Bluestocking Journal

Real history, through the eyes of a fictional person

Tag: police

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

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.

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.

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.

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”?

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:

Monday, November 18, 1912

Lester Noble, a Courier-Herald linotyper, was enjoying a late-night cigar at the Columbian hotel when he was drafted into service by Officer McClara of the police force. McClara whispered that there were burglars in Boyd’s bowling alley. “Noble’s luxuriant growth of hair began to protrude upward. ‘Let ’em burgle. I’m goin’ home,’ he said.” The officer insisted, though, and they made their way to the alley, where Noble fell over a box in the darkness and made a loud crash, warning the burglars, if there were any. “The praise Mr. Noble is receiving today is a soothing balm to his barked shins and fluttering nerves.”

A “suffragette army” completed its 400-mile walk from Edinburgh to London in five weeks. They went straight to Downing street to present a petition demanding suffrage for women, but “Premier Asquith, profiting from his experience of previous meetings with the vote-seeking women, had retired to the country.”

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.