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This issue: Contents
Tuesday, January 27th, 2015
Hello! And welcome to the Historical Messenger!
Can it really already be the end of January?! Whew! 2015 is off and sprinting! Let’s take a minute to recap a few things you might have missed and give you a heads up on what to expect from WCHS in the quickly coming months!
WCHS’ Annual Winter Ice Cream Social was January 17th. Head down to the first News Story to see some of the fun! (And see if you managed to sneak into one of our pictures!)
Reservations for our Annual Dinner Membership Meeting on March 26th are already starting to be snatched up! You won’t want to miss Special Guest, Cathy Wurzer, so scroll on down to the second News Story to learn how to secure your spot.
Today’s Photo of the Week will remind you that there’s still plenty of time left in the season to get more snow…
We’ll once again dip into the editorial section of the Stillwater Messenger for some Old News to see what passed for witty riddles back in 1906.
And finally, as this year marks the 150th anniversary of the closing days of the Civil War, one of the featured exhibits here at the Museum will highlight Washington County’s original “Last Man’s Club”. Every year, veterans of the Civil War would meet in Stillwater to remember their comrades who had not only died during the war, but also those who had passed away in the years since.
This 19th century tradition has survived into the 21st. Last weekend, the few surviving WWII veterans and veterans of the Korean War met at the Stillwater American Legion for their annual meeting. Today’s Featured Article will discuss the “Bully Beef Club” and reveal how these veteran organizations – from Civil War, to World War I, to World War II, to Korean and beyond – are all connected in this shared legacy.
Historical Messenger editor and Warden’s House Site Manager
Ice Cream Social Recap
In case you missed it, a couple weekends ago we held our Annual Winter Ice Cream Social! The weather was wonderful and around 1,300 brave Northerners decided 30 degree weather was perfect for an ice cream cone.
In fact, this years attendance is actually the best we’ve had since we started the annual event! We couldn’t have done it without our sponsors and donators: Leo’s Malt and Grill Shop, Lift Bridge Brewing, Pub 112, and Daily Grind – so a huge thank you goes to them. And of course, we also couldn’t have hit these record setting numbers without the lovely folks who decided to come out, say hello, and spend the afternoon with us! Thank you!
If you’d like to see a few pictures from the Ice Cream Social – Click Here.
Annual Membership Meeting
We are excited to announce that Cathy Wurzer will be the special Guest Speaker at the 2015 WCHS Annual Membership Meeting! The meeting will be held at the Water Street Inn, in Stillwater, MN on Thursday, March 26th. The event begins with a social hour at 5:30PM, dinner is served at 6:30, a meeting and election of WCHS Board Members will begin at 7:00pm, Cathy Wurzer’s presentation follows.
Photo of the Week
Piles of Winter Crud = Miles of Spring Flood – March 1965 – Between Bingham Lake and Windom, MN
Even though here in Minnesota we’ve been fortunate to have a fairly mild winter thus far (knock on wood); I’m sure you’ve heard that currently New England is having slightly less luck.
As heavy snowfalls are pounding states like New York and Massachusetts, tens of thousands of travelers are becoming stranded in airports all along the east coast. The first time poor weather conditions closed the St. Paul / Minneapolis International Airport was in March of 1965.
In 1965, the entire state was hit with a massive spring blizzard. Up north, Duluth experienced 60 mph wind and zero visibility while here in the Cities more than 16 inches of snow fell within a few days. An average year gives the Twin Cities area about 50 inches of snow annually. But in this record breaking year, 66.4 inches of snow fell in March alone. In the Minneapolis Tribune photograph above, a locomotive plows massive piles of snow away from the vulnerable tracks.
Of course, this late season snow storm affected more than travel. When April brought warmer weather, the over-abundance of melting snow caused massive floods on the Minnesota, Mississippi, and St. Croix Rivers.
To commemorate the 50th anniversary of these devestating floods, the Warden’s House Museum will feature a special exhibit on the subject during the 2015 season. If you’d like to get a sneak peek of some truly breathtaking photographs and artifacts, be sure to keep your eyes on the Historical Messenger and come check out the Museum Open House on April 26th.
