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.|
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.
Star Tribune Recommends
More From Yesterday's News
Minneapolis Tribune coverage of Neil Armstrong's historic first step on the moon.
Peasants scattered stones and nails on the road and fired pistols at the riders. There were, however, no reports of blood doping.
Art Instruction Inc., once located just around the corner from the old Star and Tribune building on the edge of downtown Minneapolis, offered drawing courses by mail for more than a century. Here the Minneapolis Tribune profiles the commercial art school that trained the likes of Charles M. Schulz ("Peanuts") and Carlos de la Vega (who?).
When we sleepily stumbled down the hall to answer the clamorously ringing telephone we made a mental note that it was shortly before 3 a.m. We picked up the receiver, thinking it was Sheriff Roberts calling to say that there had been an accident. Instead it was Mrs. Lloyd Long, playing the feminine counterpart role of Paul Revere, saying "Get up, Al, and listen to the radio, the invasion has started."
Angered because of excessive whispering during a "spelling bee," H.E. Sherman, teacher in the Somers village school was about to administer corporal punishment to a number of his pupils when he was forestalled by an energetic colony of honey bees.