HHH welcoming a busy March

Published 9:55 am Sunday, March 4, 2018

March marks the beginning of spring fever and it makes me happy.

During the month the Hormel Historic Home will be busy with an exciting restoration project in the historic sunroom which is our administrative office. We will have two musical events aimed at young people (see below) and two educational programs featuring talks on the use of social media for seniors and the history of theater in our community.

The month of March is important in the Hormel family history as John Godfrey Hormel was born on March 12, 1876, in Toledo, Ohio. John was the 11th child born to John and Susanna Hormel and is one of five brothers of George A. Hormel. He joined his brother in the George A. Hormel and Company business in 1893 where he spent the next 40 years in service.

John Godfrey Hormel. Photo provided

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Coming to Austin as a young man of 17 years old, John engaged in typical youthful activities including community tennis and baseball teams. I found an article describing another activity John and his friends took part in in 1898 as reported in the Austin Daily Herald on July 26, of that year.

The headline read, “Their Fortunes Told.”

Apparently John, accompanied by friends Will Crane and George Anderson and a few unnamed ladies, decided to “consult a gypsy who was said to be able to tell all things past and to come.”

“On reaching the place it was the question of who should consult the old woman within the tent. George Anderson finally consented and went in. She wanted her palm crossed with fifty cents before she would tell a fortune. George argued with her for some time. She agreed to take a quarter from each as the party was a large one. He tried to beat down the price but she turned her back on him.”

Negotiations ensued, but the group ended up paying 25 cents each. Anderson was told he’d be a member of the president’s cabinet someday. When speaking to Will Crane, it seemed she knew much about his life, and, having gained his confidence, she pulled from Will his darkest secrets. She assured him he’d “have all his hopes realized.”

After John Hormel and the girls had similar fortunes told to them, the witch, as the young people described her, came out of the tent, threw off her disguise and was revealed to be Miss Allen. The article made it seem as if the curious youth were familiar with her, and they all had a good laugh. In the end Miss Allen refunded the $3 she had collected.

Wishing a happy birthday to John who would have been 142-years-old this month. His life story was full of good fortune — maybe due to his visit to a fortune teller when he was 22.

Harris Music Contest Awards Concert

4 p.m., Saturday, March 3

The community is invited to attend the afternoon concert given by the top contestants in the sixth annual Harris Music Contest. Contestants will have been judged in the morning competition and will then be invited to play and be recognized for their accomplishments at the afternoon event at the Paramount Theater, free. Reception will follow the concert.

Kids Music in Motion featuring Austin Big Band Brass

10-11:30 a.m., Saturday, March 17

Enjoy music, movement and exploring the HHH.

Snack included. $2 per child aged 2-12, Free for History for Half Pints Members