Friday, March 9, 2018

On This Date in Minnesota History: March 9

March 9, 1915 – Rather than go to school this afternoon, Robert Meagher, age 7, and Henry Folz, Jr., age 10, played hooky and started for the lake with their roller skates.  They have not been seen since.

Each of the boy’s mother believed her son was spending the night across the street with his friend.

When Robert failed to appear to “get cleaned” up before going to school the following morning, Mrs. Meagher became alarmed and ran across to the Folz home. It was then discovered by both mothers that their sons were missing and the frantic parents hurried to Duluth police headquarters with their plea for assistance.

Police were afraid that the two children skated into a hole in the lake, as the ice has been cut up in several places by ice companies and the breweries, which are preparing for their summer business.

Capt. A. G. Fiskett place the entire force at work on the case that morning, and with every officer in the city of Duluth looking for the two missing lads, it was expected that the boys would be found soon, unless the drowning theory proved correct.

“Henry had been having a little trouble at school,” said Mrs. Folz. “His marks weren’t as good as he wanted them to be this last time and I don’t think he wanted to face the teacher yesterday afternoon, so he got Robert and they played hooky.”

Robert Meagher appeared at home about 4 p.m., according to his mother, and after getting his roller skates, he went out again, saying that he was going down to skate. Mrs. Meagher assumed he had just returned from school, but discovered the next morning that both boys had been absent.

The boys had been in the habit of skating on the ice with their roller skates, and both were adept. Henry Folz, father of one of the missing boys, appealed to Mayor Prince about 9 a.m., the city’s executive going with him to the office of the chief of police.


The story did have a happy ending. A day and a half of sightseeing was enough for Robert Meagher, 7, and his friend Henry Folz, 10, who after playing hooky Tuesday afternoon and then, fearing punishment, decided not to go home for a while. Henry Folz, Sr., father of one of the boys, found them at Lakeside the night of March 10.

Lakeside/Lester Park Area of Duluth1

“We skated during the afternoon and then, when it got late,” explained young Meagher, “we were scared to go home, so we slept in the hay loft of the barn near our house. We got up awfully early and went down to the lake again and skated out a long ways. We got pretty hungry, you bet.”

The Duluth Herald; “Roller Skate on the Lake; Have Not Been Seen Since”; March 10, 1915; p. 9.

The Duluth Herald; “Found at Lakeside After Absence of Day and a Half.”; March 11, 1915; p. 13.


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