Bluestocking Journal

Real history, through the eyes of a fictional person

Tag: Champaign

Thursday, January 2, 1913

“County Supervisor Osman, bringing Edward Stromburg of Ludlow to the county hospital, Wednesday night, was surprised and horrified upon the train’s arrival in Champaign, to discover that he was sharing his seat with a corpse. He believed Stromburg to be asleep, but the latter was dead.”

Homer will not have an ice famine next summer. An entrerprising ice man has already filled his ice houses, even though the weather has not been very cold so far.

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Monday, December 30, 1912

Here is the entirety of a front-page article about a man who is not dead:

“A rumor circulated on the streets Saturday evening was that Neil (Army) Armstrong, who until recently lived at 910 West Illinois street, this ciyt [sic], had been killed. There were different reports as to the manner in which he met death, but all agreed on the main issue—that ‘Army’ was no more. On Sunday the story was proven to be a canard. Its origin was traced to a North Market street habitue who was having alcoholic hallucinations.”

In Kankakee, a Miss Mary Crocker is suing the highway commissioner of that county for $2,000. “She alleges that he attempted to kiss her and placed one arm around her, greatly to her embarrassment.”

The “Suffragette Pilgrims” have reached Albany ahead of schedule, having walked 174 miles from New York in twelve days. They will present a message to Governor-elect Sulzer advocating votes for women.

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.”

Monday, December 16, 1912

Henry Bussman and “Swipes” Phillips were arrested when the Champaign police raided an alleged bootlegging joint on North Walnut street. “Bussman is an ex-bank clerk who has been on the toboggan for several years.” I asked Papa what “on the toboggan” meant, and he said it referred to going downhill. I am a little cross with myself for failing to deduce that right away!

The first car on the Kankakee-Urbana “university route” electric line will leave Urbana at 2 o’clock Thursday. Souvenir tickets cost $5 and up, and whoever offers the highest price will take the first slip. The car will reach Thomasboro and return late in the afternoon.

In Chicago, the federal government has filed an anti-trust suit targeting the Elgin Board of Trade (the “butter trust”) and the American Association of Creamery Butter Manufacturers, which are charged with conspiring to fix the price of butter in the interest of big manufacturers and cold storage concerns, to the detriment of small producers and the consuming public.

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.

Friday, December 6, 1912

Seventeen-year-old Elsie Slade, of Urbana, was taken into custody as a runaway in Danville. She had run away with two girls who had been visiting in Champaign. “They were arrested by a detective, who recognized the Wilson girl as unfit company for a lass of Miss Slade’s appearance.” Miss Wilson was arrested a couple of weeks ago, “following an encounter in a resort.”

In Quincy, a decree of divorce was granted to a fifteen-year-old mother of three children. She was married three years ago, and the charge was desertion.

The first jury of women in Idaho is apparently guilty of an “odd stunt,” because the hearing was adjourned while the jurors prepared the midday meals for their families, and they reached their verdict (finding a woman guilty of threatening a man with a revolver) in less than an hour.

Finally, there is a report from London that militant suffragettes decided at a recent meeting to blow up the lower house of Parliament if the government fails to adopt woman suffrage in a forthcoming bill, “according to a statement issued by a news agency.”

Monday, December 2, 1912

Champaign police raided two more bootlegging joints. The first, at 407 North Neil street, just north of the Beardsley hotel, belonged to Sam Lowry, a former drummer at the Walker opera house. Ten men were taken, including a prominent Champaign lawyer. The other raid was conducted at the home of Mattie Johnson, a negress, at 32 North Oak street, and five white men were arrested there.

“Owing to the fact that a large number of negroes employed on the construction work, have thrown up their jobs with the approach of cold weather, the Urbana & Kankakee Traction Company will employ white men exclusively from now on.”

In Minneapolis, two chorus girls from a burlesque house danced rag time dances on the platform of the pulpit of a church, illustrating the preacher’s sermon on “Praise Him With the Dance,” and the audience “fairly gasped at this. No matter how brazen, the dance was performed, the ‘turkey trot,’ the ‘crab crawl,’ the ‘tortoise tango,’ the ‘Jelly Wobble,’ ‘tangleworm wriggle,’ the ‘grizzly’ and all others known to these two girls of the stage.”

Three suffragettes were arrested in Aberdeen, Scotland, for attempting to kill David Lloyd-George, chancellor of the exchequer. One of the women had what she believed to be an infernal machine, which she intended to hurl at the man when he appeared to make a speech; but she had been duped, as the box contained only firecrackers, rather than the powerful explosive she expected. In any case she was found before she had a chance to throw it.

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?

Thursday, November 21, 1912

W. C. Woodward, University of Illinois class of 1911, broke the world record for working the way around the globe. He completed his tour of the world in 245 days. “In Paris he sang American ragtime songs to amuse frequenters of the cafes.” Woodward, a crack swimmer, now resides in Chicago but is back in Champaign for the time being.

The United States government launched a sudden crusade against “physicians and manufacturers who exploit for profit the demand for methods conducive to race suicide.” Postal inspectors in all parts of the country conducted raids simultaneously. A total of 173 persons were brought in, charged with using the mails to promote criminal medical practices or the sale of materials for illegal purposes. Most of those arrested are “pill doctors” who operate using the mail. I am still trying to figure out what exactly is meant by “race suicide,” but it must be very important, since “BLOW TO RACE SUICIDE” is one of the headlines.

Wednesday, November 20, 1912

SERVANT IN THE HOUSE MAKES WOE,” says the headline: A former cook at the Phi Delta Theta fraternity house issued a writ in the Champaign court, seeking to regain two dozen knives and forks, a pair of gold opera glasses, and a sofa pillow which she claims the fraternity members, “angered because she left them without notice, refuse to surrender to her.” Law students at the house are preparing to fight the case.

Out of mixed amusement and horror, I will reproduce this item in “Illinois News by Telegraph,” from Sterling, in full: “Winfield Andrews, street car motorman, has emerged unscathed from wrecks and from affrays with belligerent passengers, but the unruly conduct of his own nasal equipment has put him out of the running and sent him to the hospital for repairs. Andrews was taken with a fit of sneezing. ‘Give us another volley,’ cried passengers on Andrews’ car, after he had ‘kerchooed’ ten times. ‘You’re just getting good.’ Andrews smiled between facial contortions and went at it again. He kept at it without a break for eight minutes. At the end of that time a doctor took an inventory of the damage done by the sneeze storm and found that Andrews had three loosened ribs and a dislocated shoulder.”

In Los Angeles, a grotesquely masked maniac with “an infernal machine containing enough dynamite to destroy an entire city block, a bottle of nitroglycerine and a .45 caliber revolver” took possession of the Central police station and held it for over an hour. A detective slipped behind him and knocked him unconscious, and the infernal machine’s fuse was lighted automatically! The detective hurled the machine into the street, where luckily there was no explosion, and the detective kicked at the dynamite and jumped on the fuse until it was put out.

Lastly, this advertisement made me laugh, which perhaps was the point, and perhaps not: