20th Century, African American, History, Minnesota, omnipresent history, Transportation, Uncategorized

Truck Refrigeration System Invented

Unknown

http://www.mnhs.org/library/tips/history_topics/63jones.php

1935
Frederick McKinley Jones was a self-taught, African-American engineer who pioneered designs for mobile refrigeration. A former race car driver and mechanic, Jones created the first mechanical refrigeration system for trucks in 1935. Some of Jones’ other inventions were a portable x-ray machine, an air conditioning unit for military field hospitals, and a refrigerator for military field kitchens. A total of 61 patents were issued in Jones’ name.*

F. M. Jones had a rough start in life. His mother left his father, John Jones, at age seven, who struggled to both work and care for a son. In that era, orphanages would not readily admit a child born to an Irish dad and African-American mom. A Catholic priest, Father Ryan, took Fred in, gave him an education, and encouraged his mechanical abilities.**

Fred eventually found refuge on a large farm in Hallock, Minnesota. He discovered that he was adept at machinery and fixing things, and worked on handyman projects given him by the farm’s owner; Walter Hill. (A relative of rail tycoon James J. Hill) People in his town came to him with problems, and he would usually find a solution.

His concern for others was evident in the utility of his inventions. A doctor couldn’t move patients to the hospital for their x-rays, and so he invented a portable x-ray machine. The local movie theatre had issues with the poor audio quality of the new “talkies”, and he developed the Ultraphone Sound System so that everyone could hear the show.

He partnered with Jospeh Numero of Cinema Supplies to market his new audio system. Numero, though initially biased against Mr. Jones, soon came to treasure him as an engineer. Playing golf together, Numero made a joke that their associate Harry Werner “needed a fridge on his trucks” to solve his spoilage problems.

Thermo-King-1938

https://trsservice.com.au/thermo-king-history/

Frederick took the challenge seriously, and began work immediately gaining several more patents in the process. Mr Jones’ portable air-cooling units revolutionized the safe transport of produce and perishables for both the trucking and freight train industries. His invention enabled the modernization of the grocery store, and changed millions of lives through better access to fresh foods.***,**** F.M. Jones gave this advice to those seeking similar success;
“First, don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. Don’t be afraid to work.
Second, you have to read. All my life has been study and work.
Third, believe in yourself.” *****

We give You humble gratitude this day, Eternal Father, for being a G-d who generously shares and encourages the inventiveness of humanity! You only ask a few things of us in return: to remember that “I am the Lord your G-d…” (Exodus 20:2), that “You shall have no other gods before me…” (Exodus 20:3), and that “You shall not bow down to or worship…” (Exodus 20:4) the things that we (humans) have made. You have inspired us to create, but have mercifully given us guidelines in the use of our creations so that we do not arrogantly deify ourselves. Our lives are not long enough to express the thanksgiving You deserve!

Ruach ha Kodesh, what part of the incredible life of Frederick McKinley Jones do You wish to underscore today? Is he a type of Joseph; bringing service to those who oppose him? Is he a type of Daniel; seeing and calling to life that which doesn’t yet exist?

Like the Prince of Egypt, he found himself orphaned, yet under the tutelage of an exceptional teacher as if he was placed there for a purpose. He submitted to authority which honed and refined his character. Though both men experienced tragic betrayals and injustices, they looked beyond for their vindication. For Joseph, it came through his incredible and miraculous talents for civic planning, administration, and economics. For Mr. Jones, it came through a heart bent to help others through his G-d given genius in mechanics, science, origination, and innovation.

Similarly, Fred’s life had commonalities with the prophet Daniel. Both of these exceptional men were displaced from their homes, and were valued for their ability to learn. They were groomed to serve those foreign to them and accepted the challenge, yet their abilities went far beyond their stewards’ expectations. Through his disciplined prayer life and connection with G-d, Daniel saw hundreds of years in the future; he was the consultant of all consultants! F.M. Jones saw solutions and worked backwards to achieve them!

This leads the author to ponder the connections between acts of invention and prophetic acts. What say You, Elohim? Prophecy is both a call to the knowledge and practice of the written Word of G-d, and to relational knowledge of the Holy Spirit of Christ which simultaneously exists before, in, and after our conceptions of time. The human being who creates needs both a rudimentary core knowledge of process, matter, and materials, yet inwardly “sees” a connection previously thought impossible. All this to express heartfelt awe of this paradoxical nature of information and knowing the Informer of All!

