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Unfortunate Circumstances


Sun, Sep 24th, 2000
Posted in

Early settlers faced danger in daily lifeBy Al Mathison"A whole family in the course of a half day is wiped entirely from the face of the earth," the Lanesboro Journal reported in a news story from 1892.

As the writer recounted the horrific events of the tragedy, he reminds us of "the enormous chances that stand between life and death in our everyday living."

Over the past few years in the course of researching local historical stories Ive spent countless hours at the Fillmore County Historical Center reading through the archives of 19th century newspapers. Ive found myself becoming intrigued, not only with the details of our ancestors lives, but also of the macabre, extraordinary and sensational accounts of how many of them died. Life for the people of that by-gone era was rarely easy and death was sometimes thought a welcome respite from their daily hardships.

What follows, then, is a journey through the past of southeast Minnesota, covering the years 1865-1892; a nostalgic journey mixed with horror and tragedy. As these unfortunate circumstances unfold in the flowery and poetic language of the day, it is the resounding drama of the human experience that has the power to haunt us to this day.



An insane woman, wife of John Long, living two miles west of Preston, struck her granddaughter, a girl of 13 years, a blow on the side of the head with a club. The child was not considered at first as being dangerously hurt, but on the day following, while attending her usual duties, suddenly fell down in a spasm and died within an hour. History of Fillmore County (HFC) , 1865

For a rural village, far re-moved from the pestiferous atmosphere of great cities, ours is fast becoming notorious in the way of blackguardness. On Monday last as early as noon drunken men were reeling through our streets. . At night lower down Main Street there was a crowd of drunken men who made night hideous with their profane and vulgar language. Chatfield Democrat, 1866

About the middle of June, a party of Scandinavians were crossing the Root River at Newmans ford, on their way to a wedding, when the horses became frightened and unman-ageable and ran, violently throwing the occupants of the wagon out in deep water, drowning one of the women and her little babe, thus sadly turning a festive occasion into one of mourning. HFC, 1874


At Amherst, on the 6th of April, an insane woman, wif .....
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Dad

Sun, Sep 24th, 2000
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Monday, September 11, 2000

Last week while tending my booth at the Minnesota State Fair I got the call Ive always dreaded. "Sit down," my brother Derald said softly. "Dad died just a little while ago."

Waves of emotion. Deep sighs. Ti ..... 
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All about raspberries

Sun, Sep 24th, 2000
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Diseases of Raspberries By Virginia CooperMonday, September 25, 2000

There are two kinds of diseases that commonly infect raspberries, the serious and the not-so-serious. Of the serious kind, we have anthracnose, cane blight, spur blight and b ..... 
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This work is not for the birds

Sun, Sep 24th, 2000
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Monday, September 4, 2000

I stand on the roof of our workshop holding the end of a rope. My husband has tied the opposite end around his waist so he doesn't slip as he hammers nails into our new metal roofing. Although I am alert to the danger ..... 
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In the Lands of the Pte Oyate

Sun, Sep 24th, 2000
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Monday, September 25, 2000

Sunlight shimmering, my wife Connie and I wrestle with the wind as we set up our campsite. Howling out of Nebraska, the stiffly blowing southern gale threatens to rip the ground cloth from our hands while we fumble w ..... 
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A walk in the woods

Sun, Sep 24th, 2000
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Monday, September 18, 2000

Theres always a welcome relief to a September. The kids are back in school, the humidity and temperature drop a point or two and even the pesky summer bugs are starting to disappear. Its a perfect time for a walk i ..... 
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The Bat

Sun, Sep 24th, 2000
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Monday, September 25, 2000

There have been radio programs, comic books, and television shows featuring people who have, for reasons of their own, assumed some of the characteristics of the little brown bat. As far as I know, all these attempts ..... 
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Survivors

Sun, Sep 24th, 2000
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Monday, August 28, 2000

This is a story about survivors.

No, it is not about the gameshow/psychodrama that was recently portrayed on CBS, where neurosis is a developmental skill highly valued by artificially created tribal groups.
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Sams bath

Sun, Sep 24th, 2000
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Monday, September 18, 2000

It was a beautiful Saturday morning, a day that you might expect to enjoy in June rather than September. My dog, Sam and I took a walk through the woods while my wife was entertaining some of her friends out on the d ..... 
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