Posted here by Gary Gauer May 24 2023

John Ben Huesser

John Ben Huesser was born 17 Dec 1891 and died at North Memorial Hospital in Robbinsdale on 3 Feb 1971 at age 79

His address was at 3550 Colfax Ave N. and his sister Rose Huesser was the informant.

Ben Huesser was a never married character from a farm in Preston Lake Township in eastern Renville County somewhere near Buffalo Lake or Stewart. 

 He was the oldest of 2 boys and 6 girls born to John Bernard Huesser and Mary Thekla Albers Huesser                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

 The 1930 census shows Bernhard as a son of John  Bernard Huesser born 1854

The father died in 1931.

The 1940 census shows him at age 47 on a farm in Preston Lake with his mother and siblings :


The 1950 census shows him residing 5 miles down along county road # 4 in Lake Elizabeth in Kandiyohi County.

 His mother died in 1951 and  her obit showed that her address was 3550 Colfax Ave N. in Minneapolis and that Ben was living in LL at that time.

photo from Clyde Andrade-Swenson

Here is a photo of a notable Lake Lillian man! I remember my dad telling about him and have a recording of my dad talking about him! Not sure how he spelled his name? Ben Hooser?

He did odd jobs for an unsteady income as he helped farmers, hauled junk to the dump for people, dug graves, and had a horse powered  machine that he used to drill water wells.

Ben Hueser lived a few places, lived in a shack on the north side of Tromso Cemetery, moved to north side of the lake before he moved to the hemp plant place.

The Hemp plant was built during WW2 and used for one year in 1943 or 1944. and shut down after we took back the Philippines from the Japanese It was used later for drying and bagging powdered alfalfa until in September 1952 some of the main buildings burned down. and some of the warehouse buildings survived many years to be used  for grain storage.

Ben Huesser lived for a time with his dog in the abandoned old and cold boiler house at the hemp / alfalfa plant where he Burned old truck tires from Hanson Silo Company for heat.  He lived in the scale house in the summer time also, probably after his horse died.

In his later years he went to the cities for the winters to stay with his sister Rose.

Some comments below are copied from the Lake Lillian Centennial 2023, Facebook group pages.

Comment by:  

Doug Fett

Ben was quite a character! He would come to Bill Petersen's gas station when I worked there and buy or $1 worth of gas. He drove that old Chevy flatbed truck, which must not have been too easy to turn because he would come from the south and go right next to the curb across the wide Lake Lillian main street and making this big swinging U-turn to pull up alongside the gas pump. One day, he came for an oil change. From the next street north, he pulled off onto the city park and drove across the park between the trees to have a straight shot into the station, over the pit. Bill taught me that, when I checked the oil on Ben's truck, if it was 1/2 quart down, not to mention it to Ben because he would have you put in 1/2 quart of oil. He was such a good hearted soul! About once a year, he would look a little different because he would be wearing a new pair of coveralls. Through time they would acqiuire their more familiar grease coated appearance, which seemed to go better with his whisker stubbled face with a little tobacco juice seeping from the corner of his mouth. I believe that Ben would pick up meat scraps from Butch Mayer at Erickson's store to give to the dogs that would be seen following his truck wherever he drove it about town at a remarkably slow speed. Whether it was people or dogs or his truck, Ben treated them well."

 Gary Gauer, here is the picture of my brother Donnie Johnson who got to ride the horse as Ben Hueser was digging our well

 photo of well drilling from Linnet Johnson

video from family of Ralph and Helen Johnson

Obituary copied from the Lake Lillian Crier of Feb 1971

Ben Hueser passed away Feb. 3 in Mpls.

LAKE LILLIAN--The familiar man, Ben Hueser, who once walked the streets of Lake Lillian, who speeded down the highway in his truck at five miles an hour with his dog as his companion by his side will no longer be with us. He passed away Wednesday, Feb. 3 in Minneapolis.

 Everyone knew him, old and young alike, maybe he was only a garbage collector but was shunned because of his way of living. He was kind, with a clean mind, and a heart of gold.

 He braved the cold and endured the pain, a man of independence. He loved his freedom and the people in Lake Lillian.  His pride and joy was the truck and dog. He loved animals.

 Many recall Ben in the early 40's, when he came to Lake Lillian from Stewart to care for a group of horses.  He slept in a Model A car, with a kerosene lantern for warmth.

Would anyone like to try it today?

 Ben was not alone in this world. When his health failed him three years ago, he had sisters in Minneapolis who loved him and wanted him to spend the winter with them. But when spring came, he was eager to return to his friends here.

Little did we realize on Nov. 27 as he bade farewell to his friends and last of all his dog, he would not return. His usual stop every morning and that day was to visit the boys at the local creamery, and to one of the cafes for his eats; to chat with those who came in.

 Funeral services were held on Friday, Feb. 5 for Jon John (Ben) Hueser, 79, from the Malone Funeral Home in Minneapolis and 9 a. m. requiem Mass at the Church of St. Bridget. Interment was at Glencoe.

Surviving are five sisters, Rose, Catherine, and Theresa Hueser and Mrs. Marie Poltera, all of Minneapolis, Mrs. Lena Wozniak of St. Paul, several nieces and nephews.