Learning more through updating

Published 7:01 am Sunday, April 9, 2017

As mentioned last week, the Hormel Historic Home is in the process of updating the exhibits on display in Jay C. Hormel’s historic bedroom.

With the help of Jaimie Timm of the Mower County Historical Society, we are learning more about Jay, his interests, his friends and his talents. From 1907-1909 Jay’s name appears in the Austin Daily Herald frequently as a member of the Duodecim Society. I have been trying to determine what exactly that society was and have pieced together a brief history.

The Austin club was formed by Lafayette French in 1903. The society was limited to 12 high school age boys who apparently met in each other’s homes to debate and discuss a wide variety of topics. I have found reference to the society in 1930 but do not, as of deadline time, know how long the club existed.

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Jay was selected as a member on Dec. 7, 1907, and remained so until he left for Shattuck in September of 1909. The Herald reported the content of the programs and young Jay seemed very involved.

Austin Daily Herald, Feb. 2, 1909

“The Duodecim Society held its 6th Annual Banquet Monday evening at the home of Jay C. Hormel. The event was one of surpassing interest and pleasure to the members.” The program for the night consisted of lectures and music. Jay was a part of the Duedecim Quintette and gave a presentation called ‘Little Things’ during this event. He also served as Treasurer for the organization in 1909.

Another event was described in the April 27, 1909, Herald.

“The Duodecim Society met Monday night at the home of Jay Hormel and enjoyed an evening that will be long remembered, especially the program which was extemporaneous. The club voted to give a farewell party to the six members [of which Jay was one] who leave this year on account of graduation. After the business meeting the program was given as follows:

Talk on St. Mary’s Hospital-Claud Craig

Pitching a Game of Ball-Will Chapman

Travels in the West-Herbert Fisher

Picking a School for Higher Education-Ralph Daigneau

Charms of Music-Job Loucks

Necessity of Y.M.C.A.-Jay Hormel

Qualifications of a Good Business Man-Wayne Webber

Critics’ Report-Ray Peterson

Refreshments were served afterwards by Mrs. Hormel.”

Alumni members of the Duodecim group were invited to continue their involvement and held an annual meeting each August. Jay hosted the Alumni event in August, 1910. The group met at his home and then travelled to the Brownsdale Hotel where they enjoyed a “sumptuous repast.” The 18 attendees pronounced the banquet “the greatest ever held in the eight years of its existence.”

Another member of the Duodecim Society was famed local poet, Richard Eberhart, though several years after Jay C. Hormel.

History Happy Hour: Mower County in the World War

5:30 p.m. social, 6 p.m., presentation Monday

Presented by Dean Ulland. Free for members of the HHH, Mower County Historical Society, Friends of the Library. $5 for nonmembers

Hearth & Home

10 a.m., Tuesday, April 18

“Flood Walls in a Former Swampland,” presented by Tim Ruzek. Free.

6th Annual Stepping Out For Autism Walk

1 to 3:30 p.m. Sunday, April 23

Register online at www.hormelhistorichome.org