Individual Stories

John Biersack


John Biersack (1862-1898), also known as John Biersach or John Prearshek, was working on the Capitol construction as a laborer when he was injured and killed as a result of a 40 foot fall from a derrick on the afternoon of Saturday, Oct. 15, 1898 and died on Oct. 20 at St. Joseph's Hospital.  His cause of death was a skull fracture, according to newspaper accounts.

His body was sent home and he was buried in St. Mary's Cemetery, West Bend, Washington County, Wisconsin.

Saint Paul Pioneer Press, October 20, 1898, page 5- "Dies From Fall"
Image courtesy Minnesota Historical Society. Used with permission.

John Boland


City Directory: Fry St. was called Walker St. at this time. John Boland was the superintendent of construction for the Capitol Commission though he lists Butler-Ryan as his employer in the 1898 CD. He was born in Ireland in 1844 and emigrated in 1849. His son, George, worked as a laborer on the Capitol.

Pat Boland


1905 Dale and Bumgardner Payroll. Teamster Pat Boland ("Bolin" in the payroll) was born in Indiana in 1856 and moved to Minnesota about 1880. He worked on the grading of the Capitol grounds.

Adolph Borchardt


1902 Beam painting payroll. Adolph Borchardt appears in the payroll as a laborer, although in the 1902 City Directory he is listed as a marble cutter working for E.M.W. Nelson. He was born in Minnesota in 1871 but by 1905 he had moved on to Monroe, Iowa where he was working as a marble cutter, and by 1910 he was in Des Moines cutting granite.

Albert Bourgeault

Stone cutter Albert Bourgeault lived here with his father Joseph who supervised the stone cutting for Butler-Ryan. Albert's parents had emigrated from Canada in 1880 and he was born in Minnesota in 1883. By 1901, after the superstructure was completed, the father and sons were listed in the City Directory as working for Joseph Bourgeault and Sons. The family had moved back to Canada by 1906.

Joseph Henri Bourgeault


Joseph H. Bourgeault was the son of Joseph Bourgeault who supervised the stone cutting for the superstructure. He was born in Canada in 1875 and came to the U.S. with his family in 1880. Joseph H. played the clarinet and always gave his occupation as "musician" in Census records and, in fact, newspapers of the day announced that he was a soloist for a local orchestra. The 1901 City Directory, however, lists him as a foreman for Butler-Ryan and the Stone Cutter Journal of January 1899 reported that he was the shop foreman for the job.