Thursday, December 31, 2015

On This Date in Minnesota History: December 31

December 31, 1979 – Anoka’s former post office was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on this date.  Built in 1916, the brick building is now home to shops, a tea room and a deli.

http://nrhp.mnhs.org/NRDetails.cfm?NPSNum=79001180






Photos taken by Pamela J. Erickson. Released into the public domain Dec. 31, 2015,
as long as acknowledgement included.
 

               __________________________________________________________

If you are interested in finding out more about your family history in Minnesota, I specialize in researching  genealogical and historical records in Minn. and western Wis., including:
census records,  birth records,  death certificates, obits, grave site photos, ship passenger lists, marriage records and declarations of intent/naturalization records.  I will visit locations to research local history and county records, as well as take photos. Quick turnaround on MHS records.  Both short searches and family history reports.

Website: 
TheMemoryQuilt.com ®  click on Family History

Contact me at:
pjefamilyresearch@gmail.com 

 

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

On This Date in Minnesota History: December 30

December 30, 1905 – At 3 p.m. today, Stella Brennan was found guilty of murder in the second degree for the shooting deaths of three of her stepchildren, Elizabeth, Alice and Arthur. The jury was out for 20 hours after listening to close to two weeks of testimony.

She will not hang, but must suffer imprisonment for life; a sentence expected due to Mrs. Brennan’s testimony that a doctor had recently examined her while she was in the county jail, and affirmed that she was in a “delicate condition.”

In response to County Attorney Al J. Smith’s rapid volley of questions, Mrs. Brennan also stated that:

• Contradictory to the information in their Chicago divorce records and
  testimony of several prosecution witnesses, she testified that she had
  no problem with the children; her problem was with her husband’s
  drinking;

• She had previously suffered four miscarriages;

• While married to Mr. Brennan and living in Chicago, she had attempted to
  commit suicide 
by turning on the gas; her stepson Tommy had discovered
  her and saved her life;

• The reason she and her husband brought the children to an orphanage in
  Chicago was so that the children could be taken care of while she went to
  visit her family for two weeks.


The defendant and her attorney, E. S. Cary, came into court with an unusual defense: she did not kill Elizabeth Brennan, and if she did kill her, it was when she was insane and not responsible for her acts.  What?!
Drs. Williams, Bartlett and Clark were sworn in and testified that Mrs. Brennan is and was at the time of the murder, in a delicate condition; second, that if she committed the horrendous crime of which she is accused, she was, in their opinion, insane. On cross-examination, however, each of the experts testified that she is sane now, that she now knows the difference between right and wrong and that she may have known the difference when she committed the crime. Another what?!

“Do you assume that the defendant did murder these children?” Smith asked Dr. Clark.

“Yes,” Dr. Clark replied.

Dr. Bartlett, a specialist in nervous diseases and for years connected with insane hospitals, told the courtroom he believed the defendant committed the crime and was insane at the time.

The defense attorney also pulled a Johnnie Cochran. Cary gave Mrs. Brennan the revolver admitted into evidence, and asked her to pull the trigger. She first tried with the left hand, and couldn’t do it. Then she tried with her right hand; again, she couldn’t do it. Lastly, she tried using both hands, but the result was the same. (If she cannot shoot, you must give her the boot?)

Mrs. Brennan continued to stress that she saw a man at the end of her bed, and that he was the one who had shot her. Apparently the jury did not believe that anyone else was in their rooms with a gun but her.

Expecting to be acquitted, Mrs. Brennan burst into sobs at the announcement of the verdict; one of the rare times during the trial she had shown any emotion.


