Archive for January, 2012


Wolves Bother the Farmers

   Posted by: admin    in Animals, Farm life

The Fort Dodge Messenger: Jan. 31, 1906

Wolves Bother the Farmers

Two Large Wolves Come Into Yard on the Dean Farm

Attack Big House Dog and Are Driven Away Only When Farmer Appears With a Club

Although people have for some time believed that the wolf race had been exterminated as far as Webster county was concerned, the farmers north of the city have been complaining of the depredations of two large wolves which have become very bold.

The animals are larger than a big dog and are usually ferocious. They have appeared several times at one farm. Monday night the two wolves entered the yard at the Dean farm and when attacked by the large h ouse dog they drove this animal back onto the front porch.

Mr. Dean heard the noise and when he appeared upon the scene the two wolves were up on the porch attempting to drag the big dog, now thoroughly subdued, off the steps. Mr. Dean picked up a club and finally drove the two animals away. Last night he armed himself with a rifle but the wolves failed to put in an appearance.

Fort Dodge sportsmen are considering the matter of getting up a wolf hunt as soon as snow falls.

(Editor’s note: As recently as five years ago, I was made aware that in fifth-grade Iowa history class, students are taught that wolves were extinct in Iowa before 1900.)

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The Fort Dodge Messenger: Jan. 30, 1907

History of Iowa Farmers’ Co-operative Association

One of the most remarkable growths in Iowa business affairs during the past year has been the increase in the number of Iowa Farmers’ co-operative associations. The present annual meeting scheduled for Mason City nual (sic) meeting of this organization of Iowa farmers calls to mind some facts which the chronicles of the organization show. According to the report of the secretary at the last annual meeting there were exactly 104 societies in active operation in Iowa. Since that time there have been thirty-one new ones organized and more in process of organization. A million of dollars that have been subscribed by the tillers of the soil by mutual agreements is invested in the properties and business capital of these institution (sic).

What, but a few years ago, was the sneer and derision of the so-called orthodox grain men of this state is now a giant to which all dealers in the products of Iowa farmers are willing to bow. The history of this organization movement is unique. “A fair deal, stick together, pay your commissions, and when selling elsewhere look out for the weights.” There is no assessment of stockholders and in no case recorded in Iowa has any society experienced a deficit. This directors may borrow money with which to operate the business, but not above two-thirds of the paid in capital stocks. Over that amount, if money is obtained, it is secured through the individual guarantee of the directors and is in no sense an obligation to the society.

All farmers co-operative associations of the state are founded upon the theory that the farmer is enslaved to the grain buyers and that this method is his only emancipation. The fight for supremacy and for the lives of the societies in the different sections where they are located is kept ever fresh in the minds of the members each year. It is rehearsed as often as the association renews it vows. Each year the question is asked whether there is a desire to go back to the old method of selling the product of the farms but the answer always comes, “Go ahead, stick together and we will win.”

To keep the unfaithful in line a penalty is provided. If a member of the association sells his grain to an old-line elevator he is taxed 1/4 per cent commission. In a few instances over the state examples have been made of those who are catering to the “enemy” that have been salutary, and such offenses, if persisted in, usually mean banishment from the councils of the association and social ostracism. the culprit has often found it convenient to remove to some other locality.

Be it said to the good fortune of the co-operative organizations of Iowa that they are well managed and there has not yet been developed a single breach of business faithfulness on the part of any of its local managers and officers. In all cases, so far as can be learned, the management has been both shrewd and honest and has instantly refused to listen to any and all overtures from other concerns. Offers have been made by line companies to enter into an agreement with the association to fix the prices at local points but the temptation has in every case been spurned, the officers believing they detected some attempt to inveigle them into forfeiting their charter by unlawful combinations.

This danger –  mismanagement – was the rock the enemies and some of the friends, even, of the co-operative was sure the movement would strike before it went far, but happily, these have been avoided. Men have been content, even poor man (sic), to manage the local business, to receive the $800 ($18,476 today), $1,000 ($23,095) or $1,200 ($27,714) per year and a clear conscience rather than feather their nest and retire rich and despised. All of them seem to consider their positions in the nature of a public trust, and have acted accordingly. The individual society has no secrets. The books are open to its members or to any other persons who care to look into them. Even the meetings of the directors are open to any and all visitors. This stills any suspicious whisper that might be born of secret session or unpublished methods.

