"The Militant Parson of the Range" Articles about the efforts of Rev. Thomas Leech in banishing
gambling from the Iron Range of northern
08 Jul 1915; The Duluth News Tribune MARSHALL QUITS RANGE; LEECH TO SUCCEED
Virginia, July 7. -- Rev. John O. Ferris, district superintendent of the
American Sunday School union and a former well-known clergyman on the range,
returned to Virginia for a few hours today to introduce Rev. Thomas K. Leech of
Henry, Ill., to the work of range representative of the organization.
Rev. Mr. Leech succeeds Rev. Samuel
Marshall, who retired recently on account of ill health. He is one of 19 men in
the state who organize and maintain rural Sunday schools in districts where no
other religious exercises are held. The work is interdenominational and its
success is indicated by the existence of 500 of these schools at the present
time in the state of Minnesota. Rev. Mr. Leech will make his headquarters at
08 Jul 1915; The Duluth News Tribune RANGE PEOPLE AT DULUTH HOTELS Spalding - A.E. Noble, Baudette; F.R. Peterson,
Holland - Mrs. Anderson, Ely.
St. Louis - Mr. and Mrs. Ed Anderson, Baudette; Mrs. J. Mitchell, Tower; Gust.
Anderson, L. Grant, Chisholm.
Lenox - Thomas K. Leech, Virginia; John W. Neimi, Biwabik.
McKay - A.P. Rylander, Mrs. Charles M. Dorway, Eveleth; R.D. Johnson, L.W. Gade,
Mr. and Mrs. A. McDonald, C.D. Lyons, Virginia; Mrs. R. Doland, Hibbing; Miss
Alma Jans, Two Harbors.
24 Jul 1915; The Duluth News Tribune PIKE LAKE, MINN. PIKE LAKE, Minn. - Some of the young folks attended the dance last Saturday
at Wargins. Mr. and Mrs. Pomerville of Duluth are visiting Mrs. Pomerville's
parents for a few days. A number of persons from Pike Lake attended the circus
at Duluth. Some of the Pike Lakers attended the funeral of Mr. Johnson of Twig,
Minn. The Ladies' Aid met at Mrs. Denzer's Wednesday. Agnes Butler passed a few
days visiting her sister, Mrs. Pomerville of Duluth. E.B. Engren expects to
complete the work on the road next week. Rev. Thomas K. Leech of Virginia has
been appointed missionary to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Rev.
Samuel Marshall. Misses Gladys and Pearl Anderson are visiting relatives and
friends in Duluth and Superior. Mrs. Turner of Gilbert, Minn., passed a few days
at the Williams home. Mrs. McKechnie and children of Gilbert are visiting at the
30 Jul 1915; The Duluth News Tribune NEW CHURCH WILL BE BUILT AT KELLY LAKE
Kelly Lake, July 23 - As a result of a meeting held here last night, a new
church will be built for Kelly Lake worshippers within the next few months. The
meeting was addressed by Rev. T. Leech, who recently has taken charge of the
work on the Mesaba range for the American Sunday School union. There are 21
families in the new congregation.
28 Aug 1915; The Duluth News Tribune MISSIONARIES TO HOLD SERVICES ON RANGE
VIRGINIA, Aug. 27. - Rev. John O. Ferris of Minneapolis, district superintendent
of the American Sunday School union, will pass Sunday on the Mesaba range with
the local missionary, Rev. Thomas K. Leech of Virginia. They will hold services
in the morning at Kelsey, at Munger in the afternoon and at Five Corners at
night. Mr. Ferris formerly was the local missionary on the range. Mr. Leech has
charge of 15 Sunday schools on the ranges and is helping build a church at Kelly
Lake, which will become a Methodist organization.
27 Sep 1915; The Duluth News Tribune KELLY LAKE TO HAVE PROTESTANT CHURCH
Congregations Unite in Erecting House of Worship - To Be Dedicated Soon. KELLY
LAKE, Sept. 26 - Kelly Lake will soon boast a Union Protestant church, built
almost entirely by the members of the parish, who have given their time and
labor in order that a house of worship might be erected in the village. The
church is now nearly completed and dedicatory services will be held in it on
Sunday, Oct. 17. At that time Rev. R.W. Adair of the Methodist church at Hibbing
will preach and thereafter he will conduct services at the church twice a month.
Rev. M.P. Burns of Duluth, Rev. Mr. Ferris of Minneapolis, and Rev. Thomas Leech
of Virginia will also participate in the dedicatory exercises. The latter is the
Union Protestant missionary on the range, and is principally responsible for the
erection of the new church at Kelly Lake. The congregation already has an active
Sunday school class, while the Ladies' Aid society has rendered assistance
during the summer. The officers of the latter are Mrs. L.A. Dorman, president;
Mrs. Whittaker, secretary, and Mrs. J.K. Johnson, treasurer.
04 Nov 1915; The Duluth News Tribune RANGE MISSIONARY AT ST. PAUL MEETING
VIRGINIA, Nov. 3. - Rev. T.K. Leech, range missionary of the American Sunday
School union, left yesterday for the annual convention of the society at St.
Paul. About 50 representatives of the society will gather at the St. Paul
Y.M.C.A. and the meeting will last throughout the week. Rev. Mr. Leech, who
travels over St. Louis county, will deliver an address on "Amusements and
Special Days Appropriate for the Uplift of the Rural Districts." The American
Sunday School union is the oldest home missionary society in America.
11 Dec 1915; The Duluth News Tribune KELLY LAKE, MINN.
KELLY LAKE, Minn. - Mrs. J.J. Milon moved to St. Paul Saturday, where Mr. Milon
is employed as an engineer on the Great Northern railroad.
C.E. Hornbeck was a business visitor in Superior Thursday and
Mr. and Mrs. W.A. Pink motored from Superior Wednesday to put
their car away for the winter, returning to Superior on Thursday.
Mrs. C.E. Hornbeck returned from Minneapolis Wednesday, where
she accompanied her daughter, Helen, on her way to the normal school at St.
Mrs. F.J. Bauers entertained Saturday afternoon in honor of
her father and mother, Mr. and Mrs. C. Babst of Barnesville, Minn.
Victor Munson of Minneapolis was a business visitor here
The Union Sunday school will hold its Christmas services
Saturday, Dec. 18, at which time they will have their Christmas tree. Rev. Mr.
Adair and Rev. Mr. Leech will be the speakers.
Mr. and Mrs. James Patterson and family are visiting friends
and relatives in Superior.
H.E. Harvey left for Superior, where he expects to work during
Mrs. J.J. Milon was given a farewell party Friday afternoon.
She was presented with a beautiful cut glass vase as a token of friendship.
L. Gilmore arrived here from Troy, Mont. last week to relieve
F. Graba, former roadmaster for the Great Northern. Mr. Graba took the position
as foreman in the yard here. Mr. Gilmore has been employed in the yard as
foreman at Troy, Mont. on the Kalispell division.
Mr. and Mrs. C.E. Hornbeck were given a farewell dancing party
at the hotel Saturday evening. They left for Superior Monday evening, where they
will make their home for the winter. Mr. Hornbeck has taken a position as night
chief train dispatcher at that point for the Great Northern railway until he
returns here in spring.
Mr. and Mrs. C. Babst left for their home at Barnesville,
Minn. Tuesday and will visit at Melrose and Fergus Falls on their way. Mrs. F.J.
Bauers and daughter, Margaret, accompanied them as far as Superior.
25 Dec 1915; The Duluth News Tribune ALBORN, MINN.
Rev. Mr. Leech of Virginia and Rev. _ Ab_rg of Duluth will preach at the church
tomorrow at 10 o'clock.
15 Jan 1916; The Duluth News Tribune M'KINLEY, MINN.
M'KINLEY, Minn. - Mrs. Charles Goodman and children have returned from Duluth,
where they passed the holidays with her parents.
Misses Keehan and Siddell of Gilbert, who are teachers in the schools here
called upon friends in McKinley Saturday.
Rev. Mr. Leech of Virginia held services at the McKinley primary building
Mrs. George L_anna was in Biwabik between trains Friday.
Miss Margaret Van Buskirk visited friends here Saturday.
Mrs. A.G. Sanders, who with her little son Myron made an extended visit to
her relatives in Wisconsin, returned home Tuesday evening.
Mrs. J.C. Farmer visited Gilbert and Virginia Saturday.
