Wednesday, September 26, 2007

That's a Lot of Bull

Does he look vicious?

Ole Swenson killed by vicious bull. The bull struck him the breast with such force that the man’s neck was broken and death was instantaneous.

Man is killed by angry bull at farm. Ness Anderson, 55 found dead on farm near Holt. Marks on his body showed that he had been severely trampled and beaten. The top of the dead man’s head was badly mutilated while his chest was crushed in and his sides showed marks of the bull having stamped on him.

Christ Mattson, a farmer living about one and a half miles northwest of Hazel and who on the day previous had celebrated his seventy-eighth birthday, was fatally injured by a Holstein bull in the barn at his home Friday evening. He was taken to Physicians Hospital in this city were he died Sunday morning.

The aged man had gone to the barn for the purpose of feeding the bull, this being one of his chores. The animal had at no previous time given indications of an ugly disposition and no one considered it in the least dangerous to go near him.

According to Dr. HW Froehlich, who was called, the animal had evidently hooked his victim first, the stub horn entered on the inside of the left leg near the body, tearing a wide gash and knocking the man down. Using his hoofs the bull had thereupon pounded his prostrate victim across the stomach, tearing the muscles and inflicting internal injuries although the skin was not broken at this point.

Examination at the hospital showed his injuries to be such as to make recovery practically impossible and the members of the family were notified. The body was prepared for burial at the Larson undertaking rooms and interment made in Hazel Cemetery.

The deceased was born in Norway and came to the country at an early age. He was a resident of Pennington County for many years and most highly regarded among the people of the neighborhood in which he lived.

Rosewood News An enraged bull attacked Peder Sorenson, a farmer two miles north of Rosewood, Friday evening. Sorenson was attempting to bring the animal into the barn. He was severely dealt with before help arrived. He was shipping the bull from Rosewood the following day as the animal was considered unsafe. Before anyone could reach the Holstein bull, he had thrown his master into the air three times and left him in bad condition.

Dr. Bowers from Thief River Falls was summoned for help. Sorenson was taken to town in a dray wagon. He is in Physician’s Hospital with four broken ribs and a lacerated lung. At the time of this writing, he is weak but hope is still held for his recovery.

As for the bull, he was later brought to Rosewood by about 15 men who volunteered at the task. The animal was in a furious temper and a very difficult job it proved to control him, and the only way he could be brought to Rosewood was after he was roped helpless and driven in on a stone boat.

Holstein bulls are known for their enormous size and bad temperament. As you can see, anyone growing up on a dairy farm knows stories about Holstein bulls that had attacked and even killed farmers.
Certainly farmers had smart strategies or luck that enabled them to escape a bull attack. One would think at the first sign of meanness, the bull would be shipped off to the meat packing plant.
Harlan Mellem and I visited about how he liked to cut through the barnyard where Benhard Ranum had his bull. He talked about how he would climb upon the roof of the shed to get away from the creature. Benhard would come out and distract the bull so Harlan could get away.
Harlan has a sister named Enid. Enid and her husband Rolland Sande, owned and operated the Sande dairy farm west of Thief River Falls on state highway one. There son, Gary, liked to grab the cows by the tail and get a ride when the cows ran. It was fun to watch, especially when he hit a cow pie. I don't remember being cautioned to be careful of the bull. They may have been using artificial insemination. Harlan and Enid are the children of Emil Mellem, who is the son of Thorinus and Pauline Mellem. Emil and Nina Mellem Anderson Bloom were siblings. I will email Enid and see what she says.
My favorite bull story happened in the summer of 1956. We had gone on vacation in the Black Hills. Daddy liked to take side trips and look at the country. As we know, South Dakota butts up with Wyoming. It is hilly there. We were on a gravel road in the middle of no where. At the top of a hill, Daddy could see in the ravine below, two bulls, behind fences, separated by the road we were on. To get a better view, Daddy drove to the bottom and stopped the car to watch the bellowing pageant. Mother was fearful, she was convinced the bulls would break the fence and charge the car. I was not allowed to get out of the car and take a panoramic picture of the Angus on one side and the Hereford on the other was they pawed the ground swinging their heads from side to side.
And now you have heard both the cock n' bull stories.