Wherever a farmers’ elevator has been established it has tended to increase the market price of grains from a half to one and a half cents per bushel. Many line companies seem able to pay this and live.

The state association is under the most careful supervision of an able corps of officers who give largely of their time to its interests. The management is divided into seven departments, the directorate, the executive, the claims, the legislative, the transportation, the arbitration and investigation and the grades. In each of these departments the special function is suggested by its name. They are made up of the leading farmers of the different communities where co-operation thrives. At present the most active men of the association are the secretary, C.G. Messerole, of Gowrie, Thomas McManus, of Doughtery, the father of the movement in Iowa, and a member of the arbitration and investigation committee, and Edward Dunn of Burchinal, the traveling representative. These men are in close touch with the situation in all parts of the state and their time is largely taken up in what they term missionary work.

The state association men, who are actively engaged in the work have laid down certain principles which they are endeavoring to follow:

First – To secure for all the farmers in the state a just and fair return for their labor.

Second – To put a stop to the blacklisting, boycotting, persecuting methods of the grain dealers’ association and all other trusts masquerading under the cloak of a trade organization.

Third – To bring about a closer relationship and better feeling between the legitimate business men and the producers.

Fourth – To make graft and thievery disreputable and bring about conditions in trade that will be possible for the business man and the producer to practice the golden rule in their dealings with one another.

Northern Iowa leads in the co-operative movement. Cerro Gordo county is the banner county, having nine organizations in active operation with one in the course of organization, making a total investment of about $150,000 ($3,464,245). Another stronghold for co-operative business is in the vicinity of Gowrie. Along the Great Western line for a number of miles from that place each way, each town has a society. The capital stock varies from $2,000 ($46,190) to $15,000 ($364,425) at the outset of the organization. Last year Rockwell transacted $365,000 ($8,429,663) worth of busienss (sic) and handled about 440,000 bushels of grain. Stanhope* in Webster county transacted last year a quarter of a million dollars worth of business. Rockford, Floyd county, handled over 300,000 bushels of grain and Dayton nearly twice as much. Britt in Hancock county handled from Sept. 1, 1905 to Nov. 1, 1905, the two months of operation, 110,000 bushels of grain. St. Ansgar, which is also a new society, organized within the last couple of weeks, has a capital stock of $15,000 ($364,425) but this society will handle live stock.

The cost of handling the business is small. Rockford did $624,000 ($14,411,259) of business in 1901 at an expense of 3/4 of 1 per cent or at a cost of about $4,000 ($92,380). It cost Gowrie to do $385,000 ($8,891,562) the same year $2,500 ($57,737). Another society with a $80,000 ($1,847,597) business did it at an expense of $1,800 ($41,471). It will be seen that the larger the volume of business the smaller the cost to operate.

These samples given only indicate what the other societies of the state are doing. All are practically doing the same kind of business and at the same rate of cost per the amount of stock invested. No society is allowed to organize with less than $2,000 ($6,190) worth of paid up stock.

(Editor’s note: Stanhope is in Hamilton County.)

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Big Junk Steal is Unearthed

   Posted by: admin    in theft

The Fort Dodge Messenger: Jan. 29, 1907

Big Junk Steal is Unearthed

Robinson Bros. Fort Dodge Junk Dealers Bought Articles That Were “Queer.”

Police Officers Seized Goods

About Five Hundred Dollars Worth of Valuable Brass, Copper and Other Metal Shipped in Car of Rags. – Car Stopped at Freeport.

Through the watchfulness of Chief Tullar and some smooth detective work on the part of special agents of the Illinois Central valuable property starting from Fort Dodge was unearthed yesterday at Freeport, Ill., when detective T.J. Healey of the Freeport division of the Illinois Central caught and held for investigators a car of junk shipped out by Robinson Bros. of this city.

Hid in Rags.

Examination of the car showed that valuable brass fittings, copper wire, linotype metal, etc. was concealed in a consignment of rags with which the car was supposed to be filled.

Most of the stuff was railroad property, part of it belonging to the Illinois Central and part to the Rock Island and Northwestern. It was brought to Fort Dodge at once for identification.

