Thursday, December 27, 2012

1898 - From Sabatis by Electrics

SABATIS, Me., Nov. 11 (Special) – When car 18 slid up the main street of Sabatis and finally anchored in the driving rain and slush by the co-operative steps at 6.20, Thursday night, a good number of passengers for Lewiston furled their umbrellas and boarded the car with a rush. Two people bent on seeing Old Kentucky in Music Hall; a number of day laborers 8 miles from home and supper; some Germans who intended to meet their brethren in the Shillerverein in Central Block; and two students were among the party, to say nothing of the dog – a black and white purp with solemn mein and melancholy eyes, whose cognomen “Sport” was as belying as the name Lillian when tacked on a plump brunette. Everyone settled himself for an immediate start, when the motorman grabbed the lever and started for a lunch room, and the conductor, with the remark that he “shouldn't start for fifteen minutes sure,” slumped after him. The student slammed his Latin grammar shut. “Ain't yergoin'?” said somebody. “Goin' home and go ter bed,” growled the student.

The man with the dinner pail started out to do a forgotten errand and the car door stuck. He struggled silently till he felt something violent was expected of him, when he remarked without a show of enthusiasm, “Damn the door.” And with that the jeers of the passengers proved the open sesame.

The man in the soft black felt passed his pocket piece across to the man in the brown felt, who carried off a hunk, and both ignored the City Hall motto that gentleman will not, others must not --. The purp rose and humped himself against the seat with a conscious air when any one moved. A kid on the platform suggestively shouted “all aboard” and another swung the go-ahead signal with a white lantern. The man with the burr of the Teutonic race under his tongue remarked on the apparent appetite of the motorman, while the quiet man broke his silence to move an adjournment. The car finally rolled out of the village at 7.15. The trolley buzzed and whined on the wire. The flames danced overhead in glints of diabolical fire and flashed peppermint greens and goblin blues on the snow. The power came in jerks that made the teeth of the purp rattle like castanets. Four and five lunges were made at every grade, and six and seven times did the car go back to gain impetus at the foot of Thorn Hill, which retreating, the man with the burr in his speech said was like the Spaniards. In an interval of inky blackness while the power was off, a cheery orchestra man piped up on the “Georgia Campmeeting.” The car finally reached Lewiston at 8.35. The theatre-goers looked blue, the vereiners had missed their meeting, the purp gingerly picked his way through the icy mud on Lisbon street, and sighed for a warm Sabatis fireside – and the slush on the rails was at the bottom of it all.

Lewiston Evening Journal, Lewiston, Maine, Friday, November 11, 1898

Thursday, December 20, 2012

1911 - Triangle Waist Company Fire, New York City

 “...I learned a new sound--a more horrible sound than description can picture. It was the thud of a speeding, living body on a stone sidewalk.

Thud-dead, thud-dead, thud-dead, thud-dead. Sixty-two thud-deads. I call them that, because the sound and the thought of death came to me each time, at the same instant. There was plenty of chance to watch them as they came down. The height was eighty feet.The first ten thud-deads shocked me. I looked up-saw that there were scores of girls at the windows. The flames from the floor below were beating in their faces. Somehow I knew that they, too, must come down, and something within me-something that I didn't know was there-steeled me...

I looked upon the heap of dead bodies and I remembered these girls were the shirtwaist makers. I remembered their great strike of last year in which these same girls had demanded more sanitary conditions and more safety precautions in the shops. These dead bodies were the answer.

Article written by eye-witness - William Shepherd. Published in Milwaukee Journal, Wisconsin, March 27, 1911.

In November of 1909, 20,000 women garment industry workers went on strike to protest poor working conditions. These women worked long hours in horrible conditions. In some cases, their employers even locked the emergency exits to keep out the labor unions. In March 25, 1911, their nightmare came true. Workers, mostly in their teens, were trapped inside the burning building in which they were employed, the Triangle Waist Company in New York City. With emergency doors locked from the outside and a failing elevator, they had two choices: burn in the fire or jump out the window. Unfortunately, they were on the 8th floor. 141 people perished that day.


