Thursday, December 20, 2012


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