Four Detectives Here.

Four railroad detectives were in the city today in connection with the matter. The were M. Morweiser, special agent on the Rock Island located at Cedar Rapids, A.P. Houston, special agent on the Rock Island located at Estherville, J.T. Dineen, special agent of the Illinois Central, located at Waterloo and T.J. Healey, special agent of the Illinois Central, located at Freeport.

About three hundred dollars (about $6,928 today) worth of the junk was identified by these men.

The Catchers Talk.

“You see” said Mr. Dineen, of the Illinois Central to a Messenger representative, “this stuff is never sold by the railroads. It is very valuable and if it becomes broken it is recast. Part of the goods recovered are boiler and engine fittings that are perfectly new. Those of the latter kind are very valuable. Some small pieces come as high as six dollars apiece ($138). All junk dealers know that the railroads never sell such stuff and they know they are buying stolen goods when they make a purchase of this kind. A great deal of what we have recovered has been stolen right here from the Fort Dodge shops.”

“It is the biggest steal of the kind that has been unearthed in this part of the state for a long time” said Mr. Morweiser, of the Rock Island.

“I’ve been working on the deal for two weeks,” said Chief Tullar. “I did all I could from this end and when the railroad detectives got to work they made the wires hot and rounded up the goods.”

Men from the Central shops identified a large part of the goods.

Robinson Bros. were arrested by two of the police this forenoon and at two o’clock this afternoon were brought before justice of the peace Magowan for trial on the charge of receiving stolen property.

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First National Bank Building

   Posted by: admin    in Business, Real estate

The Fort Dodge Messenger: Jan. 28, 1907

First National Bank Building

As has been reported in this publication before the new home of the First National bank, of Fort Dodge, will be built during the coming year and will be a very attractive addition to the business district. It will be a thoroughly metropolitan structure and marks the beginning of a new era for this city. The investment of this large sum of money in a combined bank, store and office building proves the faith held in the future of Fort Dodge by a conservative corporation that members of which have had excellent opportunities to judge of the safety of real estate property here.

That other citizens will exhibit similar enterprises and do their share in promoting progress here may well be expected. Nothing in lacking to bring Fort Dodge to the front, but confidence on the part of its own people and there is abundant evidence that the spirit of faith among them is strong.

The detailed plans of the new building are now being prepared by the firm of Liebbe, Nourse & Rasmussen, of Des Moines, and it will require about 30 days to get them in shape for the contractors to estimate on. It is expected that about April 1st the work of construction can be started and after that the erection will go on as fast as money and men can push it.

The site is the real estate owned by the bank at the southwest corner of Central avenue and 7th street 60×140 feet in size. Two fairly good brick buildings on the west and south limits of the land will have to be removed to make place for the new buildings. J.C. Hoagland and Schultz Brothers’ meat market occupy these buildings and will continue in business in other locations. The plans of the buildings so far as it has been decided on have been summarized as follows by the architects:

The Building Plans.

The building is to be 60×140 feet and six stories high and finished basement. The first floor will be on the level of the side walks, the banking room without an exception will be the finest in the state, will be 28×100 feet with a 14 foot ceiling, marble wainscotting and mahoghany finsh (sic) and tile mosaic floor. The entrance to building and elevators will be finshed (sic) in the same with marble walls and majoghany finish, bronze elevator finish and marble staircase and mosaic tile floor: tile floor will be carried through the walls allover the building.

On the ground floor are also three fine store rooms, in style and as elaborate as the bank rooms.

The office floors show the best plan we have ever seen: every office, toilet and halls have large wide outside windows all directly lighted. The halls are wide and the rooms can be combined or thrown together, making large or small offices.

The toilets will be marble and tile floors and enameled porcelain fixtures.

The Banking room on first floor will have a money vault and separate book vault and an additional safety deposit vault. In connection with this department will be a room for men and one for ladies finely fitted up in mahoghany.

In the basement connecting with the banking room only, will be a large room and storage vault. The employees of the bank have each an individual coat locker and every convenience in the way of lavatories, toilets, etc.

The building will be heated by the very best and most modern steam heating system; will be electric lighted throughout.

