Friday, May 12, 2017

On This Date in Minnesota History: May 12

May 12, 1905 – Harvey S. Rogers, sent to Stillwater less than one month ago for a year’s sentence, was accidentally killed today in the state prison. He was 35-years-old. While cleaning out waste from under a twine spinning machine, his clothing was caught and before his co-worker could stop the machine, Rogers was crushed to death. His skull was horribly fractured.

Twine shop in Stillwater Prison1

An ambulance was instantly sent for and the body was taken to the hospital, where the coroner of Washington County will hold an inquest tomorrow.

Rogers was sentenced April 17 by Judge William Lochren of the United States district court for using the mails with intent to defraud.

He had invented several fictitious companies that offered work at home, directions and information costing $1. He had previously been on trial in the United States court while a postal clerk on the charge of stealing money from the mails.

Rogers was an exceptionally bright young fellow. He was known by hundreds of people in Minneapolis, having been a clerk in the post office for 16 years and having served through the Philippine war with the Thirteenth Minnesota.

On the day off his acquittal, when he was tried in the United States court for stealing from the mails, his father died. It was commonly supposed that he had inherited a considerable fortune. However, he was fascinated by the love of trying to get something for nothing, and like the vast majority of people who once use the mails to defraud, was unable to stop his attempts. He was an exemplary prisoner.

Minneapolis Journal; “Meets Death in Prison. Harvey C. Rogers, Sent to Stillwater Last Month, Killed Instantly by Twine Machine.”; May 13, 1905; p. 6.


Stillwater Prison - 1902


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