Archive for March, 2009

Poetry of Gold

March 31, 2009
image from

image from

For the Huron Reflector
All for California.

Gold is echoed through the land,
And tons of it untold they say,
Lie scattered on our western strand,
In far off California.

The sound has charms for every ear,
And oft is sung in poet’s lay;
But when before did like appear,
As now in California.

The gold of Ophir, Oh, nonsense,
To name it at this time of day!
It sounds like county bogus pence,
To gold in California.

The streams, the sands, the hills are gold,
And trees their fruits of gold display;
They gather it by loads we’re told,
Away in California.

The world’s agog, from old to young,
Seized with this monomania;
At wonders told, by every tongue,
Of gold in California.

The farmer leaves his plow, his tools
The stout mechanic throws away;
And stripling scholars leave their schools,
To go to California.

The crafty merchant locks his store,
The lawyer throws his fee away,
The doctor kicks his pill bags o’er,
And starts for California.

The soldier quits his country’s flag,
The sailor leaves his ready pay;
The halt, the lame the blind, all beg
Their way to California.

There is a story told “down east,”
As strange, but truthful, rumors say;
A church and people, and their priest,
Were off for California.

With hasty steps, and head erect,
No time his genteel debts to pay,
You meet the fop — as you expect,
He’s bound for California!

This golden mania ’tis said,
Is like the hydrophobia;
For even here the dogs run mad,
And start for California.

All honest toil is now disgrace;
The sure old fashioned steady way
To wealth, is by our present race,
Despised for California.

The ties of friendship and of blood,
Forgotten now, as more delay,
“Home, sweet home,” and all that’s good,
Are left for California.

Deluded men, for wealth you cast,
The precious pearls of life away;
Your golden dreams you’ll find are past,
When you’re in California.

Like cooling lakes as seeming near,
In deserts of Arabia;
On your approach, they disappear,
So gold of California.

Norwalk, O March 3, 1849.

Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio) Mar 6,  1849



Middle-aged, young and old, away,
While bright the sun shines, make your hay;
(I’m singing you no idle lay,)
Get ringlets false if hair is grey;
List not what truant lovers say
Or recollect some future day;
The marriage flag is up, I warn ye —
Headquarters lie in California!

In that fair region, I am told,
By handfulls you may clutch the gold,
Each lady’s love is bought and sold,
(Ah! shame the secret to unfold.)
Only bethink ye what a fold
Of virtuous lambs ye may behold;
Oh! leave the loose lads, who but scorn ye,
Pack up your duds for California!

Ladies fly! Propitious hour!
The Californian builds the bower,
And sighs for one on whom to shower
His dust of Gold — oh! precious dower;
Ye may be sweet — ye may be sour —
It matters not to reckless wooer;
Hasten, hasten, quick, I warn ye,
Short, fat and tall, for California!

Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio) Apr 24, 1849


The following pretty verses are from the Pennsylvania Inquirer:


There’s no use in grieving John,
For what we have not got.
It’s best to be contented, John,
Whatever be our lot.

It is not golden treasure
That happiness will bring,
All California will not buy
One draught from love’s sweet spring.

You think it dull at home, John,
Not much to do, you say;
True, it is stormy weather now
But it will soon by May.

Just think of little Mary,
Dear, helpless little thing;
Now could you go and leave her —
But two years old last spring?

Her golden hair is soft as silk,
Her little heart, how gay!
She says so sweetly, “Father, dear,
You must not go away.”

Then let us trust in God, John,
And try to serve him, too,
And He who feed the little birds,
Will, sure, take care of you.

Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio) Aug 28, 1849

Col. Fremont’s Tragic Expedition

March 31, 2009
John C. Fremont

John C. Fremont

Very Late from Santa Fe — Col. Fremont Safe — twelve of his Party Lost.
St. Louis, March 29.

We have news from the 25th of February. Col. Fremont arrived there on his way to California, taking Cook’s route. He lost twelve of his men in the mountains, among whom were Wise (of St. Louis,) and King and Preuss, (of Washington.) The names of the other nine have not been received.

Col. Fremont did not reach the top of the mountains, which he had reached when Col. Benton last heard from him. He was compelled to retire to the valleys, where the snow fell to the depth of thirty to forty feet, covering up all his outfit and killing his mules. After this, he left the valley and took to the hills, and sent out a party to obtain relief and to return at stated periods. The party not returning, as agreed upon, he started after and overtook them, and in six days got to Taos, where the sufferers were relieved. Freemont was furnished with an outfit to proceed, by the Quarter Master and Commissary, Lieutenant Beale. He was last heard from at Sorocco, getting on without difficulty. He would be in California in thirty days.

A New California Production. — A letter recently received by a merchant in St. Louis, from one of Col. Fremont’s party, announces that the Colonel has despatched to Corpus Christi a living nondescript animal, which his party succeeded in capturing near the river Gilia, after a chase of three days. The letter days that the animal resembles a horse in many particulars, except that it is covered with a heavy coat of wool, closely curled, being in color and fineness of its texture, very similar to camel’s hair. It has no mane, and its tail is like that of an elephant. The fleetness of the animal is surpassing that of the deer, and it leaped with all ease obstructions ten feet high.

Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio) Apr 3, 1849

Colorado Rivers Map: image from

Colorado Rivers Map: image from

The first chunk of this article explains Fremont’s location at the time of the tragedy, in which you may or may not be interested, although there is also some good background information in that section as well.  Fremont’s own account starts at the bold type, “TAOS, NEW MEXICO, Feb. 6, 1849.”

From the National Intelligencer.

Col. Fremont and Party — Further and Final Accounts.

We resumed the extracts from Col. Fremont’s Letters, prefacing them with some brief description of the localities made memorable by disaster, for the information of those who have not recent maps at hand.

It is known that the great Rocky Mountain chain, with a general direction north and south, sends out a branch towards the southeast from between the heads of the Arkansas and the Rio del Norte; and this branch forms the dividing ridge between the upper valleys of these two rivers, and between the head waters of the Red River and the del Norte; and having accomplished these purposes it subsides and disappears in the plains of Texas.

The highest part of this branch chain, and the governing objects in it to travellers, are the Spanish peaks, first made known to American geography by the then young Lieut. Pike. These Peaks are about in north latitude 37 1/2 deg., and west longitude from London 105 degrees and about on a line longitudinally with the puebles of the Upper Arkansas distant from them half a degree, and in sight. They are seen at a great distance and are guiding objects to travellers. The road to Santa Fe passes below these peaks, and crosses the chain about two degrees south. Col. Fremont passed above them, and entered the valley of the Del Norte high up above the Mexican settlements, and above Pike’s stockade, and intended to follow the Del Norte to its head, and cross the great Rocky Mountain chain though some pass there to be found. He was therefore, so to speak, going into the forks of the mountain — into the gorge of two mountains — and at a great elevation, shown by the fact of the great rivers which issue from the opposite sides of the Rocky Mountains at that part — the Arkansas and Del Norte on the east, the Grand River fork of the Colorado of the gulf of California on the west. It was at this point — the head of the Del Norte — where no traveller had ever gone before, that Col. Fremont intended to pass, to survey his line across the country between the Mississippi and the Pacific, and crown the labors of long explorations by showing the country between the great river and the great sea to be inhabitable by a civilized people and practicable for a great road, and that on several lines, and which was the best. He had been several years engaged in this great labor, and wished to complete it. It was the beginning of December that he crossed the chain from the Arkansas valley into the valley of the Del Norte; and, although late with the full belief of the old hunters and traders at the pueblos, the guide inclusive, whom he there engaged, that he would go through. He was provided with every thing to carry the men to California, and with grain to carry all the animals across all the mountains into the valleys of the tributaries of the great Colorado of the West, where the snows would be light, wood and grass sufficient, game abundant, and the hardships of the expedition all surmounted and left behind. In two weeks he expected to be in these mild valleys.

Unhappily, the guide consumed these two weeks in getting to the head of the Del Norte — a distance which only required four or five days of travel, as Col. Fremont showed in coming back. — This was the cause of the first calamity — the loss of the horses and mules. The same guide consumed twenty-two days, when sent with a party for relief, in making the distance which Col. Fremont (with Godey, Pruess, and a servant,) without a guide, on foot, in colder weather, deeper snows, and half famished made in six. That was the cause of the second and irreparable calamity — the death of the men.

The immediate scene of suffering in this great disaster, where the ascent of the great mountain was forced and its summit scaled, must have been about north latitude 38 1/2 and west longitude from London 107, the elevation above twelve thousand feet, and the time that of dead winter — Christmas! From this point the noted objects, Pike’s Peak and the three Parks, would bear about E.N.E. and the Spanish Peaks about E.S.E.

With this notice of localities to which a mournful interest must long attach, we proceed to give extracts from the remaining and final letters from Col. Fremont. The first of these is dated —

“TAOS, NEW MEXICO, Feb. 6, 1849.

“After a long delay, which had wearied me to the point of resolving to set out again myself; tidings have at last reached of my ill-fated party.

“Mr. Vincent Haler came in last night, having the night before reached the Little Colorado settlement with three or four others, including Mr. King and Mr. Prouix,” we have lost eleven of our party.

“Occurrences, since I left them, are briefly these, so far as they came within the knowledge of Mr. Haler; I say briefly, because I am now unwilling to force my mind to dwell upon the details of what has been suffered. I need reprieve from terrible contemplations. I am absolutely astonished at this persistence of misfortune — this succession of calamities which no care or vigilance of mine could foresee or prevent.

“You will remember that I had left the camp (twenty-three men) when I set off with Gody, Pruess, and my servant in search of King and succor, with directions about the baggage, and with occupation sufficient about it to employ them for three or four days; after which they were to follow me down the river. Within that time I expected relief from King’s party, if it came at all. — They remained seven days and then started, their scant provisions about exhausted, and the dead mules on the western side of the great Sierra burried under snow.

