Saturday, September 20, 2014
Wednesday, September 3, 2014
The Shooting of George Sommerville
George W. Somerville was born June 3, 1855, in Ripley County, Indiana. His parents were William and Rachel (Cunningham) Somerville. George graduated from Rochester High School in 1876, graduated from the University of Michigan Law School in 1879, then came directly to Sleepy Eye on June 25th, 1879. In 1882 he became the Brown County Attorney and continued in that office for six years. During that time he acquired two farms.
In November 1881 George married Mary Fuller of Rochester. They had two sons and two daughters. Theirs sons were named Wayne and Saxe. Saxe, was married to Pearl Mo. Daughter Carol was married to a C. S. Smith but lived at some distance. George's daughter Madge was married to Al Ruenitz and lived in Springfield (later she became the second Mrs. E.L Nippolt).
George Somerville had built a home on a terrace on the northwest corner of Summit Street and now Second Avenue West. The Sommerville home was a lovely home of elaborate woodwork and parquet floors. It later was the home of The Ed Berkner home family, then a maternity hospital, then the Schwartz funeral home, followed by the Clow funeral home, then becoming apartment housing. There are 18 rooms and 6 baths in this home.
Ingervald M. Olson was a law partner of George Somerville but left to become a district judge and later then a Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court. Albert Hauser was also George Somerville's partner for a short time as well. However, George had then left for a western state.
His leave may have been because a man had tried to kill George for a suspected swindle. Or perhaps it may have been for the allegation that George brought in a number of jurors in a locally famous murder trial.
In the September 3rd, 1909 edition of the Herald-Dispatch there is an account of events for September 1st; when John F. Hayner went to Somerville’s office and shot George Somerville twice, at about 10 a.m. At around 2 p.m. the man had hung himself in the jail. Weapon in the shooting was an Iver Johnson Bulldog 38.
The first bullet entered Somerville’s left arm near the wrist, then entered the chest near his shoulder, injuring the lung. The other bullet apparently entered Somerville’s back, passed through the body just missing the lower part of the heart. It was not agreed whether the second bullet entered the back first.
Florence Dovre, secretary, and Atty. Albert Hauser were in the office. Hayner told the editor he had been beaten out of every cent he had, said he had received 170 acres of worthless land in Missouri for brick building here. Hauser gave the alarm and John B. Hickle, Frank Palmer, and Rob Hansen were the first to show up, with a good-sized guns. Others showed up with weapons also.
Chief August Matter and Judge Peter Geschwind decided to send Hayner to New Ulm in Joe Fialka’s auto, with Fialka driving, trip being made in less than an hour. Hayner told Matter he had nothing to live for.
Hayner had come to Sleepy Eye about two and a half years earlier, bought the Backer? building, traded it to Somerville for the 170 acres in Missouri and some telephone stock. Hayner then left Sleepy Eye, worked in Milford and Twin Cities. Parents lived at Waverly. Hayner was about 35, of good reputation. County Attorney August Erickson of Springfield arrived in Sleepy Eye three hours after the shooting.
Somerville was out of danger some ten days after the shooting. George Somerville died on January 12th, 1890. Not related to this crime. He rests in the Oak Ridge Cemetery in Iberia.
Wednesday, June 11, 2014
Thursday, May 29, 2014
Golden Gloves Boxing
This picture was taken in 1947. We have listed as Back Row, left to right: Harold Guldager, Allen Walden, Jim Walden, Harvey Dallman (Trainer), Hjalmer Friton, Ed Walden, & George Gustafson. Directly in front, left to right: Shimschock & Eckstein.
Amateur boxing enjoyed enormous popularity in the 1930s, '40s and well into the '50s. It was a simpler, more innocent time for the sport of boxing, with gentlemanly heroes like Joe Louis (nick named Brown Bomber) who was considered to be a worthy role model for children. For the most part, the seamy underside of the sport remained hidden.