Stella Brennan entering Stillwater Prison

Stella Brennan was sentenced to the State penitentiary for life. “Until the establishment of the Shakopee State Reformatory for Women (1920) the Stillwater prison received female as well as male convicts.”1

1http://libguides.mnhs.org/content.php?pid=483891&sid=3966450


Murder of three Brennan children while they slept; oldest son and stepmother shot; see Nov. 4, 2015 blog

Stella Brennan indicted by coroner’s jury for murder of stepdaughter; see Nov. 9, 2015 blog

Stella Brennan indicted by Hennepin County grand jury for murder of her three stepchildren; see Nov. 21, 2015 blog

County Attorney outlines the state’s theory of the Stella Brennan murder case in his opening statement; see Dec. 19, 2015 blog

Stella Brennan spends Christmas in hospital room of the Hennepin County Jail; see Dec. 25, 2015 blog



Minneapolis Tribune
; “Five Jurors. Lawyers Succeed in Securing Half of Jury in the Brennan Murder Case. Prejudice Against Death Stops Many. New Panel of One Hundred Men Is Drawn in Attempt to Complete Jury. Woman Tried For Her Life Is Not Nervous. Mrs. Brennan Chats With Matron and Reporters and Expects To Be Acquitted.”; Dec. 19, 1905; p. 6.

Minneapolis Journal; “Outlines State’s Murder Theory. County Attorney Al. J. Smith Makes Opening Address. Says State Will Show That There Was no Man on the Roof or in the Room and That Mrs. Brennan Murdered Children Because of Her Jealous Hatred of Them.”; Dec. 20, 1905; p. 15.

Minneapolis Journal; “Mrs. Brennan Gives Account of Tragedy. She Insists that Man Stood by Her Bed and Shot Her—All the Evidence May Be In Today”; Dec. 27, 1905; pp. 1, 5.

The Minneapolis Morning Tribune; “Mrs. Stella Brennan is Visibly Agitated. Prisoner in Mysterious Case Changes Color Rapidly While Lawrence Kennedy Is Giving His Testimony—Defense Takes Case and Outlines Policy To Be Pursued in Proving Innocence. Expert Evidence Will Be Heard During The Trial Held Today.”; Dec. 27, 1905; p. 1.

The Minneapolis Tribune; Mrs. Brennan Struggles for Life Through Searching Court Inquiry. Prisoner Declares She Saw Murderer. Mrs. Stella Brennan Accused of Killing Step Children Claims She Was Startled on Night of Tragedy by Seeing Man on Shed Roof—When She Awakened Later Man Shot Her. Husband Is Placed On Stand By The Defense.”; Dec. 28, 1905; p. 1.

Minneapolis Journal; “Insane If Guilty, Say Doctors. Medical Men Testify as to Mrs. Brennan’s Condition—Case Will Go to Jury Saturday.”; Dec. 28, 1905; p. 1.

The Minneapolis Morning Tribune; “Suspense. Jury in Brennan Murder Case Retires to Form Verdict. Lawyers Occupy the Entire Day. Judge Dickinson in Charge Allows Second Degree Conviction. Prisoner Weeps At Father’s Name. Interest of Great Throng Continuous Until Jury Finally Retires.”; Dec. 30, 1905; p. 1.

The Minneapolis Journal; EXTRA. Mrs. Brennan Found Guilty. Murder in Second Degree Is Verdict of Jury in Sensational Murder Trial—Maximum Penalty Is Life Imprisonment.”; Dec. 30, 1905; p. 1.

The Minneapolis Sunday Tribune; “Mrs. Brennan To Spend A Lifetime In Prison. Jury at 3 O’clock Yesterday Afternoon Finds Prisoner Guilty in the Second Degree Which Means Life Imprisonment—Convicted Woman Bursts Into Tears As She Hears Her Fate. Jury’s Only Question Is Degree Of Crime.”; Dec. 31, 1905; p. 1.
               __________________________________________________________

If you are interested in finding out more about your family history in Minnesota, I specialize in researching  genealogical and historical records in Minn. and western Wis., including:
census records,  birth records,  death certificates, obits, grave site photos, ship passenger lists, marriage records and declarations of intent/naturalization records.  I will visit locations to research local history and county records, as well as take photos. Quick turnaround on MHS records.  Both short searches and family history reports.

