441 North Park Drive, Morton, MN 56270 [email protected] 507.697.6147

We NEED Renville County School Yearbooks (Annuals)! UPDATED 02/23/2024

Above: Buffalo Lake Breezette 1949 Yearbook, Buffalo Lake High School yearbook didn’t become The Laker until 1957.

The Renville County Historical Society needs your help to add to the Research Library’s Yearbook Collection. The list below is the current copies we have in the Research Library. If you have yearbooks to donate please contact Nicole at the Museum [email protected] or 507.697.6147! Yearbooks, platbooks, and phonebooks are key pieces of preserving the history of who lived in the area and when.

If you are not ready to part with your yearbook that is ok, we can scan the yearbook and return it to you. For the past three years, we have been working on getting the yearbook collection scanned into PDFs. We continue this project and plan to send off another 4 boxes of yearbooks for this month.

Visit our Facebook Page for featured yearbooks.

Yearbooks in Research Library

Bird Island – St. Mary’s: 1962-1963

Bird Island Panthers: 1955-1959, 1962, 1965-1968

Bird Island – Lake Lillian: 1978, 1981, 1983-1984, 1986-1989

BOLD High School: 1992-1995, 2000-2003

Buffalo Lake Breezette: 1948 – 1951, 1953, 1955 – 1956

Buffalo Lake The Laker: 1957-1959, 1961 – 1966, 1968 – 1973, 1977 – 1987

Buffalo Lake – Hector: 1988-1994, 1995 (2); 1996 – 2000, 2004 – 2005, 2007

Buffalo Lake – Hector Elementary: year unknown

Buffalo Lake – Hector – Stewart Hoof Prints (BLHS): 1988 – 1994, 1996 – 2008, 2010 – 2012, 2014 – 2015, 2019

Cedar Mountain: 1984, 2000 – 2003, 2016

Danube Falcons: 1951 – 1952, 1954 – 1955, 1957, 1977 – 1979

Fairfax Eagles: 1917, 1923, 1956 – 1957, 1959, 1962, 1965 (2), 1970, 1981-1983

Franklin Atoms: 1958-1960, 1963 – 1966, 1969 (2), 1970, 1971 (3); 1972 (3); 1973 (2); 1974 (3); 1975 (3); 1976 (4); 1977 (2); 1978 (2); 1979 (2); 1980-1982; 1983 (2)

Gibbon – Fairfax – Winthrop (GFW): No Yearbooks

Hector Hectorian: 1948, 1952 – 1959, 1961 – 1964, 1966, 1975, 1979 – 1987

Morton Tomahawk: 1907, 1915, 1917, 1938, 1940, 1944 (2), 1946 (2), 1948, 1954, 1958 (2), 1960-1961, 1963, 1964 (2), 1966-1967, 1968 (2), 1969 (3), 1970 (2), 1971 (2), 1972 (2), 1973 (2), 1974-1979, 1980 (3), 1981, 1982 (3), 1983-1985. 1985 was the last year Morton had a graduating class.

Morton Elementary School: 1995 (last year Morton had elementary school)

Olivia Crucible: 1912, 1916, 1917

Olivia High School: 1912, 1916-1917, 1924, 1949-1951, 1957-1959, 1962 (O-HI-AN), 1964-1965, 1967 (Wildcats continues until school is consolidated)

Redwood Valley Cardinals: 1984-1985

Renville County West (RCW): No Yearbooks

Renville the Renvillon: 1939, 1941 – 1944, 1947, 1949, 1950 – 1954, 1964 – 1978, 1984

Sacred Heart Viking: 1967 – 1972

Saint Mary’s – Bird Island The Marion: 1961 – 1963, 1965

Saint Mary’s – Bird Island The Blue Mantle: 1958

Please contact Nicole at 507-697-6147 if you can add to the yearbook collection!

Mrs. Ann Dooley published in the Morton Enterprise December 13, 1918

Died at her home in our city, Saturday noon, December 7, 1918, Mrs. Ann Dooley, aged four score and seven years.
Ann Fallon was born in Athlone, Ireland, where she spent her childhood days coming to America at the age of seventeen. Her first home in the United States was in Boston, wherein 1851 she was married to Michael Dooley, who preceded her to the Great Beyond twenty-three years ago. After residing in Boston for two years Mr. and Mrs. Dooley began looking for better opportunities in the West and moved to Ohio and then to Wisconsin and finally in 1869 to Minnesota. In 1883 the Dooley family moved to Morton from Bird Island where they had been living. One year ago Mrs. Dooley had a severe fall from which she never fully recovered and which together with her old age was the cause of her death. Seven children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Dooley, three of whom survive to mourn her loss, Mike of Morton, Patrick of Hutchinson and John of Emmetsburg, Iowa. John was unable to attend on account of illness.
Mrs. Dooley was buried Monday at the Catholic Cemetery, Rev. Fr. Condon officiating.
Those from out of town who attended the funeral were Mr. and Mrs. Pat Dooley and Arthur McGrath of Hutchinson, Miss Nellie and Frank Dooley of Belle Plaine, Mrs. Jos. Holden and baby of Minneapolis.