Another feature of the building will be the thorough construction of the basement and first and second floors in reinforced concrete, making the building practically fireproof; this with a security fire proof vault on each floor with boxes for each office will give perfect security from loss by fire.

The exterior of the building will be on the classical order, walls of granite brick and granite terra cotta; the base of building and entrance of white stone.

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Sues Mineral City Association

   Posted by: admin    in Lawsuits

The Fort Dodge Messenger: Jan. 27, 1903

Sues Mineral City Association

$10,000 Damage Suit of Mrs. Hannah Williams in Court.

The Trial Was Begun Today.

Mrs. William is Brought Into Court in Invalid Chair – Much Interest in the Case.

Considerable interest is being taken in the case of Mrs. Nellie Williams vs. the Mineral City Park association, which came up for trial before district court today. Mrs. Williams is the Manson lady who was struck on the head by a bottle while watching the races held at the park last summer, and who claims to have been seriously injured on that account. The bottle which struck Mrs. Williams is supposed to have accidentally fallen from the band stand. Mrs. Williams sues for $10,000 damages.

The case consumed all today and will probably be of several days duration. The jury was impannelled (sic) this morning and the testimony of witnesses was taken this afternoon. Mrs. Williams was called to the stand to tell her story, and her testimony occupied a good part of the afternoon. She was brought into court in an invalid’s wheeled chair.

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The Plumber Reaped Shekels

   Posted by: admin    in weather

The Fort Dodge Messenger: Jan. 26, 1904

The Plumber Reaped Shekels

The Cold Weather Was a Snap For Him.

Bursted (sic) Water Pipes and Meters Were Frequent During Sunday and Monday.

The cold weather did not confine its effects wholly to people’s coal bins and their ears and noses but the frost king made his way into the cellars and played havoc with many of the water pipes so that the ice and coal men are not the only ones who are wearing broad smiles, but the plumber has reason to be happy as well.

During Sunday and Monday, the number of bursted water pipes reported was amazing as nearly eevry (sic) house in town was visited by some trouble. The plumbers were compelled to work Sunday, the same as any other day, thawing out and repairing broken water pipes due largely to the negligence of some people in forgetting to turn the water off below the frost line; but in many cases this was done and still they were victims of the intense cold.

Many people took the precaution to shut off the water in the cellar and drain the pipes and pack the exposed parts, thus escaping hte inconvenience of frozen water works.

There were eight bursted water pipes reported on Monday and seven reported today.



Children Rescue Little Playmate

   Posted by: admin    in Accident

The Fort Dodge Messenger: Jan. 25, 1904

Children Rescue Little Playmate

Boy Plunges Into an Air Hold And is Helped Out by Companions.

Brave Act of a Little Girl

Who Helps Form Human Chain – Boy Slides Over Ice and Into The Hole.

What might have been a serious accident, was averted Saturday by the presence of mind exercised by little Beuhla Newsom, who in company with several other children were sliding from the bank of the river out onto the ice. One of the party was a little boy whose name is Scherff and who had discovered a large air hole in the ice and was playing near it. He would slide nearly to it on his sled and then drop off and let the sled and then drop off and let the sled go into the hole and float across to the other side, when he would go around and fish it out.

This worked successfully a few times but on one occasion he forgot to get off in time to prevent being carried into the  hole. The current is swift at this place and threatened to carry the child under the ice, but his little companions came to his rescue and hauled him out of the icy water, nearly exhausted and thoroughly soaked with the cold water.

Little Beula Newsom, who is only thirteen yars (sic) old, lay on the ice next to the hole while her companions held her by the feet to prevent her slipping into the water. She grasped the boy by the hands and after some effort, landed him safely on the ice. Half frozen, with the water dripping from his clothing and turning to ice, the badly frightened youngster was hurried home and now promise to suffer but little from his narrow escape.

The incident was one of the few that have occurred on the river this winter. The children showed presence of mind, creditable to older heads, wh ile the action of little Beula Newsom was in itself heroic.

(Editor’s note: I posted the spelling of Beula Newsom’s name as it was in each case. I’m still not sure of the correct spelling, but if a family member has any proof, I will add it to this note.)