10 Jun 1916; The Duluth News Tribune EVELETH, MINN. EVELETH, Minn. - Rev. O.D. Cannon of the Methodist church and family left
Monday for Pardeville, Wis., where they will visit with Mr. Cannon's parents.
Miss Mamie Kentta and Miss Gertrude Bjournes returned Saturday from St.
Cloud, Minn., where they have been attending the state normal.
Miss Hazel Tobin was a Duluth visitor Saturday.
Miss Mamie Matson returned Monday from Menominee, Wisconsin.
29 Nov 1916; The Duluth News Tribune Virginia Council in Stormy Conference Saloon Reducing Ordinance Argument
Brings City Attorney in for Flaying PDF file of article - opens in new
30 Nov 1916; The Duluth News Tribune
PASTOR CHALLENGES VIRGINIA ATTORNEY VIRGINIA. Nov. 29. - Rev. Thomas K. Leech today made public a challenge to
City Attorney S.S. Dahl to debate "What the Saloon Means to the Community as a
Business." At a late hour tonight Dahl had taken no official notice of the call
to the platform.
02 Dec 1916; The Duluth News Tribune
VIRGINIA ATTORNEY REFUSES CHALLENGE
VIRGINIA, Dec. 1. - City Attorney S.S. Dahl refused to consider the challenge of
Rev. Thomas K. Leech to debate the business value of a saloon as a business
"It is absurd!" curtly remarked Attorney Dahl today. "I rendered my legal
opinion on the reducing ordinance as I saw the law, and, as it effected the city
as a unit, not as a prohibition question. Because I believe that the reducing
ordinance was invalid is no reason why I should be called upon to defend the
saloon as a business. And besides Rev. Mr. Leech should know that the reducing
ordinance, if enforced, would mean a longer life of the saloons because of the
closer regulation issue."
Other city officials labeled the challenge as "a ministerial joke."
24 Dec 1916; The Duluth News Tribune SEVEN CHURCHES JOIN IN ALDRICH CAMPAIGN VIRGINIA, Dec. 23. - Seven Virginia churches have joined Rev. A. Lee Aldrich
for his "hit the saw-dust trail" campaign to open here Jan. 7.
Besides the enlisting of the pastors, committees have
been appointed to aid the evangelist in obtaining trail hitters by extending the
trail from the tabernacle to the homes, the mines, the mine locations and the
Rev. Mr. Aldrich, according to his agents now in Virginia
organizing for the campaign, "will not allow any one to escape an invitation to
join the converted row."
C.E. Hendrick was appointed chairman; W.J. Bennallack,
secretary, and James L. Murrkley, treasurer of the general committee. Nathan
Quicktad, chairman of the music committee; Rev. J.P. Joneson, chairman personal
work; Rev. Thomas K. Leech, chairman of extension work; Mrs. J.R. Flood,
chairman woman's work; Oscar Tamte, chairman of building committee; Orie Infelt,
publicity, and Arthur Eggen, heat, light and decorations. K.J.F. Karslon will be
in charge of the entertainment; Mrs. C.W. Ramshaw, in charge of the home
devotional services; W.E. Swain, usher, and Miss G.O. Wentzlaff, in charge of
The home meetings, under the direction of Mrs. Ramshaw,
will start next week. It is planned to hold noon lunches for the employed girls
two or three times a week during the campaign under the direction of Miss Birdie
Kunard, the Aldrich woman's worker. Bible classes for the high school girls are
1 Jan 1917; The Duluth News
Tribune 'CLEAN OUT CITY' SAYS ALDRICH
Evangelist Suggests That Virginians Choose Officers Who Are "Christians."
"HELP MAKE TOWN DRY"
Between 1,500 and 2,000 Sunday School Children Will Take Part in Parade.
VIRGINIA. Jan. 13. - Rev. A. Lee Aldrich had a few things to say about
Virginia's city administration in his sermon last night and he also lambasted
the so-called "booze" control of cities as he pounded the platform pulpit and
swung a chair a few times as if to drive the fiendish one out and away, now and
forevermore, from the city.
"The city of Virginia needs a cleaning up along the booze line," said
Aldrich. "Clean out your city and elect men who are Christians to your offices.
There is no reason why Virginia can't go dry if the people of this city only get
together and get on the job.
"The brewery forces have organized and can control cities and the states.
It's high time the church people got on the job and organized to beat this
'booze game.' The trouble today is the churches are too far behind the times.
They are not awake to their responsibility.
"They pay too much attention to everything else but the work of God and the
church. Come on, get on the job, and knuckle down. I am ready to help you make
Aldrich spoke to a crowded house tonight on the subject, "The Secret Spring."
Between 1,500 and 2,000 Sunday school children are expected to participate in
the rally parade to be held tomorrow afternoon under the direction of Rev.
Thomas K. Leech, chairman of the extension committee. Adults as well as children
will march to show the gaining strength of the evangelistic campaign in
Virginia. The parade will start from the tabernacle at 2:15 o'clock. Sunday
school classes from Mountain Iron and Eveleth will also take part.
25 Feb 1917; The Sunday News Tribune Pastor Clamps Lid on Petty Gambling
HIBBING, Feb. 24. - The lid was closed on all forms of dice, gambling, punch
boards, raffles and kindred games of chance on the range this week. The lid was
clamped on this end yesterday and it was a minister who did it. He didn't have a
The Rev. Thomas K. Leech of Virginia, dropped into the stores in Buhl,
Chisholm and Hibbing this afternoon and let the owners and employes know that
there "would be something doing" if the punch boards were not discarded and the
dice boxes counted down and out. Hence the inviting little game of "25" saw its
demise, a pile of punch boards with "gold" currency as watch fobs also went the
Rev. Mr. Leech did not consult the police or the prosecutors. He went ahead
as a minister and citizen, presenting his anti-gambling ultimatum. There had
been a decrease in the number of the punch boards on this end of the range since
the grand jury went into session but just previous to Rev. Mr. Leech's visit
they began to crop out again.
"I see the law as something to be enforced," explained Rev. Mr. Leech.
"If the police are not ready to do it in performing their sworn duty, I am."
8 Mar 1917; The Duluth News Tribune CRUSADE CONTINUED BY GAMBLING NEMESIS
Rev. T.K. Leech of Virginia, Swoops Down on Hibbing Store Owner.
HIBBING, March 7. - Rev. Thomas K. Leech, Virginia's fighting parson against
gambling and menaces to juveniles, today caused the arrest and conviction of
Rafaelo Tailerico, candy store owner, on the charge of having punch boards in
Rev. Mr. Leech walked into the store, got the punch boards and commanded
Tailerico to accompany him across the street to the municipal court, where he
signed the complaint. On his plea of guilty Tailerico was fined $10 and costs by
Municipal Judge T.F. Brady. The fine was suspended when the defendant agreed to
dispose of all his stock of punch boards.
"I believe gambling has stopped in Hibbing and on the range," said Rev. Mr.
Leech. "I know the courts are behind me and generally the police are willing to
8 Mar 1917; The Duluth News Tribune ONE MORE SCORE TO THE CREDIT OF REV. LEECH
VIRGINIA, March 8. - In the crusade against petty gambling devices started on
the range by Rev. Thomas K. Leech of Virginia, Lazo Bealah, cigar store
proprietor, was arrested today by Detective William Fitzgerald. A punch board
Bealah was fined $10 with the option of serving 30 days on the county work
farm. Sentence was suspended, however, by Municipal Judge J.P. Carey.
11 Mar 1917; The Duluth News Tribune LEECH CAMPAIGN FINISHES.
ALICE, March 10. - Rev. Thomas K. Leech of Virginia has completed his
evangelistic campaign here. He conducted a personal anti-gambling campaign on
the range and cleaned out the dice and punch boards. During his revival in the
firehall here he won 72 converts.
13 Mar 1917; The Duluth News Tribune LEECH AT VIRGINIA.
MUNGER, March 12. - Rev. Thomas K. Leech of Virginia, who finished a three
weeks' revival campaign in Alice last week will begin one here tomorrow.
Seventh-nine [seventy-nine] were converted during
the Alice revival.
3 Apr 1917; The Duluth News Tribune REV. T.K. LEECH GETS ONE MORE GAMBLING DEVICE
HIBBING, April 2. - Score another one for Rev. Thomas K. Leech, Virginia
pastor, for today Charles Kovia, owner of the O.K. Restaurant here, was
arraigned before Municipal Judge T.F. Brady on a charge of having a gambling
device in his possession.
