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Column: "Uncle Louey" now gone 85 years

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The Struett family grave parcel can be viewed on the outskirts of Perham at St. Henry's Cemetery.2 / 2

It was said about Louis Struett, one of the pioneer residents of the village of Perham, that he drew his vitality from some fountain of perpetual youth.

He kept a youthful heart and enjoyed a good time--my kind of guy.

Struett was among the first settlers of Perham and figured largely in its early history.

Struett arrived in the United States, from Zell, Germany, at 18 years of age, with his mother and three sisters. They settled in St. Cloud in 1865, where he worked in tailoring for three years, before relocating to Rush Lake. There, he settled on a 160-acre homestead.

He obtained title for his land and returned to St. Cloud. In 1872, he came to Perham to engage in the clothing and gent's furnishings business, a business he would later expand to include general merchandise.

In 1881, he was named as an election officer for one of the first acts and elections to establish an initial form of government for the village of Perham.

The village of Perham was platted and surveyed by Joseph E. Turner, March 6, 1873, for the Lake Superior & Pugit Sound Company of Maine. Thomas H. Canfield was the president of this corporation at that time. It was incorporated by an act of the Legislature, approved February 14, 1881 (Special Laws, 1881, pages 222-227). The act vests the government of the corporation in three trustees, two justices of the peace, treasurer, assessor, marshal and recorder. Officers were to be elected annually and the first election was set for the third Monday of March, 1881. The act named Henry Drahman, Louis Struett and S. Caughey as judges of election and A. S. Wimer as clerk at this first election. The act covers seventeen sections and provides in a general way for the government of the village and the management of such various municipal affairs as were liable to arise. The growth of Perham has been rather slow and yet it must be said that it has constantly grown.

Struett married Catherine Fedema of Layfayette, Ind., and had four children.

Catherine passed away in 1890 and Louis sent his youthful heart a state over from where he found his first wife, landing the affections of Louise Ammann, of Highland, Ill. One son blessed this union.

Louis remained in business for forty years, until he sold his stock to the Perham Cooperative Co.

After retirement, Louis took to the pursuit of happiness, a most American tradition. His active disposition did, however, keep him interested in the affairs of the community.

This week marks the 85th anniversary of his passing. His funeral was held at St. Henry's Church. A large number of friends from the village and surrounding country gathered to pay their last tributes and many accompanied the body to the parish cemetery where "Uncle Louey," as he was familiarly called by many, was laid to rest.

Pallbearers were all old friends: John Oswald, John Snelgrove, Amos Marckel, C.A. Grinnell, J.H. Shea and G.M. Young.

In tribute to Struett's considerable business history of the village of Perham, the stores were closed during his service.

During this rather historical week in Perham with the centennial county fair, I wanted to put away the punch lines for a column and pay homage to "Uncle Louey," a man I'm sure would be proud of contemporary Perham.

A portion of this story is courtesy of Jan Sedore of Otter Tail County MNGenWeb.

Robert Williams

Sports Editor at the Detroit Lakes Tribune. Williams worked prior as the Sports Editor in Perham for the Focus, a Forum Communications newspaper, from 2010-14. 

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