Sesquicentennial Highlights

Excerpts from the Plain Talk

By Cleo Erickson
1941

Several members of the 147th Field Artillery stationed at Ft. Ord, CA have been ill with influenza.

Dear Marshall McKusick, Dean of the University Law School has a record of missing only one day of work in 38 years.

The population in Vermillion in 1940 increased by 22 per cent over 1930.  The recorded number in 1940 was 3,474.

A new National Guard Storehouse will be built here.  The building will be 82 X 41 feet and will be built by the WPA.  There will be no cost to the city except the cost of the land.  The building will be at the south end of Market Street on the site of the old Chandler House.

Wooden barracks are being built to replace the tents the CCC boys have been living in at the site of the nursery camp on the island.

The trial of Kirby has moved rapidly after seating the jury.  Mr. Kirby shot Attorney Olson in his office over ownership of accretion land south of town.  A court trial had previously been held and the decision was made against Mr. Kirby.  However, he believed he was the rightful owner of the land. Attorney Danforth said "when Mr. Kirby heard the decision, he broke and his mind was obliterated."  "He believed, perhaps wrongfully, he was the rightful owner of the land. When he heard the decision his mind was blocked out."  Eighty men were examined by the attorneys.  Out of this group the twelve jurors were selected and one alternate in case one of the jurors is unable to continue.  After 24 days of testimony in the Kirby trial, it is expected to go to the jury as soon as instructions are heard from Judge Puckett.  The Judge instructed the jurors that they might bring in any of five verdicts:  Murder, first degree manslaughter, second degree manslaughter, not guilty, or not guilty by reason of insanity.

The jury deliberated for ten hours and twenty three minutes.  Judge Puckett sentenced Mr. Kirby to serve ten years in the state penitentiary for being guilty of first degree manslaughter in the connection with the death of Peter Olson.  Mr. Kirby was taken immediately to Sioux Falls to begin serving his sentence.  Thus ended Clay County's first murder trial in thirty years and one of the most famous and extended legal battles in South Dakota's legal history.

Work on the National Guard Armory in Vermillion has begun.  Final plans disclose that the building, being built without cost to any of the local government agencies, is to be considerably larger than preliminary information indicated. A total of 45 WPA men have been made available for work on the building.  The land on which the building is being built was donated by the city, but all the construction costs and upkeep will be paid by the Adjutant General's Office.

The U. S. Marine Corps states that a recruiting party will be in Yankton on April 23, 1941 for the purpose of interviewing and examining all men interested in making application for enlistment in the U. S. Marine Corp.

Defense bonds will go on sale May 1st. They may be purchased for $18.75.  In ten years they will be worth $25.00.  That is equal to an annual interest return of 2.9 percent, compounded semi-annually.  The smaller investor may buy a series of postal savings stamps at 10 cents, 25 cents, 50 cents, $1.00 and $5.00.  Anyone purchasing stamps higher than 10 cents will be given, free of charge, an attractive pocket album to paste the stamps in until he has enough to buy a $25.00 savings bond.

May 9th has been set as the day for Naturalization hearings.  There are ten people who will appear before Judge C. C. Puckett at the hearing.

A committee has been appointed to develop the program for the county pie baking contest to be held this summer.  As part of the campaign to make people more "lard conscious" these contests are being held throughout the Midwest.  Cash prizes will be given to best two crust pie makers.

The eighth anniversary special at Modern Electric Company is a new "Speed Queen" washer and a "Speed Queen" ironer for $49.50.  Original prices will go back into effect in 10 days at end of sale.

The Sioux City Journal says a site near Burbank is being considered for a munitions works.  It would depend largely on Sioux City to supply labor in construction and to fill the ranks of some 12,000 persons which would be required to operate the completed plant.  Employees could commute to Burbank by automobile or bus.  Transportation facilities include a railroad and a paved state highway running along each side of the site.

A photographer from Life Magazine took nearly 300 pictures of various activates when the University students took their annual skip day.  The pictures included various games, kitten ball games and a picnic lunch.  This is one of the most extensive Skip Day programs in the history of the school.  The pictures he took have one chance in ten of getting into the Life Magazine.

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