Website: 
TheMemoryQuilt.com ®  click on Family History

Contact me at:
pjefamilyresearch@gmail.com 


Tuesday, December 29, 2015

On This Date in Minnesota History: December 29

December 29, 1915 – William Hamm of the Hamm Brewing Company today leased the Odd Fellows block at the corner of Fifth and Wabasha Streets, St. Paul, for a term of 99 years, at an aggregate rental of $1,220,000. The building was leased from Odd Fellows’ Lodge No. 2, and will be razed and a hotel built on the site.

The new hostelry will be one block from the Saint Paul Hotel and two blocks from the hotel now being built by George E. Benz, wholesale liquor merchant, at Seventh and Wabasha Streets. This is the fourth hotel planned for St. Paul this fall.


The Minneapolis Morning Tribune; “Odd Fellow’s Block Gives Way to Hotel. St. Paul Site Leased for Ninety-nine Years at Aggregate Rental of $1,220.00.”; Dec. 30, 1915; p. 1. 



William Hamm
http://rogertouhygangsters.blogspot.com/2010/12/touhy-broke-down-at-his-third-trial.html

               __________________________________________________________

If you are interested in finding out more about your family history in Minnesota, I specialize in researching  genealogical and historical records in Minn. and western Wis., including:
census records,  birth records,  death certificates, obits, grave site photos, ship passenger lists, marriage records and declarations of intent/naturalization records.  I will visit locations to research local history and county records, as well as take photos. Quick turnaround on MHS records.  Both short searches and family history reports.

Website: 
TheMemoryQuilt.com ®  click on Family History

Contact me at:
pjefamilyresearch@gmail.com 

 

Monday, December 28, 2015

On This Date in Minnesota History: December 28

December 28, 1916 – The will of the late J. Pierpont Morgan, together with a statement of the personal property in his estate, was filed late today in the office of Minnesota’s Attorney General Smith, to supply information on which to compute the state’s inheritance tax. The personal property is valued at $52,500,866.44, according to the appraisal report and Minnesota items total $38,570. No valuations on real estate holdings are given.

The Minneapolis Morning Tribune; “J. P. Morgan Will Filed in Minnesota”; Dec. 29, 1916; p. 1.



J. P. Morgan

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/41/JohnPierpontMorgan.png

               __________________________________________________________

If you are interested in finding out more about your family history in Minnesota, I specialize in researching  genealogical and historical records in Minn. and western Wis., including:
census records,  birth records,  death certificates, obits, grave site photos, ship passenger lists, marriage records and declarations of intent/naturalization records.  I will visit locations to research local history and county records, as well as take photos. Quick turnaround on MHS records.  Both short searches and family history reports.

Website: 
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Contact me at:
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Sunday, December 27, 2015

On This Date in Minnesota History: December 27

December 27, 1967 – “In the first NFL playoff game in Minnesota, the Vikings came from behind to defeat the LA Rams, 23-20, in the Western Conference Championship Game. Minnesota overcame deficits of 17-7 at halftime and 20-14 in the 4th quarter for the franchise’s 1st postseason win.”

http://www.vikings.com/team/history/timeline.html



http://content.sportslogos.net/logos/7/172/full/h3yyvhguz1f3txis6mch.png

               __________________________________________________________

If you are interested in finding out more about your family history in Minnesota, I specialize in researching  genealogical and historical records in Minn. and western Wis., including:
census records,  birth records,  death certificates, obits, grave site photos, ship passenger lists, marriage records and declarations of intent/naturalization records.  I will visit locations to research local history and county records, as well as take photos. Quick turnaround on MHS records.  Both short searches and family history reports.

Website: 
TheMemoryQuilt.com ®  click on Family History

Contact me at:
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Saturday, December 26, 2015

On this Date in Minnesota History: December 26

December 26, 1911 – Passenger trains numbers 514 (east bound) and 503 (west bound) collided head-on in front of the station at Springfield, Minn., this afternoon according to information received by Superintendent J. J. Nash of the Minnesota Division of the North-Western Road this evening. Only three trainmen were slightly injured, while the engines were somewhat damaged and the passengers badly shaken up and frightened.

According to the superintendent, the accident was caused by the failure of the west-bound train’s engineer to take a siding at Springfield where the two trains were scheduled to pass. Frantic efforts on the part of the enginemen brought the engines almost to a stop before the collision. 

