New Book Captures Historic Murder in Redwood County
It marks one of the worst ax murders in U.S. history and it happened in Redwood County.
One local author has a special connection to the case.
Just outside of Clements lies an abandoned site nestled in the middle of fertile farmland.
Farmer Alex Petersen says, "When I was 12 we talked a little bit about what happened there."
Alex Petersen farms the land that is owned by his grandfather.
But outside of the family, very few know what happened there almost 100 years ago.
Author Marty Seifert says, "It's faded in memory and quite frankly, a lot of people that enjoy history, enjoy rural history have never heard of it."
Newspaper accounts say it was a cold and rainy night when William Kleeman, a farmer and father of four, murdered his family in their sleep with an ax before hanging himself inside the home on March 24, 1917.
Seifert says, "The basis of the story is true, I grew up right down the road."
Marty Seifert is a former Minnesota lawmaker and candidate for governor.
Growing up just down the road from the murder site, the story brought out his curiosity.
Seifert says, “It’s one of the top 3 or 4 in the country, it’s nothing to be proud of, but it is something of interest.”
The book, called Sundown at Sunrise, is one of historical fiction.
Seifert says, “It’s a story about a young farmer, a 31-year-old farmer with a wife and four kids, and the ax murder took place on a rainy day in March.”
In the book, Seifert gives the readers clues as to why this young and popular farmer may have done it, but that part of history is still unknown to this day.
“It could be likened to Little House on the Prairie meets Amityville Horror.”
The foundation of the home is still there today, and as the story is brought back to life, it starts to leave a sense of wonder for those in and around Clements.
Peterson says, “Now I’m a 28-year-old farmer, with a wife and kids about the same age, so that part starts to hit home.”
As a piece of history from a tiny town in Southwest Minnesota, is brought back to life.
Seifert will hold a number of book signings throughout the area in the upcoming weeks.
Dec. 16 at Morgan City and Country Tavern (6:30-8:30).
Dec. 19 at Hitching Post in Marshall (4-6)
Dec. 20 at the Perkins in New Ulm (3;30-5:30)
Dec. 20 American Legion in Clements (6:30-8)
Dec. 21 Redwood Falls Public Library (5:30-7)
Dec. 23 at Barnes and Noble in Mankato (6-7:30)
-KEYC News 12