homepage logo

I get ‘interesting’ mail, phone calls

By Chuck Hunt - Editor | Aug 15, 2021

I get a lot of what could be termed “interesting” mail and phone calls here.

And, by mail, I mean both letters via the U.S. Postal System and letters via email.

The last week or so was no exception. So, I thought I would share a couple of these communications, or at least portions of them, with you this week.

One came from Lisa Wedell Ueki, of Shoreview. She sent me an interesting item that had to do with a woman from Elmore in 1891.

Lisa wrote, “I just wanted to pass the story along. If you think it would be of interest to your readers, you are free to publish it in the format that would be the best fit.”

I did find it kind of interesting, and you might, too. So here it is.

In August of 1891, almost 130 years ago, a young pregnant woman boarded a train in Elmore, Minnesota, and traveled north to Amboy, a small town near Mankato. From the train depot she walked to a hotel several blocks away and delivered a healthy baby boy. She left the newborn baby with a local doctor and returned home to Elmore on the train. Soon after this a short article appeared in the local newspaper:

“Last Monday, a young woman of good appearance alighted from the evening train from Elmore, went to the hotel and secured a room and in a few hours after was delivered of a male child. What the woman’s name is, where she is from and what are the circumstances behind this singular incident could not be learned, but that there is something out of the general course of human events would seem to exist in the case. (Lake Crystal (MN) Mirror, Sept 4, 1891, Vol 4, No 26)”

The baby was adopted by a couple whose young child had recently died. That baby was the grandfather of my third cousin Rynda Carlis, a cousin I never knew about until I did a DNA test several years ago. Through a bit of DNA analysis, we believe the father of this baby was my great grandmother’s younger brother.

Today I met Rynda Carlis and her cousin Bonnie along with another family member at the Amboy Cottage Cafe. We enjoyed our lunch and reflected on the birth of Rynda’s and Bonnie’s grandfather Fred back in 1891.

Now, I find the story about the woman from Elmore (or at least from around Elmore, because she boarded the train at Elmore), having a baby in Amboy, leaving it there, and the baby being adopted, pretty interesting.

It was, of course, the way things often were done, and still are, sometimes. A pregnant young girl goes off somewhere else and has the baby and gives it up for adoption.

On a personal note, I also find it very interesting that a local newspaper would write a story about this young girl.

But, having researched a lot of old newspapers, those old editors were always writing about local folks, sometimes in a clever and humorous way.

You can often read some of their rather descriptive words in our “Register Reflections” column which runs every other week in the Register.

This next letter actually was not a letter. In full disclosure, it was a phone call.

Jim Collison called me from Mason City, Iowa, where he has lived for quite some time.

Jim grew up in Blue Earth and started his journalism career at the Blue Earth Post, a long time ago, he said.

He says that he has done many different jobs in both the research and writing fields over the years. Recently he finished a lenghty research report on why Mason City was named Mason City, which he actually started working on 58 years ago.

The short version is that it was given that name in an attempt to get Masons from around the country to move there.

He mentions other towns using similar techniques to “lure” folks to come live in the town, and he includes his hometown of Blue Earth in the example list.

But, that was not why he called.

Jim knew Al Eisele well, and said he had enjoyed reading my column about Al. He shared a few stories about Al, including one I found interesting.

It seems Jim was here for a family reunion at the same time Al Eisele was here for the dedication of the Donald Deskey street light in Gazebo Park. In fact, Jim attended the dedication ceremony.

At that dedication ceremony two representatives of the Deskey Company presented Donald Deskey bobbleheads to three people – Al, Cindy Lyon of the Chamber and me.

Mine is on a shelf in my office, Cindy’s is in the Giant museum and I sort of wondered what might have happened to Al’s after he died recently.

Turns out, Jim knew where it was.

Both Jim and Al were staying at the AmericInn in Blue Earth that day of the street light dedication and met up that next morning.

Jim says Al gave him the Donald Deskey bobblehead that morning, and said he keeps it in the garden at his home in Mason City – sort of as a garden gnome, I guess.

Well, at least I don’t have to wonder where that third bobblehead is anymore.

So there you have it. Three rather different “conversations.” Let’s just say, it is never dull here at the Faribault County Register office.