The Minneapolis Morning Tribune; “Collision at Springfield. Quick Work of Engineers Saves Lives of Passengers.”; Dec. 27, 1911; p. 1.




https://harborsofheaven.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/spring3611.jpg

               __________________________________________________________

If you are interested in finding out more about your family history in Minnesota, I specialize in researching  genealogical and historical records in Minn. and western Wis., including:
census records,  birth records,  death certificates, obits, grave site photos, ship passenger lists, marriage records and declarations of intent/naturalization records.  I will visit locations to research local history and county records, as well as take photos. Quick turnaround on MHS records.  Both short searches and family history reports.

Website: 
TheMemoryQuilt.com ®  click on Family History

Contact me at:
pjefamilyresearch@gmail.com 

 



Friday, December 25, 2015

On This Date in Minnesota History: December 25

December 25, 1905 – Mrs. Stella Brennan, on trial for the murder of three of her stepchildren, is a closely guarded prisoner in the hospital room of the Hennepin County Jail, but she is not deprived of some Christmas recreation. The pretty prisoner did not hang up a stocking, but she received a beautiful locket from her husband James Brennan, and today she sat down to a sumptuous dinner of turkey and suitable Christmas delicacies that many of her free sisters would envy.

This morning Jailor Nels Clausen, assisted by some members of the newspaper fraternity, gave Mrs. Brennan a gramophone concert. The defendant was not wearing the long veil and black suit that makes her stand out in the court room. Instead, she wore a gingham dress with the sleeves rolled up and the collar turned in. The gramophone repertory included humorous and sentimental tunes and the prisoner suited her expression to the music.




Gramaphone1

But beneath the smile, there was plainly heartache. The mask of indifference she so consistently wore in the court room was missing, and when she thought no one was looking, her face would change, a far-away and sad expression would come into her eyes and several times she bit her lips as though at the thought of her trouble and perhaps to keep back tears.




Stella Brennan2

The jurors in the Brennan case are enjoying Christmas at home today. Never in the history of local murder cases have the jurors been allowed their liberty during the trial. Judge H. D. Dickinson cautioned the Brennan jurors several times against reading the papers or talking to anyone about the case during their vacation.

The trial will be resumed tomorrow morning and will undoubtedly last throughout next week and possibly longer.

The Minneapolis Journal; “Mrs. Brennan’s Holiday. Accused Woman Centre of Celebration in Jail—Jurors Freed for the Day.”; Dec. 25, 1905; p. 6.
1http://boston1905.blogspot.com/2009/07/popular-music-in-1905-listen.html

2The Minneapolis Morning Tribune; Dec. 31, 1905.

Murder of three Brennan children while they slept; oldest son and stepmother shot; see Nov. 4, 2015 blog

Stella Brennan indicted by coroner’s jury for murder of stepdaughter; see Nov. 9, 2015 blog

Stella Brennan indicted by Hennepin County grand jury for murder of her three stepchildren; see Nov. 21, 2015 blog

County Attorney outlines the state’s theory of the Stella Brennan murder case in his opening statement; see Dec. 19, 2015 blog

               __________________________________________________________

If you are interested in finding out more about your family history in Minnesota, I specialize in researching  genealogical and historical records in Minn. and western Wis., including:
census records,  birth records,  death certificates, obits, grave site photos, ship passenger lists, marriage records and declarations of intent/naturalization records.  I will visit locations to research local history and county records, as well as take photos. Quick turnaround on MHS records.  Both short searches and family history reports.

Website: 
TheMemoryQuilt.com ®  click on Family History

Contact me at:
pjefamilyresearch@gmail.com 



Thursday, December 24, 2015

On This Date in Minnesota History: December 24

December 24, 1915 – A pay-direct machine has been installed in the teller’s window at the Northern National Bank in Bemidji, Minn. The machine, when a key is pressed, shoots the required sum out into a tray in easy reach of the customer and so that the money can be picked up in case the customer is wearing gloves. The money is no longer touched and counted by the teller as the new machine counts out the sum wanted.