“Manuel — (you will remember Manuel — a Christian Indian of the Cosumne tribe, in the valley of the San Joaquin) — gave way to a feeling of despair after they had moved about two miles, and begged Vincent Haler, whom I had left in command, to shoot him. Failing to find death in that form he turned and made his way back to the camp, intending to die there; which he doubtless soon did.

“The party moved on and at ten miles, Wise gave out — threw away his gun, blanket — and, a few hundred yards further, fell over into the snow, and died. Two Indian boys — countrymen of Manuel were behind. They came upon him — rolled him up in his blanket, and buried him in the snow, on the bank of the river.

“No other died that day. None the next day.

“Carver raved during the night his imagination wholly occupied with images of many things which he fancied himself eating. In the morning he wandered off, and probably soon died. He was not seen again.

“Sorel on this day (the fourth from the camp) laid down to die. They built him a fire, and Morin, who was in a dying condition, and snow blind, remained with him. These two did not probably last till the next morning. That evening (I think it was) Hubbard killed a deer.
“They travelled on, getting here and there a grouse, but nothing else, the deep snow in the valley having driven off the game.

“The state of the party became desperate, and bro’t Haler to the determination of breaking it up, in order to prevent them from living upon each other. He told them that he had done all he could for them — that they had no other hope remaining than the expected relief; and that the best plan was to scatter, and make the best of their way, each as he could, down the river; that, for himself it he was to be eaten, he would, at all events be found travelling when he did die. This address  had its affect. They accordingly separated.

“With Haler continued five others, Scott, Hubbard, Martin, Bacon, one other and the two Cosumne Indian boys.

“Rhorer now became despondent and stopped. Haler reminded him of his family, and urged him to try and hold out for their sake. Roused by this appeal to his tenderest affections, the unfortunate man moved forward, but feebly and soon began to fall behind. On a further appeal he promised to follow, and to overtake them at evening.

“Haler, Scott, Hubbard and Martin now agreed that if any one of them should give out the others were not to wait for him to die, but to push on, and try and save themselves. Soon this mournful covenant had to be kept. But let me not anticipate events. Sufficient for each day is the sorrow thereof.

“At night Kerne’s party encamped a few hundred yards from Haler’s with the intention, according to Taplin, to remain where they were until the relief should come, and in the mean time to live upon those who had died, and upon the weaker ones as they should die. — With this party, were the three brothers Cerne, Captain Cathcart, McKie, Andrews, Stepperfeldt and Taplin. I do not know that I have got all the names of this part.

“Ferguson and Beadle had remained together behind. In the evening Rhorer came up and remained in Kerne’s party. Haler learnt afterwards from some of the party that Rhorer and Andrews wandered off the next morning and died. They say they saw their bodies.

Haler’s party continued on. After a few hours Hubbard gave out. According to the agreement he was left to die, but with such comfort as could be given him. — They built him a fire and gathered him some wood and then left him — without turning their heads, as Haler says, to look at him as they went off.

“About two miles further, Scott — you remember him; he used to shoot birds for you on the frontier — he gave out. He was another of the four who covenanted against waiting for each other. The survivors did for him as they had done for Hubbard and passed on.

“In the afternoon the two Indian boys went ahead — blessed be these boys! — and before night-fall met Godey with the relief. He had gone on with all speed. The boys gave him the news. He fired signal guns to notify his approach. Haler heard the guns, and knew the crack of our rifles, and felt that relief had come. This night was the first of hope and joy. Early in the morning, with the first grey light, Godey was in the trail, and soon met Haler and the wreck of his party slowly advancing. I hear that they all cried together like children — these men of iron nerves and lion hearts, when –dangers were to be faced or hardships to be conquered. They were all children in this moment of melted hearts. Succor was soon dealt out to those few first met; and Godey with his relief, and accompanied by Haler, who turned back, hurriedly followed the back trail in search of the living and the dead scattered in the rear. — They came to Scott first. He was yet alive and is saved! They came to Hubbard next; he was dead, but still warm. Those were the only ones of Haler’s party that had been left.

“From Kene’s party, next met, they learnt the deaths of Andrews and Rohrer; and a little further on, met Ferguson, who told them that Beadle had died the night before. All the living were found — and saved — Manuel among them — which looked like a resurrection — and reduces the number of the dead to ten — one third of the whole party which a few days before were scaling the mountain with me, and battling with the elements twelve thousand feet in the air.

“Godey had accomplished his mission for the people: a further service had been prescribed him, that of going to the camp on the river, at the base of the great mountain, to recover the most valuable of the baggage, secreted there. With some Mexicans and pack mules he went on; and this is the last yet heard of him.

