Away from home for the holidays

Published 2:37 pm Saturday, December 30, 2017

Whew, the holidays can wear you out, can’t they?  The Hormel Historic Home and I had a wonderful season, and I hope you were able to spend the season embracing the traditions and activities that made it special for you.

In 1889, George Hormel was not able to be with his family, but he sent them holiday wishes. The following letter is dated Dec. 13, 1889, from Austin, Minnesota. At that time George was in partnership with Anton Friedrich as a butcher and he had apparently shared one of his products with his family in Toledo, Ohio.

“Dear Parents,

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Sent you for Xmas one of our small sized turkeys.  Trust you will not find it so awfully tough.  The summer sausage is for father.

To Lizzie, Susie, Henry, and Herman, I ordered a nice hard Bible which should be complete in its make up and of first class material.  To Lottie and Nellie I sent a… [illegible writing].  A silk handkerchief for Ben and a neck scarf for John.”

Here the letter continued with “Hope Emma will not…” but the next line is not legible.  I believe he was expressing his hope that his sister Emma would not be disappointed that he didn’t send her anything.  In the next line he said he had “finally came to the conclusion that Levi would look out for her.”  Levi Fisher was Emma’s husband.

“My best wishes goes to all who help devour the turkey.  This is such a large country, everything has plenty of room to grow.  Next year I will send you a full grown bird.  I regret very much that I cannot be with you.  Wishing you all a very Merry Xmas and that these lines will find you enjoying good health.

I remain as your son,

Geo. A. Hormel”

George, as the oldest boy in the family, was surely admired and looked up to by his siblings.  What fun to receive presents from their brother who had traveled to the midwest and finally found his way in Austin.

Within a few years of writing this letter, the majority of George’s family would be spending Christmases together in Austin as many had relocated here to serve in some capacity in George’s new venture.

Happy New Year to all and may you embrace all 2018 brings your way.

P.S.: If you noticed the use of Xmas by GAH, don’t think he was being sacrilegious. The use of that abbreviation dates back hundreds of years and was never meant to replace the true meaning of the season. Google it.

History Happy Hour: The Southern Minny League

5:30 p.m. social, 6 p.m. presentation, Monday, Jan. 8

Presented by Paul Spyhalski. In 1937, Austin focused its town baseball efforts on the Southern Minny League, winning the league and state championship that year.  From 1937 to 1942, the League would continue to develop into the town ball powerhouse of Minnesota.

Free for HHH members, $5 for non-members

Includes light snacks.

Hearth & Home Series: Making Lobster Bisque with Jack Erwin.

10 a.m., Tuesday, Jan.16

Free event.