Murder of Carol Thompson

The March 1963 murder of St. Paul wife and mother Carol Thompson shocked the Twin Cities as few local crimes have. Despite community fears of a homicidal maniac, investigators soon focused on T. Eugene "Cotton" Thompson, the victim’s husband, as their prime suspect. Three and a half months after the murder, Thompson was arrested and charged in connection with his wife’s death. In December 1963 he was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.

Founding of Clontarf

Clontarf, a railroad town in Swift County, was established by Bishop John Ireland of St. Paul in 1877 as a Catholic colony on the prairie. Early arrivals named Clontarf for the site of the eleventh-century victory of the Irish king Brian Boru over Viking invaders.

Kidnapping of Virginia Piper

On July 27, 1972, two armed, masked men walked into the Orono home of Virginia Lewis Piper and walked out with the forty-nine-year-old woman handcuffed and blindfolded. The next day, her husband, Harry C. Piper Jr., a prominent Twin Cities investment banker, personally delivered a $1 million ransom to the unidentified kidnappers. Four decades later, no one has served a day of prison time for the crime. Except for about four thousand dollars in scattered twenty-dollar bills, the Pipers’ million-dollar ransom has not been recovered.

Miracle on Ice

The Miracle on Ice is the name given to the American men’s ice hockey victory over the heavily favored Soviet Union at the 1980 Winter Olympics. The team drew heavily on Minnesotan talent, including twelve players and coach Herb Brooks. Coming amid American setbacks in the Cold War, their unlikely win inspired and united the country.

Minneapolis Teamsters’ Strike, 1934

“No trucks shall be moved! By nobody!” was the rallying cry of Minneapolis Teamsters Local 574 as they struck in the summer of 1934. Their demands were clear: a fair wage, union recognition, and the trucking firms’ recognition of inside workers as part of the union. Despite the violent reaction of the authorities, the 574 won on all these points.

This Day in Minnesota History

January 9, 1862

In the aftermath of the U.S.-Dakota War a mob of settler-colonists attacks a group of Dakota captives in New Ulm. The troops guarding the captives manage to restore order. Five days later, in Henderson, settler-colonists attack Dakota captives being led to Fort Snelling. They kill one Dakota infant before soldiers disperse the crowd.

This Day in Minnesota History

January 6, 1860

On the same day that Minnesota votes for Abraham Lincoln for president, a horse race in Freeborn County determines the county seat. Albert Lea and Itasca had both been vying for the honor, and corruption and vote buying ran rampant. Adding to the excitement, an Albert Lea racehorse, Old Tom, had been put up to run a race against Itasca's best. The businessmen of Itasca had secretly bought an Iowa racehorse named Fly, the plan being to encourage Albert Lea's folks to bet on Old Tom, win their money, and then buy votes for Itasca.

This Day in Minnesota History

January 3, 1998

Former professional wrestler Jesse "The Body" Ventura wins the gubernatorial election. The Democratic-Farmer-Labor and Republican candidates split much of the vote, and Reform Party candidate Ventura, who had been mayor of Brooklyn Park and host of a radio talk show on KSTP in the Twin Cities, takes the prize. Ventura would later switch his affiliation to the Independence Party of Minnesota, and his administration would focus on education and tax reform.

This Day in Minnesota History

January 3, 1831

The one and only Ignatius Donnelly is born in Philadelphia. He would arrive in Minnesota in 1857 and build a mansion at Nininger, near Hastings. He would also serve as first lieutenant governor of the state and as a representative in the legislature and Congress.

This Day in Minnesota History

January 2, 1993

Sharon Sayles Belton is elected mayor of Minneapolis. She is the first African American and the first woman to hold the office. Having previously worked for the State Department of Corrections and as assistant director of the Minnesota Program for Victims of Sexual Assault, Belton would tout a family-centered platform and administer numerous successful community programs, including the annual youth-oriented event, "Dancin' in the Streets."


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