Saturday, February 21, 2015

On This Date in Minnesota History: February 21

*February 21, 1970 – “A Minneapolis woman who won $2,000 was the only prize winner among the nine Minnesotans competing in the Pillsbury Bake-Off finals.” Stella Gilbertson won with molasses bread flavored with oatmeal and ginger. 

Minneapolis Tribune; One of nine Minnesota Bake-Off Contestants wins $2,000 prize”; February 22, 1970, p.10B.

Friday, February 20, 2015

On This Date in Minnesota History: February 20

February 20, 1855 – The official establishment of what is now Stearns County occurred on this date.

“Originally the name Stevens County was used, to honor Governor Isaac I. Stevens, who had conducted an expedition to the area in 1853. However, the name was changed to Stearns to honor Charles Thomas Stearns. Charles Stearns was a member of the Territorial Council, and had taken an active part in securing the passage of the bill establishing the county. Stearns moved to St. Cloud the following year and became a prominent member of the developing city.”

Charles T. Stearns

Thursday, February 19, 2015

On This Date in Minnesota History: February 19

February 19, 1985 –The Twins send first baseman Randy Johnson and outfielder Ron Scheer to the White Sox for shortstop Roy Smalley. Smalley played for the Twins from 1976-1982 and 1985-1987, and finished his career in Minnesota.

Roy Smalley

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

On This Date in Minnesota History: February 18

February 18, 1896 – It was discovered today that Rueben Pickett, traveling salesman for  Mankato wholesale candy manufacturer Rosenberger & Currier, has not only deserted his family, but last Thursday married Miss Helms of Nashua, Ia. Neither of them has been heard from since.

Mrs. Maggie Helms, mother of the bride, today wrote Pickett’s employers inquiring about the newlyweds’ whereabouts.  Pickett had given the name of R. C. Chapman to Mrs. Helms, and told her he was single and had plenty of money and no bad habits (outside of having a wife and family in Mankato).

Mrs. Helms is anxious to have Pickett brought to justice if he has deceived her, and desired an answer to her letter by return mail. This afternoon a letter was received by the Mankato chief of police from T. R. Shape, of Nashua, Ia., making exhaustive inquiries about Pickett and his family.

Pickett was in Waverly, Ia., near Nashua, when he returned his sample case Friday. Warrants are now out for Pickett’s arrest.

Daily Globe; “Married an Iowa Girl. Developments in the Case of Salesman Pickett at Mankato.”; St. Paul, Minn.; Feb. 19, 1896; p. 1.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

On This Date in Minnesota History: February 17

February 17, 1972 – “The U.S. Justice Department sued the Reserve Mining Company, alleging that the firm’s taconite plant in Silver Bay, MN, was dumping waste rock contaminated with asbestos-like fibers into Lake Superior.”


Monday, February 16, 2015

On This Date in Minnesota History: February 16

February 16, 1995 – “Mary Sue [Oberender, 46,] was found shot to death in her home [in Watertown, Minn]. Her car was also missing. Authorities discovered the car in Minneapolis and within a half hour arrested two youths who were found hiding a mile from the car.

The youths, Mary Sue's teenage son, Christian, 14, and a friend, also 14, were arrested. They indicated the shooting stemmed from a minor difference one of them had with the mother. Police said the shooting appeared somewhat planned, as if by ambush. There were no signs of a struggle. Authorities were expected to ask that the boys be charged as adults with first-degree murder.

Mary Sue was a volunteer for Scouts and at a local elementary school. Her husband, Lawrence Oberender, is a Watertown-Mayer school board member. Their son, an eighth grader, was described [as] a quiet boy whose only serious problem at school was a three-day suspension last month for an alcohol incident. His father reported speaking with his son two days after the shooting and that his son is "very, very sorry" and wishes the shooting had never occurred.”1


Christian Oberender

Photo taken by Pamela J. Erickson. Released into the public domain Feb. 16, 2015, 
as long as acknowledgement included.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

On This Date in Minnesota History: February 15

February 15, 1896 – After leaving Mankato on Jan. 30 with his sample case and a number of bills, traveling salesman Rueben Pickett has finally been heard from. His sample case with a letter attached addressed to his wife, came by express today to his employer, wholesale candy manufacturer Rosenberger & Currier. The letter indicated that he had deserted his wife for another woman.

It was also reported that Pickett’s accounts are short $500. His parents live in Minneapolis, his father being head miller at the Washburn plant, and his relatives say they will make good the shortage. Last Sept. Pickett was arrested on a charge of embezzlement, but made a settlement.

Daily Globe; “Gone With Woman and Cash.”; St. Paul, Minn.; Feb. 18, 1896; p. 1.