A STUDY IN SOCIOLOGY – A Lewiston woman tells the following story of an experience on a Lewiston city street, suggestive, yet humorous in its climax, but worth the telling for the revelation it is, of the conditions altogether too prevalent and in the utmost deplorable. The woman in question, not “young and giddy,” but well settled down in years, was passing down Park street last Sunday evening a little before seven o'clock. She had nearly reached the church door when two men came along. One, as she neared, spoke naturally. “Good evening.” Thinking he was one of the church attendants, she returned the salutation. Upon this, the other man dropped behind and the first speaker stepped along beside her, continuing the conversation with an inquiry if she could tell him where he could find any good lodging for the night. This might have been embarrasing, but the woman was quick witted and answered, “Why, there are plenty of good lodgings to be had in the city. If you are a stranger here come with me and I will introduce you to someone who can assist you.” By this time she had reached the church door, and as she stepped upon the threshold repeated her invitation, “Come in: I know some young men here who can help you.” But the “stranger” had disappeared.

Pertinent to the question in point was the incident and conversation observed and overheard scarcely three Sundays ago on Sabatis street. Two church-going people, one elderly and therefore a slow pedestrian, came along on their way to the morning service. Near the old cemetery on that street they approached a group of three, two young girls, neither of whom was out of her teens and one man, not under forty years of age. It was evident from their conversation, which was easily overheard, that the two girls and the man were strangers. He was trying to persuade one of the girls to go with him to meet another man. As the two pedestrians passed by and along, the three moved after them. Just over the brow of the hill they met another elderly man, leaning against a tree, loitering there with no apparent purpose. As the group of three approached in the rear the man was overheard to say to the girls: “Ah! Here is the man I was telling you about. Let me give you an introduction.”

What the outcome was with those two young, light-hearted though giddy maidens and the two old and wily men can only be conjectured. But that these are the genesis of Jessie Cobb tragedies and Abbie Whitney cases cannot be disputed. “These things are a menace,” said a Lewiston citizen in speaking emphatically upon this subject. “They are a part of the lawlessness which seems of late to have taken possession of the city. At least it has become more self-evident, perhaps because the public is awakening to it, the Journal is pointing it out.

Evil seems to go on unchecked. This may sound pessimistic, but these are facts. Dr. Stuckenburg states the truth of the case, that before anything can be accomplished for the betterment of conditions, the latter must be faced and understood. These things are going on. Can they be stopped? By whom? When? Dr. Stuckenburg gave the answer when he said: 'The good people must unite against evil and for the enforcement of law. Not till then will anything be accomplished.' Do away with party politics in municipal affairs. Let a clean, honest, law-abiding citizens' ticket carry the day at the March election.”

Lewiston Evening Journal, Lewiston, Maine, Thursday, December 13, 1900

1896 - Love Lessons from the Lowly

Indeed we may smile, as we often do, at the primitive customs of the lowly, and their homely phrase of “keeping company.” It makes a delightful jest. But beneath it is a greater regard for the rights of a man or woman in love than one is apt to find higher in the social scale. With them to select one another “to keep company” is like an offer of marriage. “To keep steady company” is the formal announcement of an engagement, which is a potential marriage. It is the first step toward matrimony, and it is almost as sacred and final. With their moro fortunate and envied sisters in the smart set and engagement is the loosest kind of a bond, and neither man nor woman is safe from the wooing of other men and women until the marriage vows have been pronounced, and, if your society is very fashionable, not even then. So that this society of which I speak would undeniably be called “good.” - Ladies' Home Journal
Plain Dealer, Ohio, November 16, 1896

