Sunday, March 10, 2013

Dr. J. Bruce Annis, Huron Chiropractor

I love looking at the small details in old photos.  I scan them at 600 dpi, and take a close look at the little things one would ordinarily miss.  Last night, I came across a large scan of the I.O.O.F. Building in Huron, South Dakota that I didn't realize I had.  The item is of interest to me, as my great grandfather owned the Bell Bakery located in that building (ground floor, right hand side), and this is the best view I have of his store at the time he owned it.

There's a grocery on the ground floor next to the bakery, which I will be writing about in the future, and on the second floor there is an engineer, a dentist, and I presume the office of Dr. J. Bruce Annis, Chiropractor. His sign hangs between the two ground floor businesses, near the doorway to the building, just under the I.O.O.F. in the center.  The photo dates to somewhere between 1914 and 1920; Dr. Annis' office was in another location in 1913, and the grocery store's location was taken over by the Lyric Theater, construction of which started in 1920.

J. Bruce Annis was born in 1879 in Grant Center, Michigan to Hiram C. Annis and his wife Eva McCrea.  The father was came from Canada, crossing the border in 1875.  In 1883, Hiram took on a homestead in Altoona township, Beadle County, South Dakota.  They had two sons; Neil was the publisher of the Hitchcock News-Leader, and J. Bruce became a chiropractor.  Hiram died in 1926, and his wife in 1931.

 Dr. Annis, then 34, married 19 year old Ella Schutt, daughter of Charles F. & Otillia (Spring) Schutt at Davenport, Iowa on April 2, 1913.  His practice was initially located at 640 3rd St., and sometime between 1913 and 1916 moved to the I.O.O.F. Building.  At one time he partnered with Mellbye, and at another time with Stout, but for the most part was in business independently.  Toward the later years of his practice, Dr. Annis moved the business to the K.of P. building; he worked at least into 1948.   His wife was a homemaker in her earlier years, then worked as a hairdresser and finally as a saleswoman at Habichts Department store.  The couple did not appear to have any children.

Dr. Annis died in Beadle county on March 28, 1954.  His wife died in Rapid City in 1972.

"Frame by Frame in Huron."   Wm. Lampe.
Huron City Directories: 1913, 1916, 1918, 1920, 1924, 1926, 1928, 1930, 1931-32, 1934, 1936, 1945, 1948.
United States Federal Censuses: 1920, 1930, 1940.
Social Security Death Index, entry for Ella Annis.
The Huronite and the Daily Plainsman, Friday, July 9, 1948.
The Huronite and the Daily Plainsman, Thursday, July 10, 1952
The Huronite and the Daily Plainsman, Wednesday, November 3, 1948
The Evening Huronite, Tuesday, July 27, 1948
The Evening Huronite, Tuesday, June 9, 1931
The Evening, Huronite, Thursday, June 11, 1931
South Dakota State Archives, Cemetery Records Search
Iowa, County Marriages, 1838-1934 (

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Loren E. Slocum - Life Underground

Loren E. Slocum
Loren E. Slocum

      It was 1909 when the stranger rode into Faith, South Dakota on horseback, pulling an Indian-style travois behind him.  Acquiring a farm three miles from town, he went about the work of constructing an abode - underground - a lifestyle he would maintain for the next 40+ years.

    Loren Slocum built his underground dugout for reasons of solitude as well as economy.  "God placed me there for important discoveries," he said, also noting, "I live underground because I'm too poor to survive above it.  If I had a shack, I'd have to keep it up and I don't have the money for that."  His 100 acres of land was devoid of any buildings, and his home was marked by a three-foot smoke pipe protruding through the earth, a trap door leading downward, and an old wood stove above-ground that he used for cooking during the summer months.

    Inside his 5 x 8 dugout, he had few belongings and slept on rough boards as a bed.  Critics were put in their place by Slocum, who argued, "Some people have said my dugout isn't healthy, but I've lived underground for 40 years and I'm still here and those others have been dead a long time."

    He made his living from his "old age pension" during the winter, and by raising vegetables in the summer, and had in fact acquired some fame as a gardener.  He won prizes from a physical culture magazine in 1928 for articles on the value of uncooked vegetables in the diet.  In that respect, he was apparently a man ahead of his time.

    He refused the label of "hermit," noting that he walked three miles per day into the nearby town of Faith.  He did not marry, and other than "kin" he mentioned in either Artesian or Alcester, he was alone.  A New York native who was born about 1871, he was not found (at least not easily) in any censuses prior to 1920.

    While friends and neighbors desired to help him , he refused, saying, "I'm old enough to take care of myself."  He was 80 years old when his friends finally convinced him that his health was not good enough to survive another South Dakota winter underground, and he moved to a nursing home in Sturgis.  He died months later on November 26, 1950, at the age of 80.

Richard Soash.  Original newspaper clipping.  Unnamed and undated newspaper.  4 Mar. 2013.
Austin Daily Herald [Austin, Minnesota] November 27 1950, 2. Web. 6 Mar. 2013.
"Likes To Live Underground." Hutchinson News-Herald [Hutchinson, Kansas] February 16 1950, 13.
"20 Years in a Hole." Evening Independent [Massillon, Ohio] September 09 1935, 3. Web. 6 Mar. 2013. South Dakota Death Index, 1905-1955 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2004.
Year: 1920; Census Place:  Faith, Meade, South Dakota; Roll:  T625_1723; Page:  5A; Enumeration District:  133; Image:  579.
Year: 1930; Census Place:  Township 12, Meade, South Dakota; Roll:  2227; Page:  1A; Enumeration District:  108; Image:  941.0; FHL microfilm:  2341961.
Year: 1940; Census Place: Faith, Meade, South Dakota; Roll: T627_3862; Page: 1B; Enumeration District: 47-9