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Benjamin Franklin update

November 10, 2015 - Chuck Hunt
Remember our own Benjamin Franklin of Blue Earth? He was the Civil War veteran who was caught in a Minnesota blizzard and lost both his forearms and both legs below the knees. I have written about him at least four times over the years – including both stories and Editor’s Notebook columns. The first story detailed his life and ran at the same time that his house, one of the oldest in town, was being torn down. Another one dealt with his grave not being in Blue Earth’s Riverside Cemetery, which is where it was supposed to be. Yet one more was about local historians A.B. Russ of Blue Earth and Marlin Peterson of Minnesota Lake found the actual grave in a cemetery in Iowa, and installed a gravestone there. It is an absolutely fascinating story, and Peterson has written a 75-page, self-published book all about Benjamin Franklin. Now, the story of this interesting man from Blue Earth was the topic of a half page story in the Sunday, Oct. 18, Minneapolis Star-Tribune. It was written by Curt Brown whose ‘Minnesota History’ column appears every Sunday in the Strib. I learned a few more details of Franklin in the story that I did not know before. One was that his name was originally Benjamin Franklin Work, but he dropped his last name when he deserted from the army in the Civil War. But, he rejoined the army under his new name. And that he had remarried and lived in Bangor, South Dakota, after he was divorced from his first wife in Blue Earth. She also remarried and is buried in Riverside Cemetery, along with their infant son. Many other items of Franklin’s life are not in the Star Tribune story, but can be found in Peterson’s book. Benjamin Franklin could be the most interesting character to have ever lived in the fair city of Blue Earth.


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Nov-20-15 11:50 AM


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