Tuesday, November 4, 2014

On This Date in Minnesota History: November 4

November 4, 1904 – Believing he was being pursued by men who wanted to take his life, Joseph Schrafer, a laborer from Fargo, attempted to cut his throat at Funkley, 30 miles north of Bemidji Saturday evening.

This afternoon, Schrafer was given a hearing before the sanity board. Schrafer stated that he feared that some people were after him, and he knew they were going to kill him; that he was terribly afraid, and that he would take his own life rather than fall into their hands. Upon hearing his story, the board concluded that he was mentally unbalanced and was committed to the hospital at Fergus Falls.

Thirty-eight-year-old Schrafer came from Fargo last week with a crowd of men who were hired to go to Big Falls to work on the Big Falls-International Falls extension of the M. & I. railway. Schrafer left Bemidji Saturday evening on the north-bound M. & L. passenger train for Big Falls. He got off the train at Houpt, north of Funkley, and failed to get aboard before the train pulled out of the depot, and he was left behind on the platform.

Schrafer walked to Funkley and entered a saloon. A half an hour later, fellow saloon patrons were startled to see him suddenly draw a jackknife from his pocket and start hacking at his throat.

Those standing near Schrafer made a rush in his direction and the knife was taken from him, but not before he had lacerated his throat. He was taken into custody by Marshall Berry, who kept him in Funkley until this morning, when he was brought to Bemidji.

The injury to Schrafer’s throat was not severe, owing to the fact that the knife with which he attempted to sever his windpipe was dull and covered with tobacco and somewhat rusty.

The Bemidji Daily Pioneer; “Tried to Kill Himself With A Jack-Knife. Joseph Schrafer, a German Laborer, Thought He Was Pursued by Person Who Wanted to Kill Him…Tried to Suicide, at Funkley.”; November 04, 1907; p. 1.

The population of Funkley was five at the 2010 census, making the city the least populous incorporated place in Minnesota.


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