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Gasoline Brings Awful Disaster

   Posted by: admin    in Accident, Fire

The Fort Dodge Messenger: Jan. 24, 1906

Gasoline Brings Awful Disaster

Bartender is Almost Burned to Death

Rushes from the Colby Building a Human Torch of Flame.

5 Gallons Exploded

Acetylene Lighting Plant Exploded With the Rest

Saloon is Wrecked

Francis Cannot Survive … Lou Chapman Also Burned

Fred Francis is burned in such a manner that it is not thought possible for him to live through the day. Lou Chapman was seriously burned and the fixtures of the Colby saloon were wrecked by a gasoline explosion which occurred in the place about 6:30 this morning.

The Explosion.

Francis, as the time of this writing, is confined in the hospital unable to speak of the manner of the disastrous accident, but the most authentic accounts which can be obtained are to the effect that on opening the saloon bur business this morning, Francis, the bartender, started to light the fire with gasoline. Chapman was standing with his back to Francis, who was pouring gasoline from a five gallon can into the stove. The first that he knew of the explosion was when he was nearly knocked off his feet by a shock which struck him in the back. He rushed out of the rear door with his clothes partly on fire where he was caught by a couple of hackmen and the fire extinguished.

Francis a Living Torch.

Jake Schmoll, from the window of his saloon across the street from Colby’s was an eye witness to the burning of Francis. He says that he happened to be looking out the window and saw a blinding sheet of flame leap out of the front of the Colby building. An instant late (sic) Francis ran shrieking out of the doorway, a living torch. With flames darting about his body and enveloping him form head to foot he turned form the door of the saloon and started into the livery barn. He was about to rush down into the basement where the horses are kept when oneof (sic) the men called frantically to him to stop. He turned then, apparently wild with fright and ran out door (sic) again. He tripped just outside the door and fell on the sidewalk.

Two men with blankets were on him in an instant trying to smother the flames. The first blanket that they attempted to wrap him in burned in their very hands. With the second they succeeded in stifling the flames and Francis, naked except for his shoes, his body blackened with smoke and a mass of burns from head to foot was carried to the hospital.

Firemen Do Quick Work.

The efforts of the firemen who were on the scene in record time probably saved the entire Colby block from destruction. After the gasoline can in the hands of Francis exploded, the interior of the saloon was soon a mass of flames. Just as the fire wagon turned Sackett and Haire’s corner the acetylene lighting plant blew up. They state that they distinctly saw a sheet of flame shoot out of the entire front of the building a distance of fifteen or twenty feet, blowing out the plate glass windows and the glass in the door. They expected to have hard work in saving the livery barn, but after an hour of fire fighting extinguished the last spark, the flames and smoke having ruined nothing but the fixtures and the interior of the saloon. The damage in this quarter will be about five hundred dollars ($11,975 today). It is covered by insurance.

Death of Francis Hourly Expected.

Francis is in a most pitiable condition at the hospital. His body is a mass of burns and he is suffering great pain. The doctors state that he cannot recover and that his death may be expected at any moment. Chapman’s burns are confined to his back and hands. Physicians state that he will be able to be about in a few days.

An examination of the Colby saloon gives a good idea of the force of the explosion. Pieces of plate glass are found scattered out in the stret (sic) a disetance (sic) of ten or fifteen feet where they were thrown when the windows were blown out and the entire front of the building seems to have been shaken.

A give gallon gasoline can was found inside, a twisted broken mass of metal, and the can used to contain the gasoline used in the lighting plant was found to be in a similar condition. It is supposed that the lighting plant caught fire and blew up when the interior became enveloped in flames, from the first explosion.

Francis is a man about forty-five years of age. He has lived in Fort Dodge for a number of years. He has several children living in this city, all of whome are well known. Chapman lives at 505 Central Avenue. He has been imployed as a hack driver by Colby Brothers for about a year.

Accident Teaches Lesson.

Though it seems unnessary (sic) to say anything on the dangers attendant to t he use of gasoline, particularly if it is used carelessly, yet the accident above described seems to warrant a few words on the subject. Gasoline at best if a dangerous compound. Unless the utmost care along many lines is used, one knows not the hour or the instant that death and deconstruction may break forth through its agenty.