Ann Fallon Dooley

Writing Prompts to Write Family Stories

  1. Imagine you are one of your descendants, far in the future, writing about your present self. Write about an event from your own history from that perspective.
  2. Imagine you are a newspaper reporter and write an article about an event in your family history based on your research. Remember to include the who, what, where, when, and why if you can!
  3. Imagine your family represented as a literal “tree.” What kind of tree best represents your family’s story? What does it look like and why?
  4. Did you grow up with any family traditions? What is the history behind the tradition? Do you practice any family traditions now?
  5. Choose an event from your family’s history and write an alternative ending to it. Perhaps someone made a different choice or didn’t survive something; how would the course of your family’s history have changed?
  6. Pick two ancestors from your family’s history who didn’t know each other, then imagine a scene where the two meet. What would they talk about, and what would their first impressions be of each other?
  7. Imagine a holiday celebration your ancestor participated in. Narrate it as accurately as possible.
  8. Write a thank-you note to an ancestor. Who are you thanking? What did they contribute that you are thankful for?
  9. What types of meals did your ancestors eat? Describe a mealtime scene from your family’s history.
  10. Choose a favorite couple from your family’s history (or imagine one) and write a love note or poem they might have shared. Take the historical period into consideration!
  11. Write about surname origins. Do your findings line up or conflict with what you know or believe about your ancestors’ homeland? If not, highlight the puzzle and try to piece together a plausible answer to it.
  12. What’s the whackiest or most interesting story you’ve heard passed down in your family or discovered in your research?
  13. What types of clothes did your ancestors wear? Pick an ancestor and describe them in detail; what are they wearing and why?
  14. Are there any naming traditions in your family? Write the story of how that tradition started or the stories of ancestors with that name.
  15. Imagine your ancestor encountering something for the first time (new place, new food, new invention, etc.). Describe their first impression in detail.
  16. Write a letter as if you are one of your ancestors. Who is the letter for and what does it say?
  17. Imagine your ancestor making a big decision and narrate how they arrived at their conclusion.
  18. Ask a child, grandchild or sibling what one thing they would like to know or learn about their family history. Ask them why they want to know that piece of information.
  19. Looking at your family history, write down five life lessons you feel you’ve learned from your ancestors. Write an essay for the benefit of sharing with your children, grandchildren, and future descendants.
  20. If you were to write a book about your family history or an ancestor’s history, what genre would it be and why?
  21. Do you have a favorite quote or family saying from your history? Write the story of how that quote or saying came to be.
  22. Imagine your ancestor had social media during their lifetime. Write a Facebook post or series of tweets describing something they’re witnessing in real-time.
  23. Select a family heirloom (watch, quilt, Bible, etc.) and write a narrative from its perspective. Where has it been? How did your ancestor acquire it, and what would it have encountered throughout the years? What important family milestones might it have witnessed?
  24. Imagine a typical day for a female ancestor. What time did she wake up, and what did she do throughout the day?
  25. Select two ancestors who lived in different time periods and describe a scene of the two interacting with each other over dinner. What do they talk about? What do they have in common?
  26. Imagine and describe an event in your family’s history from an outsider/observer’s perspective. What was it like to be there? How did the event make them feel?
  27. If your family history/ancestor’s story was a novel, what would the theme be?
  28. Imagine a route your ancestor took frequently in his or her daily life. Describe that route in detail. What did they see? What noises could they hear? Where were they going?
  29. Think of your ancestor as a character in a story; describe them as an author would. Go into as much detail as possible: what do they look like, how does their voice sound, what are their strongest personality traits?
  30. Record a memory of one of your ancestors that you want to pass down to future generations—a parent, grandparent, sibling, aunt, uncle, cousin, etc. Set the scene: How old were each of you at the time? What happened? Why is this a memory you treasure?
  31. Write a brief biography of yourself—everything an ancestor might want to know about you. After all, someday your ancestors will want to know as much about you as you do about yours!
  32. Come up with a pitch for your ancestor’s biography. Is it a sultry tell-all, or a just-the-facts? What major theme(s) does it cover? Be sure to give the bio a title and sub-title and write the book’s summary as it would appear on the back cover.
  33. Select an ancestor who served in the military and write a letter to him or her from the perspective of a loved one on the home front. Ask about his or her health, or the conditions in the war. Read real-life wartime letters for inspiration.
  34. Write a paragraph describing three items your ancestors would never leave home without. Why are these objects so important to your ancestors? Where did they come from?
  35. Identify a major event that happened during your ancestor’s lifetime, and (as your ancestor) write a first-person journal entry describing it. What would your ancestors have thought about it? Would he have found it exciting? Frightening? Frustrating?
  36. Write a paragraph or two about your ancestor and their best friend. Imagine an adventure they had (real or imagined) based on what you know of their childhood and the time and place they lived.
  37. Imagine one or more of your ancestors as the characters in a fairy tale or fable. What role would they play, and what is the setting? What would be their fate?
  38. Pick an ancestor from the 1800s, drop him into today, and (as your ancestor) write a letter to family members still in the 1800s. How would he describe today? What surprises him? What questions would he have?
  39. Write a diary or journal entry that details your immigrant ancestor’s journey. What are their impressions of their fellow passengers? Research passenger lists and ship descriptions to make your description more accurate.
  40. Describe your ancestors’ wedding. Study marriage certificates, wedding announcements, photos, and contemporary clothing and rituals to fill in details.
  41. Describe the first meeting between two of your ancestors who would later get married. What are their first impressions of each other? Include any details you know about your ancestor’s appearance, occupation, age at that time, etc.
  42. Pick an ancestor’s hometown and do some research on how it was during your ancestor’s time. Use historical pictures/postcards and city directories to learn about the town, then write a brief tourism ad for the locale highlighting the town’s attractions.
  43. Imagine the first time your ancestors got to vote. Write a letter from them to a relative detailing their impressions. Where was their polling place? What was the process like? What about the other people in line?
  44. Select two ancestors who lived in different centuries and describe a scene of the two interacting with each other. What do they talk about? How are they different from one another?
  45. Select your favorite family photo and write about the moments just before and/or after the photo was taken. Why was it taken? Was your ancestor happy to be in it?
  46. Write a letter to an ancestor you’ve never met. Include questions you’ve always wanted to ask him or her, plus some that reflect what you’ve already learned about your ancestor (for example, “Do you enjoy your new job?” or “How are you coping with your father’s death?”).

