441 North Park Drive, Morton, MN 56270 info@renvillecountyhistory.com 507.697.6147

Coach Glenn Mattke

Glenn Mattke obituary from the Redwood Gazette December 19, 1996

Glenn Mattke, 67, of Marshall died Tuesday, December 17, 1996 at his home. Funeral services will be held Saturday at 10 a.m. from First Lutheran Church in Marshall with burial in the city cemetery. Visitation will begin at 1 p.m. on Friday, with a prayer service and Fellowship Gathering at 7 p.m., and will continue from 8:30 until 9:30 a.m. at the Rehkamp Funeral Home in Marshall. Memories are preferred to the Glenn Mattke Scholarship Fund at SSU or Prairie Home Hospice.

Glenn Jerald Mattke was born January 20, 1929 in Morgan to William and Theolinda (Ott) Mattke.

He attending school in Morton where he excelled in basketball. Glenn served in the U.S. Air Force from 1946 until 1949. On June 9, 1951, Glenn married Darlene Hustad in Echo. He was employed as a teacher and an administrator for the Marshall Public Schools and Southwest State University. Glenn coached the Marshall High School boys’ basketball team to the 1963 State Basketball Tournament. He was the first men’s basketball coach at SSU, coaching two seasons. Glenn also coached men’s golf, baseball, and women’s softball. He served as Associate Athletic Director at SSU from 1967 to 1970 and as Athletic Director from 1970 to 1985. In 1986, Glenn was among the 19 charter members enshrined in the Northern Intercollegiate Conference’s Hall of Fame.

He is survived by his wife Darlene of Marshall; sons James of Stoughton, Wis., Thomas of Auburn, Ala. and Mark of Owatonna; a brother William of Circle Pines; and sisters Renetta Friberg of Montevideo, Marily Schlict of Logan, Iowa and Jacke McFarland of Chicago, Ill. He was preceded in death by his parents, one brother and one sister.

Mattke was competitive, compassionate. Excerpted from the published article in the Redwood Gazette on Monday, December 23, 1996 by Sports Editor Wayne Cook.

Dean Tate, former coach and athletic director at Morton, has fond memories of Mattke. “He was at Gustavus (Adolphus) when I cam to Morton,” Tate said. Born in Morgon, Mattke then moved with his family to Morton in 1930. Many times he graced the pages of the Redwood Gazette sports pages, as the leading scorer in basketball. Mattke led the Morton Indians to the District 10 championship in 1945 and into Region III competition — for the first time since the 1920’s (1920, 1921 and 1924, records show). Mattke then went on to gain a starting position at guard at Gustavus — after having transferred from the University of Minnesota — where he played for the late coach, Gus Young. Tate said Mattke was an outstanding student/athlete (also excelling in baseball) and an understanding man as a coach. Tate became associated with Mattke during his playing day at Gustavus Adolphus College and his visits to his hometown. Mattke’s sister, Jacke, was one a cheerleader at Morton.

Glenn Mattke put Morton basketball on the map with his scoring. And he did likewise for Marshall High School by coaching it to the 1963 state title. It was during the heyday of the one-class tournament, and the Tigers defeated Cloquet at the finals by a score of 75-74.

Editor’s Note: I knew of Coach Mattke years before starting to work at the Renville County Historical Society as my husband, Steve Elzenga, told me stories about his during his college years at Southwest State University (1983-1987). I always think it is interesting how many ties I had to Renville County prior to my February 2015 start.

Henry Hauser’s speech given at the Fairfax-Minneapolis Club in 1929 in Minneapolis

I came to Fairfax about September 10, 1882. There was absolutely nothing there, except a crowd of men working on the R.R. track, west of town. There was no side-track, not a building, nothing but a stubble field where Mr. Welsh had raised a good crop of wheat that summer.

There was not a place where a person could get a meal or lodging except at Welch’s farm house and I was lucky enough to get on the right side of Mr. Welsh and he took me in and treated me like one of the family. I had a good time as there were four of the Welsh girls at home at that time.

