Saturday, July 20, 2013

On this date in Minnesota history: July 20

July 20, 1907 – “Tired of ethnic discrimination as well as dangerous working conditions, low wages, and long work days, immigrant iron miners on the Mesabi Range in northeastern Minnesota went on strike on [this date]. Their strike lasted only two months before it was suppressed with strikebreakers, but it was notable for being the first organized strike on the state's Iron Range.”

Friday, July 19, 2013

On This Date in Minnesota History: July 19

July 19, 1889 - Albert Bulow was hanged at gallows constructed near the Morrison County Courthouse on this date, thus being the only person in Morrison County to have been legally executed.1

Caught in Verndale with Frank Eich’s horses and wagon, Burow confessed to shooting Eich of Buckman, Minn., in the neck on Nov. 24, 1888.1 Charles A. Lindbergh, Sr. offered his legal services, but Burrow declined.2 During his March 1889 trial, Bulow pled guilty and was sentenced by Judge D. B. Searle to be hanged.1

2Trenerry, Walter N.; Murder in Minnesota: A Collection of True Cases; The Minnesota Historical Society (St. Paul, Minn., 1962); p. 221

Morrison County Courthouse, Little Falls, Minn.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

On this date in Minnesota history: July 18

July 18, 1913 – A native of Northfield, Minn., Governor Karl F. Rolvaag was born on this date. “Rolvaag was the first Minnesota governor to serve a four-year term.”

“The 1962 election was held November 6, 1962, but the results of the race for governor were not known until a 139-day recount was completed in March 1963. Rolvaag won the closest gubernatorial election in state history by defeating incumbent Elmer L. Andersen by just 91 votes out of over 1.3 million cast.”

Governor Karl F. Rolvaag

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

On this date in Minnesota history: July 17

July 17, 1986 – Designed by Clarence W. Wigington, the nation's first African-American municipal architect, the Highland Park Water Tower in St. Paul, was named to the National Register of Historic Places on this date.,_Minnesota

Highland Park Water Tower, St. Paul, Minn.
Photo taken by Pamela J. Erickson. Released into the public domain July 16, 2013, 
as long as acknowledgement included.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

On this date in Minnesota history: July 16

July 16, 1891 - The cornerstone for the Minneapolis City Hall and Courthouse was laid at a Masonic ceremony on this date, “with speeches by Mayor Philip B. Winston and Frank F. Davis, a prominent Minneapolis attorney. Within the cornerstone are placed copies of periodicals published in the count and papers related to city and county business and construction.”

Minneapolis City Hall and Courthouse
Photo taken by Pamela J. Erickson. Released into the public domain July 16, 2013,
as long as acknowledgement included.

“Minneapolis, 1857. The block on which City Hall and Courthouse stands today was once home to farms, small businesses and even two schoolhouses, such as those pictured in this early photo. In the lower right of the photograph is the Minnesota Democrat, the first newspaper published on the west side of the Mississippi, and a mercantile store.”

Monday, July 15, 2013

Remembering the First Minnesota at Gettysburg – Part II

Minn. Governor Alexander Ramsey happened to be in Washington, D. C., when Fort Sumter was first fired upon by Confederate troops (April 12, 1861), and immediately offered the first troops to support the Union cause. Ramsey sent a telegram back to Minnesota by horseback, setting in motion the call to arms in the then youngest state to enter the Union (May 11, 1858).1

The First Minnesota Infantry Regiment “was quickly filled with enthusiastic men from all parts of Minnesota.”2 Two of those men, Henry D. O’Brien and Marshall Sherman, were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for their valor during the Battle of Gettysburg.

Henry D. O'Brien3

Born in Maine in 1842, Henry D. O’Brian moved to St. Anthony Falls, Minn., with his parents in 1857. He was 19-years-old when he enlisted, and was placed in Company E of the First Minnesota Volunteer Infantry.

O’Brien “was slightly wounded, in his side, on July 2, 1863, during the unit's famous charge at Gettysburg. During the battle he helped a badly wounded comrade, Ernest Jefferson, to a place of shelter. After the battle [Jefferson] was found on the field and taken to a field hospital. He would later have his leg amputated but lived a long life and was always thankful for [O’Brien's] help that day.

Though wounded himself, [O’Brien] was able, however to stay with the regiment and was in line with his comrades the next day. The First Minnesota lay waiting behind a fence in the middle of the line to the left of the copse of trees toward which Pickett's army was headed.

[O’Brien] picked up the First Minnesota's battle flag when Corporal Dehn, the color bearer, was shot through the hand during the early firing between the Rebels and the Union line. The shot broke the staff in half. It was difficult to hold, but hold it he did. He leaped over the fence and charged toward the Confederates. His comrades followed him, as much to protect their colors as anything else.

Lt. Lochren was angry at first, blaming O'Brien for ‘imperiling’ the regiment's flag, stained in blood the day before. But the effect of O'Brien's act ‘was electrical,’ Lochren wrote later. ‘Every man of the First Minnesota sprang to protect its flag, and the rest rushed with them upon the enemy.’ When Lt John Ball of Co K, saw O'Brien drive towards the Confederate position, he shouted, ‘O'Brien, come back here!’ Later O'Brien admitted that he had heard the order but confessed with a grin, ‘I didn't come.’”3

On April 9, 1890, O’Brien was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for taking up the colors where they had fallen; rushing ahead of his regiment, close to the muzzles of the enemy's guns, and engaging in the desperate struggle in which the enemy was defeated; and though severely wounded, he held the colors until wounded a second time.4

Marshall Sherman5

The First Minnesota’s second Gettysburg Medal of Honor winner, Marshall Sherman, “was born in Burlington, VT, in 1823. He settled in St Paul in 1849, and was working as a painter when the war began. He was mustered into the First Minnesota Volunteer Infantry, on April 29, 1861.”5

Sherman’s “name goes down in the annals of First Minnesota history as the man who captured the battle flag of the 28th Virginia Infantry at the battle of Gettysburg on July 3, 1863, during what became known as Pickett's Charge. (See picture above.) For his gallantry during the battle he was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor”5 on December 1, 1864.6

Do you have an ancestor who fought at Gettysburg with the First Minnesota?

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The Minnesota History Center in St. Paul currently has a wonderful exhibit on “Minnesota and the Civil War” running until Sept. 8, 2013.

On this date in Minnesota history: July 15

July 15, 1997 – Serial killer Andrew Cunanan murders his fifth victim, fashion designer Gianni Versace, near Versace’s front door in Miami Beach, Fla. Cunanan began his cross-country killing spree in Minneapolis’ Warehouse District on April 27, 1997.

Andrew Cunanan FBI Wanted Poster

Sunday, July 14, 2013

On This Date in Minnesota History: July 14

July 14, 1865 - The First National Bank of Stillwater was organized on this date.

First National Bank of Stillwater, Stillwater, Minn.
Photo taken by Pamela J. Erickson. Released into the public domain July 14, 2013,
as long as acknowledgement included.