Article found online https://familytreemagazine.com/storytelling/writing/family-history-writing-prompts/

Carl & Lena (Fenske) Laumer

Carl Laumer was born October 30, 1865 in Brandenburg, Germany to Ernest and Hennretta (Kuehn) Laumer. His father Ernest was born on October 6, 1835. His mother Hennretta was born on May 6, 1843. They lived in the area of Berlin, Germany. Ernest Laumer was in the real estate business. Due to the many wars, this Laumer family decided to come to the United States in 1883. At the age of 18 Carl Laumer, four sisters, and his parents sailed the Atlantic Ocean for a new environment. They settled in the area of Barron, Wisconsin for one year. They decided this wasn’t the state for them so they came to Minnesota. This part of Minnesota was similar to the area of Germany, in which they lived for many years. Ernest Laumer family homesteaded one-half mile south of Danube. They lived on this farm until Carol Laumer Married Lena Fenske on March 27, 1896. Carl continued living on this farm. His parents and sisters purchased 80 acres in the same section to the southwest of their farm.

Carl had four sisters. Marie, who married Carl Zabel of Renville, had two daughters: Bertha and Elsie. Marth’as husband was Julius Zabel of Renville. They had four children: Emil, Elinar, Meta, and Albert. Louisa, who married John Kuether of Danube had three children: Ervin, Lucinda, and Ott. Bertha married Fred Oelschlager. Their five children were: William, Alfred, Lillian, Alice, and Orville.

Carl Laumer’s father passed away Feb. 24, 1909. His mother lived with her daughter Maire in Renville until her death on October 3, 1927. Carl Laumer lived on this farm until 1903 when it was sold. Carl purchased a farm two miles north and two miles east of Danube in Winfield Twp., from Carl F. Herrman on December 27k, 1904. Carl Herrman had five children. Minnie, Clarence, William, and George born south of Danube and Arthur born in Winfield Twp.

Carl and Lena were the parents of five children: Minnie, Gordon, Elaine, Georgia, and Mae.