In court Kovia declared that a "Minneapolis man left the machine in his cafe
a year ago." The court ordered that the machine be destroyed. When
[it is?] the defendant will be discharged.
9 Apr 1917; The Duluth News Tribune TEACHERS MEET.
M'KINLEY, April 8. - Teachers of the McKinley Sunday school last night held
their first meeting for "instruction." The meetings will be held every Saturday
under the direction of Rev. Thomas K. Leech of Virginia, the parson who put the
gambling lid on the range. Proportionately, the McKinley Sunday school has one
of the best attendance for its size on the range.
17 Apr 1917; The Duluth News Tribune LEECH IS SPEAKER.
EVELETH, April 16. - Rev. Thomas K. Leech of Virginia gave the principal
address yesterday afternoon at an anti-booze meeting held in the Methodist
church. The following were appointed members of the Eveleth Anti-Booze
association executive committee: C.H. Williams, Richard Eddy, J.C. Mitchell,
J.C. Ever, Theodore Damberg, Charles Rutty and Thomas Benny.
5 Jun 1917; The Duluth News Tribune MILITANT PARSON BEGINS NEW CRUSADE
Rev. Thomas K. Leech Visits Chisholm - Exit Seven Slot Machines.
STARTED FOR HIBBING
Patrolman Helps Him to Carry the Horrid Things to the Village Jail.
CHISHOLM, June 4. - Seven gambling slot machines were taken out of three soft
drink places and poolrooms today by Rev. Thomas K. Leech of Virginia, militant
parson of the range and turned over to the police.
Rev. Mr. Leech stopped off at Chisholm on his way to Hibbing and walked into
a soft drink parlor on Lake street and found three machines. With the aid of a
patrolman, whom he called the three machines were moved to the sidewalk and
later taken to the police station.
NEWS TRAVELS QUICKLY
News of the raid spread quickly, but not before the clergyman had found three
more machines in a soft drink parlor located on East Lake street and one in the
Italian poolroom on the same street, according to his statement tonight.
Up to a late hour today, warrants had not been served on the alleged
proprietors of the machines.
ACTIVE ON RANGE.
Rev. Mr. Leech has been active over the entire range in enforcing the state
gambling laws and promises several more arrests in range cities unless owners of
machines dispose of them meanwhile.
He started a crusade against punchboards in Hibbing, Virginia and other
cities early last winter, and through his efforts many slot machines have been
confiscated or stored in cellars.
6 Jun 1917; The Duluth News Tribune WARRANTS ISSUED ON REV. LEECH'S COMPLAINT
CHISHOLM, June 5. - Warrants for the arrest of the proprietors of gambling
devices seized through the efforts of Rev. Thomas K. Leech of Virginia will
probably be served tomorrow and the men will later appear in police court.
The warrants were issued late today, according to Rev. Mr. Leech, and turned
over to the Chisholm police to serve.
7 Jun 1917; The Duluth News Tribune SUNDAY SCHOOL FOR ALICE TO COST $2,800
HIBBING, June 6. - An eight-room Sunday school building to cost about $2,800,
will be erected in Alice, suburb of Hibbing, according to Rev. Thomas K. Leech,
missionary of the American Sunday School union. Construction work will be
started soon. It is expected that the building will be ready for use within six
It will be of frame construction, 32 by 48 feet, and a story and a half high,
with a steeple and bell. The Aldrich tabernacle was purchased by the Alice
congregation and much of its lumber will be used in the construction of the
Several lots were purchased recently by the Alice congregation near the
center of that suburb and the new building will be erected there.
23 Jun 1917; The Duluth News Tribune BUHL MAYOR REFORMS SOME OBVIOUS DEFECTS
Discusses Liquor Conditions, Attends Meeting in St. Paul and Purifies Street
BUHL, June 22. - The mayor met in a secret session with the Buhl council of
defense tonight, and considered several phases of the liquor question. Members
of the Buhl council of defense proposed the commission's investigation which
resulted in the wholesale liquor house being closed. After an investigation of
the carnival showing in this city, Mayor Rauestadt ordered two booths in which
games of chance were being run closed and ordered several objectionable features
Mayor Rauestadt returned tonight on the 7 o'clock train from St. Paul, where
he was called to attend the meeting of the state council of defense. Immediately
upon his arrival in Buhl, he went to the carnival grounds and here he met Rev.
Thomas K. Leech, fighting parson of Virginia, whose activities against gambling
games is well known. Rev. Mr. Leech was also investigating and pointed out two
gambling devices. The mayor ordered the games stopped, and his order was
complied with at once.
Mayor Rauestadt declared himself well pleased with the results of the meeting
in St. Paul. "We will enforce every law to the letter as we have in the past,
but now we will be able to reach those whose violations have been causing us
trouble," he said. "The commission will investigate and enforce the law there.
Some things which have been just within the law will be stopped by the
4 Jul 1917; The Duluth News Tribune CITY 'DADS' PRODUCE SHOW ALL THEIR OWN
Virginia Councilmen Opposed to Carnival, Have Talkfest for Four Hours.
FINALLY, TENTS MOVE
Rev. Mr. Leech, Militant Parson, Announces He Will Be On the Job Today.
VIRGINIA, July 3. - A swarm of carnival concessionists who unostentatiously
settled down on Central avenue and Chestnut street today, was the subject of
four hours debate tonight by council. Finally a resolution ordering the carnival
properties off the streets and sidewalks immediately was adopted.
The city of tents was the scene of busy activity until daylight dawned. All
of the shows situated on sidewalks and street were moved one block west to a
site south of the Duluth, Winnipeg & Pacific depot.
As soon as members of the body had been seated in the council chambers,
Alderman Elmer Matheson moved that the Carnival company be peremptorily ordered
from the city.
This motion carried and the police were instructed to see that the attractions,
already open for more than an hour, were closed immediately. This was done.
The action brought W.A. Kelly, president of the carnival company, to the
chambers and he asked for "leniency." He produced a contract to stay in Virginia
It was signed by Douglas Greeley, president of the Commercial club, and Mayor
Mike Boylan. Council, to a man, opposed the operation of carnivals in the city.
City Attorney S.S. Dahl asserted that the city has no legal right to permit the
streets and sidewalks to be used for anything but traffic. Then the body decided
to visit the carnival.
Returning to the city hall the councilmen agreed to permit the shows to run
their five-day contract period providing no sidewalks or streets were obstructed
by tents or other carnival concessions.
Attracted by the carnival, hundreds of range residents flocked to Virginia
and crowded the main thoroughfares until a late hour. Extra policemen were
pressed into service to handle the enormous crowds of pedestrians and automobile
LEECH ON THE JOB.
There will be no gambling devices used by a Minneapolis carnival company, which
has the July 4 concession here. Rev. Thomas K. Leech, the gambler's Nemesis,
will see to that, he announced today.
Rev. Mr. Leech has been active for several months in ridding the range of
slot machines, punchboards and other instruments of chance. He eliminated
gambling devices from a recent Chisholm carnival.
GATELY AND LEECH CONFER.
Chief of Police Owen Gately and Rev. Mr. Leech held a conference this afternoon.
Neither would comment on what took place, but it is understood that the police
and the dominie are co-operating against gambling.
BIWABIK, July 3. - The case against Steve Zgone, local saloon keeper, who was
arrested three weeks ago on a charge of permitting gambling with cards in his
establishment, was dismissed today in Virginia municipal court.
Assistant County Attorney Edward L. Boyle made the motion to dismiss the
case, when the complaining witness failed to appear in court. M.H. McMahon of
Virginia, was Zgone's attorney.
7 Jul 1917; The Duluth News Tribune MINISTER IS AFTER POLICE CHIEF'S JOB
Rev. Thomas Leech Says Virginia Official Not Equal to His Duties.
CARNIVAL IS REASON
Pastor Takes Things in Own Hands and Closes All Gambling Devices.
VIRGINIA, July 6. - charging "incompetence" Rev. Thomas K. Leech today
declared that he was after Police Chief Owen Gately's job. "I could fill it a
lot better than he could, too," said Rev. Mr. Leech.
Rev. Mr. Leech got a taste of what his coveted job might be like this morning
when he sat in at a conference with W.F. Kelley, president of the Kelley
Carnival company, and City Attorney S.S. Dahl.