“Vincent Haler, with Martin and Bacon, all on foot, and bringing Scott on horseback have just arrived at the outside Pueblo on the Little Colorado. Provisions for the support, and horses for the transport, were left for the others, who preferred to remain where they were, regaining some strength, till Godey should get back. At the latest, they would have reached the little Pueblo last night. Haler came on to relieve my anxieties, and did well in so doing; for I was wound up to the point of setting out again. When Godey returns, I shall know all the circumstances sufficiently in detail to understand clearly every thing. But it will not be necessary to tell you any thing futher. You have the results and sorrow enough in reading them.

Evening. — How rapid are the changes of life! A few days ago, and I was struggling through snow in the savage wilds of the upper Del Norte — following the course of the frozen river in more than Russian cold — no food — no blanket to cover me in the long freezing nights — (I had sold my two to the Utah for help to my men) — uncertain at what moment of the night we might be roused by the Indian rifle — doubtful, very doubtful, whether I should ever see you or friends again. Now I am seated by a comfortable fire, alone, pursuing my own thoughts writing to you in the certainty of reaching you — a French volume of Balzac on the table — a colored print of the landing of Columbus before me — listening in safety to the raging storm without.

“You will wish to know what effect the scenes I have passed through have had upon me. In person, none. The destruction of my party, and the loss of friends, are causes of grief; but I have not been injured in body or mind. Both have been strained, and severely taxed, but neither hurt. I have seen one or the other, and sometimes both, give way in strong minds, and stout hearts; but, as heretofore, I have come out unhurt. I believe that the remembrance of friends sometimes gives a power of resistance which the desire to save our own lives could never call up.

“I have made my preparations to proceed. I shall have to follow the old Gila road, and shall move rapidly, and expect to be in California in March, and to find letters from home and a supply of newspapers and documents, more welcome perhaps, because these things have a home look about them. The future occupies me. Our home in California — you arrival in April — your good health in that delightful climate — the finishing up my geographical and astronomical labors — my farming labors and enjoyments. I have written to Messrs. Mahew & Co., agricultural warehouse, N.Y., requesting them to ship me immediately a threshing machine; and to Messrs. Hoe & Co., same city, requesting them to forward to me at San Francisco two runs, or setts of mill stones. The mill irons and the agricultural instruments shipped for me last autumn from New York will be at San Francisco by the time I arrive there. Your arrival in April will complete all the plans.”

[These extracts in relation to Col. Fremont’s intended pursuit are given to contradict the unfounded supposition of gold projects attributed to him by some newspapers. The word gold is not mentioned in his letters from one end to the other, nor did he take gold mining the least into his calculations when he left Missouri, on the 21st of October last, although the authentic reports brought in by Lieut. Beale, of the navy, were then in all the newspapers, and fully known to him.]

February 11. — Godey has got back. He did not succeed in recovering any of the baggage or camp furniture. Everything was lost except some few things which I had brought down. The depth of the snow made it impossible for him to reach the camp at the mountain where the men had left the baggage. Amidst the wreck I had the good fortune to save my large alforgas, or travelling trunk — the double one which you packed — and that was about all.

SANTA FE, February 17, 1849. — In the midst of hurried movements, and in the difficult endeavor to get a [party] all started together, I can only write a line to say that I am well, and moving on to California. I [will] leave Santa Fe this evening.

“I have received here from the officers every civility and attention in their power, and have been assisted in my outfit as far as it was possible for them to do. I dine this evening with the Governor (Col. Washington,) before I follow my party. A Spanish gentleman has been engaged to go to Albuquerque and purchase mules for me. From that place we go on my own animals and expect no detention, as we follow on the old Gila route, so long known, and presenting nothing new to stop for.

Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio) May 8, 1849

More “Print Poetry”

March 28, 2009
"Rounce" image from

"Rounce" image from

From the Providence Patriot.


Pull up, my boys, turn quick the rounce,
And let the work begin,
The world is pressing on without,
And we must press within —
And we who guide the public mind,
Have influence far and wide,
And all our deeds are good, although
The devil’s at our side.

Let fly the frisket now, my boys!
Who are more proud than we?
While wait the anxious crowd without,
The force of power to see;
So pull away — none are so great,
As they who run the car;
And who have dignity like those
That practice at the bar.

And you who twirl the roller there,
Be quick, you inky man;
Old Time is rolling on himself.
So beat him if you can;
Be careful of the light and shade,
Nor let the sheet grow pale;
Be careful of the monky looks
Of every head and tale.

Though high in office is our stand,
And pi-ous is our case,
We would not cast a slur on those,
Who fill our lower place;
The gaping world is fed by us,
Who retail knowledge here;
By feeding that we feed ourselves,
Nor deem our fare too dear.

Pull up, my boys, turn quick the rounce,
And thus the chase we’ll join;
We have deposits in the bank,
Our drawers are full of coin;
And who should more genteelly cut
A figure or a dash!
Yet sometimes we who press so much,
Ourselves are pressed for cash.

Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio) Jul 4, 1831

More print poetry can be found in my post, “The Poetic Printers.”

Click on the tag, “Printing Press” for more printing related posts.