Minnie was born on January 3, 1897. She married Fred Rauschke in Mahnomen in 1920. She died on September 14, 1977. Fred preceded her in death in August of 1937. They were the pareats of Gordon, Elaine, Georgia, and Mae. Gordon married LaVonne Anderson. They had three sons and one daughter. Elaine’s husband was Harlan Stoltenberg. They had one son. Georgia married Philip Fries. They are the parents of one daughter and one son. Mae married Richard Luka. They have two sons and one daughter.

On July 3, 1949, Minnie married Henry Liebl.

Clarence Laumer, son of Carl and Lean, was born on August 17, 1898. He was married to Minnie Toltzmann of Danube on December 18, 1924. They had one daughter, Arlene. Clarence died on February 24, 1955.

William Laumer was born on January 18, 1900 and died on June 19, 1961. He never married.

George was born December 1, 1902. His wife was Emma Toltzman. Their two children were Carol, who is married to James Lippert, and has two children; and Ordell, married to Vickie Palmlund, has two children. George died on January 15, 1975.

Arthur Laumer was born April 28, 1910. He married Lillian Hemze on November 15, 1931. Their daughter Delores is married to John Kubesh and has two children. Their son Maynard is married to Lois Peterson. They have two sons. Elroy is married to Carol Lippert. They have three daughters.

Carl Laumer’s children attended rural area schools. They belonged to the Lutheran Church in Danube. Minnie worked at the hotel in Danube. Clarence worked on the railroad section two years. Carl lived in Winfield Twp. until early summer of 1929, then moved to Olivia, where he lived until his death August 24, 1944. He died of a heart ailment. William lived with his parents and worked as a common laborer. Mrs. Carl Laumer died December 25, 1947 also of a heart ailment. George farmed on Carl’s farm until 1930 when he moved one-half mile west where his son Ordell presently farms. Clarence moved on this farm. He farmed 160 acres until ill health caused him to sell 80 acres. He continued to farm until his death. Mrs. Clarence Laumer and Arlene continued living on the farm until June 6, 1970 when they moved to Olivia. This farm was sold in October of 1980 to Henry Schniederman. Arlene attended rural District 72 and transferred to the Danube Public School. She graduated in 1953. Arlene worked on the farm until April of 1957 when employment began at the State Bank of Danube. At present, she is an Assistant Cashier. The Laumers attend the Zion Lutheran Church in Olivia, MN.

4-H Clubs of Renville County: 1975

Renville County 4-H Clubs listed in Frank Swoboda’s book, Looking Back: History of Agriculture in Renville County, published in 1975 by the Renville County Historical Society.

What are your memories of 4-H? Does RCHS have an index file card of your achievements? Give us a call 507-697-6147 or email [email protected] and ask us! How many active 4-H clubs are in Renville County in 2023?

Atomic Gophers (Bird Island Twp.) was organized in 1946.

Bandon Busy Beavers (Bandon and Wellington Twps.) was organized in 1948. Earlier Club Bandon 4-H was organized in 1932.

Birch Coulee (Birch Coulee Twp.) was organized in 1946. Earlier clubs – Flying Whirlwinds organized in 1932; Victory Growers, organized in 1946.

Bird Island Town and Country (Bird Island and Melville Twps.) was organized in 1957. Earlier clubs Bird Island Independents, organized in 1932; Busy Bees, organized in 1944, and City Farmers, organized 1946.

Boon Lake Orioles (Boon Lake Twp.) was organized in 1950.

Brookfield Buffalo Bills (Brookfield Twp.) was organized in 1971. Earlier club – Brookfield Merrymakers 1941-1962.

Buffalo Lake Onwards (Preston Lake, Hector, Martinsburg Twps.) was organized in 1935.

Cairo Sharpshooters (Cairo Twp.) was organized in 1946.

Camp Go-Getters (Camp, Birch Cooley Twps.) organized in 1925.

Countryside Clippers (Troy, Henryville Twps.) was organized in 1949.

Danube Full-O-Pep (Troy, Winfield Twps.) was organized in 1954. Earlier clubs, Danube 4-Leaf Clovers 1932; Danube Sky-Rockets 1934-1944.

Ericson Eager Beavers (Ericson, Wang Twps.) was organized in 1946. Earlier club Ericson Jolly Get-Togethers 1940-1941.

Flora Shooting Stars (Flora Twp.) was organized in 1936. Earlier club Middle Creek 4-H 1934.

Hector Hi-Hitters (Hector, Melville Twps.) organized 1954.

Hectorville Hustlers (Hector Twp, Melville Twp) was organized in 1941.

Kingman Ramblers (Kingman Twp.) was organized in 1934.

Lucky Clovers (Troy Twp.) was organized in 1974.

