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Bob Lind, Published February 02 2013

Lind: A story you can sink your teeth into

You can sink your molars into this story. Charles Presler certainly did.

He’s the guy in the picture pulling with his teeth a truck loaded with men.

The photo and story come from Charles’ daughter Gloria Olson, Dilworth.

Gloria thinks the picture was taken in the early 1920s, probably in Denison, Texas, based on what’s painted on the truck.

Charles was born in Wisconsin and came with his parents to Staples, Minn., in a covered wagon when he was 4.

He served in the Army during World War I, was wounded in France and came home on a hospital ship.

“The Statue of Liberty meant so much to him when they pulled into the harbor,” Gloria says. “He didn’t know (when he had sailed from New York for France) if he would ever see it again.”

He received a small pension from the government because of his war injuries; his left leg was crippled, forcing him to limp the rest of his life.

Charles worked for a power company in Staples, both before and after the war, then for a burglar alarm company, first in Minneapolis and then in Dallas.

While in Dallas, he was called to check out an alarm he’d installed in a Fayetteville, Ark., bank that had gone off when a guy tried to hold the bank up but was shot and killed by authorities.

Charles saw the body, and learned it was of either the cousin or nephew of famed outlaw Belle Starr. “My dad said it was something you never forget,” Gloria says.

Knife-thrower, too

As to his vehicle-pulling stunt: “I don’t think he did this for money,” Gloria says. “He liked to show how strong he was.

“But he said his teeth weren’t that strong when he first started doing it. He wore some kind of braces in his mouth.

“He also threw knives. I have pictures of him throwing knives around my mother; he could take a cigarette out of a person’s mouth throwing a knife.”

Gloria’s mother, Minnie, died when Gloria was 2, so other family members helped Charles raise her and her sister.

Gloria says her dad took good care of himself right up to his death in 1982 at age 87. And he still had all but two of his teeth.


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