Animal Suicides

March 27, 2009
Image from

Image from

When a horse commits suicide by hanging itself in its stall, that’s noose.

Appleton Post Crescent (Appleton, Wisconsin) Dec 19, 1928

Posted by Mugira Fredrick at

Posted by Mugira Fredrick at

AN IOWA cow committed suicide the other day, out of grief for the loss of her calf. After following the butcher’s wagon to the slaughter house and giving vent to a series of agonizing moans, she deliberately made her way to the river, waded in beyond her depth and was drowned.

Gettysburg Compiler (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) Jul 26, 1872


A Virginia horse committed suicide in the James River at Petersburg last week. He walked out to the pierhead of a wharf, and looked around as if choosing a spot, jumped into the river at a point where the water was deepest. Persons on the wharf, seeing that he was drowning, got a rope around him and drew him into shallow water, but as soon as he touched bottom he got loose again, and wading out some yards further in the stream, put his head beneath the surface, and kept it there until he drowned.

The Bucks County Gazette (Bristol, Pennsylvania) Aug 26, 1875


A Mad Cow Commits Suicide.
From the Columbus, Ga., Daily Times.

Yesterday, about noon, upper Broad and Oglethorpe streets were thrown inot a state of excitement by the strange antics of a cow, which gave every indication of madness. It was a fine young animal, belonging to Mrs. Purcell. She was very vicious, fighting other cows, etc; she ran into a wagon, and, with rolling eyes, kicked up her heels and snorted around generally. Efforts were made to catch her, but they were in vain, and she finally ran into the river, near Mott’s Green, and was drowned. The body was caught near the upper bridge.

Her conduct is inexplicable. Some have advanced the idea that perhaps she was drunk, from eating the seed and strainings after wine making from blackberries, thrown into the street. How about this we cannot say, but her death entails a heavy loss on Mrs. Purcell.

The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) Jul 6, 1882


Horse Commits Suicide.

The Wabash Railway, in a damage suit instituted by J.M. Sauvinette to recover the value of a horse which met his death on the Wabash tracks, sets up the novel defense that the horse committed suicide. Perhaps the animal had been reading advertisements of the Wabash, and got it into his head that it was the direct route to heaven. –Globe-Democrat, Feb. 27, 1903.

Decatur Herald (Decatur, Illinois) Mar 3, 1903



Deliberately Butts Head Against Wall Until it Falls Dead.
Cincinnati, Sept 30. A horse owned by Joseph Kamphouse, of this city, deliberately committed suicide by butting its head against a stone wall. The animal was hitched to a buggy left standing in the street while the owner went into a place of business for a few minutes. It walked slowly toward the wall a square away and fell over dead after striking its head against the wall ten or twelve times. A score of persons witnessed the suicide.

Kamphouse declares he knows of no reason why the horse should destroy itself and will inform the President of the circumstances, although he will run the rist of being called a nature faker.

Trenton Evening Times (Trenton, New Jersey) Sep 30, 1907

Image from seahorsekisses on

Image from seahorsekisses on

Found Drowned, and Its Owner Declares Animal’s Act was Deliberate.
Special to the Washington Post.

Glennville, N.Y., July 6. — It was so hot on Wednesday that a horse owned by J. M. Cook, went to a brook and drowned itself, and William Beekman, the constable of the town of Greenburgh, was prostrated with heat after carrying his big badge around for five hours doing duty on the warm roads.

Cook’s horse was found by Beekman, with its head under water. He declared that the horse had not drowned itself, just drunk itself to deat. Cook said it was purely a case of suicide.

Washington Post, The (Washington, D.C.) Jul 7, 1911


[New York Sun.]

According to the Humane Society of Spokane a horse deliberately committed suicide there the other day. The animal was decrepit and has been deserted. Too weak to eat solid food he was tethered in front of a patch of clover. He sampled the clover, and then, according to the report, deliberately plunged headlong off a bluff overlooking the river a few feet away and was later found dead.


Naturalist have frequently related the suicide of animals through grief. Probably the oddest one of all is tht told by Dr. Ezekiel Henderson, the traveller, of a tigress whose cubs had been taken from her by the agents of one of the large circus menageries of the United States. The party came upon the tiger’s den while hunting in Asia for exhibits. They took four cubs and crossed a near-by river with them, destroying the primitive tree trunk bridge after they reached the other side.

The tigress returning and finding her cubs gone bounded by scent down to where the party had crossed the stream. She knew of the tree trunk, having made used of it herself before. When she saw it was gone she uttered the most piercing and lamentable howls and cries. The party with her cubs came back to the river bank, attracted by the noise. The tigress when she was her cubs gave vent to an unearthly shriek. Then crouching, rising and recrouching again several times, she deliberately sprang from the river bank. The river was five times wider than she could have been expected to leap, and leaping animals are close calculators. She fell 25 feet into the stream. She came up once, turned toward the distant shore, threw her head back and sank for good. A clear case of suicide the doctor called it.