There was nothing to do but wait until the side tracks were laid which took about 3 weeks. Then lumber and building material was shipped in and building operations started in for good. There were quite a number of people waiting for building material, and a half a dozen buildings were started at once. Really, the lumber for the first building was hauled from Hector before we had gotten our first shipment.

Luke Grady put up the first shack in Fairfax. This was built in the middle of the street which was afterwards called Main Street. It took one day to put up this building and that same day Luke Grady got in a load of merchandise. So there was the first store in Fairfax ready for business. His main line was tobacco and whiskey, and believe me, he did some business that night – but lo and behold – when Mr. Grady came down to his store the next morning he found the door open and most of the merchandise gone. And I tell you there was some mourning around the camp. But Grady took in enough cash the night before to pay for a new stock so business went right on.

The first real building that was erected in Fairfax was my lumber office and about the same time Smith and Brernesholtz put up a lumber office across the street. This was on 2nd Street south of the R.R. tracks. Then the Bosen and Anderson store building was started, also on 2nd Street, now the Sell corner. About the same time two hardware stores were erected, one was John Buehler’s and 2nd Street, and the other on Main Street was put up by Oscar Peterson of Hector and the store was run by a Mr. Dahl. After 6 months they sold out to John Buehler, who was doing a good business. The reason why John Buehler was doing all the business was on account of a young clerk who got all the business for him. This young clerk, by his convincing arguments, could see a customer an article that he did not want or had any use for. And I am glad to say that that young clerk is with us tonight, though 47 years older than he was at that time, my great and good friend, A.V. Rieke.

The next building that was put up was Dodge Bros. Saloon on Main Street and by that time Luke Grady had made a small fortune and erected a store building on Main Street, now the Gumpolen corner. The reason by Luke Grady’s prosperity can easily be accounted for as he had a clerk that had the faculty to make a customer believe that black is white. And I am happy to say that he is with us tonight, my good old friend, Con Callahan.

There were quite a few more buildings put up that fall. Lawrence Christman Building on Main Street, the Turner Livery Barn on the hill in back of Dodge’s Saloon and a man by the name of Ihle built a Blacksmith Shop. Also a Hotel Building was erected by Thomas Welsh and his sister Ellen O’Neil, who worked for him. One other building was put up on 2nd Street by Dan Cott and Chas. Fry which was the second saloon in town.

The last building that was started that fall was Phillip Kipp’s Wagon Shop but a big snow storm came along and stopped all building operations. Of course, most of the buildings were finished except plastering. There was not one building in town that was plastered that first winter.

By that time the Welsh and O’Neil Hotel was opened and all left the farm house and moved into the hotel to our delight the Welsh girls moved down to the hotel also and as there was very little business that winter we had nothing to do except to have a glorious time around the hotel.

Fairfax was a pretty tough place that first winter. I saw more fights and shooting that winter than I have ever seen before or since. The Irish had possession of that country and also the girls and if any of us town boys were caught talking to a girl we were in for a scrap and usually we got licked as there were some real prize fighters in the country like Jim and Jack Foley, Mart Devane, Jim Iago, The Dodge Boys, the Smith Boys and others. It was nothing new to see a fight, in fact, we got used to it. We rather enjoyed a fight and especially did we enjoy seeing one Irishman licking 3 or 4 Germans, Norwegians or Swedes. Even the businessmen occasionally had fights among themselves. I remember Luke Grady and Chas. Bird had a fight in the middle of the street and if the town people had not parted them they would still be fighting. After that fight was over the depot agent put up a sign where they fought with these words on it: “Here is the spot where the great battle was fought between Captain Bird and L.T. Grady.”

Fairfax was a pretty lively place. I lived there 10 years and 4 months and I can say I enjoyed myself immensely. I believe I got more kick out of life those ten years than all the rest of the time of my life. I was 23 years old when I came to Fairfax, stayed 10 years and now it is 37 years since I left, that would make me 60 years old. Well, the whole thing seems like a dream.