The conference was called at the instigation of the dominie and the attorney
and the result was that all so-called gambling devices at the street carnival
were closed. No invitation to the meeting was extended to Chief Gately and he
did not attend.
12 Jul 1917; The Duluth News Tribune LEECH DECLARES HE WILL FIGHT LICENSE GRANT
VIRGINIA, July 11. - Injunction proceedings against the Matt Kostansek
saloon, to prevent it from being operated will be started by Rev. Thomas K.
Leech, he announced today.
"I have consulted my attorney and action will be started to enjoin the
proprietor from operating a saloon.
Mayor Michael Boylan and City Attorney S.S. Dahl, as well as Aldermen E.F.
Murray, Elmer Matheson and Charles Olson, the opponents of the Kostansek
license, received countless compliments from citizens on their __nd in the
13 Jul 1917; The Duluth News Tribune COURT TO DECIDE LICENSE GRANT
Virginia's Militant Parson Makes Good His Threat of an Injunction.
July 13 (Friday). - City officials, shortly after midnight, were served with
papers issued by Judge Edward Freeman, at the behest of Rev. Thomas K. Leech,
demanding that they show cause Saturday, July 28, at 9 a.m., why they should not
be enjoined permanently from publishing council's resolution granting a license
to Mike Kostensek to operate a saloon at 113 Chestnut street. The saloon cannot
be opened until after the resolution is published.
The resolution was to have been published tomorrow. Leech asserts that the
council had no right to grant the license because, it is alleged, Kostensek
operated a saloon July 4, contrary to law.
Indignant over the statements in a local daily, charging that "ugly rumors"
are rife over a recent saloon license case, Alderman George Harvey today
declared that the matter will be sifted to the bottom.
"We will find out if any money changed hands," stated Alderman Harvey. "If it
did we want to know about it. I will exert every effort to determine whether
there is any truth in the rumors.
"I can and will explain my vote and I do not believe that any other member of
the council will have any difficulty in making known his motives in voting for
or against the license."
Alderman B.F. Murray, Charles Olson and Elmer Matheson voted against the
license after Mayor Michael Boylan had vetoed it, while those who overruled the
veto by their votes are Aldermen Pat Coffey, H.H. Lien, J.A. Walsh, R.J. McGhee
and George Harvey.
16 Jul 1917; The Duluth News Tribune LEECH TAKES EAST ST. LOUIS RIOTS AS "TEXT"
Blames "Spineless Politicians" for Disturbances - Refers to Letter He Received.
VIRGINIA, July 15. - Spineless politicians were blamed for the East St. Louis
race riots, by Rev. Thomas K. Leech in a sermon tonight in the Methodist
Episcopal church. The "booze gang" was held equally responsible, by the speaker.
"The police chief and his entire force," said Rev. Mr. Leech, "were
responsible for the enormous loss of life and property. The negroes were being
persecuted, but the boneless politicians did not care. In fact, they aided the
rioters and murderers in that they kept out of the way when the trouble
"It was a noble act for the police and fire commission to remove from office
the police chief. They were not spineless, and they did not dally around before
suspending the incompetent chief.
"We have fine examples of spineless politicians on the Range," he continued.
"Yesterday I received a letter from a reliable person in which it was revealed
that a Virginia brewing company is running a blind pig in Biwabik. I am watching
the village officials there and I will continue to watch them until the courts
have proven either that they are spineless or that the letter-writer is a liar.
"The matter has been called to the attention of the authorities. Matt
Kostansek, with the aid of jelly-fish officials, operated a saloon July 4 here
in violation of the law, but so long as I live, Matt Kostansek will never run a
18 Jul 1917; The Duluth News Tribune TO PROBE CHARGE OF BRIBERY AT VIRGINIA
Council Designates "Assistant City Attorney" to Start Investigation.
M.H.M'MAHON IS NAMED
Act Is Resented by Dahl as a "Gross Slur" on His Ability as City Attorney.
VIRGINIA, July 17 - In spite of remonstrances by City Attorney S.S. Dahl to
the contrary, council tonight appointed Attorney M.H. McMahon as a special and
temporary assistant city attorney to investigate charges made in a local
newspaper to the effect that bribe rumors were rife relative to the granting of
a liquor license recently.
According to the city attorney, it is illegal for council to make such an
appointment. Under the charter, he contends, this is solely the duty of the city
"It is a gross slur at my ability as city attorney," stated Dahl. "I am just
as eager to probe the bribery question as anyone and will willingly appoint
another attorney to clear up the situation."
"Then why not let the city attorney appoint McMahon?" interrogated Alderman
Dahl Objects Again.
Without a moment's pause, Dahl was on the floor again, refusing to make what he
termed a "forced" appointment. "I will name an attorney that will meet with the
approval of the council if I have to name all the attorneys in the county," he
"It is strictly within my jurisdiction to make the appointment and I will
guarantee that in the event council refuses to give me my right, any attorney by
the body will be enjoined from collecting one penny from the city for services."
Dahl then quoted a section from the charter, which he construed as forbidding
council from making the appointment. Alderman Elmer Matheson declared that he
could see no reason why Dahl was not qualified to make an appointment or to
carry on the probe himself.
"I do not see why the taxpayers should be bled for the services of an outside
man," said Matheson.
Matheson Only Dissenter.
On voting for the resolution confirming McMahon as special and temporary
counsel, Matheson was the only one to cast a dissenting vote. Alderman George
Harvey declared Mr. McMahon had been picked at a meeting of the sic aldermen who
voted for the saloon license this afternoon.
Another resolution, adopted by council provides for an investigation into the
publication June 31 of the bribery reference. It is to be conducted by McMahon.
"If it is found that the paper had no reason to allude to bribery, no more
city advertising will be given it and all municipal business will be canceled
for 1917, but if the story is found to have weight councilmen who accepted money
will be prosecuted criminally," the resolution reads.
As a courtesy to the city attorney, Dahl asked that the minutes of the
meeting show that he did not draft this ordinance.
Alderman Harvey and R.J. McGhee said that the appointment of another attorney
was no reflection on Dahl's work. They supported the McMahon appointment for the
reason they declared, that Dahl had evidenced prejudice when the Kostansek
license first came up.
McMahon will contest the injunction proceedings brought by Rev. Thomas K.
Leech against the city officials to restrain them from granting Matt Kostensek a
19 Jul 1917; The Duluth News Tribune LEECH, AT CHISHOLM, GETS SLOT MACHINES
CHISHOLM, July 18. - Rev. Thomas K. Leech, militant parson of the Mesaba
range, visited Chisholm today. At the Monroe location, in the grocery and
confectionery stores, he found two slot machines, which he brought to the
He will swear out "John Doe" warrants for the owners tomorrow.
23 Jul 1917; The Duluth News Tribune Leech Tells What He'd Do as Chief of Police Gately Refuses to Narrate
His Program If the Entered the Ministry PDF file of article - opens in new
25 Jul 1917; The Duluth News Tribune Council Stumped Makes Fresh Start Boylan Veto Sticks but the City Dads
Adopt a Resolution Anyway PDF file of article - opens in new
25 Jul 1917; The Duluth News Tribune SINGLE MEN DEFEAT BENEDICT BALL TEAM
VIRGINIA, July 25. - The single men defeated the married men, 8 to 5, in the Red
Cross exhibition game today. More than $100 was raised.
George Shea, right field for the benedicts, was the hitting star, getting
three hits, all of which figured in the scoring. Rev. Thomas K. Leech, the
militant parson, was one of the umpires.
The married men came near tieing the score in the seventh, when four straight
hits, the last by Shea, scored three runs.
27 Jul 1917; The Duluth News Tribune VIRGINIA INJUNCTION SUIT MORE INVOLVED
Liquor Men Will Seek to Restrain Attorney Dahl From Representing the City
HE DOESN'T WANT IT
Minister Says His Suit on Saloon License Grant Will Not Be Postponed.
VIRGINIA, July 26. - The Kostansek liquor license injunction suit against the
city is becoming more involved. Today it was announced that City Attorney S.S.
Dahl may be restrained from acting for the city in the matter.
Attorneys representing the Matt Kostansek interests will appear in district
court Saturday morning and demand that an assistant and special city attorney
represent the city.
M.H. McMahon was appointed to act for the city in the matter at a council
meeting Tuesday, but this action was branded as illegal by City Attorney Dahl
because the appointment was not made by himself in accordance with provisions of
the city charter.
