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September 3, 1870: Minnesotian reports that “Big” Hanson has left town.

On this day in Duluth in 1870, the Duluth Minnesotian reported that George “Big” Hanson had left town—and Minnesotian editor and publisher Dr. Thomas Foster couldn’t have been happier. Foster had been bullying Hanson in print for months. Hanson came to Duluth from Minneapolis, bought into the Bay View House hotel, and established Duluth’s first performance space, the Theatre Shed (aka the Pine-Clad Shed, the Opera House, and the Political Wigwam). Hanson also set up a gambling den. Foster particularly didn’t like Hanson because he considered him the muscle behind “The Ring,” a group of Duluth pioneers and Philadelphians on Jay Cooke’s payroll, led by Colonel J. B. Culver, that Foster claimed “ran” Duluth. It didn’t help matters that Col. Culver was a Democrat and Foster had helped establish the Republican Party in Minnesota. Foster implied that Hanson had so much control over card games in the Zenith City that, rather than “according to Hoyle,” everyone had to play “According to Hanson.” Hanson didn’t take kindly to the statement and physically attacked Foster at a dry goods store and may have killed Foster if banker George C. Stone, namesake of Duluth’s Stone Memorial Fountain, hadn’t stopped the fight. The next edition of Foster’s weekly newspaper ran three different article s about Hanson, including a lengthy account of the “Murderous Assault!” and an item about Hanson abusing a woman (his wife, Elizabeth) at the Clark House. The September 3 story announcing that the “Boss Gambler of Duluth” had left town closed with this couplet: “Where he goes and how he fares, nobody knows and nobody cares.” Apparently he went to Iowa, where Elisabeth shot him while he was “violently and drunkenly” attacking her. The jury not only acquitted her, but commended her on her self defense skills.