Bluestocking Journal

Real history, through the eyes of a fictional person

Tag: trains

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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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.

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.

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.

Thursday, October 10, 1912

Two locomotive injuries are in the paper today. A man attempted to mount a moving Wabash engine, which had just started after a stop at the gas house crossing in Champaign, and fell beneath it, his leg being crushed off below the knee. He is in the Julia F. Burnham hospital, where he is reported to be in satisfactory condition.

A colored Pullman porter was alarmed by a crowd shouting what he took to be threats, when in actuality they were warning him of an approaching engine. “I heerd folks hollerin’ at me and it seemed dey wuz sayin’, ‘Ketch dat coon!—ketch ‘im! Dar he goes!’ Now it appears dat what dey sho’ nuff said was, ‘Look out for de keers, you blame fool niggah.” He was examined by a company surgeon, found to have a badly bruised hip, and taken to the poor farm.

There are rumors that a prize fight has been held, or may be held, in a barn near Mayview. Sheriff Davis is on the alert.

Garry Nordo, of Fifth and Vine streets in Champaign, has been “persecuted through some mysterious agency” for some time now. Last night a set of harness was stolen from his barn, and that was the last straw for Mr. Nordo. He sent to Paxton for a bloodhound, and this afternoon the hound (the charge of Deputy Sheriff Sid Cool) and a large crowd are on the trail of the “Black Hand,” which so far has led to north Race street in Urbana, near the city limits.