Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Gustave H. Shoutz

This past spring the Minnesota History class was exploring the centennial book. In the section on the elevator was a picture of a gentleman, G.H. Shoutz. No one knew much about him and there was little about in the centennial book aside from the fact he built the first elevator in town. We did some searching online. No luck. Using the website findagrave, I hoped that information about him would quickly reveal what we wanted to know- his story. 

Today the History Club headed to the Otter Tail County Historical Society for an array of item to research, one of them being Mr. Shoutz. Wil Hezlep and Chloe Thue were in charge of finding his story. They found it using the microfilm of the Parkers Prairie Independent. Of particular interest was his obituary, published on January 12, 1961.

Gustave was born, raised, and married in Glencoe. His wife, Amelia, moved with him to Parkers Prairie in 1903. His elevator was indeed the first one built in town, using lumber hauled from Henning by wagon. The timing was perfect. The railroad came through shortly thereafter. His elevator was ready and full. Twelve years later her partnered with Math Kraemer and they dismantled his original elevator and moved it to Goodrich. Then the partners bought the Prairie Elevator. 

They later built a Philip's 66 Station on Highway 29 and the Feed Mill. Shoutz was a busy man, later owning and operating elevator in Westbury, Minnesota and Bridger, Montana. At age 71, he sold his share of the elevator and service station to his partner and settled into retirement. He enjoyed life in Parkers Prairie for the next twenty years.

So why did our search prior fail? Well, Mr. Shoutz was buried not here in Parkers, but in Buffalo Lake, where he and his wife had lived in the earlier years of their marriage. 

The elevator (actually, there were a few at one point earlier in the century) was crucial for farms in the area to get their products to the market in the railroad era. The importance of local elevators cannot be underestimated. Shoutz and Kraemer deserve a lot of credit for their entrepreneurial spirit and contributions to commerce in the bygone days of Parkers Prairie.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Oak Hill Cemetery: Lost and Found

This summer I will be posting a few essays. First up is more on Oak Hill (formerly Scriven) Cemetery. Google maps labels it Scribbner Cemetery and I have no idea why. Click here for Oak Hill Cemetery: Lost and Found.