We remember Fredrick McKinley Jones to You, and ask that You bless his literal and figurative children that find joy in machines, and happiness with dirty hands! We thank You that he chose the high path, and overcame the obstacles the enemy used to wound him: family rejection, loneliness, racial prejudice, and academic bias to name a few. Will You forgive the family of Minnesota our historic and present judgments against the Irishman, the African-American, those with ethnically mixed marriages, and their children?

Next, we ask that You replace these curses against these specific people groups with specific and powerful blessings. Will You give honor where it was taken? Will You enable these peoples to offer their inventions and prophecies to our society? Will You give our people both gifts of knowledge and commitment to eternal, unbroken relationship?

It’s astounding that the alertness, awareness, and insights of Mr. Jones made him follow through on a real problem wrapped in a joke. This one invention, a portable truck cooler, led to a whole chain of inventions around food distribution that surely was in Your mind first as a means of blessing the whole human race. What if Fred had not taken the challenge seriously? What insights and blessings have we backed down from today? Forgive our fears of doing an everyday task with greatness, or failing to see Your greatness in the nuts and blots of life! You have seen the end from the beginning, let Your people be faithful each step of the way: in attaining knowledge, in imagination, and in knowing Your benevolent nature. May we cooperate in moving Your blessings down the road to a better future for Minnesota and the whole earth! Amen!

* P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
** https://www.encyclopedia.com/people/science-and-technology/technology-biographies/frederick-mckinley-jones
*** https://www.shipabco.com/history-refrigerated-trucking/
**** https://trsservice.com.au/thermo-king-history/
***** Please watch this excellent synopsis of Frederick McKinley Jones’ life. InspirationalGoodNews!! I.G.N. (2014, December 13) citing Twin Cities Public Television ca 2004. (Making It Happen: Masters of Invention chapter “Hallock’s Handyman) Produced by Daniel Pierce Bergin. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iy4UkFN2njQ

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20th Century, Agriculture, farming, History, Minnesota, Uncategorized, Unions

Farmers Protest on Capitol Steps

sa5.2 p20

http://www.mnopedia.org/minnesota-farmer-labor-party-1924-1944

1935
Protesting farmers bring a starving cow and horse to the steps of the capitol to dramatize the desperate conditions in rural Minnesota. Droughts for the last six years have ruined crops and depleted the land.
With little growing, farmers don’t have anything to sell. With so little money in people’s pockets because of the depression, prices are low for whatever farmers can sell. Banks foreclose on many farms; others are simply abandoned. Out of this ferment, a coalition of reformers and radicals formed the Farmer-Labor Party. *

As a backstory to the political theatre of bringing starving animals to this protest in Saint Paul, we need to understand the dire need and impetus of the groups involved. Below, historian George H. Mayer gives a fine summary of the mindsets of Depression Era Minnesota farmers and workers.
“The farmer approached problems as a proprietor or petty capitalist. Relief to him meant a mitigation of conditions that interfered with successful farming. It involved such things as tax reduction, easier access to credit, and a floor under farm prices. His individualist psychology did not create scruples against government aid, but he welcomed it only as long as it improved agricultural conditions. When official paternalism took the form of public works or the dole, he openly opposed it because assistance on such terms forced him to abandon his chosen profession, to submerge his individuality in the labor crew, and to suffer the humiliation of the bread line. Besides, a public works program required increased revenue, and since the state relied heavily on the property tax, the cost of the program seemed likely to fall primarily on him.
At the opposite end of the seesaw sat the city worker, who sought relief from the hunger, exposure, and disease that followed the wake of unemployment. Dependent on an impersonal industrial machine, he had sloughed off the frontier tradition of individualism for the more serviceable doctrine of cooperation through trade unionism. Unlike the depressed farmer, the unemployed worker often had no property or economic stake to protect. He was largely immune to taxation and had nothing to lose by backing proposals to dilute property rights or redistribute the wealth. Driven by the primitive instinct to survive, the worker demanded financial relief measures from the state.” **

Even with bifurcated interests, rural and urban Minnesotans held this coalition together for about twenty six years. They shared the commonality of urgent and real need, and a common narrative of human effort quashed by the manipulations of external economic or political forces. So what were the fruits of this protest iconized by the farmers’ famished cow and the teamster’s hungry horse?

