Bluestocking Journal

Real history, through the eyes of a fictional person

Tag: mayhem

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”?


Wednesday, November 6, 1912

Woodrow Wilson will be our next president, and it looks as though the Democratic majority in the House of Representatives will go from 64 to 100; the Senate will probably go from a Republican majority of seven to a Democratic majority of one. Theodore Roosevelt said, “The American people by a great plurality have decided in favor of Mr. Wilson and the Democratic party. Like all other good citizens I accept the result with entire good humor and contentment.” The progressives did far better than the republicans overall. Governor Wilson said a great many things, but the odd bit that struck me was this: “I got up on a chair so that you could not see the patch upon my head.”

The democratic landslide was felt here as well. Congressman McKinley’s re-election bid was defeated by 800. “Boyd Blain, republican candidate for circuit clerk, alone survives the slaughter.” The unofficial chart of local district votes shows the progressives to be very strong. Roosevelt won in Illinois by over 85,000 votes. A straw vote at my school and and Leal School likewise went badly for Taft, although McKinley did far better.

An intoxicated man fired a shotgun at another man at the polling booth at the Collins store on Hill street. His first shot missed, but his sister managed to disarm him before he could get off another shot.

And to wrap up today’s election journal entry, I feel I must paste in this clothing shop advertisement:

Friday, November 1, 1912

“There was an exciting hairpulling, lasting at least five minutes, in front of Knowlton & Bennett’s drug store, shortly after 4 o’clock, Thursday afternoon. In this case, hairpulling is no figure of speech, for the three women involved, Mrs. Ethel Boley, Mrs. Bessie Slade and Mrs. Hazel Turner, made the rats and Marseille waves fly. The scrap has the same effect on the tonsorialists as a dog fight and the crowd that gathered around the combatants was liberally sprinkled with white coats from shops near and far.”

Charles Conway, a one-legged professional high diver, was arrested in Lima, Ohio, along with his wife. They were wanted in connection with the Chicago murder of Miss Sophia Singer, a Baltimore heiress. Conway admitted he knew he was wanted but denied any connection with the crime; his wife became hysterical. They had two suits of clothes, which they admit are the property of the murdered woman’s lover, in a trunk at their hotel room.

Speaking of murder, a man in Moline, angered when his ability as a musician was belittled, killed his life-long friend with a chair.

Wednesday, October 30, 1912

Forty different kinds of tobacco will be chewed by 125 enlisted men at the New York navy yard over the next six weeks, to decide which kind shall be bought for use in the navy. A year’s supply of tobacco for the navy is 200,000 pounds.

In Lincoln, Illinois, Aldred Whitaker spent eight years working on a perpetual motion machine while afflicted with locomotor ataxin and lying on his back. He died as he was completing the last section of his model.

Finally, the chief of police issued a proclamation this morning. “Only innocent fun will be tolerated on Thursday night, which is Hallowe’en. Any persons who are found destroying or in any way molesting property will be arrested and prosecuted,” Already several complaints have been made regarding young men hurling rocks through windows, tearing up cabbages and flower beds, and throwing bottles and other refuse against houses. “Without words of caution from the father or mother,” says the article, “the boy may well be expected to act the rowdy.”

Saturday, October 26, 1912

A young man in formal dress attended the informal gathering of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. No one knew him, and his embarrassment at being so formally dressed was evident. When he addressed the hostess, Mrs. Van Doren, as Mrs. Goss, the error was revealed. The young man, a student, had mistaken their home for that of Dean Goss of the university, where a formal reception was being held.

Some animals have caused excitement in Illinois. In Springfield, a baboon named Tom escaped from his cage at the engine house, where he has been a pet of the firemen. He went on an hour-long rampage, raiding fruit stands and biting four children. And near Shelbyville, a cow kicked a man who was milking her, killing him.