Until Mayor Michael Boylan signs the resolution, providing for McMahon's
appointment, or it is passed over his veto, McMahon cannot legally officiate.
The mayor has until Monday to act. It is understood that he will veto the
resolution. Before it can become law the injunction case will be under way, or
Mr. Dahl does not want to represent the city in the matter, the council does
not want him to do it, and the Kostansek clique does not want it. Under the
present circumstances he is bound by oath of office to act.
If the court grants an injunction restraining him from acting it will be his
duty to appoint an assistant. He has declared he will not appoint McMahon.
The injunction case, brought to restrain the city from granting a license to
Kostansek, will not be postponed, according to Rev. Thomas K. Leech, plaintiff
in the suit.
31 Jul 1917; The Duluth News Tribune VIRGINIA COUNCIL UPHELD ON LICENSE
Judge Freeman Denies Petition for Injunction to Restrain Granting of Permit
ATTORNEYS IN WRANGLE
Rev. Thomas K. Leech Loses Out in Attempt to Oust Kostansek Saloon.
VIRGINIA, July 30. - District Judge Edward Freeman today denied a petition
for a temporary injunction, sought by Rev. Thomas K. Leech, to prevent the
council from granting a liquor license. In an order issued by the court the
council is authorized to grant the license to Matt Kostansek.
There were four attorneys appearing in the injunction hearing which continued
for five solid hours. City Attorney S.S. Dahl appeared "for the city" and made
this fact explicit on the court records. Attorney M.H. McMahon announced his
appearance for the six members of the council who voted for the license in a
petition in which Dahl was attacked in a caustic manner. D.D. Morgan represented
Rev. Mr. Leech and Attorney Edward L. Boyle was an intervenor in the Kostansek
Pastor Not Tax Payer.
The essential issue in the case and the one which the decision was based is the
fact that under the law Rev. Mr. Leech is not entitled to question the official
acts of public men in view of the fact that he is not a local taxpayer.
In an argument presented by Attorney Boyle it was emphasized that Rev. Mr.
Leech would suffer no "material or irreparable damage." The evil, if any, it was
held, was one to the public in general and that Rev. Mr. Leech was no more
interested than any other citizen.
A sharp call to order by Judge Freeman who stopped the heated arguments put
an end to sarcastic exchanges between Boyle and Dahl during the hearing. Dahl
rose to take exception to a statement by Attorney McMahon, informing the court
that it was erroneous.
Attorneys In Spat.
Boyle jumped to his feet crying, "Do you deny saying that you advised the
council that Kostansek's saloon would be a congregating place for alien
"I am not on the witness stand, Mr. Boyle," Dahl replied.
"No, but you are butting into this argument," shot back Boyle.
Both Dahl and McMahon were prepared to continue the accusations when Judge
Freeman silenced the courtroom with the gavel.
An affidavit was filed by Boyle showing that Kostansek did not "knowingly
violate the law by keeping his saloon open on July 4." A technical violation is
admitted in that Kostansek did open the establishment before the license became
Motions to dismiss the case upon customary legal points at the opening and
close were denied by Judge Freeman.
1 Aug 1917; The Duluth News Tribune KOSTANSEK LICENSE IS STILL UP IN AIR
Mayor Boylan of Virginia Says He Will Not Sign It Because of Irregularities.
WET VICTORY IN DOUBT
Saloon Keeper May Not Get Permit Despite Fact Injunction Was Denied.
VIRGINIA, July 31. - Matt Kostansek may not get a license to sell liquor in
Virginia. Today's developments in the notorious case pointed toward further
court action in spite of Judge Edward Freeman's decision refusing to grant an
injunction to Rev. Thomas K. Leech, restraining the city from issuing the
The license, under the law, cannot become effective until Mayor Michael
Boylan signs it. The mayor said he would not sign it on the ground that it is
illegal, in that Kostansek permitted the place to remain open July 4 without a
license and that he failed to apply for the license 30 days prior to the time it
was to have become operative.
The license could have been signed and made effective yesterday by R.J.
McGhee, president of the council, who was acting mayor while Boylan was out of
If a writ of mandamus is issued by the court the mayor will then be compelled
to sign the license, but before the writ can be issued by the court the legality
of the license will have to be tested and proved.
According to recent opinions of City Attorney S.S. Dahl the license is not
legal and if the court sustains the opinion of the city attorney Kostansek will
not get it.
It has been suggested by friends of Kostansek that in the event the court
rules against the legality of the license every saloon in Virginia can be
closed. Records on file in the office of the city clerk show that numerous
saloons have been in operation before licenses were published or signed.
Rev. Mr. Leech, who is fighting the Kostansek license, has not announced his
next step, but declared that the permit would never be issued.
2 Aug 1917; The Duluth News Tribune KOSTANSEK LICENSE GOES INTO EFFECT
Mayor Boylan of Virginia Signs Permit and Disputed Saloon Is Opened.
FIGHT NOT OVER YET
Minister Who Sought Injunction Against City, to Attack Barroom Again.
VIRGINIA, Aug. 1. - The much mooted saloon license of Matt Kostansek was made
operative today by the signature of Mayor Michael Boylan.
"I fought against the license to the last," said the mayor, "but I lost the
fight and could not do otherwise than sign it."
Rev. Thomas K. Leech, who sought an injunction against the city council
enjoining it from granting a liquor license to Kostansek, but who lost the case
in district court Monday, announced that he will attack the license from a new
angle Friday or Saturday.
The Kostansek saloon was opened this morning, when it became known that Mayor
Boylan had attached his signature to the license.
If Rev. Mr. Leech brings pressure on the office of the city attorney a
warrant will be sworn out for the arrest of Kostansek on a charge of violating
the law by permitting the saloon to remain open on July 4 without a license.
Kostansek admitted that the saloon was open but denied "committing an
infraction on the law knowingly." According to attorneys if Kostansek is
convicted of breaking the law on July 4, or any other time in connection with
the saloon, the city council will be forced to cancel the license.
Here another snag is reached. City Attorney S.S. Dahl contends that the
license is illegal because Kostansek's saloon was open before it was granted and
that he failed to serve notice on the council 30 days before the license was to
have become operative.
How could the council revoke a license that does not exist? would be the
5 Aug 1917; The Duluth News Tribune ATTORNEY GENERAL ENTERS LICENSE CASE
Rev. Thomas K. Leech Announces That State Steps Into Kostansek Matter.
M'MAHON TO CONTEST
Virginia Attorney Declares Smith's Argument Will Affect All City's Saloons.
VIRGINIA, Aug. 4 - Denouncing a local city detective for "shadowing" him into
the Matt Kostansek saloon, City Attorney S.S. Dahl filed complaint today with
Otto Poirier, president of the police and fire commission. Dahl inferred that it
was a "frame-up" to blast his reputation "perpetrated by political enemies."
He was accompanied by Rev. Thomas K. Leech and a patrolman and his mission
was to get the Kostansek license for attorney General Lyndon A. Smith, who is
investigating the Kostansek case. To guard against a "frame-up" Dahl declared
that he asked the two men to accompany him.
President Poirler promised Dahl relief from being "followed" by city
VIRGINIA, Aug. 4. - Attorney General Lyndon A. Smith will prosecute an action
against Matt Kostansek, seeking to restrain him from operating his saloon.
Information to this effect was given out today by Rev. Thomas K. Leech, who
was recently denied an injunction by District Judge Edward Freeman enjoining the
city council from granting a license to Kostansek.
The hearing on the injunction sought by the attorney general will be held in
Virginia Tuesday. The complaint is based on the allegation that Kostansek did
not publish his license application two weeks prior to the time the council
acted on it.
"Part compliance with the city charter by the applicant for license," reads the
complaint, "does not legalize the municipal transaction. The time element is
important and muse be reckoned with."
M.H. McMahon, attorney representing the six aldermen who voted for the
Kostansek license, declared that every saloon license in Virginia is void if the
assumption of the attorney general is found to be a true one.
Bickford Answers McMahon.
McMahon's statement was answered by City Clerk A.E. Bickford, who declared he
personally notifies all saloon owners 30 days before their license expires,
giving them plenty of time to comply with the two-weeks' notice stipulation in
Attorney General Smith has not filed an opinion as to whether an
investigation can be conducted by councilmen to clear up the so-called bribery
charges. Neither has he declared himself on the question of appointment of an
assistant city attorney.
City Attorney S.S. Dahl has ruled that an assistant to himself can be
appointed only by himself. The council appointed H.H. McMahon to represent them
in the Kostansek tangle.
