Bluestocking Journal

Real history, through the eyes of a fictional person

Tag: death

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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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.”

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.

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.

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.”

Tuesday, November 26, 1912

People were saying that James H. Sullivan, an Urbana plumbing contractor, had been killed yesterday by falling from a bridge at Danville—either by suicide, an accidental fall, or by driving his automobile off it. This morning’s Danville papers, however, made no mention of this, and when the police called Danville on the telephone, they were informed that no such accident had occurred. Sullivan had been missing since Thursday morning, and his brother had gone to look for him last night. “Sullivan turned up this afternoon, very much alive. He gave no explanation of his absence.” So there we have it: a rather large front-page article about Sullivan not being dead.

A tiny item from Harrisburg, buried in “Illinois News by Telegraph,” tells of someone who has died, though. “Mary Stroud, negress, who was accidentally shot in the pistol duel between Policeman Bud Tavender and Andrew Johnson in which Johnson was killed, died. The coroner’s jury exonerated Tavender in the death of Johnson.” How strange. Yesterday’s report of the incident called the woman Mary Baker, and I am not sure how they engaged in a “pistol duel” when all that Johnson had was a slungshot.

Monday, November 25, 1912

This news from Harrisburg, Illinois, struck me as somewhat odd: “In a duel with Andrew Johnson, a negro porter, and Night Patrolman Bud Tavender, the negro was shot three times and killed by the officer. Tavender suffered a scalp wound, inflicted by a slungshot, and Mary Baker, a negress, was shot in the abdomen and may die. The trouble started at a negro dance, where Johnson created several disturbances. Tavender was called in to quiet Johnson, who cursed the officer. Tavender arrested Johnson and started to jail with the prisoner, followed by many dancers. When near the public square someone struck at Tavender with a knife and Johnson felled the officer with a blow on the head with the slungshot. Tavender began firing at the fleeing negro, three shots taking effect in the breast and stomach. A stray bullet struck the Baker woman.”

Now, what I want to know is this: how can bullets strike a fleeing man “in the breast and stomach”?

Friday, November 22, 1912

Suffrage will win, said Dr. Anna Howard Shaw, president of the National Woman Suffrage association, at the forty-fourth annual convention of that organization in Philadelphia. “Heretofore we had to inspire enthusiasm; now we have to hold it down,” she declared. The convention took place in historic Independence square, which was filled to its capacity, with men predominating.

A man near Murphysboro killed a bald eagle that had been stealing fowl and pigs. Its wingspan was six feet and nine inches.

In Hood River, Oregon, there is a hunt on for a big brown bear that raided a raspberry patch, destroyed an apiary, and entered a kitchen. When it entered the caretaker’s sleeping room, he dove out an open window by his bed. “The flapping of his night shirt waving an adieu so suddenly in the cool morning breeze frightened the bear, which turned over a cupboard of jams and canned fruits in its hasty exit through the pantry.”

Thursday, November 14, 1912

James Cain, a farmer, appeared at the Lewis store where Margaret Lowry works as a bookkeeper and asked to escort her home. Months earlier she had rejected him, and so she refused, but he persisted until she agreed. On South Randolph street near her home, he exclaimed, “This is a good place,” and hit her twice on the back of the head with a hammer. Her condition is critical. The mangled body of her attacker, which could only be identified by his ring and hat, was found scattered along the Illinois Central track; it is believed to be a suicide.

James Eaton, the man who went mad with drink on election day and tried to kill a man at the polling place, was arrested yesterday. He was at the side of his dying baby and pleaded to be allowed to stay, but he was taken to the jail.

A Chicago woman was placing lighted blessed candles on the graves of relatives, when her clothing caught fire. A man ran to her and wrapped her in his overcoat, quenching the flames, but she was fatally injured.

After those stories of horror, I don’t know what to make of this next one. At first I thought it might be a made-up story because of the names. In Philadelphia, Magistrate Coward decided that it is no crime to call a policeman a “gink.” Policeman Pill of the vice squad had arrested Jack Hanlon, a former pugilist, whom he accused of calling him a gink while Pill was on duty. Said the judge, “I’m called worse things than that a dozen times a day. I don’t care how you take it. If that is all that the man said you had no right to arrest him.” During cross-examination by Hanlon’s lawyer, Pill admitted that he did not even know what the word meant.

Doomed Antarctic Expedition Found

On this day in 1912, the bodies of Captain Robert Scott and his two companions were found in their sleeping bags, buried in snow. “Great God! this is an awful place,” it says in Scott’s journal, “and terrible enough for us to have laboured to it without the reward of priority.” This is because he and his team thought they would be the first to reach the South Pole, but Norwegians had beat them to it by about a month.