There were about 32 people living in Fairfax that first winter and I can name most of them: Mr. and Mrs. J.C. Brennesholtz, Mr. and Mrs. Bosen and daughter, Mr. Anderson, Thomas Welsh, Mrs. O’Neil and 3 children, John Buhler, Luke Grady, Con Callahan, Bill and Dan Dodge, A.V. Rieke, Turner the depot agent, Two grain buyers, Mr. Griffin and Mr. Nelson, Dan Cott, Chas. Fry, Laurence Christman, his wife and 3 boys, Mr. and Mrs. Ihle and myself.

Not of the 32 people, 7 of them were children. That leave 25 grown people and all were young folks. Only 4 of them are living today as follows: Con Callahan, A.V. Rieke, L.T. Grady and myself (Henry Hauser.)

Editor’s Note: I transcribed the speech word for word from the Fairfax Centennial 1882-1982 book. The speech was given to the Fairfax Public Library by the late Mrs. A.T. (Bea) Rieke Johnson. For more history on Henry Hauser visit the Hantge-McBride-Hughes Funeral Chapels & Crematory website.

Renville County History 101

1901 Renville County Map

Currently, Renville County is divided into 27 townships with 10 cities. The townships include:
Bandon – established 1869, named for a town in southern Ireland on the river Bandon.
Beaver Falls – established 1867, was the first County Seat until 1900, named for Beaver Creek.
Birch Cooley – established 1867, named for its small stream, Cooley is a French word meaning the bed of a stream, even if dry, when deep, having inclined sides.
Bird Island – settled 1872, name derived from a grove of large trees surrounded by sloughs, like an island plentiful with wild birds.
Boon Lake – organized 1870, bearing the name of its largest lake.
Brookfield – settled 1871, the name also used in Missouri.
Cairo – organized 1868, first called Mud Lake, from the capital of Egypt.
Camp – organized 1867, first named Renville, later changed to Camp.
Crooks – organized 1884, named in honor of H.S. Crooks, settler and homestead farmer.
Emmet – settled 1869, named in honor of Robert Emmet, an Irish patriot.
Ericson – settled 1871, named in honor of Eric Ericson, he served as County Auditor.
Flora – settled 1865, named after Francis Shoemaker’s horse.
Hawk Creek – organized 1867, named for its creek, translated from Sioux name, Chetambe.
Hector – settled 1873, was first called Milford, renamed for a town in New York State.
Henryville – settled 1866, named for pioneer farmer, Peter Henry.
Kingman – settled 1877, named in honor of W.H. Kingman, he purchased a large amount of land.
Martinsburg – settled 1873, named for Martin Grummons, whose father lived in the township.
Melville – settled 1873, named for the Melville Railroad station located in the township.
Norfolk – settled 1868, first named Houlton then Marschner, finally Norfolk for a county in England.
Osceola – settled 1875, named for the village in Wisconsin.
Palmyra – organized 1872, named by settlers who arrived from S.E. Wisconsin, for “City of Palms”.
Preston Lake – settled 1866, named for the largest lake in the township.
Sacred Heart – organized 1869, named for an early trader who wore a bearskin hat and the bear was sacred to the Sioux nation, he was known as “Sacred Hat”, which later became Sacred Heart.
Troy – settled 1871, named after an ancient city in Asia Minor, known as the scene of the “Trojan War”.
Wang – settled 1867, named for a group of farms in Norway.
Wellington – settled 1868, named for the Duke of Wellington, victor over Napoleon at Waterloo 1815.
Winfield – settled 1872, named for General Winfield Scott, chief commander of the Mexican War.
The Cities include:
Bird Island –
railway village incorporated in 1881, the same name as Bird Island Township.
Buffalo Lake – railway village incorporated in 1891, named for the picturesque lake north of the town.
Danube – railway village incorporated in 1901, first named Miles, changed to Danube for river in Europe. Editor’s Note: I don’t think this is true of how Danube received its new name.
Fairfax – railway village incorporated in 1888, named by Eben Ryder for his home county in Virginia.
Franklin – railway village incorporated in 1888, named in honor of Benjamin Franklin.
Hector – railway village incorporated in 1881, the same name as Hector Township.
Morton – railway village incorporated in 1887, along the Minnesota River, named by Railroad officers.
Olivia – railway village incorporated in 1881, named for Olive, the first station agent in Ortonville by A.B. Rogers, a civil engineer who located the railway.
Renville – railway village incorporated in 1881, named for Joseph Renville.
Sacred Heart – railway village incorporated in 1883, the same name as Sacred Heart Township.

