Archive for February 4th, 2009

Dahlman & Middleton: Characters of the Old West

February 4, 2009
Jim Dahlman and Doc Middleton

Jim Dahlman and Doc Middleton

Last Week’s Picture

In 1910 Omaha’s Mayor James C. Dahlman (nearest the camera) used an auto during his unsuccessful campaign, from a “wet” platform, for the governorship. He promised to serve free beer on the Statehouse lawn on his inauguration day, but lost the election to Chester Aldrich.

“Cowboy Jim” Dahlman left Texas in his late teens as a fugitive from justice. In 1878, at age 22, he made his way to Sidney, assuming the name of Jim Murray. From there, in the dead of winter, he took a stagecoach northward. The stage was so crowded that passengers had to take turns walking alongside, despite a six-inch snowfall. This proved too much for Dahlman-Murray, who drew his gun, ordered everyone out of the stage, climbed in himself and threatened to shoot the first man who suggested he walk again.

Dahlman worked on a ranch north of Gordon, then operated a cattle ranch and meat market in Chadron. He was elected sheriff of Dawes County for three terms and mayor of Chadron for two terms, then moved to Omaha. There he soon became involved in politics again and was elected mayor, serving in that office from 1906 until his death in the early 1930s, with the exception of three years.

The man in the left rear seat of the auto is said to be Doc Middleton, another character of the Old West.

Lincoln Evening Journal (Lincoln, Nebraska) Aug 17, 1975

He Hired a Man to Kick Him

February 4, 2009


A Chicago Parent’s Sensible Advice to a Blushing Lover.
From the Milwaukee Sun.

A queer case has just come to light in Chicago. A young man spent an evening with his girl, and during the evening, while the family was present in the parlor, he was as demure and bland and child-like as could be wished. The mother came into the room after the family had retired, to get a handkerchief she had left, and the young man was seated in a chair in the middle of the room, while the girl was seated on a sofa, and nothing that the mother could see in the actions of either led her to think they were more than passing acquaintances. It seemed to her as though the young people had met before, but there was no evidence that they were very well acquainted. All night, after he had gone, the girl complained of a pain in her side, and in the morning a doctor was called, and he found that two of the girl’s ribs were broken. How it was done nobody knew. The girl could not tell for the life of her, though she blushed when asked about it, and the mother looked very wise as she looked at the doctor. The doctor made some inquiries, set the ribs and went away, and the girl proceeded to recover.

That evening the young man called and was astonished when informed of the extent of the young girl’s injuries, and wondered how it could have happened, though the mother watched his face close as he spoke, and detected not only a blush  but a profuse perspiration on his face. She had been a girl once herself, and though she had never had any ribs broken she had been hugged some. It was a trying position for all of them. The father was away on a trip to Wisconsin, and when he came home the matter had to be explained to him. He was told that the ribs just simply broke themselves, and that neither the mother nor the girl nor the young man could account for it, and yet all three of them blushed terribly. The father patted his girl on the head, told her she would be better when she got over it, and then called the young man into the library. The young man was so weak he could hardly walk, and when he sat down he took out a handkerchief and mopped his brow and wished he was dead. The father looked the young man over and was sorry. He finally said:

“Young man, I guess I can give you some points on hugging. You must first learn that a girl is not constructed on the same principle of an iron fence or a truss bridge. A girl is a delicate piece of mechanism, like a fine watch, full of little springs, wheels, jewels, &c. The breaking of any one of these would cause her to cease keeping time and necessitate her being taken to a jeweler for repairs. In hugging a girl you don’t want to go at it as if you were raking and binding, or catching sturgeon. I know that where the family sits up late with a young couple and spoils several precious hours of hugging, that unless the young man has a good head when left alone with the object of his affection, that he is liable to overdo the matter and try to make up for lost time. He seems to want to hug up a lot ahead, and grabs the girl as though he wanted to break her in two. This is wrong. You should go at it calmly and deliberately, even prayerfully, and be as gentle as though she was an ivory fan. The gentle pressure of the hand that a girl loves, even the touch, is as dear to her as though you run her through a stone crusher. You should not grab her as you would a bag of oats, and leave marks on her that will last a lifetime. A loving woman should not be made to feel that her life is in danger unless she wears a corset made of boiler-iron. I hope this will be a lesson to you, and hereafter, if you cannot control your feelings, I will provide a wooden Indian for you to practice on at first, until you have developed your muscle and got tired, and then we can turn our daughter loose in a room with you and not feel that it is necessary to keep a surgeon handy. In allowing you to keep company with my daughter I do not agree to provide you with a human gymnasium, dressed in a Mother Hubbard wrapper and wearing bangs. You can readily see that a girl would not last a season through if she had to have ribs set once a week. Please think this thing over, and if the girl is well enough next Sunday you can drop in and try a hat-rack for an hour or two, and have it repaired in the morning.”

The young man went out into the night air, took his hat off to cool his head, and hired a man to kick him.

Trenton Times, The (Trenton, New Jersey) Oct 11, 1883

Whangdoodle in Rhyme

February 4, 2009
A Captured Moonshine Still

A Captured Moonshine Still

The Whangdoodle.
O.J. Coffin tells, in The Charlotte Observer, the why and wherefore of the whangdoodle’s mourning:

“Oh, why do th’ whangdoodle allus mourn
Whar th’ woodbine creep an’ twine?
He worried too much ’bout how ter live
An’ too dang littul ’bout dyin’.

“Th’ whangdoodle helt a guvmint job,
Revenuer er sumpin sich like,
An’ he harried my kin like a houn-dawg uv sin —
They wuz minners chased by a pike.

“A’ter he’d sent ’em all down ter Atlanty
Fer makin’ good licker an’ white,
He had th’ teemerity, him an’ a depity,
Ter visut my still one nite.

“Oh, why do th’ whangdoodle allus mourn
An’ nash his teeth an’ whine?
He worried too much ’bout how ter live
An’ too dang littul ’bout dyin’.”

The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) > 1915 > October > 20

The Charlotte Observer

The Charlotte Observer

From North Carolina Newspapers in Education website:

Portrait of a Journalist

Oscar Jackson “Skipper” Coffin (1887–1956) – As the first dean of the School of Journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, O. J. Coffin was something of a maverick. He preferred that the school’s professors teach from experience, not from a textbook. Coffin quoted the Bible frequently, and his determination to use proper English made him a respected journalist and teacher. [Emphasis Mine]

Before his tenure at the university, Coffin worked as a reporter for the Asheboro Courier, a sports editor for the Winston-Salem Journal, and news editor for the Charlotte Observer.