Washington Post, The (Washington, D.C.) Jul 13, 1913

The Bedell Brothers: Convicted, Then Pardoned

March 26, 2009



Frank and Dick Bedell of Baraboo have been sentenced to three years in prison for horse stealing.

The Daily Northwestern (Oshkosh, Wisconsin) Nov 2, 1899


Were Two Men Now Pardoned Convicted and Imprisoned.

(Special to The Northwestern.)

Madison, Wis., Nove. 26. — The Bedell brothers, Frank and Dick, sent to prison from Sauk county in 1899 under conviction of horse stealing, have been granted absolute and unconditional pardon by Governor LaFollette, after a special investigation into the case, the governor being satisfied of their innocence of the charge.

Their conviction was based mainly on the evidence of William Good, Good himself was sentenced to a term in the state reformatory later, and since his confinement there has made a sworn statement that his evidence at the trial was false.

The Daily Northwestern (Oshkosh, Wisconsin) Nov 26, 1901


Gov. LaFollette Grants Absolute and Unconditional Pardon.

Frank and Dick Bedell of Sauk County Convicted Through False Testimony of an Enemy.

Madison, Wis., Nov. 26. — [Special.] — Gov. LaFollette has granted absolute and unconditional pardon to Frank and Dick Bedell, the two brothers sent to state prison from Sauk county under conviction of stealing a team of horses June 30, 1899. The governor has made a special investigation of the case, and is satisfied that the Bedells are innocent of the charge of which they were convicted.

The conviction was mainly upon the testimony of William Good, who claimed to have met the Bedell brothers, by previous arrangement, a short distance from the barn from which the horses were stolen, received them from the Bedells, drove them to another county and sold them, and on the night of June 24 met Frank Bedell and divided the money with him.

After the conviction of the Bedells, Good was sentenced to a term in the state reformatory, and since his confinement there has made a sworn statement that the Bedells were not implicated in stealing the horses, and that his evidence at their trial was false.

The Grand Rapids Tribune (Grand Rapids, Wisconsin) Dec 7, 1901

If you have more information on the Bedell brothers, please leave a comment. I am trying to prove/disprove that their parents were William and Emaline (McConnell) Bedell.

Printing Press Trivia

March 26, 2009


These are some random “printing press” items I ran across while searching for printing related topics. Previous related posts :  The Poetic Printers, Robert Hoe of R. Hoe & Co., and Richard M. Hoe: Celebrated Inventor.

A citizen of Connecticut has invented a printing press, which he claims will strike off four thousand copies of the New Testament per diem, or four hundred copies of a newspaper per minute.

Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) Sep 27, 1867


The first printing press ever taken West of the Missouri was established by the Mormons at Independence, in 1832.

Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) Aug 13, 1868

Robert Hoe, the printing press inventor, began life as a Leicestershire (England) mechanic, and came to New York in 1815.

Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) Dec 31, 1868

Not satisfied with the great advances in the printing press, R. Hoe & Co. are at present engaged in perfecting a press on the principle of printing both sides at once from a continuous roll of paper.

Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) Oct 21, 1869


The well known press builders, R. Hoe & Co., have instituted an industrial school in their manufacturing establishment, convinced that the efficiency and success of their corps of workmen would be greatly increased if they possessed a good English education and a thorough knowledge of the fundamental principles of mathematics and mechanics.


The course of study embraces grammar, arithmetic, algebra, geometry, reading, writing, drawing, composition, the ten science principles and Overman’s Mechanics. The classes in these various branches recite once a week, the recitation being an hour in length. The lessons given are long, but the apprentices have ample time out of work hours not only to prepare them but to reflect upon and study their practical applications. All the apprentices, numbering upward of a hundred, are compelled to go through this course of study, and as the term of apprenticeship ranges from five to seven years, they have time to become proficient in every branch taught, so that when their apprenticeship is over they have a thorough English and technical education so far as mechanics is concerned. Everything is furnished gratuitously, the best of instruction, text books, and drawing materials; and the annual outlay required is very trivial compared with the valuable results already attained.

Daily Gazette and Bulletin (Williamsport, Pennsylvania) Jan 19, 1875


THE will* of the late George P. Gordon, the inventor of the printing press that bears his name, and who left an estate valued at $800,000, has been contested in the King’s county Surrogate’s Court, New York, and refused admission to probate on account of insufficient execution. It seems to be an easier matter to make an intricate piece of machinery than to legally give away the profits of it. Millionaires must feel disgusted with themselves as they contemplate the fun their taking-off gives rise to.

Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) Apr 11, 1878

George Gordon, aged 68, died Jan 27, 1878 at his farm near Norfolk, VA.

*This will contest was not settled until 1897, after the heirs had all passed away.


Pioneer Women Journalists.

Of the 37 newspapers in the American colonies at the time of the Revolution, says E. Cora Depuy in The Household Realm, several were owned and managed by women.