Editor’s Note: If you have stories to share regarding the townships or town be sure to visit our Share Your Story Page on our website, email director@renvillecountyhistory.com or mail your story to RCHS, 441 N Park Dr, Morton, Minnesota 56270.

Honor Roll of World War I: Renville County

Compiled by Linda Balk, Research Librarian. Editor’s Note: The soldiers’ names in red have their local American Legion post named for them. We have not found any name on the Buffalo Lake Legion to date.

“Sixty-nine graves many of them in far off France, give silent testimony of the valor, courage and patriotism of Renville County soldiers. These graves may be seen, not in one section of the country, but all the way from Flanders Fields to Alsace-Lorraine. In them lie the remains of the young men of Renville County, who gave their lives on the altar of their country that the principles which gave this nation birth might not perish from the earth. At Chateau Thierry, in Artois, in the Argonne and along the Meuse these many brave young Americans paid the supreme sacrifice. They chose to risk all that we might be spared from a ruthless domination. The memory of the sacrifices will never cease as long as freedom reigns, and gratitude lives in the hears of the men and women of Renville County.” From the book Renville County in World War I: 1917, 1918, 1919.

The following is the list of World War I soldiers that were killed in action, died of wounds, or died of illness while serving their country in World War I. If you have information to add to this list please contact Nicole at the Museum 507-697-6147. We preserve the history of all our Renville County veterans and need your help to gather this information.

Bird Island: Thomas Francis Devaney died June 12, 1918 in France; Ray Franklin Lee died September 29, 1918 at Winnebago, IL; Helmuth A. Thomas died September 25, 1918 in France; Arthur Theodore Ledin died October 7, 1918 at Camp Hancock; Olaf Ytterboe died October 8, 1918 in France; Alfred Knutson died October 13, 1918 at Camp Grant.

Buffalo Lake: Herschel A. Ralston died May 27, 1918 Edgewater, Maryland; Paul R. Schuetz died October 16, 1918 in France; Peter A. Winkler died October 25, 1918 at Camp Grant.

Danube: Clarence Winnifred Lueck died September 13, 1918 in France; William Charles Manthei died October 5, 1918 in France; William Tolzman died October 6, 1918 at Camp Hancock.

Fairfax: William H. Bruggeman died September 16, 1918 in France; Charles Buehler died September 29, 1918 in France; Clarence Albert Buehler died October 5, 1918 in France; Otto Semerud died October 5, 1918 in Georgia; Calmer Melchar Carlson died October 9, 1918 in France; Raymond Arthur Mantel died October 17, 1918 in France.

Franklin: John Engen died November 17, 1917 at Camp Dodge; James C. Leary died January 4, 1918 at Camp Douglas; Maurice Henry Johnson died August 13, 1918 in France; Carl Joseph Martin died September 28, 1918 in France; Julius H. Jensen died October 5, 1918 in France.

Hector: Albert Beack died September 28, 1918 in France; William W. Prelvitz died September 29, 1918 in France; John Lawrence Thompson died September 30, 1918 in France; Arthur Beske died October 4, 1918 in France; Ernest Hilding Nelson died October 7, 1918 at Camp Hancock; Allen George Wenz died October 7, 1918 at Camp Hancock; Carl Orin Potter died October 8, 1918 in France; George Paul Arlt died October 9, 1918 in France; Vladimer Orlando Lindgren died October 17, 1918 at sea; Joseph Conrad Loftness died October 17, 1918 in France; Charles Leroy Nelson died October 21, 1918 at sea; Gerhard Hilding Hallquist died October 23, 1918 in France; William Edward Habel died November 28, 1918 at Camp Cody. Note Potter used Brookfield Township as his World War I registration.