The Bemidji Daily Pioneer; “Pay-Direct Machine Installed at Bank”; December 24, 1915, p. 1.




http://mw2.google.com/mw-panoramio/photos/medium/33499468.jpg
               __________________________________________________________

If you are interested in finding out more about your family history in Minnesota, I specialize in researching  genealogical and historical records in Minn. and western Wis., including:
census records,  birth records,  death certificates, obits, grave site photos, ship passenger lists, marriage records and declarations of intent/naturalization records.  I will visit locations to research local history and county records, as well as take photos. Quick turnaround on MHS records.  Both short searches and family history reports.

Website: 
TheMemoryQuilt.com ®  click on Family History

Contact me at:
pjefamilyresearch@gmail.com 

 





Wednesday, December 23, 2015

On This Date in Minnesota History: December 23

December 23, 1918 – Sergeant Alger C. Walker, Air Service Mechanic school, with the chevrons on his sleeves still a shade less sun-darkened than the rest of his khaki uniform, was married this evening to Miss Frances Allen Fowle. Here is how it happened:

Late in Oct., when the influenza epidemic was raging all over the U. S., several students at the air school contracted the disease, and it soon spread to many others.

Sergeant Walker was among them.

An appeal was sent out by a worried Uncle Sam to his patriotic nieces and Miss Frances Allen Fowle responded to the call.

She was detailed—totally without nursing experience—at the air school. On the day she arrived, ready to do or die, Sergeant Walker, who used to punch cows somewhere in Texas, was on the sick list.

The army surgeon didn’t think Walker was very sick—a mild case of influenza—but when the sergeant saw Miss Fowle, he almost immediately became semi-conscious. And his last words were:

I don’t want to get well.
I don’t want to get well.
I’m in love with a beautiful nurse.

And for more than a month, he didn’t get well. In fact, he hovered between life and death so often that Miss Walker was forced to pay more attention to him than to the others. And when, about a month ago, he did get well, he just couldn’t be made to believe it.

About 75 guests attended the wedding, and a large part of them wore Uncle Sam’s khaki.

Many of those in khaki forgot to address the bridegroom as “Sergeant,” for the chevrons were conferred on him about the time he contracted the influenza.

The Minneapolis Morning Tribune; “Influenza Brings Romance to Life of Air Mechanic. Case Ends Fatally—er—That Is Sergeant and Nurse Are Married Now.”; Dec. 24, 1918; p. 1.




http://www.nicolausassociates.com/images/Poster-Join-The-Army-Air-Service-Reduced.jpg

               __________________________________________________________

If you are interested in finding out more about your family history in Minnesota, I specialize in researching  genealogical and historical records in Minn. and western Wis., including:
census records,  birth records,  death certificates, obits, grave site photos, ship passenger lists, marriage records and declarations of intent/naturalization records.  I will visit locations to research local history and county records, as well as take photos. Quick turnaround on MHS records.  Both short searches and family history reports.

Website: 
TheMemoryQuilt.com ®  click on Family History

Contact me at:
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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

On This Date in Minnesota History: December 22

December 22, 1910 – Judge Amidon handed down a decision in the U. S. Court in Fergus Falls, Minn., late today discharging P. J. Sullivan of Browns Valley, charged with being a blind pig proprietor (an unlicensed or illegal saloon), from custody and declaring the Indian treaty of 1851 abrogated and annulled.

Sullivan was charged with introducing 900 pints of liquor in Browns Valley contrary to the provisions of this treaty. He was sentenced to jail but later discovered the act of congress passed in 1863 annulling the land rights and cutting of the annuities of the Sioux in retaliation for the massacre of 1862.

After an extended review of the case, Judge Amiden summed it up as follows:

“In the present case it is conceded that the Indian reservation that was intended to be protected by article 5 of the treaty, ceased to be an Indian reservation by the act of February 16, 1863 and since that time, none of the Indians have dwelt upon that reservation or claimed title thereto, the whole basis therefore of federal authority over the commerce of intoxicating liquors in this territory is wanting. There are no Indians there with whom commerce can be carried on; therefore, the national government has no power to regulate commerce in the territory covered by the treaty. When congress annulled all rights of the Indians in these lands, it, by necessary implication, abrogated section 5 of the treaty whose only object was the protection of the Indians.”