Acetylene lighting systems seem also to be dangerous things to handle, and in the case this morning the greatest damage resulted was through the explosion of the lighting plant.

Superintendent Clark of the Light and Power company examined the tank in which the gasoline and compressed air for such a plant is kept, immediately after the accident this morning. He states that he measured the thickness of the iron and found it to be 1-33 of an inch, and of poor quality English iron. Experiment tables show that iron of this kind in such thickness is made to stand a pressure on the head of the tank of 1,250 pounds, whereas, to get a strong light, a pressure of 15,000 is needed. This makes a pressure of seven tons against a surface which is meant to withstand only about one half of a ton.

He states that in cities where an engineer is employed to inspect lights, factories and machinery, such appliances are not allowed within the city limits, and further that the same pressure is placed staging that thin sheet 1-32 of an inch in thickness that is withstood in the tanks of the Light and Power Co., which are a full inch thick, made of the best quality of cold drawn steel and stamped by a government inspector.

The Fort Dodge Messenger: Jan. 26, 1906

Fred Francis Dies From Burns

Man Injured in Colby Saloon Explosion Succumbs to His Injuries.

Death Came at 4.30 Yesterday

No Chance for Recovery From the State – Funeral Occurs Tomorrow – Deceased Leaves Four Children – Three Live Here

Fred Francis, the bartender at Colby Bros. saloon, who was the victim of one of the most appalling accidents of recent years in Fort Dodge yesterday morning, when the explosion of a five gallon can of gasoline enveloped him in a fiery furnace from head to foot, died at the  hospital about 4:30 yesterday afternoon, after nearly ten hours of suffering.

Burned From Head to Foot.

Francis was in a most pitiable condition when taken from the scene of the tragedy. It is almost impossible to gain a correct idea of the extent of his injuries. His body was burned from head to foot. His hair and beard were singed from his head, and when the flames were finally stifled the only part of his clothing that remained upon his body consisted of his shoes. A grewsome (sic) object which shows only too well the awful nature of his burns was found near the Colby barn about eight o’clock. It was nothing less than the skin and flesh of the inside of his left hand, containing intact several of his finger nals and of nearly a half inch in thickness.

Recovery impossible.

The doctors i (sic) attendance stated from the first that there was absolutely no hope for his recovery and that at the best it would not be possible for him to live more than a few days. Francis was conscious from the first, but immediately on his removal to the hospital was kept under the influence of anaesthetics (sic). All day long the nurses and physicians administered to him, seeking to allay his agony and striving to keep alive the spark of life.

Francis did not at any time realize how badly he was injured and those in attendance hesitate to tell him that he was doomed to death. He kept saying, “I’ll be all right in a few days,” and during his talking told in full how the accident happened. He stated that he was lighting the fire by throwing gasoline from a cup into the stove in which some fire was still burning and the can was on the floor. While occupied in this manner a sheet of flame burst from the stove door and set his clothing on fire. It was then that he ran from the room and it is supposed that immediately after the flame reached the can of gasoline and the big explosion took place. He said he had lighted the fire in that manner hundreds of time and ended by saying, “I guess it was once too often.”

Francis has been a resident of Fort Dodge for about ten years or more. He has been employed by Colby Bros. for about four or five years, working part of the time in this city and the remainder in the saloon of  the firm at Vincent. He leaves four children, his wife having preceded him in death about three years. Of his children, Miss Florence and two young boys who are in school reside in this city at the family home which is located on North Seventh street, in the rear of Corpus Christi church. James, a young man about twenty-five years of age, joined the navy about two years ago. It is stated that the wife of hte deceased was a cousin of “Buffalo Bill” and that she received a visit from that person on his tour through this section a number of years ago.

The Funeral.

The funeral of Mr. Francis will be hed (sic) tomorrow morning, at nine o’clock in Colfax township, where friends of the family reside. His father, who lives in the eastern part of the state has been notified, and wil (sic) arrive in the city tonight. Other relatives will also be here to assist at the burial.

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Oleson Park Deed is Filed

   Posted by: admin    in Government

The Fort Dodge Messenger: Jan. 24, 1906

Oleson Park Deed is Filed

O.M. Oleson Present Deed of Oleson Park to The City Today.