The first newspaper published in Rhode Island was owned and edited by Mrs. Anna Franklin and established in 1732. She and her two daughters wrote the items and set the type, and their servants worked the printing press. For her quickness and correctness Mrs. Franklin was appointed printer to the colony, supplying pamphlets to the colonial officers. In 1772 Clementine Rind was publishing a paper in Virginia called the Virginia Gazette, favoring the colonial cause and greatly offending the royalists. Two years later Mrs. H. Boyle started a paper under the same name, advocating the cause of the crown. Both were published at Williamsburg, and both were short lived.

In 1773 Elizabeth Timothy started a paper in Charleston. After the Revolution Anna Timothy became its editor and was appointed state printer, which position she held for 17 years. About the same time Mary Crouch started a paper in Charleston in vigorous opposition to the stamp act. She afterward moved it to Salem, Mass., and continued its publication for many years.

The Fitchburg Sentinel (Fitchburg, Massachusetts) Feb, 21 1898

For more, read Women in Newspapers at the Matilda Joslyn Gage website.

Samuel Pennypacker

Samuel Pennypacker

All the newspapers of Pennsylvania, regardless of party, have joined in the crusade against Gov. Pennypacker on account of his signing the new libel law. It is quite possible that they will find that they are protected under the clause of the Pennsylvania constitution which says that “the printing press shall be free to every person who may undertake to examine the proceedings of the legislature or any branch of government, and no law shall ever be made to restrain the right thereof.”  That is very broad and seems to cover amply such cases as those designed to be hit by the new law. It would be most logical if the law were declared unconstitutional.

The Fitchburg Sentinel (Fitchburg, Massachusetts) May 18, 1903

Budweiser: The Printer’s Choice for a Lubricant

March 25, 2009
Becker's Saloon Ad 1879 Reno Gazette

Becker's Saloon Ad 1879 Reno Gazette

The Gazette Makes a Bow.

J.J. Becker, the handsome, sent two bottles of Budweiser to this office at three o’clock this afternoon. For the benefit of the Sorosis let it be said that Budweiser is a lubricator, by means of which a printing press is able to produce a great deal better newspaper in less time than has ever been accomplished by any other known oil. It is of a beautiful light red color in the body, and pure amber in the neck of the bottle, which is so constructed that as it is emptied it keeps saying “good, good, good.” A great many people think this article is useful in blacksmith shops, dry goods stores, camp meetings, and other places, but this is a mistake. It is only safe to use it sparingly outside a newspaper shop. Mr. Becker, here’s luck.

Reno Evening Gazette (Reno, Nevada) Mar 17, 1879

Richard M. Hoe: Celebrated Inventor

March 24, 2009



A Name That Will Remain Inseparably Connected with the Development of the Printing Press — The Simple Device Which Brought Him Fame.

The recent death of Col., Richard M. Hoe in Florence, Italy, closes the career of one whose name is known wherever the newspaper is used to spread intelligence. He was senior member of the firm of printing press makers, and one of the leading inventors and developers of that great lever of public opinion.

Col. Hoe’s father was the founder of the firm. He came to this country from England in 1803, and worked at his trade of carpentry. Through his skill as a workman he was sought out by a maker of printer’s material named Smith. He married Smith’s sister, and went into partnership with Smith and brother. The printing presses of those days were made chiefly of wood, and Hoe’s skill as a wood worker was valuable to the firm. In 1822 Peter Smith invented the hand press, of which we give an illustration, and which will be recognized by many an old printer, though many are in use to this day.


This press was finally supplanted by the Washington press, invented by Samuel Rust in 1829. From the manufacture of the Smith presses, Hoe made a fortune, as the inventor died a year after securing his patent, and the firm name was changed to R. Hoe & Co. The demand for hand presses increased so that then years later it was suggested that steam power might be utilized in some way to do the pulling and tugging necessary in getting an impression. At this time the late Col. Hoe, one of the sons of the founder of the house, was an attentive listener to the discussions in regard to the possibility of bringing steam power to aid the press. Young Richard M. Hoe was born in 1812. He had the advantage of an excellent education, but his father’s business possessed such a fascination for him that it was with difficulty he was kept at school. He was a young man of 20 before his father allowed him to work regularly in the shop. He  had already become expert in handling tools, so that he soon became one of the best workmen. He joined with his father in the belief that steam would yet be applied to the printing press, and the numerous models and experiments they made to that end would, in the light of the present day, appear extremely ridiculous. In 1825-30 Napier had constructed a steam printing press, and in 1830 Isaac Adams, of Boston, secured a patent for a power press. These inventions were kept very secret, the factories in which they were made being guarded jealously. In 1830 a Napier press was imported into this country for use on The National Intelligencer. Old Maj Noah, editor of Noah’s Sunday Times and Messenger, was collector of the port of New York in those days, and being desirous of seeing how the Napier press would work, sent for Mr. Hoe to put it up. He and Richard succeeded in setting up the press, and worked it successfully.