1886 - History of a Pill Box

Hello, what's this!” exclaimed a Lewiston sewing-machine agent, as he picked a pill-box out of the drawer of a sewing-machine, Thursday morning, and unscrewing the lid disclosed a very pretty gold locket. “She didn't happen to open the the box, now did she.” continued he, musing. Finally, when he got ready, this was the story that he told. The sewing machine was rented to a Lewiston woman who shortly after receiving it, died and was buried. The household was broken up and the house girl claiming the machine, was allowed to have it removed. The family scattered, the sewing-machine man lost trace of the machine and so far as any income to him it might as well have been interred with the woman who hired it. The other day, however, he got a clue of it. It was still in the possession of the house girl, and one day recently the sewing-machine agent stopped before her door, told her of his discovery of the little game, and like a sensible girl she made plain and satisfactory the explanation and delivered over the machine. Preliminary to doing this, however, she ransacked the drawers of the machine. Everything of value was hers. Of all the many things in them, only a few did she leave. Among them was the pill-box which she tossed over with a remark, “I don't take pills. That ain't mine.” The pill-box when opened, revealed the gold locket.

Lewiston Evening Journal, Lewiston, Maine, May 6, 1886

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

1887 - MCARTHY’S FATAL NAP. While Intoxicated He Falls Asleep on the Railroad at Derby and is Run Over.

John McCarthy a moulder employed at DeForest’s iron works at Shelton, while asleep on the track of the Naugatuck railroad at Derby last night was struck by the south bound train which passes that point about 11 o’clock. He was so terribly bruised that it is though impossible for him to live the day out. He had been drinking liquor freely during the night and while in an intoxicated condition wandered on the track and fell asleep near Stilling’s saloon. He resided in Brooklyn but has friends in Naugatuck and his acquaintances speak well of him. He was a young unmarried man.

New Haven Register
New Haven, Connecticut
16 Jun 1887


POUGHKEEPSIE, N. Y., June 28, 1872. One of the most wonderful escapes from death ever recorded in the history of railroads occurred near the ill-fated New Hamburg drawbridge, on the Hudson River Railroad, at twenty minutes past ten o'clock last night. Just before that hour James Carter, who works for Mr. Faulkner in the brick yards near New Hamburg, was walking up the track toward that station, and about a mile south of it. Upon his back he carried an empty trunk. Looking ahead he suddenly discovered a train coming south on the same track on which he was walking north. It was close upon him, and he had to hurry to get out of the way. In doing so, and not thinking of any other danger, he jumped aside to the east track, just as the second Pacific express came along bound north. The latter train was five or ten minutes behind time and was running like lightning. The locomotive was the same one which ran into the draw on the memorable 6th of February. The engineer saw the man, and whistled for brakes and shut off steam at the same time, but without success. The engine struck Carter with full force and hurled him and his trunk at least twenty feet into the air and just a trifle ahead of the locomotive, so that when he alighted he fell upon the pilot and the trunk fell upon the platform under the headlight, knocking off the brass signal light. The fireman of the engine crawled out of the window of the cab, and, hurrying along the railing to the front end of the locomotive, found the trunk as stated, and, looking over it and down upon the pilot discovered the man jolting along on the iron bars, head downwards, near the track, but not touching it, and with feet hanging over the heavy beam to which the pilot is attached. His coat had caught in the draw bar, and he was held as securely as if in a vise. To make things doubly sure the fireman seized him and held on with a death grip till the train stopped at New Hamburg station, and the fireman and engineer removed him. He was entirely unconscious, and when the express left the engineer and fireman supposed he was dying. The station folks, as soon as the train departed, hurried to Dr. Downing's residence, a long distance off, who did not arrive till two A. M. Upon examining the body not a bone was found broken nor were any cuts visible. Upon the mustache were spots of blood, but they must have come from the nose, as no abrasions of the skin were found anywhere. As the examination was proceeding Carter suddenly returned to consciousness, and with a half idiotic stare wanted to know how far he was from Hughsonville, his destination. He could not remember anything about being struck by the train, and complained of bruises and pains in his left leg, but no hurts were found there. He was conveyed to the place he wished to go to, Dr. Downing deeming him entirely out of danger. This morning his condition was much improved, but he is very sore. It was certainly a remarkable affair, and the details cannot be exaggerated. All the surroundings were of a fearful character. His clothes were torn in many places, and his hat and one shoe were found by the side of the signal light south of the drawbridge.