Senator O.M. Oleson formally conveyed the tract of land known as Oleson park to the city this morning by placing a deed to the property with Mayor Bennett.

Through the gift to the city was made nearly a year ago the final step in the transfer was not completed until today. The deed shows that the tract contains 70.81 acres. It will be filed for record at once. The park board are daily expecting to hear form the eastern landscape artist who has been employed to draw plans for beautifying the park. The tax of four thousand dollars is due in less than two months and active operations along the line of improvement will probably be started at that time.

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Daring Safe Crackers Appear in Vincent

   Posted by: admin    in Crime, Vincent

The Fort Dodge Messenger: Jan. 23, 1903

Daring Safe Crackers Appear in Vincent

Two of Three Doors of Safe in Vincent Bank Were Blown Off With Dynamite Early This Morning

Bank robbers very nearly succeeded in cracking the safe of the Vincent bank, T.M. Anderson president, early this morning. One of the three doors of the safe was blown off with dynamite, with such violence that it was blown up to the ceiling, knocking off a big piece of plaster. The second door had almost yielded to the assaults made upon it.

Had it not been for the opportune arrival of three Vincent boys, who were returning home after an evening spent in the country the robbers would have been successful in their attempt. The safe contained a considerable sum of money.

The robbers secured entrance to the bank by prying open a window on the west side of the building. When they left, they went out thru the front door, which was left open. They were keeping a guard outside the bank. It is supposed that others were inside. The robbers are supposed to have driven away in a wagon, to which was hitched a team, one horse of which was gray, the other a bay.

Wilfred Harding, Oliver Lear, and Charlie Wells were returning from a farewell party at the Shriver home, in the country, one mile south of Vincent, at about three o’clock this morning. They walked in from the Shriver place, and as they entered the town, were surprised to seen (sic) a team and wagon hitched by the Catholic church of Vincent. going a little farther, they saw two men standing by the corner of the Vincent bank. As soon as the men saw the boys, there was a hurried movement, and almost immediately two shots rang out u pon the still night air, and brought slumbering Vincent out of bed with a jump. It is supposed that the shots were fired, both to warn the robbers inside the bank and to frighten the boys. The latter motive succeeded admirably. The boys ran to the Vincent hotel and aroused Landlord Sillabee, who grabbed his trusty rifle and fired an alarm of three more shots.

By this time Vincent was thoroughly awake to the fact that something was wrong. Mr. Woolsey, a leading Vincent merchant, was one of the first to hurry into his clothes and rush down town. By the time he appeared on the scene, however the birds had flown, leaving the bank door swinging wide behind them. A glance at the bank’s interior showed that the safe crackers had been interrupted just in the nick of time. A few more moments and the contents of the safe would have been in the hands of the robbers.

The work was apparently done by men who were not very familiar with their work, as was shown by the force of the charge, which blew one of the massive safe doors almost thru the roof of the bank building. The explosion of the dynamite was heard by several Vincent people, but none at first associated the reports with an attempt on the bank. The appearance of the bank, showed how hurried had been the departure of the robbers, when once their presence was discovered. Their candles and all their tools were left scattered over the floor, making it evident that they had stood not upon the order of their going. Two crow bars had been taken by the safe crackers form the Vincent Power house, and Proffenburger’s blacksmith shop had also been entered and his tools pressed into service. All these had been abandoned by the robbers in their hasty flight.

Sheriff Olson was notified of the robbery this morning but has not much to work on. The three boys who first discovered the robbery were so badly scared that they are able to give no description of the two men whom they saw standing by the bank. All the sheriff knows is that the robbers are supposed to be connected with a team, of which one horse is a bay and the other a gray. Telephone messages have been sent all over the country, and every effort will be made to apprehend the robbers. The attempt was one of the most daring, nad also one of hte most nearly successful ever made in Webster county.

T.M. Anderson, president of the Vincent bank, stated over the telephone this morning that the bank safe contained $2,400 ($57,479 today) at the time when the safe crackers were tinkering about the outside. The robbers, he said, did not get quite thru the second door, but the outer or fire door was entirely demolished.

In the bank, beside the tools were found a can of dynamite, a bottle of nitroglycerine, and the soap and cotten (sic) used by the robbers in preparing their charges.

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