Mankato Free Press - January 11, 1901

Mankato Free Press – January 11, 1901

Now we’ve got a lodge. My father belongs to a lodge. It’s like a club only more important and very secret. (Quote from Betsy and Tacy Go Over the Big Hill) 

112 years ago today, Thomas W. Hart was presented with a “handsome” rocking chair by the Knights of Pythias lodge for his service as past chancellor commander.


In 1901, Thomas Hart was 37 years old. He and his family were living at 333 Center Street in Mankato. This rocking chair, donated to the Betsy-Tacy Society by the estate of Merian Lovelace Kirchner, is proudly on display at Betsy’s House.

The Knights of Pythias is a fraternal organization founded in Washington D.C. in 1864.   Members are involved in their communities and their activities are directed towards enhancing the principles of Friendship, Charity, and Benevolence.

William B. Torrey made the speech presenting Tom Hart with the gift of the rocker. William was a retired probate judge. He and his wife Gertrude lived on Byron Street, across from the Pleasant Grove School and a few blocks from the Hart home. After William’s retirement, he and Gertrude operated a small neighborhood grocery business on Byron Street. Maud used Torrey’s Store as the basis for Chubbock’s Candy Store and Gertrude Torrey for the character of Mrs. Chubbock in the Betsy-Tacy books.