Bev Jackson Cotter returns to the Freeborn County Historical Museum, Library and Village
The Freeborn County Historical Museum, Library and Village (FCHM) is excited to welcome Bev Jackson Cotter on her return to the museum for a presentation, Was She Guilty? The Story of Ann Bilanski, Thursday, Sept. 29, at 7 p.m.
The only woman to be hung in Minnesota, will be shared by Bev Jackson Cotter, Thursday, Sept. 29 at 7 p.m. at the Freeborn County Historical Museum. Ann was accused of the arsenic poisoning of Stanilaus Bilanski, her husband of only six months.
Ann’s story begins in April 1858 with her arrival in St. Paul. While her death occurred less than two years later, her story continues with many, many questions. Who testified against her? What exactly was the cause of death? When was the decision made for the execution? And above all, why?
Bev Jackson was hired as the first executive director of FCHM in 1987 when the museum was only open three-and-a-half hours a day in the summer time. With the incredible collection donated by Freeborn County community members over the years, Bev and a growing staff developed programing, lengthened hours, added volunteers, updated displays, expanded library services, and increased promotions.
When she retired in 2005, she ran across the following statement in the 1882 Freeborn County History Book. “1860. March 23d, Anna (sp) Bilanski hung at St. Paul for the murder of her husband, the first white person executed in Minnesota.” Bev was intrigued by the story and began researching old newspaper articles and court records. The result is a historic look at a piece of Minnesota’s past that still reflects on today’s happenings.
The presentation is free to FCHM members; a small fee for non-members.
The Freeborn County Historical Museum, Library and Village is a non-profit educational and cultural institution established in 1948, committed to building the future by preserving the past. FCHM collects, preserves, and tells the story of Freeborn County’s past through museum exhibits, research, collections, tours, and educational programs. FCHM is located at 1031 Bridge Avenue, Albert Lea, Minn.