Bluestocking Journal

Real history, through the eyes of a fictional person

Tag: railroad

Friday, December 20, 1912

The first trip over the new electric line between Kankakee and Urbana was a rousing success. Congressman William B. McKinley, the president of the ITS, bought ticket No. 1 with a bid of $100, and F. K. Robeson secured No. 2 for $50. Children at schools along the track were dismissed to see the car go by, and one lucky class was invited aboard the second car for the remainder of the trip. At Thomasboro, the passengers were greeted by the village brass band at the gaily decorated new station. Everyone expected the trip to end there, as the trolley wire is only up as far as Thomasboro, but instead they were taken to the end of the new track, just south of Rantoul; this was accomplished by coupling a steam locomotive to the electric cars.

President Taft is very cross with the president of Mexico, and the United States is on the verge of occupying that country. Four warships are at the ready in Mexican waters.


Thursday, December 19, 1912

An odd story appeared on the front page today, with the headline “NEGRO WAS UP TO SOME LAWLESSNESS.” Below the headline, it says, “Mulatto Skulks Behind Trees on West Main Street and Runs When Discovered—Acts Strangely.” For the life of me, I cannot understand why this warrants a story in the newspaper. Here is the article in its entirety:

As W. E. Cook of South Busey avenue was returning home at 8 o’clock Wednesday night, a negro, who had been hiding behind a tree in the 500 block on West Main street, darted out and ran by him. Getting some distance ahead of Cook, the man began walking slowly, evidently waiting for the former to overtake him. Cook armed himself with a brick, whereupon the negro ran south on Coler avenue, but returned to Main street after waiting for Cook to get out of sight. The prowler is described as a tough looking mulatto.

In Peoria, railroad men caught three girl hobos. The girls said they had been on the road for weeks, having traveled many hundreds of miles, and were happy. They were bound for Lexington, Missouri. “The fair tramps had all the train times down in a little notebook.”

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.

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.

Saturday, November 30, 1912

The Illinois Central railroad will establish a town near its new shops, a mile and three quarters directly north of Urbana, out Lincoln avenue. “Connection with Urbana by an extension of the Lake Shore line of the street railway system will be a matter of but a short time and it does not require much foresight to realize what the new town will eventually become a suburb of Urbana.” Villa Grove was started the same way a few years ago, by the Frisco Railroad Co., and it has grown into a city of about 3,000 inhabitants.

“When Bass Shriver was led forth from the city prison this morning to answer to a charge of intoxication, he was greeted by many friends, all ready to pay his fine should he be broke. The popular Bass pleaded guilty and paid out.”

Wednesday, September 18, 1912

An oddly dressed new university student named Hiram Perkins caused a stir. “Clad in short, tight fitting, black pants and a high cut gray suit and wearing seven league plough shoes, and a yiddisher hat, he furnished a spectacle fit for the homesick eye of the freshmen and supercilious glance of the upperclassmen. Around his neck he wore a waterproof collar bedecked with a red bow tie, which well matched the blue shade of his eyeglasses.” He also carried a red telescope somehow laden with many quarts of canned fruits, and his Galesburg high school diploma kept falling from his coat pocket. He was trailed by a crowd as he inquired for rooms at several fraternity houses.

A Chinese graduate of the university returned home and now, eighteen months later, is the director and manager of the biggest railroad in China. Another Illinois graduate has won first prize in an international competition for the design of the Australian federal capital. Strangely, Australia has not ever had a capital; the proposed site is at Yass-Canberra, about two hundred miles from Sidney.

The May term of county court has ended, and a large number of criminal cases were stricken. Almost all of the cases continued have to do with liquor, and of those, the majority are for selling liquor in anti-saloon territory.

James Watkins, a Nevada miner, was jailed for stealing a pair of lace curtains, and he asked the jailer to see that his pet cats were fed. He was laughed at, and that night he broke out of jail and walked forty miles across the desert to feed his cats. “The charge against Watkins probably will be dismissed, his accuser having been impressed by the miner’s affection for his pets.”