April 6, 1891: Liquored up and stabbed by a switchman
April 5, 2011 — 10:09pm
A Minneapolis Tribune reporter wrote this brief with authority in the days before “police said” and “allegedly” and “according to witnesses” began to gum up crime coverage.
STABBED BY A SWITCHMAN
Oscar C. Bjork Gets Badly “Done Up” by Charles York.
The saloons were not closed so tightly yesterday that one Oscar C. Bjork could not get liquor enough to make him crazy drunk and be the means of nearly sending him on a quick trip to the great hereafter. About 8 o’clock last evening Oscar was on Washington avenue, near Ninth avenue south, and being in the above mentioned condition he sought to pick a fight with Charles York, a Milwaukee switchman, and a perfect stranger to him. He came up behind York and without warning struck him with his fist. York instantly wheeled, drawing a large clasp knife as he did so, and dealt Bjork a blow on the chest. The blade of the knife was full four inches long and it was driven in with great force.
Bjork, realizing that he was badly cut, staggered back, calling for help, while his assailant ran across the street and, dropping into a walk, tried to lose himself in the crowd. He was pointed out by a boy who had seen the stabbing, and Capt. Ness, of the Third precinct station, arrested him. The wounded man was taken to the south station, where Police Surgeon Gibson examined and dressed the wound. It is not thought that it will prove fatal, though the though the knife blade entered between the fourth and fifth ribs and penetrated the right lung.
After having the cut dressed Bjork, who had bled profusely and was very weak from loss of blood, was taken to his home, 528 Sixteenth avenue south.
A Minneapolis cop on the beat at First Street North and Hennepin Avenue in 1890. (Photo courtesy mnhs.org)
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Hartman's first bylined column, “The Roundup,” appeared in the Minneapolis Daily Times, tucked away with the agate type on the bottom of the Daily Times’ second sports page. The lead story on the front page that day: “Tojo Shoots Self as U.S. Officers Attempt His Arrest.”