“Minnesota’s Farmer-Labor Party was the most successful labor party in United States history. Starting in 1918, it was a political federation of labor unions, not just a “labor friendly” political party. The Minnesota Farmer-Labor Association, a grouping of associated unions and farmers, provided the organic connection between labor and the party. Before the party merged with the Democrats in 1944, they had elected three governors, four U.S. Senators, and eight members of the U.S. House of Representatives.” ***

This protest strikes home with me and my father’s experiences in Depression Era rural Minnesota. His father, F.M. Jaracz, lost his farm in Kelliher, MN which drove him to sell moonshine under the cover of his Watkins route. He was busted under the Volstead Act and did eight years of Federal prison. My dad, Le Roy, became a ward of the state and was taken in by F.M.’s moonshine partners; the C.N. Orvis family.

The Orvis family also lost their farm, and were forced to live in a tiny, one-room rental in a local fishing resort called Runkle’s Cabins. They eventually lost that and lived on the dredging barge where Mr. Orvis was lucky enough to land a job. The family of eight did not have more than two rooms until World War II.

Dad was raised eating oatmeal, biscuits spread w/ lard, and “boiled dinner”. (Think of a catch-all “stone-soup” with a base of potatoes, rutabaga, and any meat shavings available. He wore ill-fitting hand-me-downs from the five boys, and wore shoes with cardboard soles nick-named “Hoover leather”. All the kids worked odd-jobs because their income for the family was indispensable.

So we turn and seek Your wisdom, El Gibbor (G-d of Strength); will You remember us when we gain and lose our vitality? Will You forgive our moments of strength when we arrogantly think we no longer need You? Will You forgive our moments of desperate want when we choose to blame You? We have sinned against You in this era of 1935, and still blame You for bad weather, ruined crops, lay-offs, and hiring freezes; have mercy.

We share the motive-conflicts of these ancestors: we simultaneously want You to shield our successes from You so we can own them, and disburse our failures to You or others so we can disown them. Why do we find it so hard to truly acknowledge our present reality? We are terrified to bring our sacred cows and ignoble steeds to the steps of Your capitol. By Your might, give us the grace to show our hands, especially when are dealt a raw deal.

Will You forgive this era its’ judgments made by farmers towards: the state government, the railroads and middle-men, and the wizards of Wall Street? Will You restore to them what was taken in the Depression? May the growers know Your unmerited favor and “ora et labora” to pass Your wisdom into all future farmers of Minnesota!

“The bands of the wicked have robbed me: but I have not forgotten thy law.” Psalms 119:61 KJV ****

* P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
** George H. Mayer, The Political Career of Floyd B. Olson, Reprint, (Minneapolis, MN: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1987) 86-87.
*** Anfinson,Graeme. “A Short History of the Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party”. 01/07/2014. https://www.counterpunch.org/2014/01/07/a-short-history-of-the-minnesota-farm-labor-party/.                                                                                                                               **** https://biblehub.com/psalms/119-61.htm

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20th Century, History, Minnesota, Native Americans, omnipresent history, Uncategorized

The Indian Reorganization Act

unknown

https://prologue.blogs.archives.gov/2015/11/30/indian-new-deal/

Jun 18, 1934
Congress passes the Indian Reorganization Act, sometimes called the “Indian New Deal.” The legislation reverses the Dawes Act’s privatization of Indian lands, and allows for a return to tribal sovereignty, or local self-government.*

To get better acquainted with the moment in time, we need to know something about Commissioner Collier, his policies and motives.
“John Collier’s appointment as Commissioner of Indian Affairs by Franklin Roosevelt in 1933 marked a radical reversal—in intention if not always in effect—in U.S. government policies toward American Indians that dated back to the 1887 Dawes Act. An idealistic social worker, Collier first encountered Indian culture when he visited Taos, New Mexico, in 1920, and found among the Pueblos there what he called a “Red Atlantis”—a model of living that integrated the needs of the individual with the group and that maintained traditional values. Although Collier could not win congressional backing for his most radical proposals, the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 dramatically changed policy by allowing tribal self-government and consolidating individual land allotments back into tribal hands.” **

