Saturday, November 8, 2014

On This Date in Minnesota History: November 8

November 8, 1898 – John Frank Wheaton was the first black legislator elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives. He represented District 42, which included a large chunk of the metropolitan area from the Kenwood neighborhood to Eden Prairie and Excelsior.

John Frank Wheaton

Friday, November 7, 2014

On This Date in Minnesota History: November 7

November 7, 1903 – Two more skeletons were discovered today by workmen grading along Langford Avenue on the Minnesota state fairgrounds, making a total of fifteen skeletons unearthed over the past week.

Secretary Randall of the state fair said he believes that a party of explorers or traders wandering through the wilderness, which then covered the city of St. Paul, were attacked by a band of Indians and defended themselves in a desperate battle near where the cow barns of the state fair now stand. Having repelled the enemy, it is surmised, the remaining white men stopped long enough to bury their own dead and those left on the field by the Indians.

Coroner Miller discovered pieces of metal, one or two buttons and some small pieces of cloth attached to the some of the bones, which indicates this was not an Indian burial ground, as the bodies were buried so long ago, it does not seem likely for Indians in this region to have such articles in their possession.

St. Paul Globe; “Grim Relics of 18th Century Pioneers, Skeletons Found Near Fair Grounds Believed to be Those of Men Killed in Battle.”; Nov. 8, 1903; p. 1.

In 1903, Langford Ave. was the southern boundary of the
Minnesota State Fair.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

On This Date in Minnesota History: November 6

November 6, 1903 – Silent film star June Marlowe was born on this date as Gisela Valaria Goetten of German parents in St. Cloud, Minn.1 Her father owned a meat market in St. Cloud.2

“The Goetten family moved to Los Angeles, California where June attended and graduated from Hollywood High School in 1922. Although she planned a career in art, Gisela participated in many high school stage productions. It was during this time that Gisela’s natural beauty and talent was discovered. With her tall slender build, wavy hair, smooth complexion and expressive eyes, she was destined to become a star.

Gisela made her film debut in 1924, in ‘Find Your Man,’ with Rin Tin Tin. Her overwhelming success and popularity as the “girl with the soulful eyes” prompted producers to change her name to June Marlowe after the famous stage star, Julia Marlowe. After signing a contract with Warner Studios, June appeared in many successful films such as ‘A Lost Lady’ and ‘The Life of Riley.’ She won critical acclaim for her role as Trusia in the 1926 silent film ‘Don Juan’ with John Barrymore.”2

In 1930, “she took the role as Miss Crabtree in six ‘Our Gang’ comedies produced by Hal Roach. June’s role as the lovable and beautiful school teacher with child star Jackie Cooper has been the most famous and memorable of her Hollywood career.”2

In 1933, Marlowe married Hollywood businessman Rodney Sprigg and retired from motion pictures to become a housewife. She died from complications caused by Parkinson’s disease on March 10, 1984.1

June Marlowe1


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

On This Date in Minnesota History: November 5

November 5, 1965 – Voters reject the proposal for the merger of Woodbury and Cottage Grove into a megalopolis to be called ‘Washington.’”

Photo taken by Pamela J. Erickson. Released into the public domain Nov. 5, 2014,
as long as acknowledgement included.

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.,_Minnesota

Monday, November 3, 2014

On This Date in Minnesota History: November 3

November 3, 1989 – “The Minnesota Timberwolves made their NBA debut on [this date], against the SuperSonics at Seattle. The starting lineup consisted of Sam Mitchell, Tod `Murphy, Brad Lohaus, Tony Campbell, and Sidney Lowe. Mitchell scored the first two points in club history on a pair of free throws at 11:15 of the first quarter. He also scored the first field goal a few minutes later, but Minnesota lost, 106-94.”

Sunday, November 2, 2014

On This Date in Minnesota History: November 2

November 2, 1869 – Anoka County was formed when Sherburne County was detached from Benton County and a small strip of Ramsey County was legislated to become part of the new county Manomin. The County seat was also named Manomin, which is present-day Fridley. Manomin functioned as an organized county until abolished and attached to Anoka County by constitutional amendment [on this date].”,_Minnesota

Photo taken by Pamela J. Erickson. Released into the public domain Nov. 2, 2014,
as long as acknowledgement included.