Sunday, March 26, 2017

On This Date in Minnesota History: March 26

March 26, 1923 – Mrs. Francis Stephan died on this date of injuries she sustained when her kitchen stove exploded in her farm home near Graceton, Minn., about 14 west of Spooner.

Map of Graceton1

Her husband, who was seated in the kitchen when the explosion occurred, was slightly injured by flying fragments from the stove.  The blast occurred just after she had added wood to the fire, and was of such a force that the stove was shattered to bits and great holes blown in the roof and floor; all of the windows in the house were broken.

The Stephans’ neighbor, Frank Nahadil, was arrested the same day and held without charge pending an investigation.

According to the Lake of the Woods County Sheriff, an examination of the wrecked kitchen revealed a stick of green spruce, which he believes contained an explosive and an empty 45-70 rifle cartridge.

Mrs. Stephan was blown into the cellar by the force of the explosion and died while being taken to the hospital.

On March 30, 1923, Frank Nahadil, held in the Baudette jailed, charged by a coroners’ jury with the responsibility for the death of Mrs. Francis Stephan, committed suicide by hanging himself with a handkerchief.

Red Lake Falls Gazette; “Woman Is Killed By Stove Explosion. Spooner Jury Says Explosive Placed Maliciously; Suspect is Bound Over.”; March 29, 1923; p. 5.

Red Lake Falls Gazette; “Accused Man Hangs Self”; April 5, 1923; p.1.


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