Henryville Township: Joseph F. Malecek died November 6, 1918 at Camp Cody.

Morton: Oscar Alfred Wellnitz died December 22, 1917 at Camp Pike. Note Wellnitz used Birch Cooley Township for his World War I registration.

Norfolk Township: Alfred Clement Reger died September 26, 1918 in France.

Olivia: Samuel G. Erwin died December 20, 1917 at Camp Cody; James Vern Neuenburg died March 21, 1918 in Vancouver Barracks, WA; John Schanil died August 27, 1918 Jefferson Barracks, MO; William Erickson died September 14, 1918 in France; Charles Jakes died September 26, 1918 in France; Adolph Majxner died September 28, 1918 in France; Sidney Harrison Bergstrom died September 29, 1918 in France; Frank Charley Spevacek died October 16, 1918 at Camp Hancock; Thomas Flannigan died October 23, 1918 in France; Reuben Arthur Pfettscher died November 11, 1918 in France; Melvin Elmer Amundson died December 20, 1918 at Camp Cody. Editor’s Note: After World War II the Legion Club added Strom to their name.

Renville: Frederick Fess died September 19, 1917 at Camp Cody; Palmer Alexander Adwell died June 6, 1918 in France; William Henry Ashley died August 16, 1918 in France;Helmut Albert Goeltz died June 14, 1918 in France; Emil Hermann died September 27, 1918 in France; Dirk Tjepkema died October 3, 1918 at Camp Sheridan; Howard J. Youngs died October 4, 1918 in France; Dick W. Bakker died October 5, 1918 in France; Howard McBroom died October 5, 1918 at Camp Hancock; William J. Lawrence died October 6, 1918 in France; Elwell G. Engelking died October 8, 1918 in France; Edward Michel Burdick died October 12, 1918 in France; Abraham Schendel died October 17, 1918 at Camp Fremont; Thomas James Dvorak died October 20, 1918 in France; John Kronlokken died November 2, 1918 in France; Odean Sweiven died November 6, 1918 at Camp Forrest. Editor’s Note: After World War II the Renville Legion Post added the name Garvey to their title.

Sacred Heart: Abner Rude died August 6, 1918 in France; Otto Stoa died September 29, 1918; John Throngard died October 11 ,1918 at Camp Custer; Joseph Alfred Viken died December 2, 1918 in France; Arthur Mahlum died December 1918; Frank Christian Larson died February 7, 1919 in France.

Listed as outside of Renville County but included in the book, Renville County in World War I: 1917, 1918, 1919 published by the Olivia Times in 1920: James Gustaf Mattson (Winthrop) died August 17, 1918 in France; Edward August Ewald (McLeod County) died October 10, 1918 in France and Oscar Loftness (Gibbon) died October 10, 1918 in England.

Editor’s Note: If you have additions to this list please contact Nicole. We strive to preserve the history of our entire county.

58 County Boys Give Their Lives in World War II

Published in the Buffalo Lake News on July 4, 1946

12 Men From Eastern Renville County Made Supreme Sacrifice in the Second World War.

The first consolidated list of Army dead and missing in World War II – a compilation of the names of nearly 310,00 men and women who gave their lives in the nation’s service – were released by the War Department today.

The Renville County list shows 58 gave their lives in World War II. Nine of these men are from the Buffalo Lake area.