28 Aug 1917; The Duluth News Tribune 'SIT TIGHT' IS NEW PROGRAM OF MEN WHO SELL LIQUOR
They Ask Virginia's City Clerk to Give Back License Applications.
VIRGINIA, Aug. 27. - Virginia saloon license holders took "extraordinary"
methods of getting out of the "hot water" when they swarmed into the office of
City Clerk A.E. Bickford today with petitions to withdraw their license
Such action will stop the submitting of the applications before the council
The Virginia saloon keepers learned that if county option did not carry on
Sept. 10 they would be out considerable money as there is a legal ruling both
here and in Eveleth that no license money can be refunded when the license
holder voluntarily applies for a new license before his old license has expired
except under the pro rata provisions of the county option measure.
By withdrawing their new applications they will not have to pay down the
$1,000 license fee tomorrow night or file their bonds. They are "out" the cost
of publishing their applications, however.
The majority of the licenses now in force are for a period of from four to
six months and if county option carries the saloons can operate only six months
after the election date, Sept. 10. Those who withdraw their licenses, however,
are on the anxious seat until the decision in the injunction case against Matt
Kostansek, which is to be heard during the opening of district court tomorrow.
The attorney general in an injunction proceeding, prompted by Rev. Thomas K.
Leech, is seeking the restraining order to close the Kostansek saloon as a
public nuisance, alleging that Kostansek did not make a proper application.
It is conceded that the majority of other saloon keepers are in the same boat
for 43 of them filed for new applications on the belief they had not conformed
to the "30-day time limit" provision of the state law and ordinance.
Following the association meeting called for "some time today" the majority
of the license holders decided to withdraw their applications for the new
license and "sit tight."
29 Aug 1917; The Duluth News Tribune VIRGINIA PUT IN 'DRY'COLUMN BY FLUKE OF LAW?
council Rescinds "Illegal Licenses" and Saloon Men Are Left Stranded.
(By Staff Correspondent)
VIRGINIA, Aug. 28. - Virginia has gone "Dry by resolution." Tonight council
revoked the so-called illegal licenses held by city's 42 saloon keepers. If
saloons are open tomorrow proprietors may be arrested for operating without
New licenses granted to the entire list of saloon owners will not become
effective until Sept. 8. These were granted tonight but until they become legal,
upon publication the night of Sept. 7, liquor cannot lawfully be sold, according
to an opinion by city Attorney S.S. Dahl. The city will not force the saloons
out of business unless "some one complains," Dahl said.
Rev. Thomas K. Leech, who was instrumental in obtaining an injunction against
the Matt Kostansek place, in a short talk to the council said: "I am not
through. Look out for me if the laws are not complied with." Among the new
licenses granted was one to Kostansek.
Harvey Sponsors Resolution
"Kostansek has not been convicted of any law violation," said Alderman George
Harvey, "and for the first time I will father a license resolution." Alderman
Charles Olson and E.F. Murray voted against the grant.
The ruling by the court in the injunction case makes every license in the
city void, according to Dahl. He declared that before new licenses could be
granted the "illegal" ones must first be revoked.
George Shea, attorney, representing the Virginia retail liquor dealers
association, placed the blame for the irregular licenses on council.
"The Saloon men paid their fee and asked for a license. It was then up to the
council to give them what they asked for," he declared.
President R.J. McGhee asserted he did not believe the liquor interests were
trying to evade the county option laws by obtaining new licenses to carry them
over the six months period of grace permitted after the law passes, if it does.
Make Good Says McGhee
"It is up to the city to make good to the saloonkeepers. It would be the most
wrongful thing ever done by any council man to vote against them now," McGhee
stated. Alderman E.J. Walsh moved that all applications be granted.
When the resolutions granting the permits were voted on the application of
Frank Klink jr., was refuse. Klink sought a license to continue the saloon of
Duncan Robertson, who has been held for the action of the grand jury on a charge
of selling liquor on Sunday.
Mrs. H. Burchell, who appealed to council last week saying that John Anderson
had treated her rudely when she asked him not to sell any more liquor to her
husband, will be asked to repeat her story before a license grant is made to the
Leech's Parting Shot.
Rev. Mr. Leech took a parting shot before he left the chambers, saying: "If
Police Chief Owen Gately had done his duty July 4, when he was asked to close
the Kostansek saloon, the question would not have gone to the attorney general,
and there would have been no troubles over liquor matters now."
Included in the resolution, cancelling the "license which did not exist," was
included a provision for returning the unearned increment of the license money
on a pro rata basis. Attorney M.H. McMahon, appearing for certain saloonkeepers,
asked council not to pass the resolution as he said it might seriously involve
his clients. He advised that the money matters be left for action at a later
City Attorney Dahl recommended the passage of the resolution and council
accepted his suggestion.
After the council meeting, a score of bartenders and saloon keepers
congregated on Chestnut street and debated whether they would open their
establishments tomorrow. None committed themselves.
All present licenses are declared illegal because they were given without the
prescribed time expiring between the dates of application and issuance. There
are no exceptions according to City Clerk A.E. Bickford.
Kostansek Saloon Closed.
VIRGINIA, Aug. 28. - Calling the place as a public nuisance, Judge Edward
Freeman today issued a permanent injunction closing the Matt Kostansek saloon,
at 113 Chestnut street. The Kostansek case was the first to come up at the
August term of district court, which began this morning.
Every saloon in Virginia is affected by the ruling as the case was decided on
the violation of the 30-day prior notice clause in the city charter and,
according to records on file in the office of the city clerk, all of Virginia's
42 drinking places were licensed by the council without complying with this
The injunction was sought by Attorney General Lyndon A. Smith, after the case
had been called to his attention by Rev. Thomas K. Leech. That Rev. Mr. Leech
will insist upon injunctions issuing against the remaining 41 saloons is
Assistant County Attorney Edward L. Boyle who took an interest in the case in
behalf of Kostansek, was appointed by the attorney general as a representative.
Attorney William K. Montague represented Kostansek.
The saloon was closed immediately after the issuing of the injunction. The
owner has a new license pending but, according to the charter, a year must
elapse before a license can be granted by council to anyone convicted of
violation of the law. Whether Kostansek technically violated the law in this
case will be decided by the council when his application is considered.
30 Aug 1917; The Duluth News Tribune BISHOP M'GOLRICK TO AID DRYS IN COUNTY OPTION FIGHT PDF file of article - opens in new
30 Aug 1917; The Duluth News Tribune HALF OF VIRGINIA SALOONS CHANCE WRATH OF LEECH
Some of Wets Not Scared, Even Though Militant Parson Says, "I'll Show 'Em." VIRGINIA, Aug 29. - Even though there are no liquor licenses in Virginia,
half of the city's 42 saloons were open today. All licenses were cancelled by
the city council last night and new ones granted cannot take effect until Sept.
The licenses were revoked when all were declared to be identical with the
Matt Kostansek grant, which was held null and void by Judge Edward Freeman in
district court yesterday. The time limit provisions regarding notification were
not complied with, according to City Clerk A.E. Bickford.
The injunction against the Kostansek place was originally sought by Rev.
Thomas K. Leech. In commenting on his victory today he declared he was satisfied
and had accomplished what he set out to do. When asked whether he would seek to
close all other saloons by the injunction method he stated that he "didn't
believe he would."
Confident of Victory.
"It will only be a short time," said Rev. Mr. Leech, "until all the saloons will
be voted out. The election, Sept. 10 and other matters, require my attention and
I really haven't time to devote to the saloons now."
Rev. Mr. Leech is organizing a St. Louis County Law Enforcement league and
when organization is perfected he expects to devote much time to rounding up
violators of the law on the range.
Ask Aldrich to Help.
Activities in the "dry" fight will be continued tomorrow night at a mass meeting
to be held in the Socialist opera house. Judge Martin Hughes will give an
address on the evils of demon rum.
"Dry" leaders on the range are in communication with Rev. A. Lee Aldrich, and
a supreme endeavor will be made to have him lecture at the meeting.
Rev. Mr. Aldrich, during his campaign here six months ago, promised to come
back for the county option fight. He is now in Minneapolis.
Women are taking a keen interest in the election, according to Miss Minnie
Pertulla, who has devoted 20 years to the fight again[st] liquor. They will
bring much pressure to bear at the election Sept. 10, she declared.
