State Rep. Urdahl to speak at Center for Active Living
WORTHINGTON — State Rep. Dean Urdahl of Litchfield will speak at 4 p.m. Thursday at the Center for Active Living about the latest installment in his “Uprising” series, “Conspiracy!”
“History is a story, so I’m not giving a lecture — I’m telling people a story,” Urdahl said.
“Conspiracy!” follows “Uprising,” “Retribution” and “Pursuit” to complete his series about the U.S.-Dakota Conflict of 1862. It follows the experiences of Jesse Buchanen as he is called from the frontier to report to Washington, D.C., to become one of President Lincoln’s guards. Buchanen discovers a wide conspiracy that threatens Lincoln and the preservation of the Union, and also uncovers a dark secret that could destroy the government if revealed.
“Conspiracy!” is a historical fiction novel that explores several of the real plots developed to kill Lincoln. John Wilkes Booth was just one of the people hatching assassination plots, Urdahl explained.
“I did a lot of research about the different conspiracies involving the assassination of Lincoln and came to the conclusion that there are two main plots going on at the same time to assassinate Lincoln, as well as a secret that has been kept for 150 years, which I’ll be talking about,” he said.
Urdahl has a long family history involving the Dakota Conflict of 1862 that inspired him to start writing the series.
Urdahl’s family helped settle Litchfield Township in 1856, two years before Minnesota became the 32nd state. The Dakota Conflict started just across the lake from Urdahl’s great-great grandfather’s home.
“My great-great-grandfather was there when the first shot was fired, and helped bury the first five victims of the war at Ness Church in Litchfield,” Urdahl said. “I grew up in Ness Church, where there is a monument dedicated to the first five fallen, and I always asked my mother about it. She was always very eager to tell me about the history and our family’s involvement in the war.”
In addition to writing, Urdahl has been interested in politics and public service for most of his life.
“My legislative career and interest in history have become intertwined,” Urdahl said.
He is currently in his fifth term as member of the Minnesota House of Representatives. Urdahl has served in District 18B west of the Twin Cities since first elected in 2002. Gov. Tim Pawlenty also appointed him to chair the Lincoln Bicentennial Commission in 2009, and Gov. Mark Dayton named him to the Minnesota Civil War Commemoration Sesquicentennial Task Force in 2012.
Urdahl also is working on legislation to repeal the 1863 Winnebago and Sioux-Dakota Removal Acts, signed by Lincoln, which states that all Dakota people are forever banned from Minnesota. The repeal has passed the Minnesota House and Senate and was signed Pawlenty, but Congress has not yet acted on it.
Urdahl also spent more than 35 years teaching in the New London-Spicer school district. He retired from the district’s middle school, where he taught American History, in 2006.