An overall death and missing rate of 2.98 percent from all causes was indicated by the listing. Of more than 10,000,000 men and women mobilized into the Army between the presidential declaration of unlimited national emergency on May 27, 1941, and the concluding date of the study, January 31, 1946, a total of 307,554 had been killed in action, died of other causes or became missing, later to be determined dead. In addition, 1,424 persons were still carried as missing on January 31, 1946, bringing the total number of names in the list to 308,978.
Of this total, 57.1 percent, numbering 176,432 were listed as killed in action. Other casualty breakdowns showed that 25,493 (8.25%) died of wounds suffered in combat; 929 (.3%) died of combat injuries; 85,219 (27.6%) died other than in battle, and 19,451 (6.3%) were administratively determined to have died. The missing figure of 1,424 represented .45% of the total.
The tabulation for the State of Minnesota reads as follows:
Killed in Action (KIA) 3,793
Died of Wounds (DOW) 607
Died of Injuries 23
Died Non-Battle (DNB) 1,626
Finding of Death Under Public Law 382
Missing 6,463 (M)
The list of men who gave their lives in battle under one of the causes mentioned above includes only those whose home address was Renville County.
Sgt. John A. Aalderks, KIA; Pfc. Frank E. Barber, KIA; Pfc. Quinton Leslie Sanford Benson, KIA in Saipan 07/06/1944; Lieut. Eva M. Biebel, DNB; Sgt. Charley V. Blondell, KIA; Pvt. Jerome S. Boyum, KIA; Pfc. Wayne V. Brandt, DNB; Clarence F. Buehler, KIA; Pfc. Emil A. Butendorf, DNB; S/Sgt. Myron A. Carrigan, KIA; 1st Lt. Robert G. Chesky, M; T/5 Charles Christensen, KIA; Pvt. Harry B. Clancy, KIA; Pvt. Merlin J. Clouse, KIA; Pvt. Raymond A. Coursoll, KIA; Lt. Comm. John B. Daly, KIA; Pfc. Arthur M. Distad, KIA; Pfc. Howard R. Dodge DND; Pfc. Matt J. Dworshak, KIA; Pfc. Ertwin H. Gens, KIA; Capt. Leonard A. Haen, KIA; 2nd Lt. Robert M. Hagestad, DNB; 2nd Lt. Herbert C. Hansen, KIA; Sgt. Leo C. Hartmann, KIA; S/Sgt. Frank E. Hautals, DOW; Pfc. Halvor H. Helgeson, KIA; Pfc. Lester L. Ingalls, KIA; Cpl. James F. Hoff, KIA; Pvt. Leonard C. Johnson, KIA; S/Sgt. Harold C. Julson, KIA; 2nd Lt. William P. Kieffer, KIA; Pvt. Joseph A. Krentz, M; S/Sgt. Walter O. Kurth, KIA; Pfc. Erwin A. Lindquist, DOW; Pfc. Henry Markgraf, KIA;; Pfc. Arnold E. Nicolai, DNB; Sgt. Lester E. Odell, DOW; Pfc. Silas J. Olson KIA; Pvt. John Palacias. DOW; Pfc. H.J. Pawlitschek, KIA; PFC, Charles P. Pederson, KIA; T/5 Gordon C. Powers, KIA; Sgt. John P. Revier, KIA; Sgt. Herman R. Rewerts, KIA; Pfc. Vernon R. Romness, DNB; S/Sgt. William Schroeder, DOW; Pfc. Herbert F. Schlute, KIA; Sgt. Ellsowrth J. Seesz, DNB; Pfc. George F. Spevacek, KIA; Pfc. Charles M. Stegel, KIA; T/5 Milton O. Stoll, DOW; S/Sgt. Timothy J. Sullivan, DOW; Sgt. Carl O. Swanson, KIA; Capt. Lyle R. Torbenson, KNB; Sgt. Rudolph C. Trapp, KIA; Sgt. George E. Wabashaw, KIA; 2nd Lt. Philip N. Wolling, DNB; Pfc. Edgar G. Wood, KIA and Pfc. George S. Works, DOW.

Editor’s Note: We honor all Renville County veterans at the Renville County Historical Society, if you have more information to add to the veterans’ lists for all the military and wars please contact Nicole at the Museum 507-697-6147. We want to make sure they are honored.