Children even received boxing gloves as Christmas or birthday gifts and were cheered on by their parents in amateur matches the same way young football players are encouraged today. Black eyes were badges of pride to young fighters who sneered at wearing protective headgear. Boxing as been known as the "sweet science". Many hours were conducted on learning the correct workings of the right technique of boxing for the boys; a complete devotion.
For Harold Guldager, Allen Walden, Jim Walden, Harvey Dallman (Trainer), Hjalmer Friton, Ed Walden, George Gustafson, Shimschock and Eckstein they were of the many here in Sleepy Eye that took on the roles and attempts to becoming the next Golden Glove winner, through the many black eyes, sore muscles, and bruised egos. In the eyes of themselves they were winners, perhaps not in the eyes of national championships but in their eyes they themselves, made of heart and steal, they were Champions to themselves and their teammates.
Thursday, May 22, 2014
Businesses of Main Street in 1887
Businesses have come and gone in Sleepy Eye as many of us know. But do we know who were our frontier businessmen were? Let me enlighten you. We have the gentlemen of C.D. Griffith and W.W. Smith were advertised representatives of the Merchants Bank, later the First National, now the Security Bank. The Bank of Sleepy Eye lists F. H. Dyckman as proprietor. Dyckman just started off with $500.00. His bank later became the State Bank, now called the Americana Bank.
Professional men were; Dr. F. P. James, dentist; T.M. Marcellus, physician and surgeon; J.W.B. Wellcome, physician and surgeon (he was the father of Dr. J.W.B. Wellcome, Jr., who took several citizens of Sleepy Eye through their childhoods; J.M. Thompson, attorney; George W. Somerville, attorney who later became state senator, (later was object of a would-be assassin who claimed he had been cheated.)
Businessmen included; H.J. Hansen, hardware and lumber. Hansen took part in building the Loreno House. W.H. White proprietor, SW corner of Main and First Avenue – the Exchange Hotel (had good sample rooms) for showing salesmen’s wares to local store owners.
A.W. Case, Occidental Livery and Sales Stable, new rigs and trusty drivers, commercial and hunters’ patronage solicited; City Livery, J. Liesenfeld, fine rigs and trust drivers. F. Marquardt, Merchant Tailoring; R.H. Bingham, hardware, lumber, tinware, stoves, table cutlery, tools, fence wire, wood pumps, doors, sash, and shingles; Schoregge & Gieseke, successors to F. Ibberson who had come in 1872, drugs, medicines, toilet articles, specialties, Ibberson’s Anodyne Balsam, Pectoral Cough Linctus, and condition powders.
W.M. Muffin, Commercial House and Restaurant, was located about where the present day post office is located, meals at all hours, oysters in every style; August Schweiger, NewMeat Market; L.P. Jensen & Durbahn, dress goods and trimmings, five cents a yard and up; James Reeve, boot and shoe makers; Sleepy Eye Mill, patent, family, and baker’s flour; Rinke & Bertrand, dry goods and groceries; Deutsche Apothek & H. H. Meyer had a business also in 1887. M. Kiefer, Boot and Shoe Store; A new store, Talbot and Rinke was started in 1872.
Some of these names many may recognize as familiar names others may not seem so familiar. There were of course other businesses that came and went that is not mentioned in our history because they simply didn’t stick around long enough to be considered a long time business (basically less than a year probably). We find this often times with family genealogy as well. Families come into the museum in hopes of finding long lost families but if their family didn’t stick around Sleepy Eye very long chances are we don’t have much record of their stay here in Sleepy Eye or in Brown County.
A mental note - If you have any old photos out there and your parents or grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc are still around and they know who is on those pictures – ask them who is in the pictures. Make sure you get their names written down, before you know it, your opportunity of getting the chance to find out who the people are, and their names will be gone. Even take a moment today to write the name behind of your present day photos, because 20, 30 years from now – our children will be sitting where we are today and saying “I wish I knew who was in this photo.”