Jorgensen Music


Madelia: 1899-1902

With the following item from the Madelia Messenger newspaper, we learn that C.G.V. Cormontan has made his second major business transaction in early 1899, having already sold his own drug store in Franklin, MN.  Note the three languages spoken in his new location:

Madelia Messenger (MM), 2/17/1899: Having bought the Madelia Drug company’s store we wish to announce to the people of Madelia and vicinity that we will put in a first-class stock of drugs and will give special attention to the prescription trade.  We speak English, German, and Scandinavian.


C.G.V. Cormontan, Proprietor.

Now that she has moved to a new location, Theodora Cormontan needs to rebuild her roster of music students.  She starts in March and April of 1899 by advertising in the newspaper, looking to develop "musical scholars" in the nearby towns of Hanska and Linden as well as in Madelia:




The following advertisement came a bit later in 1899:


In October of 1899 she branches out by beginning to advertise her published compositions.  We found copies of the works listed below among the manuscripts we discovered in 2011: 

C.G.V. Cormontan also advertised his new business.  Beginning in the 2/24/1899 edition of the Madelia Messenger the following copy appears:

Madelia Drug Company, Madelia, Minn.  We always carry in stock a full line of pure drugs and medicines and all things usually found in a first-class drug store. Prescriptions a specialty.


Apparently in response to Cormontan's ad, competing Bill's Brothers Drug Store ran an ad on March 24,1899 that began:

Pure drugs may not mean anything.  Some drugs may be pure, but if not fresh they are worse than useless . . .


Shortly after this, the text of the Madelia Drug Store ads change to read:

PRESCRITPIONS Filled by us mean just what the doctor prescribed.  They will be

ACCURATELY Filled with the greatest of care.  We do not substitute.  Bring in your prescriptions to be 

FILLED.  Madelia Drug Co.


The following items appear in the Madelia papers in 1899:

Madelia Messenger (MM) 3/24: Druggist Cormontan's  team made a lively run last Saturday, dumping our the four or five persons in the party and then had things its own way.  No one was hurt.

(MM) 5/12: The progress that her scholars are making stamps Miss Cormontan as a music teacher of superior merit.  Madelia is very fortunate in having so talented a teacher.

Madelia Times (MT) 5/26: [The following item announces a festival celebrating the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Lutheran churches in Rosendale and Linden and the 25th anniversary of the founding of Madelia West Church, all started by Rev. Lars Green]  An elaborate program of music by choirs and other musical organizations is being prepared.  The Madelia choir is practicing faithfully under the direction of Miss Cormontan.  

(MM) 10/13: Miss Cormontan is not only a music teacher of the very first class but is also a composer of fine music.  She is offering some of her compositions for sale, see her ad. She now has a class of twenty two scholars, and from a personal knowledge we can say some of them are making very rapid progress.


The following is the most extensive newspaper article we have found on any of the members of the Cormontan family while they were alive.  The special edition of the Madelia Times newspaper where this item appeared featured several businesses in Madelia:

Madelia Times, 12/15/1899:

C.G.V. Cormontan, manager of the Madelia Drug Company.

In Europe the pharmacist confines himself to compounding drugs and filling prescriptions, while in America the druggist, to thoroughly understand his business, must possess manifold qualifications in order to cope with the diversified pharmaceutical preparations constantly produced.

Mr. Cormontan came to this country from Norway in 1872, and he is a druggist of twenty-seven years’ experience.  He is a registered pharmacist and came to Madelia eight months ago and bought out the drug store, located first door west of the Watonwan County Bank, and the building is 24x75 feet. [The address is 32 West Main in Madelia.]

Only the most reliable class of goods are handled in this line and particular care is taken to insure their freshness.  Everything conceivable in the way of toilet goods may be found here in choicest selection, and when you want to invest in articles in this class, inspect the stock here found, and if you turn away dissatisfied it will be the fault of the manufacturer who failed to produce anything of your wants rather than him who carried the assortment.

We all take pleasure in good penmanship; but beautiful script characters do not appear in pleasing review unless traced upon a good grade of dainty note paper, and when you want to avail yourself of the latest and best stationery, call on C.G.V. Cormontan.  Oils both for lubricating and illuminating purposes are kept constantly on hand.  Wall paper of the latest and best designs [is] here in complete array, and some exceptionally low prices will be found in this especial line of goods.  Miscellaneous books and all school supplies are purchased here.

The long distance telephone is located here.