Chuckles Not Guaranteed
On the opposite page of these jokes and bits of wit, the editors of the Stillwater Messenger printed a lengthy article on the political relationship between France and Germany. Today, we know what that rivalry would produce only a few short years later – hundreds of miles of trenches and and millions of deaths.
109 years later these riddles might still produce a chuckle, but in 1906, they were a necessary bit of relief amongst building global tensions.
Who Can Tell? – Stillwater Messenger – January 27, 1906
When may an army be said to be totally destroyed?- Answer – When its soldiers are all in quarters.
Why are dudes no longer imported into this country from Europe? Answer – Because a Yankeedude’ll do (Yankee Doodle Do.)
What three great writers’ names might you think of if you were watching a house burn down? Answer – Dickens, Howett, Burns
Where was the first Adams Express Co. located? Answer – In the Garden of Eden, when Eve was created.
What word of only three syllables combine in it twenty-six letters? Answer – Alphabet
When will there be but 25 letters in the alphabet? Answer – When U and I are one.
Why is it almost certain Shakespeare was a broker? Answer – Because no other man furnished so many stock quotations.
What are the two largest ladies in the United States? Answer – Miss Ouri and Mrs. Sippi
Uniting the “Last Men”
An elderly man sits alone at the head of table at the Lowell Inn in 1930. Slowly he rises and raises a glass of wine. He makes a toast to his fallen comrades in front of 33 black draped chairs. Charles Lockwood, the last of the Last Man’s Club of Company B, First Minnesota of the Civil War is that last man, and the club ended its final meeting.
The following year, 1931, veterans of the First World War, the “War to End all Wars,” formed a new last man’s club with Lockwood as an honorary member. This club, named for a can of dried beef found on the battle fields of Europe would meet on Washington’s Birthday every year until the last man. Later, Lockwood would donate to the new club a bottle of wine to be opened by the last man – just as he had done a couple years earlier.
Over 280 veterans of the First World War signed up for that first meeting of the “Last Buddies Bully Beef Club” in 1932. Instead of draping chairs in black as the old Last Man’s Club did, candles would be lit for the members who had passed on the previous year. A candleholder was made with the veteran’s name on it for the lit candle to shine during the meeting.
On the 10th Anniversary of the club, 1941, the main speaker for the evening was Minnesota Governor Harold Stassen and guests of honor for that meeting included the commissioned officers of Company A and Company D. Milton H. Kuhlman was the sergeant major of the group and Chester Wilson, one of the clubs corporals, acted as toastmaster.
The ritual of lighting a candle was begun at this meeting, and color movies were taken of the meeting, with the film being shot by Edward Drews and Harry Swanson under the direction of Judge Edward Thelen.
The movies, shot at the Lowell Inn, show a brief portion of the first candle ceremony and then close up shots of each person who attended the meeting that night. There is no sound, and the members are not identified, but the movies certainly capture a moment in the history of this club and the military history of Washington County.
By the 50th reunion of the Last Buddies Bully Beef Club, only 46 members attended. In 1986, only 9 members of the over 280 original members were able to attend the meeting. Five years later, only three of the six living members attended the meeting on Washington’s Birthday. It was the final meeting of the bully beefers. The clubs records, rusted can of bully beef, and bottle of wine was turned over to the Washington County Historical Society to forever keep the deeds of those veterans alive in history.
On January 13, 1998, Moritz Lott – then living in California – died, which made Frank Manning, a former typesetter at the Stillwater Gazette and living in Sarasota, Florida – the last man. The bottle was never opened, and remains in the collection of the Washington County Historical Society.
Manning has since passed away, leaving no World War One veteran left from the original members of the club. The promise that they gave to one another never faded, and was kept until the last man:
“With faith in the ideals of justice, freedom, and equal opportunity for all men, we pledge ourselves to maintain, protect and perpetuate the way of life that is America. And for that we will serve and sacrifice – to the last man.”
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Washington County Historical Society collects, preserves, and disseminates the history of the county and state of Minnesota.