Bluestocking Journal

Real history, through the eyes of a fictional person

Tag: accidents

Tuesday, December 31, 1912

A delegation from Farmer City, seventy-five strong and headed by a brass band, marched through the streets of Champaign this morning, went to Congressman McKinley’s home, and requested a cannon for their new park.

In Bloomington, fifteen-year-old Adlai Stevenson, the grandson of former Vice-President Adlai E. Stevenson, gave an exhibition of the manual of arms during a holiday party. After examining an old army rifle to see that it was not loaded, he pointed the gun at Miss Ruth Merwin and pulled the trigger. The ball entered her forehead, killing her instantly. “The victim was a girl of great beauty and highly cultured and a member of one of the leading families of Bloomington. The youth who fired the shot is prostrated with grief.”

A seventeen-ounce baby was born in Aurora. “The infant is well formed and apparently strong. It is so small that the mother’s wedding ring can be placed on its leg.”


Saturday, December 28, 1912

Local antiquities are now on display in the rotunda of the Champaign postoffice, including an old envelope bearing the postmark of West Urbana, the original name of Champaign. It is dated April 8, 1856.

A silver dollar was found in the brain of the father who was killed, along with his family, in the horrible Christmas train accident. The portion of the skull in which resided the dollar was overlooked at first, having been flung to a different location. “The coin will be kept by relatives as a sad, as well as curious, memento of the fatality.” The little girl who survived has regained consciousness and is improving; her first words upon awakening were, “Hurrah for Santa Claus!” The family was buried today in a single grave at Mount Hope cemetery.

A sixteen-year-old girl has confessed to having set fire to the same Brooklyn building seven times. “I don’t know why I did it, only I just love to watch the flames. The blaze is so pretty,” she said. “But I do not mean any harm by it.”

Thursday, December 26, 1912

FAMILY IS WIPED OUT IN HORRIBLE CHRISTMAS TRAGEDY” is set in the largest type I have ever seen on a Courier-Herald front page. “A family of four was wiped out of existence at 11 o’clock Wednesday night in the most complete tragedy ever occurring in this vicinity.” The family’s carriage was struck by a train at Savoy. A little girl, a friend of the family, was the only one to survive, but she was badly injured and may die. They had just been to a wedding near Staley. It is supposed that the carriage was closed and that the driver was unable to hear or see the train. The carriage was reduced to splinters, the bodies of the dead were scattered over a wide area, and the horses returned home, unharmed.

A Chinaman was buncoed by a stranger at his laundry on South Market street. The bunco man showed him a display ad clipped from a newspaper and “informed the washee-washee man that he could have a similar ad in the paper (not mentioning which one) for $2.” The laundryman paid and got a receipt. and later “became suspicious when a diligent search of the local papers failed to reveal his advertisement.”

An explorer named Guy de Villepion planned an expedition into the hidden countries of South America, but nine days after the start in Brazil, his guide stole his boat and supplies, leaving him lost in the jungle. He wandered for three days, subsisting on wild herbs and small turtles, eaten raw. A group of savages made him their prisoner, feeding him their best food for nine days to fatten him before roasting him for their dinner. He managed to escape, and after several days he stumbled into a camp of Portugese rubber planters, who helped him to return to the coast.

Saturday, December 14, 1912

In Lincoln, Illinois, a fire started in the Moose lodge while a candidate for membership was “riding the goat,” ending the initiation and causing a lot of damage. “During the stampede the Moose saved all their furnishings except two pool tables. The goat butted his way out safely.”

This evening hat is very striking, but who would have the courage to wear such a thing? It is made of black tulle, trimmed with rows of black pearls, and covered with a great number of bird of paradise feathers. Are they really wearing this in Paris now?

kind of a Robert Smith vibe, actually

Friday, December 13, 1912

Perhaps it is because it is Friday the Thirteenth, but the entire newspaper bores me today. Here, for example, is an entire article I have had to contend with, bearing the headline “BIG DROP IN GROCERIES“:

“A big drop in groceries took place in Champaign, Thursday afternoon, but not the kind the thrifty housewife is on the lookout for. This drop was in the Penny grocery on South Neil street, Champaign, where all the shelves on the south side of the building, which were overloaded, fell to the floor with one crash. The store was closed all Thursday afternoon while the stock was re-adjusted.”

