This March we are putting the spot light on Anna Gobble Slingerland.
Anna is well known in Dodge County for her ground breaking law suit against her husband Tunis Slingerland Sr. in 1910. It is said that this may be the first time a woman won a suit like this in Minnesota.
Anna came to Kasson on the train from Claremont to teach school in Dodge County. She lived in the same boarding house in Mantorville that Tunis, a widower, either also lived or took his meals in the same boarding house. Tunis, 67, and Anna, 23, eventually met and had an affair during which she became pregnant. Upon learning this Tunis took Anna to visit his attorney in Winona where she was asked to sign papers in order for them to marry and in her flustered state blindly signed what was presented to her. They married in 1890 and had five children together. Later in life Anna found out the papers she signed entitled Tunis to “dower rights” of $5,000. She took him to court and during the process they still lived together since their youngest child was merely five at the time. After Anna’s victory Tunis only lived for four more years. Upon his death Tunis left an estate worth over one million dollars. Anna received $385,886.35 and the other five heirs received $154,345.64 each.
Unfortunately all we know about Anna’s life is what we can ascertain from the court transcripts, the files at the Historical Society mention nothing of her death. Anna’s father John Gobbles is buried in Evergreen Cemetery in the Slingerland lots located in Mantorville. What ever happened to Anna after the trial? Did she stay in the area or move on? If you have any information on Anna’s life we would greatly appreciate it if you share it with us.
Interested in reading more about the law suit? The Dodge County Historical Society had the law suit transcript reprinted and is available for purchase at the museum.