3 Sep 1917; The Duluth News Tribune DRYS, IN FINAL DRIVE, TO INVADE ALL RANGE TOWNS PDF file of article - opens in new
5 Sep 1917; The Duluth News Tribune Leech is Angry.
McKINLEY, Sept. 4. - Funeral services to celebrate the expected demise of John
Baleycorn were held here last night on the main street, with Rev. Thomas K.
Leech, militant parson of the range, officiating.
Just as Leech was making his "eulogy" very strong, somebody interrupted.
Thereupon, said Leech: "I should like to know why any commotion should be raised
at this meeting. There surely must be a cause for it. Can it be that there is a
village ordinance, which forbids street meetings, if so, will some of the
village officials give me the necessary information? If any one attempts to stop
these street meetings, I shall go to the village hall; and if they are forbidden
there then I will finish my program in the school house, and no man can stop
There were no other interruptions. About 50 Virginia children sang antibooze
14 Sep 1917; The Duluth News Tribune VIRGINIA COUNCIL AID REV. LEECH IN VERBAL BATTLE
Kostansek Saloon case Finally Laid to Rest When Veto Is Sustained.
VIRGINIA, Sept. 13. - Records for sensational council meetings, which have been
the rule in Virginia for two months, were smashed tonight when the Matt
Kostansek saloon license question was finally laid to rest. Alderman George
Harvey, Rev. Thomas K. Leech and City Attorney S.S. Dahl were in the thickest of
the fray and the targets for verbal brickbats.
It started when Alderman H.H. Lien asked Rev. Mr. Leech if he knew 43 other
saloons were open and operating under illegal liquor license when he sought an
injunction against Kostansek through the office of the attorney general.
"No, I did not know about the 30-day clause that affected all Virginia
saloons," replied Leech.
Leech to the Bat.
"When I get through with Kostansek I am going after the others. If you
councilmen grant him a license tonight you are laying yourselves open to
punishment. I know what the law is, and so do you."
"Is that so?" piped Alderman Dan Coffey.
"Leech is out to get Kostansek," remarked Harvey.
"We are blocked by the attorney general's office and by Leech. The letter of
the attorney general was a farce. He said we would have to depend on the city
attorney for reliable advice. We can expect no aid from the city attorney as he
has opposed the Kostansek matter from the very start."
Dahl protested Harvey's statements and submitted a written opinion holding
that the council could not ratify the Kostansek license notwithstanding the veto
by Mayor Michael Boylan.
"Council cannot grant a license for a shorter period than a year and to give
Kostansek a license now would be nothing less than antedating the license. It
simply cannot be granted because he asked for it to become effective Sept. 8. If
council attempted to grant a license by ratifying the present resolution over
the mayor's veto another injunction would undoubtedly result."
Rev. Mr. Leech promised an injunction suit if the council gave Kostansek a
Attorney George Shea, representing the Kostansek interests, stated that
council could grant the permit. He declared the municipal body can grant
licenses until the county canvassing board certifies the election which made St.
Louis county dry.
"Council has heeded too much outside advice," said the city attorney. "I say
you cannot legally grant the license."
Veto Is Sustained.
Put to a vote the resolution lost, six votes being required to carry it. Those
who voted for it are: Alderman Harvey, Lien, E.J. Walsh, Cofey and R.J. McGhee.
Aldermen Elmer Matheson and E.F. Murray opposed it and Aldermen Fred Moilan and
Charles Olson were absent.
Mayor Boylan's stated reason for vetoing the permit, that Kostansek has
operated a saloon with a faulty license, was the subject of a little probe by
"Were not all licenses faulty?" he asked Attorney Dahl.
Dahl replied that all of them were, whereupon McGhee declared the belief that
it was spite work on the part of the mayor against Kostansek. Harvey interposed
with the remark that all Virginia saloons ought to be put out of business if
this particular saloon were closed.
"Sure," chorused several legislators. Leech implied that he would take care
of the matter for them.
11 Oct 1917; The Duluth News Tribune REQUESTS LEECH TO QUIT POSITION ON MESABA RANGE
"Fighting Parson" Declares His 'Enemies Got Him" - Offered Other Jobs.
VIRGINIA, Oct. 10. - Rev. Thomas K. Leech, know as "the fighting parson of the
Mesaba," was requested today by John O. Ferris, Minneapolis, superintendent of
the American Sunday School association, to resign his position as range
"This is nothing less than a successful effort by my enemies to 'get me',"
declared Rev. Mr. Leech. "I have informed Mr. Ferris that I will not stop doing
what I believe is right. I would rather leave St. Louis county than be compelled
to stop fighting against evil. I was warned that I should devote my entire time
to Sunday school work or that I would be without a job. I will be out of a job
first. I have under consideration the acceptance of an offer to head the Law
Enforcement league which promises to develop into an organization of power."
Made Arrests Himself.
Rev. Mr. Leech is known throughout the county for his battles in the Kostansek
license controversy. He obtained an injunction which resulted in the saloon
being closed after a bitter legal and political battle. He has caused more than
50 arrests on the range for violation of gambling laws. His particular hobby was
to enter a store, and if he found a gambling machine or evidence of gambling,
arrest the owner and seize the evidence himself. He also was active in opposing
Chief of Police Owen Gately and at one time expressed a desire for the police
Rev. Mr. Leech announced tonight that he would send in his resignation within
the next 24 hours rather than submit to the demands made of him. He has been
offered positions with several of the local mining companies.
16 Oct 1917; The Duluth News Tribune LEECH INVADES CHISHOLM AGAIN; TWO GAMBLING MACHINES TAKEN
CHISHOLM, Oct. 15. - Rev. Thomas K. Leech is "at it" again.
Today he invaded Chisholm and confiscated two gambling machines, which were
taken to police headquarters. Mesaba's militant minister announced that he would
swear out a warrant for the owner of the machines.
On Rev. Mr. Leech's last "public" appearance here several months ago, he
confiscated six such machines.
19 Oct 1917; The Duluth News Tribune OWNED TWO PUNCH BOARDS; PAYS $1.25 FINE FOR EACH
EVELETH, Oct. 18. - John Massucci of this city was fined $2.50 by Municipal
Judge W.E. Moylan upon a complaint by Rev. Thomas K. Leech charging the
possession of two gambling punch boards.
Rev. Mr. Leech seized the two punch boards, made the arrest and took Massucci
before the court, where the defendant entered a plea of guilty.
Organization meetings of the Law Enforcement league, which will be headed by
"Mesaba's fighting parson," will be held in Chisholm tomorrow night, in Hibbing
Sunday afternoon and here Tuesday night, according to Rev. Mr. Leech.
29 Oct 1917; The Duluth News Tribune LEECH EXPECTS 7,000 IN LAW ENFORCEMENT LEAGUE
VIRGINIA, Oct. 28. - "There will be a membership in the Law Enforcement League
of at least 7,000 people by next March, principally from the range and nearby
districts," declared Rev. Thomas K. Leech today.
Branches of the league have been established in Eveleth, Chisholm and Hibbing
and other branches as to be organized at Buhl, Gilbert, Aurora, Biwabik and
Virginia before Nov. 1. Since Rev. Leech has been ousted from his job as range
missionary of the Sunday School association, his entire work is now centered as
field manager of the league.
Rev. Leech said in outlining his plans that there will be no politics in the
league other than the enforcement of laws with special attention to gambling and
illegal sale of liquors.
"When county option becomes effective next March there will be need of such a
league to make prohibition a success. It is certain there will be trouble with
bootleggers for some time after March 10. It is a certainty that the league
eventually will be self supporting."
The permanent organization meeting of the Eveleth branch will be held Tuesday
15 Nov 1917; The Duluth News Tribune
VIRGINIA PASTOR OPPOSES RAFFLES
Law Against Games of Chance Should Be Enforced Whether for Charity or Gain.
VIRGINIA, Nov. 14. - Rev. Thomas K. Leech is on the warpath against the numerous
raffles being staged in Virginia for war benefit funds.
He holds that there is no difference in a raffle being held in a church and
one held in a commercial store. "The law should be enforced the same in one
place as in the other," declared Rev. Mr. Leech.
There has been no arrests, but threats have been made that any big raffle
would result in arrests. Several Virginia attorneys have warned the field
manager of the Law Enforcement league that they would defend any person arrested
for staging a raffle for purely patriotic funds. It is understood that the city
attorney and assistant county attorney have refused to issue warrants for the
raffles being held incident to the Marquette school bazaar. Rev. Mr. Leech was
also refused authority as a deputy sheriff by the civil authorities.