Next come the question of how these goals are established legally, and who gets to make the choice.
“The bill seeks to consolidate Indian-owned land into tribal or community ownership, while retaining individual use thereof and inheritance rights, but would prohibit sale. It provides for buying additional land, so that, eventually, all Indians desiring it will have some land for their own use. It would permit Indians to organize into self-governing communities under Federal supervision, with extension of responsibility as Indians show capacity for self-rule.
In the words of Commissioner Collier, the bill “strikes a double blow at the two fatal weaknesses of Indian administration across a whole century: first, the dissipation of the Indian estate and the progressive pauperization of the Indians, and, second, the suppression of Indian tribal and social and religious institutions and the steadfast failure of the Government to organize any effective plan of collective action by which the Indians could advance in citizenship and protect their rights.”

Yeshua, thank You for the life of John Collier, and the impact that it had on our state. We remember both his successes and failures to you. Perhaps he was too idealistic and impatient for change? Will You forgive where he offended You, or his neighbors’ conscience, by moving too fast? Will You forgive where he sought to right an offense through legalistic counter-offense? Will You forgive where he fell prey to vanity, thinking his vantage point was unassailable, and resistant to listen to his critics?

Conversely, we bless his successes in shining a light on the usurped lands and unalienable rights of all Native Americans. We thank You that he was willing to push back on the excesses of our capitalistic system, and the offenses of its oligarchy of key players and their companies? We believed in the false gods of progress as defined by Minnesota and its’ economic masters to the exclusion of the 10th Amendment rights of our tribal brothers and sisters; have mercy! Will You bless those like Collier that are the whistleblowers of our collective state conscience?

Further, we have forgotten the benefits and benefactors of our nationhood and its laws. We have forgotten how the best minds of France and England, Greece and Rome, Egypt and Israel gave shape to our laws that have given previously unheard of rights and privileges to common human beings.
We have forgotten that our statehood has, somehow, almost miraculously allowed myriads of cultures and sub-cultures to unite as one people. Though Native systems had their successes, we have since created a place that can incorporate hundreds or even thousands of religions, worldviews, ethnicities, cultures, tribes and languages to co-exist where there had previously only been primarily: Chippewa, Lakota, Nakota, Dakota, Sioux, and Ojibwe. We have failed to practice gratitude, both in the era of the Indian New Deal and the present, the equilibrium achieved over thousands of years of balkanization and racism precisely through the laws of our nation-state! Master, we have thought too long and too much of our own race and too little of the honor You bestowed on all Your children! Have mercy on our arrogance!

“The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when the city shall be rebuilt for the Lord.” Jeremiah 31:38
Though this verse points us to Jerusalem, we welcome when Your justice is established across all the families of the nations of the earth! We look forward to a dominion when land and law are apportioned according to Your economy. We invite You, Holy Spirit, to the political state of Minnesota, and to the First Nation’s that occupied these lands before it; come and sort us out? May we be faithful stewards of these, Your Lands, that we temporarily occupy during our brief life spans. May “Mni sotah” truly be a reflection forever of the clear blue waters of human relationships with You, (and each other), made right!

* P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
** http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/5059/
*** “A New Deal for the American Indian,” Literary Digest, 7 April 1938, 21.
**** Schwartz, E. A., “Red Atlantis Revisited: Community and Culture in the Writings of John Collier”. American Indian Quarterly.Vol. 18, No. 4 (Autumn, 1994), pp. 507-531
https://www.jstor.org/stable/1185395?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

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20th Century, Crime, History, Minnesota, Uncategorized

Dillinger Escapes!

200px-gangster055

placeography.org

Mar 31, 1934
Notorious bank robber John Dillinger escapes authorities by blasting his way out of a Lexington Avenue apartment house in Saint Paul. Four months later “Public Enemy No. 1” is killed by federal agents in a gun battle outside the Biograph Theater in Chicago.*

“What made them do it?” This is a common question that the law-abiding portion of society has of the criminally minded. To better investigate, let us lay out some of what is known in the days leading up to this infamous Dillinger event.

