Bluestocking Journal

Real history, through the eyes of a fictional person

Tag: crime

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.”

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Friday, December 27, 1912

At the Thursday meeting of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, the fact was brought out, quoted from unnamed eminent scientists, that 94 per cent of the criminal class are drunkards.

Governor Clark of Alaska is gloomy because there is a marked decrease in population in his territory, which he attributes to the falling off of mining, inadequate land laws, the prohibition against the killing of seals, and “the remarkable public calumnies about Alaska.” He is asking Congress to enact legislation permitting the working of the Alaskan coal lands.

The Kellogg Toasted Corn Flake company is charged with fixing prices in violation of the Sherman law. For some reason, seeing the headline “U.S. WARS ON CORN FLAKE MONOPOLY” made me giggle.

Tuesday, December 24, 1912

This story is so bizarre that I am simply going to copy the whole thing into my book:

“James Jackson, aged nineteen, terrorized the Jympsum neighborhood, twelve miles north of Vandalia, when he shouldered his shotgun and said he was going to celebrate Christmas. He ‘shot up’ the houses in the neighborhood and set fire to his mother’s house, but the flames were subdued. A dozen men in the immediate neighborhood tried to capture Jackson, but when they attempted to close in on him Jackson opened fire, and in the melee he shot and wounded six of his pursuers. Then he went to the home of his grandmother, Mrs. Eliza Wilkie, set fire to her house and burned it completely. Constable Carroll and posse started out to capture Jackson and found him in a dazed condition with his clothes nearly burned off. Jackson was brought to Vandalia and is in a serious condition as a result of his burns.”

I took scissors to today’s paper to save this picture of a clever umbrella:
incredible

Monday, December 23, 1912

This is so sweet! The University students who were barred from the Saintz club dance—because they brought chorus girls as dates—got together their own impromptu dance in College Hall, with the four “Mother Goose” girls as guests of honor. “It was stated today that the young women belong to excellent families and that one’s mother is chaperoning the four while on the tour. Miss Nora Busey of this city is acquainted with them and had them for her guests on an automobile ride whie [sic] the company was here.”

From Rhinebeck, New York, comes the headline “RICH MEN HEAR SUFFRAGISTS.” Vincent Astor, Frederick Vanderbilt, Mrs. Vanderbilt, and Miss Huntington came upon the five suffragettes who are hiking to Albany, as the women were addressing a crowd of 300 in front of the hotel. “The five women have now covered 98 miles of their journey. All are in good spirits.”

And goodness me, there are female highwaymen (highwaywomen?) in Boston!

Saturday, December 21, 1912

Four University students brought show girls as dates to the Saintz dance in Elks’ hall and were asked to leave. When it became known that the girls were from the “Mother Goose” chorus, currently appearing at the Walker, there was “indignant whispering,” and the Saintz were asked to oust the offending couples. “It fell to Chancey Finfrock to extend the invitation to the octette to do the vanishing act, which he did with as much gallantry as the circumstances would permit.” Saintz club members admit that the chorus girls were well mannered and did nothing objectionable while in the hall.

Elsie Slade is missing again, a colored chiropodist wept “great scalding, briny tears” over his arrest, a housewife whipped an impudent tramp, and a Missouri girl played piano while her school burned to the ground.

Wednesday, December 18, 1912

A polite, well-dressed highwayman held up Miss Fannie Redding last evening on West Elm street, within half a block of the Race street business district. He said, “Excuse me, lady,” and relieved her of her purse, which contained only a small sum of money but was itself valuable.

In Belleville, Illinois, a riot was caused when two young women danced the forbidden steps of the “turkey trot” and the “bunny hug” at the assembly of the Modern Woodmen. They refused to stop, a policeman was called, and both were arrested. “The riot followed and more than a dozen men were injured.”

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 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.”

Thursday, December 5, 1912

“Failing in two previous attempts to destroy the restaurant of E. B. Ford and Weaver’s pool room, adjoining, the baffled incendiary resorted to an explosive, and yesterday morning wrecked both structures.” The article does not give details of the two previous attempts, but it does say that there is evidence that nitro glycerine was placed in the wall separating the two Villa Grove establishments.

Mrs. Charlotte Perkins Gilman had a large audience at the Illinois theatre last night. “Naturally, the audience was composed principally of women. However, there was quite an attendance of men and all seemed well pleased with the speaker’s remarks.” Her topic was “Women and the State,” and the article calls her exposition “brilliant and humorous” and her arguments “sane and convincing.” Many people joined the Equal Suffrage society at the close of the lecture.

Samuel Castle, the man who attacked another man with a hatchet on Tuesday, was released from the city prison after a Mrs. Funkhouser paid his fine. “WOMAN PAYS HIS FINE,” shouts the headline of the article, which intimates that the woman is Castle’s paramour.

Wednesday, December 4, 1912

A man with a hatchet attacked another man opposite the Birely-Conaway grocery store last evening. “Angered because Roughton had threatened to complain against him for starving his aged mother, Castle imbibed freely of bootleg courage and started after his enemy.” Chief Lindstrum saw the man making wild swings with the hatchet and disarmed him before he could do any harm.

“The happiest ‘woman’ in all New York today is standing out in the middle of the river, with one arm raised over her millions of fretful sisters to show that a goddess still can be a goddess even if she does have to wear made over clothes winter and summer.” The government has spent $20,000 to repair the Statue of Liberty.