Friday, October 25, 1912

“President Taft will speak on national political issues at the court house in Urbana tonight. His address will be given in conjunction with that of Hon. John J. Brown of Vandalia. The latter will be here in person, but the president will not. His speech will be communicated by means of phonographic records, received today by the local republican committee.” Three colored women, sent by the National Progressive Bureau, will speak and sing at progressive headquarters in Champaign on Saturday night.

A mass meeting of university students will be held in the auditorium tonight to attempt to save football. It has been arranged by students, and every student will be asked to pledge not to riot. “It is believed that the orgie at the Walker opera house, Saturday night, struck the game a death blow and that nothing but an heroic effort will revive it.”

Thursday, October 24, 1912

This Peoria Herald-Transcript editorial by George Fitch, a well-known author, pokes fun at the U. of I. over its recent student rioting problem:

Dispatches we may expect from Illinois University during the coming winter.

Champaign, Oct. 30.—During a quiet little celebration over the defeat of Depauw on the gridiron seven hundred U. of I. students made a bonfire of the First Congregational church last night. All books in the public library were thrown on the blaze and the students marched round the burning structure singing, “What the Hell Do We Care?”

Champaign, Nov. 13.—During a class fight at Illinois University last night students blew up three of the University buildings with nitroglycerine. The trouble started when a gang of seniors compelled two freshmen to jump off the top of the water tower.

Champaign, Nov. 30.—The end of the football season was hilariously celebrated by University students last night. Seven policemen were lynched and hung at various points in the chapel and the legs were sawed off thirteen professors. This has been the most successful season in the University’s history, and the state will be asked to double its appropriation next year.

Wednesday, October 23, 1912

After the first day’s investigation of the student riot at the Walker opera house, the university has expelled two students. The comedy company that was playing at the Walker that night is suing the city of Champaign. “Local authorities look upon the matter pretty much as a joke and the suits are regarded as farces. Chief of Police Keller said that the police, although practically rendered powerless, did all in their power.”

A Quincy man was arrested by postal authorities after having confessed to an unusual method of counterfeiting. He pasted together the unmarked parts of canceled stamps so as to make a new stamp. And of the many suicides reported in the “Illinois News by Telegraph” column, the suicide of Alfred J. Kilty, a Michigan furniture upholsterer, stood out. Found dying of poison in a Decatur cemetery, he had left a note saying it was “nobody’s business why he had attempted suicide and that he had fixed everything to suit himself.”

Finally, here is another local advertisement that references the current political scene:

Monday, October 21, 1912

Following the Illinois football victory over Indiana, over five hundred university students stormed the Walker opera house on Saturday night, bombarding the building with bricks, breaking windows and battering down doors. A chorus girl fainted onstage. Another chorus girl was struck by a brick in the dressing room. Another on fell down the dressing-room stairs after fainting. A stage hand was struck on the head by a brick, and a Champaign High school student was knocked unconscious by a blow from a club.

The side door went down, and the crowd rushed in “but was halted by a line of determined stage hands, armed with clubs, hatchets and revolvers.” George Huff, the director of athletics at the university, mounted the fire escape and told the rioters, “Murder will inevitably result if this is not stopped. I certainly would not blame the theatre management if its men shot you. This is a disgrace to the university. If you want to kill football, you are taking the best way. These disturbances have been argued as a reason football should be abolished.”

His speech quelled the riot, but the mob soon reorganized and broke up Speaker Charles Adkins’ political meeting for the second time that evening. Earlier, the students had gathered around the automobile where Adkins, of the Illinois House of Representatives, was making a speech in the interests of President Taft and Congressman McKinley. “By hooting and firing revolvers, the gang forced Mr. Adkins to desist.”

Sunday, October 20, 1912

The new comic act at the Walker Theater is a “militant English suffragette” armed with a huge mallet, who sings a song and makes a speech. Also at the Walker is “The Village Lockup” (a sketch of rural life), the minstrels Moore and Browning, and the Kuma Japs.

Apparently there was a student riot at the opera house following the Illini football win, but the front page of Papa’s Daily Illini is missing today. I imagine there will be something in the Courier-Herald tomorrow about the riot.