E. Cormontan is the clerk.  Personally these men are of a high order of intelligence, full of energy and honorable to an eminent degree, and they are valuable adjuncts to the business as well as the social circles of the place.

The E. Cormontan of the last paragraph is Evan (Even) Cormontan, the son of C.G.V. Cormontan’s older brother Magnus.  Magnus died in Fosston, MN in 1892 and Evan subsequently apprenticed with his uncle.  The U.S. Census of 1900 notes that Evan is 19 years old and living with the Cormontan family.  Evan worked as a pharmacist in Bemidji in 1909 before returning to Fosston in 1910 to be a pharmacist in that town for several decades.  


The Madelia Drug Co. runs what appears to be its first ad in the Madelia Times in December of 1899: 

Holiday Goods.  A complete line of albums of all kinds, celluloid novelties, fancy crockery, work boxes, toilet cases, glove and handkerchief boxes, etc, etc.  Call in and see us.  Madelia Drug Co.


Another ad appeared beginning in the 1/19/1900 edition of the Madelia Times:

Madelia Drug Co.  Drugs and Medicines, Proprietary Preparations, Sundries, etc.  Prescriptions filled Day or Night.  Standard Sheet Music. 


C.G.V. also ran a new ad for the drug store that first ran in the 1/19/1900 edition of the Madelia Messenger on page 6:

Madelia Drug Co.  Doubt is never allowed to enter our Prescription department.  There are no doubtful drugs in it--Hurry and carelessness are never allowed to cast doubt upon the medicines we dispense.   We do all in our power to furnish drugs that will secure the results that are desired by your physician.  Taking cheap drugs is false economy.  We promise you the best.  Give us your patronage and we will guarantee satisfaction.  In the 2/9/00 edition Madelia Drug Co. advertises that it is the sole agent of Tudor & Co.'s eyeglasses and that eyes will be examined free at the store on 2/14 and 2/15.


MT 1/26/00, News of the Week Local and County:  One of the most interesting and amusing entertainments of its kind that has been given for a long time was that at the Christian church last Friday evening.  The program consisted chiefly of five unique and forcible moving tableaux accompanied by music, each representing different scenes.  Miss Theodora Cormontan was organist.  At the close the audience went to the basement by way of the new door near the main entrance, where refreshments were served.  


MT 2/23/00, Local:  Evan Cormontan and Frank Thompson were out to Truman the first of the week.  


Another new ad first ran in the April 20, 1900 edition of the Madelia Times:

When cleaning house--You should use ammonia.  It is one of the best cleaners known.  10 cents worth of our AMMONIA, 26 DEGREES BAUM, diluted with rain water, makes one gallon of cleaning fluid.  We GUARANTEE it to be better and stronger than what is known as Household Ammonia, sold in bottles at 10 cents a quart.  Quite a difference in the cost, isn't there?  Try it.  Your money back if you want it.  The low prices of our Chamois Skins, Sponges, etc. do not mean poor quality.  We aim to give large values at little cost.  Madelia Drug Co. 


MM 5/11, Local Paragraphs: Mr. Cormontan's team got the start of him Sunday and jerked him down, injuring his shoulder to a certain extent, and badly demolishing the buggy. 


Unfortunately for the Cormontan family, Bill's Drug Store, established in 1870 and the first drug store in the county, was already a fixture in Madelia.  C.G.V.'s drug store would be neither the first nor the last to come and go in Madelia, unable to compete with Bill's.  The following items document the business and financial failure:

MM 6/8, The Local Layout: The Madelia Drug Store has again fallen into the hand of Noyes Bros. and Cutler, wholesale druggists of St. Paul, Mr. Cormontan having to give up to pressure of severe competition.  J.W. Bowen is in charge.   

MT 6/29, News of the Week:  The hearing in the Cormontan bankruptcy case was held in Mankato yesterday.  D. [Dudley] G. D'Evelyn was appointed trustee.  [D'Evelyn made his living buying and selling real estate.  He was also the City Recorder in 1900].


Here's a picture of Bill's Drug Store from around 1910: 

On the back of the picture the gentlemen are identified from left to right as Clifford Lewis, Carl Segar, Mr. Bill (J.J.), Mr. Denkhoff, and Dyar Bill.

MM 6/8/00, The Local Layout: [regarding information on the 1900 high school commencement exercises]  Thanks are due Miss Cormontan for training the class in their school song.


MM 7/13/00, The Local Layout: The long distance telephone, which has been located in the Madelia Drug Co.'s store, will be removed to the central exchange office next week.  The Drug Co.'s store will receive an overhauling and will be restocked and opened for business in a few days.


