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Tuesday July 5th 2022

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Tales from the Cemetery #200: A Peaceable Fourth?

Tales from the Cemetery #200:  A Peaceable Fourth?

Caption: Jan Hamorrik's marker is typical of markers placed on the graves of Slovak immigrants at the turn of the 20th century.Credit: Tim McCall by Sue Hunter Weir Reporters who covered Fourth of July festivities in 1906 had a peculiar notion of what a “peaceable” Fourth looked like. The Minneapolis Tribune described it as the “most peaceable Fourth that the city has seen.” They then went on to list 29 injuries and accidents, including two children blinded, three people who lost fingers, and numerous people, mostly children, with burned faces, hands and arms. The Journal’s headline described the day’s events in its headline: “Man Murdered, Boy Blinded, Many Patriots Injured.” The man who was murdered was 24-year Jan Hamorrik, a Slovak immigrant. Little, other than the fact that he was employed as a laborer, is known about him but he appears not to have lived in Minneapolis more than a year or so. His wife, Anna, gave birth to their daughter, also named Anna, on June 5, 1906, about a month before her father was killed. On the Fourth of July, Hamorrik was drinking with his friend Andrew Shurba in a saloon owned by Shurba’s son-in-law. Shurba’s son, Steven, who had been drinking heavily, came into the saloon and demanded that his father give him money to buy fireworks. His father refused and Steven struck him. Hamorrik intervened, striking Steven. Steven went to the back of the saloon and replaced the blank bullets in his 35-calibre gun with live ammunition. He headed toward the front of the saloon where he fired three shots. Two of them struck Hamorrik, one of them in his heart. He died on the way to the hospital. Although there was never any question that Steven shot Hamorrik, there were a number of complicated issues that came out during the trial. The majority of witnesses described Hamorrik as a Good Samaritan, a “peacemaker” who was trying to, if not defuse the situation, protect Andrew Shurba. During the trial, however, [...]

Ventura Village June ’22

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