Bluestocking Journal

Real history, through the eyes of a fictional person

Tag: Urbana

Monday, December 30, 1912

Here is the entirety of a front-page article about a man who is not dead:

“A rumor circulated on the streets Saturday evening was that Neil (Army) Armstrong, who until recently lived at 910 West Illinois street, this ciyt [sic], had been killed. There were different reports as to the manner in which he met death, but all agreed on the main issue—that ‘Army’ was no more. On Sunday the story was proven to be a canard. Its origin was traced to a North Market street habitue who was having alcoholic hallucinations.”

In Kankakee, a Miss Mary Crocker is suing the highway commissioner of that county for $2,000. “She alleges that he attempted to kiss her and placed one arm around her, greatly to her embarrassment.”

The “Suffragette Pilgrims” have reached Albany ahead of schedule, having walked 174 miles from New York in twelve days. They will present a message to Governor-elect Sulzer advocating votes for women.

Monday, December 23, 1912

This is so sweet! The University students who were barred from the Saintz club dance—because they brought chorus girls as dates—got together their own impromptu dance in College Hall, with the four “Mother Goose” girls as guests of honor. “It was stated today that the young women belong to excellent families and that one’s mother is chaperoning the four while on the tour. Miss Nora Busey of this city is acquainted with them and had them for her guests on an automobile ride whie [sic] the company was here.”

From Rhinebeck, New York, comes the headline “RICH MEN HEAR SUFFRAGISTS.” Vincent Astor, Frederick Vanderbilt, Mrs. Vanderbilt, and Miss Huntington came upon the five suffragettes who are hiking to Albany, as the women were addressing a crowd of 300 in front of the hotel. “The five women have now covered 98 miles of their journey. All are in good spirits.”

And goodness me, there are female highwaymen (highwaywomen?) in Boston!

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.

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.

Thursday, December 12, 1912

Representative S. A. Roddenberry of Georgia has introduced a House resolution to “forbid the marriage of negroes and persons of any other color.” Angered by the recent marriage of “Jack” Johnson, a negro prize fighter, to Lucille Cameron, a white girl, in Chicago, Mr. Roddenberry spewed forth much vitriol. “We see an African with much brutal force, with no moral character, with no stamina, entering the office of a legal officer in that city, and calling on him to issue—’to Jack Johnson!’—a marriage license to wed a young American woman of our own blood, our own race, our own color. The young officer is directed to issue to the brute a legal certificate permitting a white woman in these days to be bound in the wedlock of black slavery.” Black slavery! He went on and on and on, apparently, and it looks as though the papers printed most of it. “No blacker incubus ever fixed itself upon the social politics of this republic than the embryonic cancer of negro marriage to white people that has lately been in evidence,” he emitted, probably turning redder and redder. “No more voracious parasite ever sucked at the heart of pure society and moral status than the one which welcomes or recognizes everywhere the sacred ties of wedlock between Africa and America.” What a horrible man. I feel sorry for his wife.

Meanwhile, Senator Benjamin F. Shively of Indiana disdained ether and chloroform before an operation in which his toe was to be removed. Instead, while it was being cut off, he smoked a cigar. I expect he hopes to be shot on his way to a speaking engagement so that he may give a speech while a bullet is in his chest, just like Theodore Roosevelt.

The Courier-Herald consulted various Urbana residents and came to the conclusion that the temperature last night dipped below zero. The headline is “MERCURY LOSES STANDING LOCALLY,” and below that, it says, “Weather Indicator Tries to Sneak Out of Bottom of Tube.”

Friday, December 6, 1912

Seventeen-year-old Elsie Slade, of Urbana, was taken into custody as a runaway in Danville. She had run away with two girls who had been visiting in Champaign. “They were arrested by a detective, who recognized the Wilson girl as unfit company for a lass of Miss Slade’s appearance.” Miss Wilson was arrested a couple of weeks ago, “following an encounter in a resort.”

In Quincy, a decree of divorce was granted to a fifteen-year-old mother of three children. She was married three years ago, and the charge was desertion.

The first jury of women in Idaho is apparently guilty of an “odd stunt,” because the hearing was adjourned while the jurors prepared the midday meals for their families, and they reached their verdict (finding a woman guilty of threatening a man with a revolver) in less than an hour.

Finally, there is a report from London that militant suffragettes decided at a recent meeting to blow up the lower house of Parliament if the government fails to adopt woman suffrage in a forthcoming bill, “according to a statement issued by a news agency.”

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.

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.”

Friday, November 29, 1912

Two Mahomet men were on their way to Urbana in an automobile Wednesday evening when the machine ran off a bridge six miles west of Champaign. They were found an hour later, pinioned beneath the overturned vehicle, unconscious from exposure, with only their heads above water. Neither was hurt badly, but they are suffering from nervous shock and it is feared they may develop pneumonia. “It is almost certain that had relief come thirty minutes later, both men would have died. The water was freezing rapidly and Thursday morning the stream was covered with ice nearly an inch thick.”

Another letter-box outrage, supposed to be the work of militant suffragists, was committed in the center of London. Acid was poured into letter boxes throughout the financial district, including Threadneedle street, the stock exchange and the Mansion house, the official residence of the lord mayor of London. Many letters were destroyed and much inconvenience was caused.” I am not sure how this vandalism came to be associated with suffragists, for it makes no sense to do such a thing and not at least claim responsibility for it. Perhaps they are convenient scape-goats?