New York Herald, New York, NY
June 29, 1872

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

1915 - Miss Corn Weds Mr. Cobb

Miss Jessie Margaret Corn and Stanley Duncan Cobb were married at noon at the home of Mrs. J. A. Corn on North Santa Fe street. When Cobb went to the clerk of records office to get the marriage license the clerk refused to issue it thinking it was a practical joke. It was not until the bride's mother insisted that the Corn-Cobb wedding was on the level that the license was issued. Cobb shelled out for the license and said he expected to be shelling out for Mrs. Cobb and the little nubbins the rest of his life. -- El Paso Dispatch Los Angeles Times.

Fort Worth Star Telegram
November 5, 1915

Sunday, July 15, 2012

1904 - Fire Hose Attacks Crowd

Nozzle Slipped from Man's Grasp, Injuring Several.
Moved Like Huge Serpent, Striking Persons on Head and Breaking Kenneth H. Gayle's Leg. Special to The Washington Post.

Norfolk, Va., Aug. 20 During the test of a fire engine in Portsmouth tonight Kenneth H. Gayle was severely injured, and the engine, which had just arrived from the factory, was severely disabled. Shortly after 6 o'clock tonight, when the test began, the nozzle slipped from the grasp of the man directing the hose and threw hundreds of gallons of water into a crowd of spectators. Edward Broughton was struck on the head by the nozzle, and Edward Alexander was knocked to the ground and severely injured.

Mr. Gayle was conversing with Chief Murden, of the Portsmouth fire department, and before any one could go to the assistance of the unfortunate man the line of hose, which was wildly sweeping the street with its serpentine coils, would around the body fo the prostrate man. Mr. Gayle was quickly extricated from his perilous position, and it was found that he was suffering from a compound fracture of the leg and other injuries.

Matthew Glenn, fifteen years old, was also struck by the heavy nozzle and received a severe scalp wound. The engine was immediately shut down after the first series of accidents, and shortly after 7 o'clock preparations were made for the second test. The engine was started and the safety-valve immediately blew out, almost creating a panic among the large crowd. The escape of steam from the boiler broke the glass in the windows of the residence of Mrs. Ivey Luke, of 1300 Washington street. Mrs. Luke, who was standing in the door of her home, was knocked down, but was not seriously injured.

The Washington Post, Washington, DC
August 21, 1904

1912 - Sleepwalked into a Well


Talledega, Ms., October 31. - Gus Wallace, a well known negro of this vicinity was discovered early Wednesday morning standing in a well come thirty feet deep holding on to the bucket chain and in four feet of water.

It seems that while asleep he got up out of bed and went out into the yards and with the assistance of the chain used for drawing water let himself down into the well where he remained until morning. When he was discovered he was still apparently asleep. He states that he remembered nothing of the matter except being found in the well.

The Columbus Enquirer-Sun, Columbus, Georgia
November 1, 1912

1908 - Killed by a Wash Tub

Death Results From Tub Falling on the Baby.

MEAD, Neb., Sept. 3. - Tuesday morning, while Mrs. Peter Hansen, who lives east of this place, was doing some washing, her little two-year-old daughter upset a wash tub which stood on a box. The tub struck the child in the stomach with such force that death resulted from the injury.

The Nebraska State Journal, Lincoln, Nebraska
September 4, 1908

1910 - Saved by a Strong Clothesline

Five-Story Fall Didn’t Feaze [sic] Him
Seven-Year-Old, Emulating Feats of Firemen, Drops Through Tenement Clothes Lines. Four Broke Under Him
Fifth Held and a Neighbor Rescues Him-”I Ain’t Hurt; I Could Do It Again,” His Comment.

The conventional hero of melodrama whose life hung by a single thread was only a humdrum hero compared to 7-year-old Isidore Bloom of 25 Market Street, whose life hung successfully from five clotheslines in a roof-to-courtyard fall yesterday afternoon. Four of the five clotheslines which marked the periods in his fall weren’t as good as they should have been, and broke under him. If it hadn’t been for the fifth-but there by hung the tale-and Izzy.