03/03/34 – Dillinger escapes from jail using a wooden gun, and steals a Sheriff’s car.**

03/06/34 – Dillinger robs bank in Sioux Falls, SD. with Baby Face Nelson and others. The heist nets them approximately $49,500.**

03/07/34 – The Department of Investigation, (FBI), because in stealing and transporting a sheriff’s car he commits a Federal crime.**

03/13/34 – Dillinger robs bank in Mason City, IA. with gang, and is injured in shoulder. The theft yields about $52,000.**
03/14/34 – Dillinger is treated at home of Dr. Nels Mortenson at 2522 Fairmount Av. St. Paul, MN.**

03/16/34 – Dillinger arrives in Chicago and attempts to obtain divorce from the husband of his girlfriend Billie Frechette.**

03/19/34 – Frechette delivers sums of money and wooden gun to Audrey Hancock and Dillinger’s father.**

03/20/34 – Dillinger and Frechette rent apartment together in St. Paul, MN.**

03/30/34 – Dillinger and Frechette host a raucous party at the Lincoln Court apartments which lasts most of the night.**

03/31/34 – The caretaker tips off the Department of Investigation, (FBI), and Dillinger and Frechette escape after shoot-out. Dillinger receives wound in the left calf.**

“For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:2 ESV ***

What shall we pray for this tragic event, and the transgressions of John Dillinger? Lord, we give You thanks that You are the author of the law of life that has set us free from separation and death. You are the Good Father that waits for all prodigal sons and daughters to stop rebelling, turn around, and come back home.

You are the only proper Judge of all humanity, whether those who do justly, or those who live in defiance. Your character is not defiled by our hatreds, or limited to our finite vantage point of our neighbor’s life. Give us humility and wisdom to watch this event with You, and to receive Your Rhema Word for ourselves and our state.

To open, Your Word tells us that we become both what we practice, and what we think about.
“Whoever seeks good finds favor, but evil comes to the one who searches for it.” **** Proverbs 11:27 NIV
“As someone thinks within himself, so he is.” Proverbs 23:7

Dillinger’s calendar is a portrayal of some of his thoughts and actions just for the month of March 1934. His actions betray a mind almost singularly set on crime, and personal gain. He thinks of self and worships self. He even steals a “marriage” with Billie from her husband in prison?!

Will You forgive any in our society in his day that idolized him as a folk hero? Will You forgive those who capitalized on his notorious contempt for for the law; even using him to sell their brand of cars? Will You forgive the press of his day for their greedily hyping and sensationalizing his story to sell more newspapers? We traded our scruples to be participants in his defiling story; they sold it, and we, the public bought it. Why are we such passive thinkers and indirect participants in crime? Have mercy on us!

Will You release us from the curse of worshipping an antihero like Dillinger in Saint Paul, and throughout Minnesota in the present? We idolize thugs in the music business, and our youths have become more cruel. We venerate icons of technology, though they betray our privacy for gain, and have become voyeurs. We steal from our neighbors and employers with liberality, and vote for politicians who steal our liberty. By the Authority of Jesus Christ, we break the spirit of the Antihero over our society!

Show us a better way in the future! Bless us to report crime in ways that do not honor or popularize or capitalize on the worst actors in our culture. Bless us to receive Your thinking about those committed to lawless thinking that leads them to lawless actions. May we practice “meditating on Your laws day and night” like King David! May we agree with Your thoughts, spoken through the prophet Micah;
“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” *****

* P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
** http://www.johndillinger.com/index.php/timeline/march-1934
*** https://biblehub.com/romans/8-2.htm
**** https://biblehub.com/proverbs/11-27.htm
***** https://biblehub.com/micah/6-8.htm

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20th Century, Americana, History, Minnesota, music, Uncategorized

WCCO Noon Hi-Lites

503_wcco_transmitter_site_old_car_2

Minnesota.cbslocal.com

1933
Piano player Norvy Mulligan, announcer Doug Baldwin, Cowboy Jim, and the WCCO Noon Hi-Lites are a midday hit on Minnesota radio.*

In this era, WCCO became a famous local radio station owned by Washburn Crosby Company. Initially, the radio station was a tool to promote Betty Crocker, (a fictitious personification of their company), who in turn sold their fine flour and other baking products. The Noon Highlights show had six half-hour shows a week, and were sponsored by the Hormel meat company.**

Thankfully, these giants of the food industry acquired the talents of announcer Doug Baldwin, who recognized the considerable talents of a local jazz great; Norvy Mulligan.
In the 1920’s, Minnesotans favored the sounds of Dixieland, but Mulligan sought to move the needle forward.