23 Nov 1917; The Duluth News Tribune VIRGINIA PASTOR OPPOSES RAFFLES
Rev. T.K. Leech, Field Manager of Law Enforcement League, Frown on Such Affairs.
VIRGINIA, Nov. 22. - Benefit and church raffles are once again a dangerous topic
of conversation in Virginia.
Rev. Thomas K. Leech - Mesaba's fighting parson - who is now field manager of
the Law Enforcement league, declares that if there is continued agitation among
church members against the campaign to stop raffles as well as all other forms
of gambling, there will be arrests and a test case.
"I hold no church should lower itself to hold a raffle or a lottery which is
a plain violation of the state statutes," said Rev. Leech. "It does not matter
legally whether the raffle or lottery is in a church of a saloon, the principle
of law violation and gambling is there.
"They say I cannot get a warrant. I know that I can and will if circumstances
demanding court action presents itself. Nothing was done to halt or curb recent
raffles but reports and rumors have gone too far to be unchecked. If the local
authorities refuse me complaints under conditions which conviction is reasonably
certain, then I will take the matter higher," said Rev. Leech.
"The county nor city attorney cannot refuse to prosecute whether it's a
church member or a professional gambler, as I read the law," concluded the
league field manager.
25 Nov 1917; The Duluth News Tribune MESABA RANGE TO BE CLEANSED PASTOR ASSERTS
Rev. T.K. Leech, Field Manager Law Enforcement League, Out to See Laws Are
VIRGINIA, Nov. 24. - Rev. Thomas K. Leech, field manager of the Law Enforcement
league today declared that he found a gambling punch board in the postoffice at
Kelly Lake, near Hibbing. A complaint is to be made according to leech.
"We are going to strip this range of every gambling devise, blind-pig and
house of ill-fame," he declared. "It will take time, but we are going to sweep
the whole Mesaba of vice."
HIBBING, Nov. 24. - Three slot machines and two punch boards were confiscated
today by Rev. Thomas K. Leech, the range "fighting parson" who is now manager of
the newly organized anti-gambling crusade. The machines and punch boards were
taken out of the parlors of a Kelly Lake confectionery dealer. A warrant has
been secured and the proprietor will be arraigned before municipal Judge T.F.
Brady next week.
1 Dec 1917; The Duluth News Tribune GILBERT RESORT IS SHUT DOWN
Rev. T.K. Leech Says Last Questionable Place on Mesaba Has Been Closed for Good.
GILBERT, Nov. 30. - The "woodpile house" is closed!
Rev. T.K. Leech, field manager of the law enforcement league, today alleges
the institution outside of Gilbert, declared to be the "last dive on the Mesaba"
has been boarded up and doors locked.
Even the mysterious log has been placed across the road leading from the main
"I have evidence on this place which will be handed to the proper authorities
if this dive opens up again," declared Mesaba's fighting and cleansing parson.
"We give those owning that place and operating, final notice to board up the
doors and hike."
8 Dec 1917; The Duluth News Tribune Grand jury investigations; small paragraph PDF file of article - opens in new
9 Dec 1917; The Duluth News Tribune STATE CAMPAIGN LAUNCHED BY REV. T.K. LEECH, VIRGINIA
VIRGINIA, Dec. 8. - A state-wide campaign against slot machines and petty
gambling devices may become a reality under the direction of Rev. T.K. Leech,
law enforcement league manager. An offer for such a campaign was today received
by Rev. Mr. Leech.
12 Dec 1917; The Duluth News Tribune REV. T.K. LEECH, RANGE 'FIGHTING PARSON,' RESIGNS
VIRGINIA, Dec. 11. - Rev. John O. Ferris of Minneapolis, head of the Minnesota
district of Union missionaries, has transferred Rev. J. __ Hunter from North
Dakota to the range to succeed Rev. T.K. Leech __ resigned, as missionary to the
rural districts of the Mesaba range. Rev. Mr. Hunter will make his home in
Virginia after the first of the year.
The Northern Union mission__ field includes all of Minnesota. There are 1,000
rural Sunday schools. The Union society is a national organization, with
headquarters in Philadelphia. W.A. McGonagle of Duluth, is one of the vice
20 Dec 1917; The Duluth News Tribune RANGE 'FIGHTING PARSON' OUT AFTER PUNCH BOARDS
HIBBING, Dec. 19. - Two slot machines and five punch boards were confiscated
today by Rev. Thomas K. Leech, field agent for the newly organized law
enforcement league, one at Carson Lake, the other here.
During the raid at Carson Lake, a deputy sheriff in the employ of the mining
company is said to have refused to aid Leech to secure a slot machine and a
punch board in another confectionary store there. Leech declared tonight that he
had secured search warrants and that a reappearance of the machines would prove
disastrous for confectionary store proprietors. The mine policeman refused to
assist Leech without a warrant.
The owners of the machines and boards confiscated will appear in Hibbing
municipal court tomorrow before Judge Thomas F. Brady. Rev. Leech declared
tonight that warrants had been secured for the owners and would be served
tomorrow if the owners failed to appear.
18 Jan 1918; The Duluth News Tribune VIRGINIA AID SOCIETY PLANS INCREASED ACTIVITIES
VIRGINIA, Jan. 17. - Activities on a large scale will be pursued by the Ladies'
Aid society of the Methodist church for the next year. At the meeting tonight of
the five circles of the organization, the following were elected officers: Mrs.
Maurice Dean, president; Mrs. H.A. Ebner, first vice president; Mrs. Fasteen,
second vice president; Mrs. George Harvey, third vice president; Mrs. Charles W.
Ramshaw, dues secretary; Mrs. Dean flower fund.
Officers elected for the Sunday school are as follows: T.K. Leech,
superintendent; Mrs. W.J. Bennalack, assistant superintendent; W.J. Bennalack,
secretary; Herman Rabideau, assistant secretary; Vivian Sleeman, treasurer; Miss
Wright, organist; Mesdames A.H. McKee, Bennalack and Reinke, superintendents of
29 Jan 1918; The Duluth News Tribune RANGE MEN GOOD AT MERCY WORK PDF file of article - opens in new
1 Feb 1918; The Duluth News Tribune RANGE "FIGHTING PARSON" SHOULDERS POLITICAL CHIP
VIRGINIA, Jan. 31. - "John Doe" warrants, charging illegal voting at the
Virginia primary election, Jan. 22, were sworn out today in municipal court by
Rev. T.K. Leech, range "fighting parson."
He declared today that one of those whom he suspected of having voted
wrongfully is a Duluth traveling man. The draft board is exercising the usual
interest in the primary election list and it is said will scan general election
lists, after Feb. 5. The interest of the draft board is related to attempts to
discover whether any men may have voted who have claimed exemption on grounds of
17 Feb 1918; The Duluth News Tribune QUITS RANGE
VIRGINIA, Feb. 16. - Rev. Thomas K. Leech, "the fighting parson," will quit the
range. He so decided after aid which he deemed necessary was not given to him by
the St. Louis county Law Enforcement league, it is claimed. Rev. Leech has
carried on a fight against gambling on the range for several months.
The name of a successor to Rev. Leech has not been announced by Dr. M.E.
Curtis and J.L. Mupkley, members of the Virginia Enforce-[ment] league.
22 Feb 1918; The Duluth News Tribune MESABA 'FIGHTING PARSON' TO BE INDIANA MACHINIST
VIRGINIA, Feb. 21. - Rev. T.K. Leech "the fighting parson," today shook the dust
of the Mesaba range off his feet and with his family departed for Hammond, Ind.,
where he expects to make his future home.
He expects to enter the employ of the New York Central, as a machinist and
later may again enter the ministry and the campaign against vice.
12 Feb 1920; The Duluth News Tribune FOE OF GAMBLER
HIBBING, Feb. 11. - The death of Rev. Thomas K. Leech, which occurred at
Worthington, Minn., from heart disease, reminded Hibbing people of the
fearlessness shown by the "fighting pastor" of the Mesaba range about three
Leech was pastor of the Union church at Alice. He came here from Virginia. A
veteran of the Spanish-American war, Leach did not know the meaning of fear. He
destroyed more gambling devices and prosecuted more gamblers than any reformer
in Northern Minnesota. Leech's fight was directed the greater part of the time