Bluestocking Journal

Real history, through the eyes of a fictional person

Tag: explosives

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.

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.

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:

Thursday, September 12, 1912

A passenger aboard a local interurban car was carrying three sticks of dynamite. The conductor wired for instructions and was told to put the man off the car. The passenger at first refused to leave but finally did so without trouble. (He was a coal miner.)

“One hears the terrible twang indigenous to this country issuing from kissable coral lips, hears maids in the finest raiment speaking with the hoarseness of ravens or with voices as badly managed as those of monkeys,” says the writer of a column on health and beauty hints. She goes on to explain how one may improve the voice.

Women Republicans of Idaho will hold a woman-only convention this week, presenting a full state ticket with women as the candidates. “They are disgusted at the wrangling within party ranks.”