The Waseca County Horse Thief Detectives were organized in 1864, when deserters from the Civil War found easy pickin's on isolated farms occupied by women and boys. Arrangements were made whereby Vigilante Posses could be in pursuit within hours when a theft was reported. Since then, every horse stolen has been recovered. IT DID THE JOB.
The Need for chasing horse thieves on horseback is now obsolete but tradition and respect for the brave pioneers of Waseca County has kept the organization alive. It now boasts of a membership of over 900.
Members are scattered all over the World, where HORSE THIEF decals on cars and canoes create considerable comment.
It is all in fun now, but the organization helps to remind us of the loneliness and hardships of the Pioneers who tamed this wild County for us to enjoy.
The annual meeting is now a picnic held on the Fourth of July, here fun and reminiscence are the main objectives.
The following is a copy of the constitution of the Waseca County Horse Thief Detectives as stated in 1925. Take a second to read it, I think you will find it interesting.
We, the citizens of Waseca county, to secure our property against thieves and marauders, do form ourselves into a society to be known as the Waseca County Horse Thief Detectives, and subject to the following rules and regulations:
Any resident of Waseca County, being recommended by one or more members of this society, may be admitted to membership, upon a majority vote for his election, at any regular meeting, by signing the constitution and paying into the treasury three dollars.
The officers of this Society shall consist of a president, vice president, secretary and treasurer, which treasurer shall give bonds in an amount equal to the amount of funds entrusted to him, subject to the approval of the president. All officers shall be elected at the annual meeting on the third Saturday of February, said annual meeting to be held at such place as determined by the president.
The president shall preside at all meetings of the society, call on the captain of riders whenever in his judgment it is necessary so to do, sign all drafts on the treasurer for money, and perform all other duties consistent with his office and the character of the society.
The vice president shall perform all duties of president in his absence.
The secretary shall keep a record of all meetings of the society, file and preserve all papers which shall come into his hands by virtue of his office, keep an account of all business of the society, receive all moneys due the society and pay the same to the treasurer and take his receipts therefor; draw all drafts for money on the treasurer, keeping a record of the same, and at each annual meeting report in writing the amount of money received by him and paid over to the treasurer, and the orders drawn on the treasurer during the year. He shall receive as compensation for his services ten cents a folio for keeping the records and the necessary correspondence for the society.
It is the duty of the secretary to inform all adjoining societies of property suspected to have been stolen with a description of the property stolen and such other information as the circumstances may warrant; also to notify the president and captain of riders of all matters that may assist them in their duties.
There shall be fifteen riders selected from the members for the term of one year (such selection to be made by the president and approved by the other executive officers) who shall hold themselves in readiness at all times to start in pursuit of stolen property of any kind exceeding twenty-five Dollars ($25.00) in value belonging to any member of the society. The riders led or ordered into service by the captain of riders, or on the call of the president, shall receive for each day they are actually employed in the pursuit of thieves and property stolen, a reasonable amount for compensation and expenses, the same to be determined by the executive officers of the Association.
The riders shall, at the annual meeting, elect one of their number to act as captain, who shall control and direct all their operations. (As revised by committee.)
The president, secretary and captain of riders shall be a committee to decide when special meetings shall be held, and shall cause the members to be notified. They shall also constitute an appointing board.
All special meetings of the Society shall be held at such time and place as may be designated by the president of the Society.
The riders may hold secret meetings and make such by-laws as may be deemed necessary to secure their safety and efficiency when in pursuit of horses and thieves, subject always to the best interest of the society in regard to expense and number of riders called into service.
Any or all members of the society may be called out by the captain of riders when, in his judgment, it is necessary.
When the funds of the society are exhausted an assessment of one dollar shall be made upon each member, and it shall be the duty of each member to pay the same forthwith to the secretary upon being notified of the same. If any member shall neglect to pay his dues he will forfeit his membership.
Any member of the society who has had his property stolen, or if he knows of any member having any property stolen, shall immediately notify the president, and the president shall forthwith call the captain of riders. They shall hear the complaint from the member aggrieved and act upon the facts as provided in articles 8, 9, 12, and 13. It shall also be the duty of the president and captain of riders to use all reasonable diligence in restoring stolen property, in learning the residence of local thieves, their associates, and with whom they operate.
A committee of five members may be chosen by the society, whose duty it shall be to attend any call of the president, who shall be chairman of said committee, and to take such action in any matter that may come before them as the case requires. They may either commence legal proceedings before a civil magistrate, at the expense of the society (in case it cannot be made from the party accused legally,) or they may, in their discretion, take the offender in to their own custody, and when said committee are fully satisfied that the ends of justice may be attained, with less expense and trouble to the society, than by legal process, may satisfy the same as in their judgment may seem just to all parties.
Members may be admitted to the society between meetings subject to the decision of the next meeting, by paying to the secretary three dollars and signing the constitution.
No person shall be admitted to membership by this association who does not sustain a good moral character for honesty, or is guilty of secreting stolen property, of bailing, advising, associating with, harboring, or in any way sympathizing with thieves.
The widow or minor children of any member of this society that may die while in good standing shall be entitled to all the rights of protection to property to which such member would be entitled if living. (See page 53 of records.)
Alterations or amendments to this constitution may be made at
any regular meeting by a majority of the members present, providing
there shall be one year's notice of the same.
Stay tuned to this page for more Horse Thieves information coming SOON!
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