Under this decision the federal officers have no further power to interfere with the liquor traffic in the wide extent of territory covered by the Sioux treaties. The territory affected by the decision includes the city of Moorhead and almost the entire southern part of the state lying south of the Mississippi, including part of Minneapolis.

The Minneapolis Morning Tribune; “Indian Treaty of 1851 Now Declared Annulled. Man, Accused of Introducing Liquor Into Browns Valley, Is Released. Decision of Judge Amidon at Fergus Falls Believed to Affect Wide Area.”; Dec. 23, 1910, p. 1.




http://www.lakesnwoods.com/FergusFalls.htm

               __________________________________________________________

If you are interested in finding out more about your family history in Minnesota, I specialize in researching  genealogical and historical records in Minn. and western Wis., including:
census records,  birth records,  death certificates, obits, grave site photos, ship passenger lists, marriage records and declarations of intent/naturalization records.  I will visit locations to research local history and county records, as well as take photos. Quick turnaround on MHS records.  Both short searches and family history reports.

Website: 
TheMemoryQuilt.com ®  click on Family History

Contact me at:
pjefamilyresearch@gmail.com 

 


Monday, December 21, 2015

On This Date in Minnesota History: December 21

December 21, 1912 – Children passing Nicollet Avenue and Third Street downtown Minneapolis were brought to tears today when they saw two Santa Clauses engaged in a fist fight.

Concerned that “St. Nick” would get hurt and not be able to fulfill his duties on Christmas Eve caused the little ones to burst into screaming alarm.

The two Santa Clauses were engaged in soliciting funds for the poor of Minneapolis when one of the Good Saint’s impersonators threw the taunt at his competitor that his “make-up” was faulty.

“Aw, you don’t look like Santa Claus,” he said.

“I look more like him than you do,” the other retorted.

That’s when the altercation began. One Santa shot a swift right to the other Santa’s eye. He in turn came back with a hard punch to his competitor’s sawdust stomach.

The children happening on the scene at the time were horror stricken, dumb founded. One little girl burst into tears and a number of the boys doubled up their fists and started to “take sides.”

A policeman put an end to the fracas and the subdued Santa Clauses went back to their respective posts.

Police interference was too late, however, to save the fall of the children’s most popular idol for the youngsters who had witnessed the almost unbelievable sight.

“I saw a crowd gathering about the Santa Clauses from where I stood at Hennepin Avenue and Third Street,” said Peter Kope, traffic policeman, who interrupted the fight. “I reached the men before they had damaged each other to any extent and saw them become reconciled. When I asked them their names, each replied Santa Claus.”

Adjutant John O’Neal of the Volunteers of America, for whom the men were working, says that the fracas was reported to him but that inasmuch as the participants had “made up,” with each other, he would take no action in the matter.

The Minneapolis Morning Tribune; “Street Santa Clauses Engage in a Fist Fight. Two Impersonators of “St. Nick” Have Controversy Over Their Make-ups. Children Horrified to See Bewhiskered Kriss-Kringles Maul Each Other.”; Dec. 21, 1912; p. 1.




https://eqmcapital.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/santa_claus1.jpg

               __________________________________________________________

If you are interested in finding out more about your family history in Minnesota, I specialize in researching  genealogical and historical records in Minn. and western Wis., including:
census records,  birth records,  death certificates, obits, grave site photos, ship passenger lists, marriage records and declarations of intent/naturalization records.  I will visit locations to research local history and county records, as well as take photos. Quick turnaround on MHS records.  Both short searches and family history reports.