Isidore thought he’d play fireman late yesterday afternoon, so he stepped out upon the fire escape from a window in his home on the fifth floor of the building, and started up a small ladder to the roof, to perform heroic rescued. While rescuing a non-existent damsel from a place of peril in the cornice under the roof, Izzy lost his balance and fell into some very real peril. In a moment he saw the world upside down.

Mrs. Louis Levine of 109 Madison Street, just across the airshaft, whose eleven-year-old son, Louis, had been killed in a similar fall two weeks ago, saw the boy falling, and, feeling that he would be dashed to death, fainted at her window.

But instead Isidore tested the strength of the clothesline stretched from his fifth floor window. So in passing he grabbed it with one hand, reversed his inverted position, and hung on. Only for a moment, however, then the line sagged, stretched, and broke, and Isidore continued his travels.

There was another clothesline on the fourth floor, and Isidore made it his second resting place. This line also broke. Isidore screamed and continued his descent. The clothesline on the third floor was beneath him, so he reached out for it and grabbed it. There his father, Herman Bloom, attracted to the fire escape by the boy’s scream, saw him. As Father Bloom reached the third floor window he saw the clothesline sag, tremble, and snap, and his boy vanish beneath the window.

But Izzy grabbed the clothesline on the second floor; that also broke, but Providence was steadfast, and the last rope, spanned from the first floor, proved stanch and strong.

There Julius Gessof, who lives on the first floor of the house next door, reached out and rescued him by the nape of the neck. Gessof lifted the boy into his flat and began to feel for bruised and broken bones.

“Aw, let me go!” cried Izzy, “I’m not hurt.”

Then he broke away and ran out into the hall and down to the street.

There he met his father and mother, both of whom were frantic with grief and lamenting him as one that was dead. When they saw the lively young ghost running toward them they almost made him a real ghost in the enthusiasm of their embraces.

“Let me down,” gasped Izzy, “I’m not hurt. I could do it again.”

Nevertheless the parents were sure that some bones must be broken, and insisted on calling a doctor from Gouverneur Hospital. Dr. Eberle, after a minute examination, discovered one tiny scratch in Izzy’s face and a slight abrasion under one arm, where the last rope caught him. Isidore himself cut short the physician’s examination of him:

“Stop, doctor, you only tickle me,” he said. “It wasn’t a real fall. I liked it.”

When Izzy was awakened by a reporter who wanted to question him last night he was very angry.

“I never saw the like,” he said, “I only fell.”

The New York Times, New York, New York
July 31, 1910

Friday, July 13, 2012

1904 - A Button Saved His Life

Button Saved His Life
Special to The Inquirer

READING, Pa., Aug. 17 - A button saved the life of Allen R. Dunkelberger when he and several friends were engaged in target practice with a .32-calibre revolver. As one of his companions pulled the trigger, Dunkelberger, who had his back turned, faced about and happened to step in the way. The bullet hit him in the stomach, but encountered a metal button, which broke its force. The bullet penetrated Dunkelberger's flesh, but he extracted it himself and walked home.

Philadelphia Inquirer
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
August 18, 1904

1891 - Man Killed While Lowering Flag

Janitor David Leonard Fatally Injured.

David Leonard, janitor of the county building and a member of the G.A.R., was fatally injured last night while lowering the flag from the top of the building. He went to the fourth floor and then climbed a ladder reaching to the flagstaff. In descending the ladder he missed his footing and fell to the basement. His head struck the electric light wires strung about ten feet from the bottom and almost severed the top of his skull.

Chicago Herald
Chicago, Illinois
May 31, 1891

1880 - Sad Accident - Families Switched Houses Resulting in Two Accidents

Sad Accident.

A little child four years of age, of Mr. Webster of Canaan, was fatally scalded last Friday, by falling into a pail of boiling water, which its mother had prepared for washing the floor. The family had but just that day moved into their new home.

