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The great bird day


Sun, Nov 19th, 2000
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The diaries of Dr. Johan C. HvoslefBy Nancy OvercottMonday, November 20, 2000

Editor’s note: Dr. Johan C. Hvoslef, who practiced medicine in Lanesboro from 1876-1920, was an enthusiastic birdwatcher and prolific writer. His journals, written in both English and his native Norwegian, are filled with details of his daily activities and observations of nature. In the following article Nancy Overcott writes of Dr. Hvoslef’s life and the fascinating glimpse of Fillmore County’s past that his journals provide.

The great bird day

Thursday, October 5, 1911: This morning 38 degrees and it looked as if the long period of rain at last had come to an end. I went to the hill and took fresh flowers along... In the valley and at the outlet, there it was swarming with birds.

When I got home I was called to Miss Ole Carlsen near Pekin [Pilot Mound] and drove there with livery team from M. Horihan, with Erik Bohn driving...

At length the rain poured down and the roads became horrid. On the Casey hill met with an automob. in the deep clay mud. That ride could hardly have been very pleasant... [As part of this entry, the writer listed the birds he identified in passing.]
~Dr. Johan Christian Hvoslef, Diary 10


Dr. Johan Christian Hvoslef came to this country from Norway at the age of thirty-three. He attended medical school in Chicago, then moved to Lanesboro where he practiced medicine from 1876 to 1920. By most accounts, he was a dour person with little sense of humor and may have felt superior to his neighbors.

He married Karen Anderson of Lanesboro and they had a daughter named Agnes. The doctor was heartbroken when Agnes died in 1898 at age six. From the time of her death until his own, he brought flowers to her grave every day.

Besides practicing medicine, Dr. Hvoslef was also a birdwatcher who completed over fifty journals of his daily activities and observations of nature, particularly birds, in Fillmore County. He gathered bird specimens by shooting the birds, as was the custom then. The following excerpts are from Diaries 1 and 2:

Friday, March 3, 1882: Summerlike temperatures. Bottomless roads. Few folk in town. I went out with my gun this afternoon. Near Patterson's I saw two beautiful birds of the Sialia sialis (Eastern Bluebird), the first of the season. Shot one...

Friday, June 30, 1882: Last night we had the most awful storm that I'v .....
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Hoffman Stables

Board limps into new year

Sun, Nov 19th, 2000
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Monday, November 20, 2000

In the first Fillmore County Board meeting following the now historic election of 2000, the stage was set for the way the board will do business from now until the New Year arrives.

Commissioner Boyum, who wa ..... 
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Rushford Library looking at expansion

Sun, Nov 19th, 2000
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Monday, November 20

To build or to remodel? That is the question a Library Taskforce has been considering for the past couple months in the city of Rushford.

The existing public library in the Tew Building, located near Rushford’s cent ..... 
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Election 2000:

Sun, Nov 19th, 2000
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One for the history booksBy Al MathisonMonday, November 13, 2000

Fillmore County voters turned out in large numbers last Tuesday, November 7. The auditor’s department reported that as of 7 a.m. on Election Day there were1 ..... 
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Sometimes I get yelled at

Sun, Nov 19th, 2000
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Monday, November 13, 2000

I think that most of us have heard stories about the absent minded professor. Well, I am not now nor have I ever been a professor, but I am and always have been absent minded. In my case, being absent minded is like n ..... 
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A Harry Potter party

Sun, Nov 19th, 2000
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Monday, October 23, 2000

Harry Potter has worked magic in Fillmore County, enticing both children and adults to become passionate readers. And I, too, have become a Harry Potter fan. In fact, as each new book was released I had to bargain with ..... 
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Too close to call

Sun, Nov 19th, 2000
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By Amy HazelNovember 20, 2000

I'm sure everyone is very sick of hearing about the election and its problems. But this is an issue that needs to be discussed. After all, we are one of the few and very lucky nations on the face of this earth th ..... 
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Possessed

Sun, Nov 19th, 2000
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Monday, October 30, 2000

Author Moritz Thomsen writes of his house in an Ecuadorian jungle: "At first it is infuriating to discover what is going on beneath your nose; the books rotted; the phonograph records green with mold . . . boots turnin ..... 
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The Living Museum:

Sun, Nov 19th, 2000
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A Historical OverviewBy John LevellMonday, November 13, 2000

So just where in southeastern Minnesota can one experience balmy 80 degree temperatures while viewing exotic tropical wildlife right through those long, cold an ..... 
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