Website: 
TheMemoryQuilt.com ®  click on Family History

Contact me at:
pjefamilyresearch@gmail.com 

 


Sunday, December 20, 2015

On This Date in Minnesota History: December 20

December 20, 1981 - The Minnesota Vikings played their last game in Met Stadium on this date, dropping a 10-6 decision to the Kansas City Chiefs.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metropolitan_Stadium




Met Stadium
http://www.waymarking.com/gallery/image.aspx?f=1&guid=a72d8318-723a-4537-85ad-ec17847c80c1

               __________________________________________________________

If you are interested in finding out more about your family history in Minnesota, I specialize in researching  genealogical and historical records in Minn. and western Wis., including:
census records,  birth records,  death certificates, obits, grave site photos, ship passenger lists, marriage records and declarations of intent/naturalization records.  I will visit locations to research local history and county records, as well as take photos. Quick turnaround on MHS records.  Both short searches and family history reports.

Website: 
TheMemoryQuilt.com ®  click on Family History

Contact me at:
pjefamilyresearch@gmail.com 

 


Saturday, December 19, 2015

On This Date in Minnesota History: December 19

December 19, 1905 – County Attorney Al J. Smith outlined the state’s theory of the Stella Brennan murder case in his opening statement this afternoon.

The state believes Stella Brennan’s dislike for her husband’s children was the motive for their murder; she was jealous of them and they were a continual source of annoyance. The Brennans’ divorce in April 1905 in Chicago was blamed on the children. She came to Minneapolis and remarried James Brennan with the understanding that he would dispose of the children. After a few weeks, she realized that the father was not going to send the children away, and she decided to get rid of them herself.


Brennan Children - Elizabeth, Tommy, Alice and Arthur
Minnesota Historical Society File Photo


The state also contends that the defendant bought cartridges for her husband’s revolver, which was the one used to shoot the children. She had told Tommy that they were all likely to be killed by a robber. She did not believe there was anyone sleeping in the store beneath the Brennans’ rooms, and on the night of Nov. 4, she put the smaller boy and the two girls in one bed. Tommy, who was his father’s favorite and for whom she had the least aversion, she put to bed on the couch with his clothes on. The state believes that she intended to spare Tommy’s life.

According to the state’s theory, her original plan was to kill the three sleeping children, then wake Tommy with cries of burglary, and with him hurry to the fire station to get her husband. The first part of her plan was carried out, but Tommy was awakened by the shots, and when she rushed to his couch, he sat up. She thought he knew of her crime, and in self-protection she told him to look for burglars, and when he turned his head she fired the shot that was intended to put him where he could never tell on her. Then she shot herself—whether for a defense or with the intention of wiping out the whole family is uncertain.

County Attorney Smith also reviewed the timeline of that tragic morning; from when everyone went to bed Friday evening, to around 1:30 AM Saturday, when shots were fired killing Lizzie, Alice and Arthur Brennan and wounding their brother Tommy and their stepmother Stella Brennan.  Smith described the powder burns surrounding the children’s wounds, indicating they were shot at close range, not through a window as their stepmother had originally claimed.

He described the tumultuous relationship Stella Brennan had with her four stepchildren; how from the time of James and Stella’s marriage until their separation and final divorce, there had been constant trouble between husband and wife over the children; that she had threatened to leave him unless he sent the children away, and that at one time, under false pretenses, they did put the children away in a Catholic orphan asylum in Chicago, and that she made the statement, not once, but many times, that if he did not put the children away, she would.


Stella Brennan in court1

The media and the public were fascinated by the defendant: a young, attractive woman who allegedly murdered her stepchildren was difficult to fathom. Every bench and chair in the third floor courtroom was filled. Much attention was focused on what the defendant wore to court—a black dress and veil (in mourning for her dead stepchildren?)—and her calm and cold   demeanor; she was described by reporters in terms that we would consider more sexist and tabloid-like than newsworthy today: 

“Most of the time the pretty defendant sat with her cheek resting on her shapely white hand, her elbow on the trial table, and her wide-eyed gaze fixed upon the county attorney.”

“Her color increased ever so slightly and there was the merest suggestion of moisture in the blue-gray eyes.”

Minneapolis Journal; “Outlines State’s Murder Theory. County Attorney Al. J. Smith Makes Opening Address. Says State Will Show That There Was no Man on the Roof or in the Room and That Mrs. Brennan Murdered Children Because of Her Jealous Hatred of Them.”; Dec. 20, 1905; p. 15.

