Why Was This Man Tarred and Feathered in Luverne, Minnesota?
When most of us think of tarring and feathering, the American Revolution comes to mind. Back then, British Loyalists were tarred and feathered often, to be made examples of.
But this archaic practice took place well into the 20th century, sometimes in the most unlikely of places.
Luverne, Minnesota is about as normal as it gets. The tight-knit community in the southwestern corner of the state is perhaps best known for the Verne Drive-In, the historic Palace Theatre, Blue Mounds State Park, and for being one of the four towns selected in Ken Burns' award-winning documentary, The War.
One little piece of the town's history that isn't as well-known though is when over 30 members of the community kidnapped a man, took him to the South Dakota border, tarred and feathered him, and warned him not to return.
This all happened to German-American farmer, John Meints, who, in 1918, was accused of being disloyal to the United States during World War I, for the sole reason of not buying enough war bonds from a neighbor in Luverne.
Refusing to be bullied by the townsfolk, John took the men who did this to court, asking for $100,000 dollars in damages. Unfortunately for Meints, a Minnesota judge seemed to side with the defendants at the time, stating:
The evidence was overwhelming in support of the contention that Meints was disloyal and that there was a strong feeling against him in the community.
John Meints didn't give up his plight though. He eventually appealed and settled out of court for $6,000, a considerable amount of money in those days.
You can read more about John Meints here.