The success of the Napier press set the Hoes to thinking. They had made models of its peculiar parts and studied them carefully. Then, in pursuance of a plan suggested by Richard, his father sent his partner, Mr. Newton, to England for the purpose of examining new machinery there and to secure models for future use. On his return with ideas Mr. Newton and the Hoes projected and turned out for sale a novel two cylinder press, which became universally popular and soon superseded all others, the Napier included.

Thus was steam at last harnessed to the press, but the demand of the daily papers for their increasing editions spurred the press makers to devise machines that would be worked at higher speed than was found possible with the presses which the type was secured to a flat bed which was moved backward and forward under a revolving cylinder. It was seen then that if type could be secured to the surface of a cylinder, great speed could be attained.


The above diagrams illustrate Sir Rowland Hill‘s method of accomplishing this. The type was cast wedge-shaped; that is, narrower at the bottom. A broad “nick” was cut into its side, into which a “lead” fitted. The ends of the “lead” in turn, fitted into a slot in the column rules and these latter were bolted to the cylinder. Anyone who knows anything about type will see the difficulty of using such a system. The inventor, Sir Rowland Hill, the father of penny postage in England, sunk, it is said, L80,000 in the endeavor to introduce his method.

In the meantime, Col. Hoe had succeeded to his father’s business and was giving his attention largely to solving this problem of holding type on a revolving cylinder. It was ??? ???? 18?? that he hit on the method of doing it.

After a dozen years of thought the idea came upon him unexpectedly, and was startling in its simplicity. It was simply to make the column rules wedged-shaped instead of the type.


The above diagram furnished by Mr. S.D. Tucer, the surviving head of the firm of Hoe & Co., is a facsimile of the original drawing in their office. It was this simple device, by the introduction of “lightning presses,” that revolutionized the newspaper business of the world, and made the press the power it is. It brought Hoe fame and put him at the head of press makers. His business grew to such dimensions that he has in his employ in his New York factory from 800 to 1,500 hands, varying with the state of trade. His London factory employs from 150 to 200 hands.

And yet the great daily presses craved still faster presses. The result was the development of the web press, in which the paper is drawn into the press from a continuous roll at a speed of twelve miles an hour. The very latest is a machine called the supplement press, capable of printing complete a paper of from eight to twelve pages, depending on the demand of the day, so that the papers slide out of the machine with the supplements gummed in and the paper folded ready for delivery.

Of late years many other remarkably ingenious presses of other makers have come into market, but still the genius of R.M. Hoe has left an indelible mark in the development of the printing press.

The News (Frederick, Maryland) Jun 19, 1886

Clear Sky Lightning:Cremates and Silences Life

March 24, 2009
Photo posted by Shanon Beauford on

Photo posted by Shannon Beauford on

Lightning from a Clear Sky.

GALVESTON, TEX., Sept. 14. — News is received here of the cremation by lightning of James Wells, a farmer living 10 miles east of here. Wells was in a field working with a thresher when from the cloudless sky a flash of lightning descended, knocking him senseless on a pile of straw, which was ignited, and Wells was burned almost to a crisp. A minister named Moore, who was in the vicinity, was rendered unconscious by the violence of the shock, and though 36 hours has elapsed since the fatal event his is still speechless but will probably recover.

The News (Frederick, Maryland) Sep 15, 1884

Robert Hoe of R. Hoe & Co.

March 23, 2009
Hoe Web Press

Hoe Web Press


One of the Celebrated Printing Press Manufacturers Breathes His Last.

NEW YORK, September 14. — Robert Hoe, of the firm R. Hoe & Co., printing press manufacturers, died at his residence in Tarrytown at 7:30 A.M. yesterday, at the age of seventy years. [Mr. Robert Hoe was born in New York city in 1814. His father, Robert Hoe, was an Englishman. In 1803 he founded in New York the great business which for many years has been known as that of R. Hoe & Co. Robert Hoe, Sr., was the first man in the United States who made saws of cast steel, and the first in New York to drive the machinery in his factory by steam. In 1805 he began the manufacture of printing presses, and in 1827, that of cylinder presses. In 1841 the business went into the hands of his three sons, Robert (the deceased), Richard and Peter. Richard was the inventive genius of the concern, but a great deal of the firm’s success depended on Robert’s sound business management. The presses of the Hoe establishment have a world-wide reputation. They are used not only throughout this country, but in England and Europe. The deceased was a well-known figure in New York. He had a beautiful residence in Tarrytown, where his last days were spent.]

The News (Frederick, Maryland) Sep 15, 1884

A couple of interesting, related links:

The Poughkeepsie Journal, the second oldest newspaper in the U.S., has a virtual tour. The Foyer is awesome. If you click  on the rectangle furthest  to the right and top, (of the picture at the above link,) you can click on the men in the mural. Robert and Richard Hoe are in the middle of the picture.

Next, an issue of Graham Magazine, published in 1852, has the following article with lots of pictures: PRINTING MACHINE, PRESS, AND SAW WORKS. R. HOE & CO. Click the link above.