Minneapolis Tribune; “Five Jurors. Lawyers Succeed in Securing Half of Jury in the Brennan Murder Case. Prejudice Against Death Stops Many. New Panel of One Hundred Men Is Drawn in Attempt to Complete Jury. Woman Tried For Her Life Is Not Nervous. Mrs. Brennan Chats With Matron and Reporters and Expects To Be Acquitted.”; Dec. 19, 1905; p. 6.

1Minneapolis Journal; Dec 19, 1905; p. 1.     

Murder of three Brennan children while they slept; oldest son and stepmother shot; see Nov. 4, 2015 blog

Stella Brennan indicted by coroner’s jury for murder of stepdaughter; see Nov. 9, 2015 blog

Stella Brennan indicted by Hennepin County grand jury for murder of her three stepchildren; see Nov. 21, 2015 blog

Stella Brennan spends Christmas in hospital room of the Hennepin County Jail; see Dec. 25, 2015 blog

Stella Brennan Found Guilty; sentenced to the State penitentiary for life; admits she is in a family way; see Dec. 30, 2015 blog

Daughter is born to Stella Brennan in Stillwater State Prison; see July 26,2016 blog

        __________________________________________________________

If you are interested in finding out more about your family history in Minnesota, I specialize in researching  genealogical and historical records in Minn. and western Wis., including:
census records,  birth records,  death certificates, obits, grave site photos, ship passenger lists, marriage records and declarations of intent/naturalization records.  I will visit locations to research local history and county records, as well as take photos. Quick turnaround on MHS records.  Both short searches and family history reports.

Website: 
TheMemoryQuilt.com ®  click on Family History

Contact me at:
pjefamilyresearch@gmail.com
  

Friday, December 18, 2015

On This Date in Minnesota History: December 18

December 18, 1915 – John Harrison, a tall man dressed in laborer’s clothes, walked into the Bemidji police station this morning and confessed to robbing a livery stable at Glenwood, Minn., a year ago last Fourth of July of $30. He said he wanted to give himself up, and was ready to pay the penalty.

He was immediately arrested and the police authorities at Glenwood were notified. Glenwood authorities said they would send a man after Harrington immediately.

“I was working at the livery barn when I took the money,” Harrington admitted. “I had been drinking during the day and went to the till and took all there was in it, about $26 or $30, I believe. This was July 4, 1914. I lay it all to booze as I never stole before.

“I left immediately and went to work in North Dakota. I came to Bemidji several days ago from Margie where I have been working.


“Everywhere I would go, people would look at me as if I owed them something. I could not stand it anymore. Yesterday two men in Bemidji came up to me and said, ‘hello, Mr., they called me by some name. I told them that they were mistaken, but all day long I kept worrying about it. So I decided to give myself up to the police. I am ready to be punished.

“I haven’t any home. It is over 14 years ago since I left the east and came to this section of the country. Have been in different places ever since. I have had a fair education and am 33 years old. It is just drink that made me steal.”

It is expected that Glenwood authorities will be in the city Monday, Dec. 20, to take Harrington back to that city.

The Bemidji Daily Pioneer; “Man Confesses to Robbing Till Two Years Ago. John Harrington, Conscience-stricken, Gives Self Up to Local Police. Too $30 From Livery Barn at Glenwood, Minn. Says Drink is Cause of Downfall; Has No Home; Is Well Educated.”; Dec. 18, 1915; p. 1.




http://www.pctribune.com/images/gw1big.jpg

               __________________________________________________________

If you are interested in finding out more about your family history in Minnesota, I specialize in researching  genealogical and historical records in Minn. and western Wis., including:
census records,  birth records,  death certificates, obits, grave site photos, ship passenger lists, marriage records and declarations of intent/naturalization records.  I will visit locations to research local history and county records, as well as take photos. Quick turnaround on MHS records.  Both short searches and family history reports.

Website: 
TheMemoryQuilt.com ®  click on Family History

Contact me at:
pjefamilyresearch@gmail.com