As soon as I read that, I knew that it was time to close up the paper and go and play with the cat.

Tuesday, December 10, 1912

“Springfield, Dec. 10—After smashing a window and leaping into the room where her three children were in flames, Mrs. Charles Andrew of Auburn gathered her offsprings in her arms and escaped from the burning house. All are in a hospital in a precarious condition. The children are one, two and four years. The youngest is near death.”

I wonder what Mrs. Charles Andrew’s name is.

Tuesday, December 3, 1912

One of the men who went off a bridge in an automobile the other day has died. James B. Busey, assistant cashier of Busey’s bank at Mahomet, died this morning at the Burnham hospital due to uremic poisoning resulting from internal injuries. This came as a bit of a surprise, as it had been thought that he was only suffering from exposure and nervous shock. He leaves behind a young wife and two infant children.

The District of Columbia court of appeals held that Thomas Edison is not the inventor of the motion picture film and that his patents are invalid, having “merely solved camera apparatus problems.” Mr. Edison had brought suit against the Chicago Film company for infringement on his patent. This decision will save millions of dollars to motion picture concerns.

Hsuan T’ung, the boy emperor of China, is seriously ill. “By the terms of the edict of abdication the boy emperor of China was permitted to retain his title and to reside in a palace in the Forbidden city with the dowager empress, Lung Yu. There he has been living in strict seclusion, in accordance with the ancient usage, and has been treated by his attendants and others as though he were still ruler of China.”

Friday, November 29, 1912

Two Mahomet men were on their way to Urbana in an automobile Wednesday evening when the machine ran off a bridge six miles west of Champaign. They were found an hour later, pinioned beneath the overturned vehicle, unconscious from exposure, with only their heads above water. Neither was hurt badly, but they are suffering from nervous shock and it is feared they may develop pneumonia. “It is almost certain that had relief come thirty minutes later, both men would have died. The water was freezing rapidly and Thursday morning the stream was covered with ice nearly an inch thick.”

Another letter-box outrage, supposed to be the work of militant suffragists, was committed in the center of London. Acid was poured into letter boxes throughout the financial district, including Threadneedle street, the stock exchange and the Mansion house, the official residence of the lord mayor of London. Many letters were destroyed and much inconvenience was caused.” I am not sure how this vandalism came to be associated with suffragists, for it makes no sense to do such a thing and not at least claim responsibility for it. Perhaps they are convenient scape-goats?

Friday, November 8, 1912

Today is a day for terse, single-sentence reports.

A street car was derailed at the sharp turn at Lincoln and Oregon streets, knocking down a telephone pole and giving the passengers a bad fright.

President Taft has issued a proclamation declaring the last Thursday of November to be an annual holiday of Thanksgiving.

The famous tragedienne Sarah Bernhardt was attacked by a bear in a London museum.

Monday, November 4, 1912

The Twin City Ministerial association has decided to set apart December 8 as a “white plague day” in the churches of Champaign and Urbana. At least 129 people in the county are afflicted with tuberculosis. The Champaign County Anti-Tuberculosis Health league is seeking more funds in order to open a free dispensary to the poor in the Twin Cities.

A woman telephoned police headquarters and said, “A man at 803 East California street is beating his wife something awful,” but the police declined to interfere without a warrant.

The Twin City Equal Suffrage league will bring the noted author and lecturer Charlotte Perkins Gilman to speak in town on December 5. It is likely that the Illinois theater will be the location.

A motorman was severely injured and two horses killed when a street car struck a dairy wagon on West Oregon street yesterday. The wagon driver, by a miracle, escaped injury. Witnesses say that he drove onto the track in front of the car while the gong was ringing.

Finally, James S. McCullough, a candidate for state auditor and an Urbana man, is “the only soldier of the Civil War on the Republican State Ticket. He lost an arm in battle for his country,” says his rather large campaign advertisement.