A Man’s body in tree since 1862 is found. – Wood choppers in Le Sueur County make gruesome discovery while working in woods. “Man hid in Hollow Tree, During Indian Outbreak. Unable to Extricate Himself.”
The Le Sueur News tells about a startling discovery made recently on the farm of Edward Gleek of Ottawa Township in the woods along the river. In clearing a piece of land, it became necessary to cut down a gigantic white oak tree which broke in falling, disclosing the fact that it was hollow for a distance of about fifteen feet, beginning several feet above the ground and the cavity ending in a large opening concealed among the branches of the lower side of the tree which leaned considerably.
Within this hollow was found by the horrified choppers the mummified body of a man, not at all decayed, but dried and shriveled by the lapse of time into something rivaling the best Egyptian art. Mr. Gleek, on being summoned by the frightened laborers, recognized at once in the mummy the body of Jean Le Rue, a former servant of Mr. Gleek, who had mysteriously disappeared from the farm August 20, 1862.
On the day, which was during the Sioux Uprising, a boat load of soldiers on their way up the Minnesota River from St. Paul to New Ulm, foolishly discharged their muskets many times as they steamed up the river above Henderson, carrying terror to the hearts of people along the river who were already about to flee from the dreaded Indians. At Le Sueur, one of the bullets thus discharged, wounding a small boy, Cyrus McEwen, in the leg.
Mr. Gleek says that when Jean LaRue heard the firing he seemed nearly to lose his reason from fear, rushed into the house, seized his rifle and some other belongings, including about $700 in money and fled into the woods. He must have known of the hollow tree, sought to hide there, slipped too far down, and being unable to extricate himself; must have perished there where his body, preserved in the living oak, failed to decay. His rifle, bullet pouch and powder horn were found by him and the money, $783.50 was found in his pocket.
Also there was found in his diary, which Mr. Gleek says LaRue always faithfully kept, and in it undated, but on the page following the one dated Friday, August 29, 1862, was written in trembling words the following: “Cannot get out, surely must die. If ever found, send me and all my money to my mother, Madam Suzanne LaRue, near Tarascon, in the province of Bouches, Du Phone, France“.
Through the consul at Marseilles, Mr. Gleek will endeavor to learn something of the dead man’s relatives, but there is not much hope of doing so at this late date.
— News Article Clipped from the Faribault, MN newspaper, Wednesday July 2, 1919.