Local music aficionados compared Norvy to the iconic ragtime and jazz piano stylings of Fats Waller. More specifically, he played the same type of left-hand tenths with his thumb. He also favored playing the melody with his right hand while inventing a counter-melody with his left.**

Consequently, the combination of a quality music, a solid announcer, and a cast of fun personalities made for interesting and memorable radio that impacted the Midwest and regions of Canada!

We remember the Noon highlights with You today Lord. We are grateful that You masterfully lined up these creative forces for our enjoyment and benefit! You are the maestro of causes and effects, and condoned the unorthodox combination of: baking, meat-packing, cowboys, housewives, and jazz.

Will You bless WCCO and its inheritance and legacy in Minnesota? Will You inspire our musicians to go further out like Norvy Mulligan? We bless the impact of radio on our state, and its ability to give the previously unknown joys of connection to our peoples!

We ask for Your imagination in our present forms of communication. Illuminate us to cross-pollinate our imaginations, and shirk selfish boredom. Give us an open hand with our talents and inventions, our businesses and pleasures. Move us to accentuate the highlights of life, and remember the good we know today! Amen.
* P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
** Goetting, Jay. “Joined at the Hip: A History of Jazz in the Twin Cities”

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20th Century, Crime, History, Minnesota, Uncategorized

Gangster Kidnappings

unknown

Jun 15, 1933 to Jan 17, 1934
The brazen kidnappings of prominent businessmen William Hamm (June 15, 1933)and Edward Bremer (January 17, 1934) by the “Ma” Barker gang put an end to Chief O’Connor’s hands-off crime policy in Saint Paul. Both men are returned unhurt after large ransoms are paid.*

In the Prohibition Era of our largely blue-collar city of Saint Paul, there was an empathy and a real motive to look the other way at bootlegging. Physically, the city is located on the Mississippi River, and is the first big stop downstream from Canada. There’s a plethora of natural caves, which made effective stealth warehouses for the product. One also wonders if its populace, mostly of the Catholic regions of Europe, did not share the same moral objections to beer and whiskey of their dry Protestant counterparts in Minneapolis?

To continue the narrative, its people were comfortable with playing dumb to Johnny Law if it meant lucrative cash jobs working for the gangs, and if it kept St. Paul a “wet” city. Civic leadership, allegedly, were on the payrolls of major gangsters from Chicago, and were apt to play it cool if the gangsters kept a low profile. Apparently, this unspoken agreement between Chicago crime and St. Paul police began decades before the Volstead Act.

“This collaboration began in 1900 with the Layover Agreement, an unofficial contract between criminals and Chief of Police John O’Connor.
In exchange for tip-offs about FBI raids and protection during their “layover” in the city, the gangsters first agreed to check in with the St. Paul police when they were in town. Second, they gave a portion of their gains to the police department. Finally, they agreed to commit no crimes within the city limits, though Minneapolis was fair game.”**

unknown-1

During the era of the Great Depression, Hamm and Bremer would likely stand out as targets for kidnapping. Mr. Bremer was affiliated with banking, and Mr. Hamm with brewing. Though very different personalities, Hamm being an affable sort and Bremer more shielded type, both men were visible leaders from noteworthy families in Saint Paul.

Ma Barker also led a prominent family known as the Barker-Karpis Gang. “Though her children were undoubtedly murderers and their Barker-Karpis Gang committed a spree of robberies, kidnappings, and other crimes between 1931 and 1935, there is no evidence that “Ma” was their leader or was even significantly involved.” What is apparent, however, is that she stuck by her sons and their associates throughout their criminal careers.

Alvin Karpis, the probable real leader of the gang, later said that Ma was just “an old-fashioned homebody from the Ozarks … superstitious, gullible, simple, cantankerous and, well, generally law abiding”.**** He concluded that,
‘The most ridiculous story in the annals of crime is that Ma Barker was the mastermind behind the Karpis-Barker gang. … She wasn’t a leader of criminals or even a criminal herself. There is not one police photograph of her or set of fingerprints taken while she was alive … she knew we were criminals but her participation in our careers was limited to one function: when we traveled together, we moved as a mother and her sons. What could look more innocent?’ *****

So we come to You, Jesus, to watch and pray over this event. What do you want to reveal to us today through it? What blessing can come from an enabling mother, this gang, the corruption of police, and the crime of kidnapping?

