The Bank

Hello Everyone,

Here a two wonderful pictures of the original Lakeville Bank building, the bank started by W.H. and F.A. Samels…. enjoy!


Building as it looks today.

Many thanks to cousin Pat Vasatka for sharing these pictures.

Susan J. Edminster, Granite Falls Washington, February 6, 2011

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Lakeville Minnesota History

The City of Lakeville Minnesota has a wonderful website, containing among other things several YouTube presentations of various events in its history.  Here’s a link to the YouTube presentation page describing the beginning of the Lakeville Bank which was started by W.H. and F.A. Samels.  A portion of the presentation is narrated by June Murphy, granddaughter of William H. Samels:

Lakeville Minnesota History

Note:  This takes you to thumbnails for several historical presentations, the Lakeville Bank is on the second page.

Susan J. Edminster, Granite Falls Washington, February 3, 2011

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Susie Shane’s Shoes

My sister and I have very few artifacts from the Samels family, but there is one intriguing item, a pair of wooden shoes.  They seem to have been hand carved and the bottom of one has an inscription that reads: Susie Shane, Chaska Minnesota.  As you see they’re quite elaborate!

The shoe on the left has a little hole with ribbon strung through so probably they could have been hung as wall art. Perhaps they were meant for my dad’s sister who had died as an infant.  Her name was Susanna (Susie) Shane.

Does anyone know how these little shoes came into being?  I have an idea that one of Susan (Samels) Shane’s brothers might have carved them, but that may be just a fantasy.

My sister owns these now and has them on display in her home.


Susan J. Edminster, Granite Falls Washington, February 2, 2011  All Rights Reserved

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Mary, Rose and Josie Samels

Photograph of Mary, Rose and Josie Samels.  What a strong family

resemblance exists between these sisters.

Susan J. Edminster, Granite Falls Washington, February 2, 2011, All Rights Reserved

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Samels Brothers in the News

The August 26, 1926 issue of the Lakeville Minnesota Leader newspaper contained a couple of interesting articles about the Samels Family.  First the article about the founding of the bank, then a picture of W.H. Samels farm.


From the files of Tom Cook, posted with permission

Susan J. Edminster, Granite Falls Washington, February 2, 2011 All Rights Reserved

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Will of Dominic Samels 1799-1873

Dominic (Dominique) Samels was the Father of Franz Samels and my GGGrandfather.  He was born in Luxembourg 20 February, 1799 and died in Aurora Illinois 19 June, 1873.

Dominic Samels married (1) Catharina Schott (1796-1837) and their children were Wilhelm,  Franz (Frank), Maria, Jean, Margaretha and Jakob.  Catharina died in Luxembourg and Dominic married (2) Catherine Muller.  Their children were Peter, William, Susanna, Frank, and John.  This repetition of names (wives Catherina and Catherine, children Peter, William/Wilhelm, Franz/Frank) has caused no end of confusion in sorting out the family order but provides an understanding of  the will’s reading “Frank (the oldest)” as the first listed.  Frank was also the executor of the estate.

Here, then is the text of the will.  I attempted to keep the spellings, capitalizations and word order just as they are in the document, hence some items may be incorrect.


Know all men by these presents that I Domanic Samels of the Town of Aurora Kane County Illinois of the age of about 82 years being of sound mind and memory do hereby make ordain publish and declare this to be my last will and testament: that is to say I give and bequeath to my son Frank (the oldest) One Hundred and fifty Dollars which is in a Note given by my sons William and Peter dated January 14, 1871 together with all interest thereon till paid and also my interest and claim in all cattle, Poultry or other live Stock that I may have on my farm owned by myself and heirs or at any other place, and also my interest and claim that I may have in any personal property or chattels whatever (unreadable) and my real Estate which is Situate in the Town of Blackberry in Kane County Illinois to be disposed of as follows: The entire interest therein to my Son (the oldest) Frank above mentioned by him my said son Frank paying to my oldest son William One Hundred Dollars, my daughter Maria One Hundred Dollars and my daughter Margarethe One Hundred Dollars and hereby make and appoint my said son Frank my executor of this my last will and testament hereby revoking all former wills by me made.  “……..June 14th 1873″

The above instrument was subscribed and executed in our presence and acknowledged to each of us to be his free act and last will and testament.


#1 unreadable

#2 Nikolas Henkels

#3 Michael Sees

This will was suly proven before me by the subscribing witnesses in open courts.  June 30, 1873.  W. D. Barry, Judge.


Transcript of the will posted with permission of Tom Cook.

Susan J. Edminster, Granite Falls, Washington, January 27, 2011, All Rights Reserved

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A Letter from June

June Taylor Murphy* and I have had several visits about the Samels family over the years.  When my sister and I visited Minnesota a few years ago we spent an afternoon with June and enjoyed her company very much.  June has since died and even though our chats weren’t frequent I’m going to miss them.

*Granddaughter of William H. Samels


In going through my files of Samels information I came across some information June had sent me in 1998…. here in her own words is what she shared about the family in that letter:

“…..Frank and my grandpa started the bank in Lakeville in 1899 while still living in Minneapolis.  W.H. had 2 farms in Lakeville.  My grandpa lived in our house from my age of 4 till he died in his 80’s.

Grandpa came from Iowa to Chaska Minnesota, opened his first creamery, moved to Minneapolis in 1898 right before my Mother (Loretta Samels) was born!  She was an only child as he and Anna King weren’t married until in their late 30’s.**  She was from Iowa and all her family generations later are still there.

Peter had a store in Lakeville (this is just south of Minneapolis) and dropped dead there. He had 2 daughters, Hazel and Mary who moved to Minneapolis after he died.

Nick and Grandpa were in wholesale butter and eggs until the depression.  My grandpa was old enough to retire, but Nick manages a parking lot and oil station for years after that.  He had one son, Ray, and daughters Mary and Clara.

Mary (daughter of Franz) was the only one stayed in Iowa at Hopkinton,, died in her sleep.

Rose and her husband went to Montana as settlers, their family stayed, all boys.  The others I never knew.

My dad Ernest Taylor, was grandpa’s accountant, so when the business closed he and Ray Samels both sold insurance, then dad decided to move us out on the farm in 1940 and we have been here since.

I married someone from here so remained after I got out of the Navy.

I had twin brothers, William and Ernest.  Bill is dead and Ernie lives in Minneapolis area was a banker many years.  My Mother died at 50 so I had also 2 step-brothers who are both dead.

Frank had boys and some are still living.

Do write or call collect if you think of something you want………”

signed June Taylor Murphy

**According to the marriage certificate Anna was 30 years old and William 31 when they married.


Susan J. Edminster, Granite Falls Washington, January 20, 2011

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