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Yesterday's News

Sample Minnesota's rich history, courtesy of a microfilm archive

Jan. 24, 1951: No smell test for lutefisk

Minneapolis Star editors used a funny-looking spelling (ludefisk) for Scandinavia’s funny-smelling food (lutefisk) in this page one story from January 1951.

Smell Ruled Out as Test of Good or Bad Ludefisk

There wasn’t much to smile about in a 1950s lutefisk factory. Arthur Boscher, left, and David Arneson of Lyon Food Products hoisted some slimy goodness. (Minneapolis Star photo by Jack Gillis)

There wasn'€™t much to smile about in a 1950s lutefisk factory. Arthur Boscher, left, and David Arneson of Lyon Food Products hoisted some slimy goodness. (Minneapolis Star photo by Jack Gillis)

District Judge William C. Larson admitted today there is no way to tell good ludefisk from bad by smell alone — and he put the problem squarely up to the bacteriologists at University of Minnesota.
The question came before the judge when two ludefisk — one, unquestionably good, the other, allegedly bad — were brought into his courtroom within sniffing distance.
They were designated as Exhibit 2 in the case of Ivan Bogen, representing the InterState Brokerage Co., versus Olsen Fish Co., 815 5th street N.
Bogen was demanding payment of $1,396.18 as balance of his bill for delivering 47 bales of “dry stock fish” to the Olsen firm in November, 1948.
The fish company rejected the shipment on the ground the fish were spoiled and declined to pay.

Nov. 16, 1919: Tarred and feathered

Anti-German sentiment was widespread in the United States in the final two years of World War I. German-language newspapers were shuttered, lists of “disloyal” German-Americans were published in newspapers, “pro-German” books were burned and vigilantes attacked German immigrants.

On Aug. 19, 1918, a group of Luverne, Minn., men forced their way into a house belonging to the family of John Meints, a German-American farmer they considered to be disloyal to the United States. They removed him forcibly and drove him by car to the South Dakota border, where masked men “assaulted him, whipped him, threatened to shoot him, besmeared his body with tar and feathers, and told him to cross the line into South Dakota, and that if he ever returned to Minnesota he would be hanged,” court records show.

Meints sued 32 of the men involved, seeking damages of $100,000 for false imprisonment. After a lengthy trial in Mankato that produced more than 1,100 pages of testimony, a U.S. District Court jury ruled for the defendants, prompting the giddy homecoming described below in a page one story in the Minneapolis Tribune. Meints -- not "Meintz," as this disappointingly short piece has it -- won a new trial on appeal, and eventually settled out of court in 1922 for $6,000. 

All Luverne Greets 32 Citizens Freed in Tar-Feather Case

  Tarred and feathered: John Meints.
Court Vindicates Men Accused Of Punishing John Meintz As Disloyalist
Welcome home by a large delegation of Luverne (Minn.) citizens, headed by a band, was the sequel yesterday to the acquittal of 32 residents in federal court at Mankato on the charge of kidnapping, tarring and feathering John Meintz, according to dispatches from Luverne last night.
Meintz asked personal damages of $100,000 as balm for the treatment he received on the night of August 19, 1918. The jury denied him any damages, after deliberating one hour and a half.
Judge Wilbur F. Booth, in charging the jury, said that the evidence was overwhelming in support of the contention that Meintz was disloyal and that there was a strong feeling against him in the community.
The action of the Luverne citizens in staging a celebration was taken as an indication of strong approval of the acquittal verdict, according to dispatches.