Norfolk 4-H (Norfolk Twp.) was organized in 1954. Earlier club Norfolk Willing Hands 1947

Osceola Jacks and Jills (Osceola Twp.) was organized in 1946. Earlier club Osceola Headway Makers 1935-1942.

Renville Aces (Emmet, Crooks, Sacred Heart Twps.) organized 1930 reorganized 2955, Earlier club Renville 4-H 1914-1930.

Renville Indians (Sacred Heart, Emmet Twps.) formerly Sacred Heart Indians organized in 1947. Earlier club Sacred Heart Livewires 1946.

Sacred Heart Hi-Lites (Hawk Creek, Sacred Heart Twps.) was organized in 1941.

Troy Troopers (Bird Island, Troy, Norfolk Twps.) was organized in 1938. Earlier club Olivia Vo-Ag, 1928-1934.

Winfield 4-Leaf Clovers (Winfield Twp.) was organized in 1946.

DAC-Happiness is 4-H Club (Olivia Day Center) was organized in 1974.

Did we miss anyone? RCHS would like to make sure the 4-H information is up-to-date and accurate and that we are preserving all of the history of the clubs!

Maxwell – Donnelly Fairfax Crescent February 3, 1899

We had a couple from North Dakota stop by today inquiring about the Donnelly family (brothers, Michael and Cornelious Donnelly) who had land in section 30 of Wellington Township, Renville County.

Michael and Cornelious along with their families are listed on the 1888 Renville County Platbook and on the 1880 US Federal Census.

I located Michael and his wife, Margaret on the 1870 Census in Tiverton, Newport, Rhode Island. By the 1910 census, Michael and Margaret with their adult sons, Charley & James, were living in Williams County, North Dakota. Michael died in September 1912 and is buried at the Highland Cemetery in Ray, North Dakota.

Cornelius followed his brother to North Dakota. He died in 1905 and is buried at St. Andrew’s Catholic Cemetery in Fairfax, Minnesota. His 2nd wife, Bridget Donnelly (1848-Aug 15, 1917), is also buried there.

Maxwell – Donnelly Wedding Fairfax Crescent Feb. 3, 1899

“One of the most noteworthy social events of the season was the marriage of William Maxwell to Mary Alice Donnelly, which occurred in the church of St. Andrew here on Tuesday morning last.

“The ceremony was performed by Rev. F.X. Bajec in the presence of a few of the immediate friends and relatives of the contracting parties. John Donnelly, brother of the bride served as groomsman and Miss Nellie Maxwell as maid of honor.

“Mr. Maxwell has for some time past been engaged in the grain commission business in Minneapolis and is one of the rising young businessmen of that city. His bride is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Michael Donnelly and has since childhood with the exception of two years spent in New England with relatives, where she received her education.

“The happy young couple took their departure for Minneapolis on the day of their marriage where they will be at home at their friends after Feb. 10th.”

DARING BURGLARY: Safe in W.F. Stute’s Saloon Blown Open and $51 in Cash Stolen From It

This is a newspaper clipping found today tucked in the Cram’s Unrivaled Family Atlas of the World published in 1891. The clipping has written on in pencil March 21, 1922. There was no indication of what newspaper it was but we checked the Hector Mirror March/April 1922 newspaper and didn’t find a mention of the burglary.

“Hector was the scene of a daring robbery Thursday night, or early Friday morning. The safe of W.F. Stute’s saloon was blown open and the robbers made away with $51 in cash. The culprits were evidently “onto the job,” for the safe cracking had all the signs of being done by experts.

“The blacksmith shop of G.F. Berggren was entered and some of his tools stolen, which were found afterwards in the saloon. The thieves first broke off the dial of the combination lock, drilled in and put in a charge of dynamite. The explosion completely wrecked the safe, blowing the door several feet against the partitions. The glass in the door and also the cigar showcase was shattered, while the oak woodwork of the door and partitions was demolished. The sum of $51, which was in the safe, was gone.

Suspicion for the burglary rests on two young fellows who were seen around town Thursday afternoon, but who could not be found the next day. One of them is a son of respectable parents living near town and the other resides in the neighboring town. They were in the saloon in the afternoon and in the early evening were seen down the track having a very confidential conversation with each other. Late in the evening one of the youths applied to Liverman Brown for permission to sleep in the barn but was refused. Brown, however, offered to pay for a bed at the Clifton, which the fellow accepted. There he told Landlord Dodge that he wished to get up at 5 o’clock and was given an alarm clock. The next morning he was gone and the alarm dial of the clock showed that it had been set for 1:45 a.m.

The county attorney was notified of the case the next day and with Sheriff Vick is now hunting up the burglars. It is quite likely that they will be captured.