Lillian Hormel’s family had a strong bond

Published 11:52 am Sunday, February 23, 2014

Feb. 24, 1892, was a big day in George A. Hormel’s life. At 8:30 p.m. at a home in Blooming Prairie he married Lillian Belle Gleason.

The Gleasons arrived in our area by way of Massachusetts and Connecticut. Lillian’s parents, Henry and Jane, were both born on the east coast and married in New Haven, Conn. in 1850. In 1855, they moved to a farm in Ripon, Wis., and then relocated to a property near Blooming Prairie in 1866. They had eight children, of whom Lillian was the youngest. Henry died in 1897 and at some point Jane moved in with George and Lillian.

Jane’s obituary in the Mower County transcript dated March 15, 1911, describes her as a devoted member of the Methodist Church who lived an “exemplary” life. It goes on to say that “she had great sympathy for the needy and suffering, and she was unselfish in her devotion to others. She was a great reader and kept well informed on current matters.” Jane spent her last days with George and Lillian here at the Home. She died on March 10, 1911, and her funeral was held at the HHH on March 12.

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Lillian was fortunate to have such a lovely mother and it seems she took on some of her traits. William Henry Hormel wrote the following about Lillian in his manuscript “One Generation Under the American Flag. “

“One of the wisest decisions for home and business was made in his (George’s) choice of Miss Lillian Belle Gleason for his life partner. She was a woman of Christian culture and refinement that her presence normally radiated, and made her a beautiful character to meet any time. From the time of their marriage she proved herself to be a real partner in all of George’s business career. In her manners, she was kind and most patient, yet firm and strong in her convictions. She had high ideals of all that a helpful and progressive home should be. To them, home was the place where life should be lived at its freest and best, both for themselves and for the community. Home was, to their view, not to be sacrificed for business nor business for it.

Her heart and home were always open for any helpful interest in the community, or of her many friends in all walks of life.”

The praise continues but suffice it to say, Lillian was held in very high regard by all who met her.  No doubt, the Hormel family and the Hormel Company benefitted from the marriage of George and Lillian 122 years ago.

Social Concerns

10 to 11 a.m., March 18, free

The Grange in Mower County, presented by Dustin Heckman of the Mower County Historical Society

Heckman will describe how the Grange improved the agriculture industry as well as led to the implementation of rural mail delivery and other worthy causes. This grassroots movement began in Minnesota and Heckman will tell us how it affected our region.

Please call to register.  507-433-4243

Kristine Merten checks on her Kulua Pork Purses Saturday during the Foodie Throwdown last year at the Hormel Historic Home. Herald file photo

Kristine Merten checks on her Kulua Pork Purses Saturday during the Foodie Throwdown last year at the Hormel Historic Home. Herald file photo

Foodie Throwdown-Taste the Spirits

6-9 p.m., Saturday, March 22, 2014

Six of Austin’s best food enthusiasts will compete for your vote. Samples of both main entrees and desserts will be served at 7 p.m. Music will be provided by JT Thompson. Tickets are available online at or by calling 507-433-4243.