The same day a Mrs. Shackford, a lady about sixty years of age, through a misstep, fell the entire length of the cellar stairs, breaking several ribs, and otherwise seriously injuring her—though not fatally.

The Webster and Shackford families had exchanged houses that day, Mr. Webster moving into Mr. Shackford’s house and the latter into the house formerly occupied by Mr. Webster, and both met with injuries narrated.

The People and New Hampshire Patriot
Concord, New Hampshire
22 Apr 1880

1905 - Felled by a Crowbar

Felled By A Crowbar

Serious Injury to Valley Traction Employee Through Odd Mishap
Special Dispatch to The Patriot.

Boiling Springs, May 19. - Henry Miller, an employee of the Valley Traction Company, suffered a very serious accident yesterday which might have resulted fatally.

A piece of track which had been raised, had been kept in place by a very heavy crowbar, which was fastened under a fence nearby, the entire weight of the track resting on one end of the bar.

Miller, seeing that the other end of the crowbar had a very slight hold on the fence, began to make it more secure, when the end flew up, striking him fairly on the top of his nose, inflicting a very deep and severe wound and knocking him off his feet.

As the workmen were near Carlisle, Miller was taken there to have his wound dressed and was then brought to his home in this place.

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
May 20, 1905

1894 - Disaster to a Circus Wagon


Rondout, N. Y., July 14. - A circus, which showed in this city to-night, met with a serious accident while coming here from Rosendale this morning. The heavy wagon in which the big canvas tent was drawn by four horses started from Rosendale about 4 o'clock, but came to a sudden stop near Whiteport, and is there yet.

While going down a steep hill the leadres of the four-in-hand became frightened and ran away, taking the other animals in a mad race down the hill. The wagon was badly broken, and when it struck a gully the driver, HARRY CARTWRIGHT, was thrown heavily to the ground, receiving serious injuries. His back was badly hurt, and his head had several ugly gashes cut in it. He was left at a saloon near by. The two leading horses fell at the foot of the hill and were both badly cut up. Three other wagons broke down during the journey.

The New York Times, New York
July 15, 1894

1867 - Fireworks Explosion NYC


Yesterday afternoon at 5:30 o'clock, as EDWARD KENNY, a porter in the employ of Messrs. Purdy & Co., dealers in fireworks, at No. 34 Maiden Lane, was engaged in nailing the lid of a case containing a large quantity of "Union" torpedoes, he inadvertently drove a nail through one of the packages and a terrific explosion ensued, when KENNY was thrown several feet off, and sustained several serious external and internal injuries.

The contents of the case were entirely destroyed, the front window was blown out and the stock in the store somewhat disarranged, though no further explosions took place. The clerk in the store, MR. F. D. SMITH, was slightly injured by the concussion. MR. KENNY was removed to the New York Hospital, where he remains under treatment in a critical condition. The damage occasioned by the explosion to store and stock is estimated at $200.

The alarm bells range out the signal "No. 6" on the supposition that there was a fire. While Engine No. 12 was running down town in obedience to the alarm the engine knocked down and ran over JOSEPH BROCK, a native of Germany, 46 years of age, and residing at No. 96 Cherry Street. The accident occurred in the square in front of the Times Office, and MR. BROCK was very severely injured. He was carried to the New York Hospital. His recovery is considered doubtful.

New York Times, New York, New York
June 16, 1867

1898 Ad - The Spokesman-Review, Spokane, Washington

FLAG DAY, Tuesday, June 14.

Over 10,000,000 flags have been sold in the United States since April 21st.

June 14, 1777, the Congress of the United States adopted our present flag. Celebrate the day by hanging out the Stars and Stripes.

And do not forget to lay in your Fourth of July goods early. Largest stock of fireworks, Flags, Balloons, etc., ever in the city.

John W. Graham & Company.
Flags, Fireworks, Hammocks, Sporting Goods, etc.
Fireworks Store, 818 Sprague.

The Spokesman-Review, Spokane, Washington
Sunday Morning, June 12, 1898