Growing up south of Clements, Marty Seifert heard a lot of stories about the history of the area where he called home. One story in particular stood out for him.
About three miles north as the crow flies from his home place is a farm site where one of the most heinous murders took place in Redwood County’s history.
“At first I was told something bad happened there,” said Seifert, adding as time went on more of the details were included.
In the end, Seifert heard the tale of the man who murdered his entire family with an ax and then hung himself on that farm north of Clements in 1917.
“An ax murder isn’t something you tell a five-year-old,” he said.
That historic account stuck with Seifert over the years.
After leaving home and attending college in Marshall Seifert earned his degree and started teaching  at the high school in Marshall.
Seifert also went on to serve several terms in the Minnesota legislature as a member of the House of Representatives and was a candidate for governor in 2010 and 2014.
When the decision was made to hang up his political hat, Seifert went back to that old story, and he decided to research it even further.
After more than a year-and-a-half of work, Seifert now has a novel published based on the story called “Sundown at Sunrise.”
“I have had this book in my mind for several decades,” said Seifert. “However, in anticipation of the 100th anniversary of the murders, I wanted to have this story told. Much of this is out of respect for victims Maud Kleeman and her children, as most people have not heard this part of Minnesota history.”
The story revolves around the true tale of William Kleeman, a popular young farmer who murders his wife and their four children, with an ax before committing suicide.
As it is a piece of fiction based on true events, Seifert said not everything he writes actually happened the way that it did back in 1917, adding that gives the story “life and interest.”
“If I would have just written about the event itself based on the information I could find this story would have only been a few pages long,” said Seifert.
Seifert did do quite a bit of work reading through old documents, including newspapers. and talking with people in the area, including some who were the descendants of those who were involved in the aftermath of what Seifert called one of the most notorious ax murders in American history.
Seifert added reader discretion is advised, as the book does include adult situations and violence adding, “It’s hard to write a G-rated ax murder book…”
This is Seifert’s first venture in publishing, and he admitted when most people heard he was writing a book they likely thought it would be political in nature based on his personal experiences.
“This is a whole different genre,” said Seifert with a smile.
When Seifert started telling people he was writing the book, there was a lot of interest, and that level of excitement has not waned.
The book has been published through Beaver’s Pond Press, and Seifert said he was able to work with an editor who has ties to the area – Wendy Weckwerth, a high-school graduate from Redwood Falls.
The book is going to be available before the end of December through various avenues, said Seifert, and its cover price is $15.95. More about the book and its author can be found online at www.sundownatsunrise.com.
A series of book signings and programs has been scheduled in the Redwood area including:
• Dec. 16 at the City and Country Tavern in Morgan from 6:30-8 p.m. with a short program at 7 p.m.
• Dec. 19 at the Hitching Post in Marshall from 4-6 p.m.
• Dec. 20 at the Perkins in New Ulm from 3:30-5:30 p.m.
• Dec. 20 at the American Legion Post in Clements from 6:30-8 p.m. with a short program at 7 p.m.
• Dec. 21 at the public library in Redwood Falls from 5:30-7 p.m. with a program at 6 p.m.
• Dec. 23 at Barnes & Noble in Mankato from 6-7:30 p.m.
• Jan. 6 at the public library in Wabasso from 6:30-8 p.m.
Today Seifert is involved in government relations and dabbles in real estate. He and his wife, Traci, have two children, Brittany and Braxton.