South Dakota

Sanborn County South Dakota



Aberdeen Daily News
Aberdeen, South Dakota, Tuesday, November 4, 1913


Woonsocket, Nov. 4 -- George Anderson of Silver Creek township, a 7 year old boy, was brought to the Woonsocket hospital suffering from the consequences of an unusual accident. With three other children the boy had dug a tunnel in a sand bank near the Center school, which they had attended. The Anderson boy crawled into the tunnel, when it caved in, burying him alive. His playmates secured shovels and dug him out as quickly as possible, thereby saving his life, for he was unconscious when brought to the surface, having been buried in the sand four or five minutes.

The Aberdeen (SD) Daily News, Wednesday, March 17, 1915

George Grunewaldt of Woonsocket is out $25 because he thought no bull could possibly weight 2,500 pounds. He bet that sum with Theodore Feistner, who expressed the opinion that his big red bull would tip the beam at 2,500 or more. The animal really weight 2,695 pounds, and Grunewaldt is $25 poorer, but much wiser.

Aberdeen (SD) Daily News, Tuesday, Aug 18, 1914

Two French priests from the vicinity of Miller, Rev. Francis Bouter, pastor of the Catholic church at Letcher, and Rev. Nio, pastor of the Catholic church at Woonsocket, have departed from their parishes in response to the call for reserves from their mother country. Rev. Father Nio, who was pastor of a large congregation at Woonsocket, had started the erection of a new church when the call for duty came. It is expected that both priests will enter the hospital corps in the French army.

Aberdeen (SD) Daily News, Wednesday, July 18, 1917


Iowa State Sleuths Hold That Woonsocket Girl was Not Victim of Murder

Special Investigator For Department of Justice to Help Unearth the Case

Sioux City Journal, July 17 -- Miss Thoela Gerken, of Woonsocket, S.D., who was shot near Ninth and ones streets on the night of June 27, was accidentally killed and not murdered. George Ward, superintendent of the department of public safety, implied last night in discussing the arrival of state agents of the department of justice to investigate the case.

Oscar Rock, chief investigator for the state, and J. E. Risden, a special investigator for the department of justice, arrived in Sioux City yesterday morning to investigate the mystery of Miss Gerken's death.

"They may find the man who killed her, but they won't find a murderer," Mr. Ward declared.

Chief of Police Harve Hawman also disapproved the statement made by Miss Mabel Houlihan, 922 Ninth street who was with Miss Gerken a few minutes before the shooting occurred, that a young man in overalls passed the two girls a few moments before they parted at Ninth and ones street.

"We have the best kind of evidence that no one passed the young women at Ninth and Jones streets," the chief said. "We can prove that when Miss Gerken started up ones street after leaving Miss Houlihan, that she was alone in the street. There was no one but the two girls in the street."

Neither Mr. Rock nor Mr. Risden had been at the police station last night when Mr. Ward and Chief Hawman departed for their homes.

"Of course, chief," Mr. Ward said, "we have not any information that might aid them in conducting the case. They did the right thing by not coming to us because we couldn't help them anyway, could we?"

"No," the chief replied: "they went to the newspapers first, and then reporters know all the inside of the case anyway."

Commenting on the attitude taken by the Woonsocket people, Chief Hawman declared that when Miss Gerken's uncle came to Sioux City to accompany her body back to her home, he did not call at the police station nor take any steps towards assisting the Sioux City police in any way that he could.

"He came to town and got the body and went away without coming near us," the chief said.

The chief also declared that if the people of Woonsocket could read letters which he asserts he has, they might change their attitude concerning the discreetness of Miss Gerken.

Mr. Rock last night declared that he would not put a great deal of time on the case. Mr. Risden will do the bulk of the work, Mr. Rock stated. He will assist the special detective.

The two state agents were in conference yesterday afternoon with County Attorney O. T. Naglestad and Assistant County Attorneys J. W. Kindig and Don G. Mullan. The men were sent here by Attorney General H. M. Havner at the request of Prosecutor Naglestad after the police had failed to solve the murder mystery.


Mr. Rock intimated that he and Mr. Risden would follow clews outside of the state. He asserted that the department of justice has a large fund which is set aside for investigation of crimes and that nothing would be left undone to bring the slayer of the Woonsocket school teacher to justice.

"We will work in cooperation with the police department," said Mr. Rock. "We recognize the fact that the police have been handicapped in their investigation by a shortage of funds."

Mr. Rock gained local reputation as a sleuth by running down the Charles Ford gang of gunmen. He obtained the conviction of Ford and a half dozen members of his gang, manyh of whom confessed their crimes and took prison sentences without a court trial.

A private detective also has been set to work in solving the Gerken murder.


Police investigators of Sioux City have been in conference with the detective. Members of the police department stated that they will cooperate with the outside investigators in the endeavor to bring the murderer to justice.

The newly employed detective left Sunday night for Woonsocket, where he will spend time necessary to obtain facts concerning the life of Miss Gerken. He spent Sunday in Sioux City working on the case.

The Sioux City police department will not drop the investigation, according to Chief H. H. Hawman.

Aberdeen (SD) American

July 6, 1911

The 7-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. Gus Rummelfeldt of near Woonsocket had a foot cut off by the sickle bar of a mowing machine.


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