We ask forgiveness for these past offenses to You in our city and state. Will You forgive Ma Barker for being an enabler of her criminal sons, and the impact of their crimes to our city? Will You forgive us today of similar co-dependence within the families of Minnesota? Give us grace to face our failures as parents, commitment to stand by our kids going the wrong way, and love that affirms them, yet calls out their sin. Will You bless our present and future mothers of Minnesota, and especially the relationships with their sons?

We acknowledge to You the damage done to innocent lives through the willful actions of the Karpis-Barker Gang. Will You bring restitution to all who suffered their crimes, as well as the heritage of the Bremer and Hamm families? Conversely, will You cut off the curses passed down to any generation of the Karpis or Barker clans?

How we need Your healing for our men, and especially our men enticed into gang life!
We acknowledge to You that we have not followed Your laws to honor our fathers and mothers, or practiced proper diligence in the raising of some of our sons. We have driven them away at times: from our families, from schools or job training, from the Church, and, most painfully, from You! Jesus, Son of David, have mercy!

Though we try, we have failed them somehow as: sons, husbands, fathers, and friends. Protect and shield our sons from the enticement of a life of crime, and the arms of surrogate families in the underworld. May these vulnerable boys find a good man to call out their holy masculinity. May they forgive their fathers’ offenses, and break with the spirit of vengeance.

We remember to You how we have subtly yielded to the Enemy in St. Paul, by looking the other way. Our police, it seems, were corruptible because they were internally incomplete. It is hard to bribe a content man. You have said, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely–be content with your pay.”******* Have mercy on these policemen past, and free those similarly tempted in the present. We ask Your protections over Minnesota’s police both now and forever; be their shield and very great reward!

We end by thanking You for Your eternal justice! You are our advocate within our broken families, though they may seem beyond hope. You bring us back to our Everlasting Father, no matter our state of lawlessness. You used the Catholic priest Lucien Galtier to rename the city of L’oeil de Cochon, so named for the alleged bootlegger and first resident of St. Paul, Minnesota; Pierre “Pig’s Eye” Parrant. “Pig’s Eye, converted thou shalt be, like Saul; Arise, and be, henceforth, Saint Paul!”
*******

* P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
** Sharon Park “Gangster Era in St. Paul, 1900–1936”. http://www.mnopedia.org/gangster-era-st-paul-1900-1936
***, **** Paul Maccabee, John Dillinger Slept Here: A Crooks’ Tour of Crime and Corruption in St. Paul, 1920-1936, Minnesota Historical Society, 1995, p.105.
***** https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ma_Barker
****** https://biblehub.com/luke/3-14.htm
******* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre_Parrant

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Intercession, Prayer, Uncategorized

Please don’t forget to Pray for Me?

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December 9, 2018 Sunday
Today, a crystal-clear cold and sunny day, I’m sitting in front of the fire and just relaxing. I’m listening to the classic gospel song “Pray for Me” by Reverend Richard White, and trying to revive an old suit by sewing on new buttons. Song after song has me weeping as the greatness and kindness of G-d the Father comes through.

I don’t often bring my personal situations to this blog, but today I’m breaking my own rules. My mom, Mary Leona Orvis, an unusually spry 82 year-old, has been through the mill this month. She went into the hospital one way and came out with level 2 Alzheimer’s disease. We are grateful for her progress, but I’m having a hard time accepting this as her new normal.

I want to say it’s a reaction to all the meds she’s on. I want to think that she just needs better nutrition and sleep. Maybe she’s just too dehydrated. (Some of these months in MN feel like you’re being freeze dried.) But I’m wrestling with seeing this woman, a retiree of nursing after 51 years, become the patient.

She has been a pillar of strength to thousands, and is even more so to me and my family! How can I watch her crack and crumble? O Jesus, pray for me! Family of G-d, will you pray for me? I invite you to listen to this genuine plea from “Mr. Clean” a.k.a. Richard White. Maybe the Lord has something for you also in his cry for help?

Sincerely, James D. Orvis

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