MM 7/20/00, The Local Layout: Messrs. Cormontan and sisters have moved into and are now to be found at home in the Ed. Noonan residence. [Another item in the paper noted that Mr. Noonan and family moved to Truman, MN where his business was located].


MM 8/9/00, The Local Layout: C.G.V. Cormontan has accepted a situation with the Ryan Drug Company St. Paul, and left yesterday to go to work selling goods on the road.  The family will remain here at present.  [The Madelia Times also reported this in its 8/10 edition]. 


MM 9/14/00, The Local Layout: E. [Evan] Cormontan was in the cities a couple of days last week.


The 9/7/00 edition of the Madelia Messenger reports that Dr. Douglas F. Wood has moved from Faribault, MN to Hanska to practice medicine.  By the following week Dr. Wood has located his office and residence on Main Street in Hanska.  The paper said that he was very busy and expected to establish a drug store.  Joined by his brother, Dr. G.W. Wood of Faribault, the paper wrote on 10/26/00 that the Woods Drug Store opened on October 25.  The paper did not report who was acting as the pharmacist, but it was probably C.G.V.  His employment there is documented by February of 1901, as noted in the following:


MT 2/22/01, News of the Week, Local and County:  C.G.V. Cormontan, who is in a drug store in Hanska, visited with relatives here last Sunday.


MM 4/12/1901, The Local Layout:  C.G.V. Cormontan, who has charge of the Wood Bros. drug store at Hanska was in Madelia visiting with his sisters and brother.  [The Hanska section in the same edition also noted the visit.]


MM 6/21/01, The Local Layout: Miss Theodora Cormontan will be in Linden, every Wednesday, with Mrs. A. Larson and In Hanska, with Mrs. Fred Chambard, every Friday.  See her for instruction in music.


MT 6/28/01 Hanska:  C.G. Cormontan was a business visitor at New Ulm Monday.


MM 7/16/01, The Local Layout:  E.H. [Evan] Cormontan who has been working at the Times office left Saturday morning for Two Harbors, Minn., to work in the office of the Iron Trade Journal.  [The Times also reported this].


MM 1/3/02, City Locals: [regarding a "Christmas entertainment" at the East Lutheran Church] Several organ solos given by Miss Cormontan were nicely executed and were well received.


St. James Gazette, 3/28/02: Theodora Cormontan, pupil of Europe's greatest musicians, will be in St. James on Wednesday and Thursday, April 2nd and 3rd to give instruction on piano, organ and vocal music.  Call and see her at M.G. Fossum's residence.


MM 4/4/02, Personal and Otherwise: Miss Cormontan has organized a music class in St. James.  The St. James people appreciate a good music teacher.


Theodora, Eivinda, and Hans would join C.G.V. in Hanska in June of 1902:

New Ulm Review, 5/21/1902, Hanska (from the Herald): The Misses Cormontan have taken the Meese rooms and will occupy them about the fifteenth of June.  Miss Theodora Cormontan is a music teacher.  They come here [Hanska] from Madelia.

Madelia Times, 5/23/1902, "Yourself and Others": The Hanska Herald says the Cormontan family has engaged rooms and will move to Hanska, the middle of next month.

Madelia Times, 6/13/1902: The Cormontan family expects to move to Hanska, tomorrow, to make their home there for the future.

Madelia Messenger, 6/20/1902, "Grist of the Week": Miss Theodora Cormontan and brother Hans moved their household effects to Hanska last Saturday, where they will take up their residence with a brother living there.  Miss Cormontan will give music lessons in Madelia Thursdays and Saturdays.


The move compels Theodora to change her advertising.  Now she is visiting Madelia and living in Hanska:

From this point the Cormontan family receives less coverage in the newspapers.  It also appears that they never fully recover from the business failure and subsequent bankruptcy.  C.G.V. no longer owns his own drug store.  The Brown County Directory of 1901 notes that he is a clerk for Douglas and George Wood and the Woods Brothers Drug Store.  


We know that the family belonged to Madelia West (now Trinity) Lutheran Church in Madelia.  An article in the December 15, 1899 issue of the Madelia Times reports that the church has a congregation of about 75 families and notes "As a church it is conservative and strong."

Here is a scan of the Madelia West Ministerial Book from 1900--#13 on the list is "G. Carmangtang" and #44 is "Miss Carmontang."

We close this section with a picture of Madelia West Lutheran Church taken early in the 20th century.  The church was razed in 1950 and the current Trinity Church was erected in the same location: 












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