelson on June 24, 1922. d. January 10, 1976

Jessica North, Sterling North’s beloved sister, “Dottie.” b. September 7, 1891. Married Reed MacDonald. d. June 3, 1988.

Theo North, sister of Sterling North. b. January 14, 1890. Married Norman Brokaw. d. February, 1962.

Sterling at age 4

Sterling North, age 4. b. November 4, 1906 – d. December 21, 1974.

Jessica, Theo, and Herschel North – approximately 1895.

Turn-of-the-century photo of Sterling North’s parents: D.W. and Libby North, approximately 1899. This photo was taken by Fred North with flash powder (see reflection in window). Fred was D.W.’s brother and Sterling’s uncle. D.W. North: b. August 10, 1862 – d. January 7, 1962. Libby North (Sarah Elizabeth Nelson North): b. August 15, 1866 – d. March 31, 1914.

Sarah Ann North Wileman, Fred North, Helen North Whitcomb, Thomas North II (who first lived in the Rollin Street home), David Willard North, Thomas North III, Emily North Templeton. December 28, 1908.

Nelson Family Reunion – approximately 1880s. Sarah Elizabeth Nelson North (Libby) and D.W. North, Sterling’s parents, are standing at far right of picture.

February 26, 1908 picture of the North, Wileman, and Templeton family members in front of the house on Rollin Street.

Sarah Jane Brailsford North (b. Paris, France, 1830 – d. October 1900 Edgerton) and Thomas North II (b. Totley, England, 1828 – d. about 1913 Edgerton). They are parents to D.W. North and grandparents of Sterling. D.W. once said, “I never saw my mother’s hands still. She was always carding, spinning, weaving, knitting, sewing, mending, churning butter, cooking, cleaning…” Thomas and Sarah lived in the Rollin Street house. Sterling and D.W. moved there after the death of Thomas. Photo taken sometime before 1900.













Sterling North wrote 32 books and the most popular was RASCAL, which he wrote when he was 57 years old.


Gladys would work with Sterling, editing his writing.

Captain Harry Dean was an African-American who worked hard as a sailor in South Africa.  He became rich and influential in politics and had several enemies who tried to kill him. He escaped to the United States where he went to the University of Chicago and asked the professor in the English department if they knew of someone who would help him write a book.  They recommended Sterling, who was a junior at the university at the time.  The Pedro Gorino was the first book that he wrote and it was published the same day that his son David was born.




Sterling working at his typewriter, which is on display at the museum.

Family picture with Gladys, Arielle, David, Sterling and their dog Lassie!


When Sterling left Edgerton, he did not return there to live.  He visited many times, but he was busy with his own life, first in the Chicago area, then in the New York/New Jersey area.  This picture was taken near his home in New Jersey.  He found an acreage with a stream running through it where he could continue with his love of animals and of nature.  While he’s here, he’s probably thinking of his wonderful boyhood and times at Indianford.

This is a picture of the North’s home in Morristown, New Jersey.


Arielle’s family information added to website December, 2022.

Photo of Arielle North Olson and her husband Ole. In this picture, they were celebrating their 65th wedding anniversary.  Arielle was a feature writer, a children’s book reviewer and an author of children’s books.  She even married a photographer/writer.  Ole’s career began at The Edgerton Reporter and ended as book page editor at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Arielle and Ole’s oldest son (Sterling’s grandson) Randy shares his grandpa’s and his dad’s passion for photography.  He has won awards as Newspaper Photographer of the Year, Magazine Photographer of the Year and International Photographer of the Year.  He has photographed many assignments for National Geographic, as has his wife, Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Melissa Farlow. When Randy was in Japan, he was delighted to see a store full of Rascal items in the airport.

Randy’s wife Melissa was photographed with Rascal when she and author Terri Farley won a Sterling North Award for Wild at Heart, a passionate and beautifully photographed tribute to the majesty of wild mustangs.


Arielle and Ole’s daughter Christy shares her Grandpa Sterling’s love for all creatures, as does her husband, environmental health educator, Kevin Kennedy.  Christy was a wildlife rehabilitator for years, able to save newly-hatched orphaned songbirds, damaged pelicans, hawks and owls, and lots of little mammals, including baby raccoons.  Now she is writing and editing children’s books besides caring for her dog, cat and chicken menagerie.

Christy too was photographed with the winsome Rascal mascot!

Jens and Sonia — Jens loves the outdoors, as his grandpa did.  Jens is an electrical engineer, working with artificial intelligence computer chips.  He has a passion for mountain biking and for hiking in the wilds with his multilingual wife, Sonia.  During the COVID epidemic, they had an untraditional wedding in a natural cathedral of soaring redwoods.  Arielle said that she could imagine the poem her dad would have written about their magical woodland ceremony.


Sterling’s great-nephews (his sister Theodora’s family) came to visit the Sterling North home for the first time in the summer of 2022.  They came from Tennessee, North Carolina and Florida.

Don North (Herschel’s grandson)  lives in Missouri.  Sterling was his great uncle,  His family owned a canoe that was built approximately the same time as Sterling’s and he and his sister Kendra Brandes  (from Illinois) donated the canoe to the Sterling North Society.  Betty Leonard (president of the Sterling North Board) accepted this wonderful gift. Since Sterling’s canoe, which had been stored at the Albion Academy, burned in a fire, this is a wonderful addition to the museum.   

Gregory North (David North’s son and Sterling’s grandson) and his wife Annie McQuilken came from New York to the 25th anniversary celebration in August, 2022.  The audience enjoyed listening as he shared special family memories.

Arielle North Olson and her husband Ole came from their home in Missouri in October, 2022 to see the play “The Life and Times of Sterling North” that was presented as part of the 25th anniversary celebration.  After the play, Arielle had tears in her eyes and said how moved she was by the production.