Archive for September, 2009

Elizabeth Zane: Pioneer Heroine

September 29, 2009

This story was actually part of the the article with the Squatter Life story in my previous post, but since it was a completely separate incident, I broke it into separate posts.

Who has not heard of the heroic Miss Elizabeth Zane, at Fort Henry, in 1777, where the city of Wheeling now stands?

When a large army of savages had been collected under the infamous Girty, and had attacked the fort, having killed in an outside skirmish several officers and men,  fearful crisis had arrived. The fort was reduced to eleven men and boys. The houses of villages were occupied by the savage foe, who for the moment had ceased hostilities, and had withdrawn to the base of the hill, which rose abruptly and precipitously from the narrow valley.

The ammunition of the fort was nearly exhausted; and the stock must be replenished, or all would fall — men, women and children — a prey to the merciless savage. About sixty yards distant, at the house of Ebenezer Zane, there was a keg of powder. If that could be procured they would be enabled successfully to defend the fort, and keep the Indians at bay. Not a man or boy, for they were almost equally good marksmen, could be spared; and yet, some one must hazard his life in the undertaking. It was the forlorn hope of that little band, and on it their fate was to turn.

The commander, Col. Shepherd, called for a volunteer in this perilous undertaking. Several promptly offered their services, both men and boys; but they were the bravest of the band, and could least be spared. The difficulty seemed to be not so much in finding the heart stout enough for the fearful undertaking, but in making the selection. Just then, up stepped a slender, delicate girl. With the spirit of her father, she said to the commander,

“I will bring the powder. If I die in the attempt, my loss will not be felt.”

In vain they strove to dissuade her, she would most certainly be shot; besides she could not run with the fleetness of a man. All entreaties were vain, and she heroically exclaimed,

“Open the gates, and let me go!”

With tearful eyes the gates were opened, and the intrepid girl bounded toward the house. The moment she emerged from the fort she was seen by the Indians, who, instead of firing at her, seemed to be taken by surprise, and astonishment that for a moment suspended their murderous purpose. She reached the house, entered it, secured the desired keg, and started back to the fort. The soul of the heroic girl was in the effort, and bravely it sustained her. As she sped across the space with her burden, a dozen rifles were raised, and their sharp, simultaneous crack, seemed to announce her doom; but she neither fell nor faltered. On with accelerated speed she urged her way; and, passing the gates, she entered the fort in safety.

Elizabeth Zane (Image from

Elizabeth Zane (Image from

The deed of that brave girl saved the fort; and an advantage was gained over the savage from which they did not recover so as to renew their depredations in future on that frontier outpost. Pioneer life in the West abounds with incidents of female heroism; and the simple story of their deeds possesses a more thrilling interest than can be infused by the most fervent and fruitful imagination into any scene of fiction.

Pioneer of the West.

Richland County Observer (Richland Center, Wisconsin) Aug 11, 1857


Interesting book on Google books, which mentions Fort Henry, but not this incident, that I could find:

Frontier defense on the upper Ohio, 1777-1778
By Reuben Gold Thwaites, Louise Phelps Kellogg, State Historical Society
Madison, Wisconsin Historical Society, 1912

LINK to the book

A similar book:

The Revolution on the Upper Ohio, 1775-1777
edited by Reuben Gold Thwaites, Louise Phelps Kellogg
Wisconsin historical society, 1908

LINK to book

Both books:compiled from the Draper manuscripts in the library of the Wisconsin historical society and published at the charge of the Wisconsin society of the Sons of the American revolution


You can also read the book, Betty Zane, by Zane Grey (a descendant of Ebenezer Zane,) online HERE.

From the dedication and note:

For a hundred years the stories of Betty and Isaac Zane have been familiar, oft-repeated tales in my family–tales told with that pardonable ancestral pride which seems inherent in every one. My grandmother loved to cluster the children round her and tell them that when she was a little girl she had knelt at the feet of Betty Zane, and listened to the old lady as she told of her brother’s capture by the Indian Princess, of the burning of the Fort, and of her own race for life. I knew these stories by heart when a child.

Two years ago my mother came to me with an old note book which had been discovered in some rubbish that had been placed in the yard to burn. The book had probably been hidden in an old picture frame for many years. It belonged to my great-grandfather, Col. Ebenezer Zane. From its faded and time-worn pages I have taken the main facts of my story. My regret is that a worthier pen than mine has not had this wealth of material.



If you are interested in an account of the torture/death of Colonel Crawford (witnessed by Simon Girty, mentioned in the above article,) after clicking HERE, scroll down about to the sub-heading:


WARNING! It is very gruesome.

The Dangers of a “Squatter Life”

September 29, 2009
Log Cabin (Image from

Log Cabin (Image from


Among the early settlers of the West were many who moved out and selected sites for their homes upon the unoccupied land they might find, and, by clearing a portion of it and building a cabin, they obtained a pre-emption right to the soil, or, at least, a certain portion of it, and in possession of which they have been protected by the government, at least, so far as that no one could dispossess them without paying them an equivalent for the improvements; and even then they had a prior claim, or privilege of purchasing at government price over every other purchaser. Such pioneers have been denominated “Squatters.”

In an early day a man, who had left the sterile soil of an Eastern State, started with his young and rising family to better his condition in the rich and fertile valley of the West. He was a poor, but honest man; had struggled hard to raise his family, and by patient industry was enabled to obtain an outfit of a horse and cart to journey to the West. Passing through what was then a wilderness, he at length reached a spot on the Illinois river, about two hundred miles from its mouth, where he pitched his tent, and subsequently erected his cabin. His family consisted of a wife and three children the eldest, a boy, was in his nineteenth year, the next a girl, in her eighteenth year, and the youngest a boy of fourteen. They were all vigorous, the very material suited for the hard toil and poor fare of pioneer life.

One day there came to the squatter’s cabin three Indians, professing to be friendly, who invited the father to go out on a hunting excursion with them. As the family subsisted mostly upon game, he finally concluded to accompany them, taking with him his eldest son. They expected to be absent about a week, as they intended to take a somewhat extensive range.

After three days had passed away, one of the Indians returned to the squatter’s house, and deliberately lighting his pipe and taking his seat by the fire, he commenced smoking in silence. The wife was not startled at hsi appearance, as it was frequently the case that one, and sometimes more, of a party of Indian hunters, getting discouraged, would leave the rest and return. This was usually the case when they imagined they discovered some bad sign, and it would not only be useless, but disatrous, for them to hunt under such circumstances.

The Indian sat for some time in sullen silence, and at length, removing his pipe from his mouth he gave a significant grunt to awaken attention, and said —

“White man die.”

The squatter’s wife at his replied,

“What is the matter?”

“He sick; tree fall on him; he die. You go see him.”

Her suspicions being somewhat aroused at the manner of the savage, she asked him a number of questions. The evasiveness and evident want of consistencly of the answers, at length confirmed her that something was wrong. She judged it best not to go herself, but sent her youngest son, the eldest, as we have seen, having gone on a hunt with his father. Night came, but it brought not the son or the Indian. All its gloomy hours were spent in taht lone cabin by the mother and daughter; but morning came without their return. The whole day passed in the same fruitless look out for the boy; the mother felt grieved that she had sent her child on the errand, but it was now too late. Her suspicions were now confirmed that the Indians had decoyed away her husband and sons. She felt that they would not stop in their evil designs, and that, if they had slain the father and his boys, they would next attack the mother and daughter.

No time was to be lost; and she and the daughter, as night was approaching, went to work to barricade the door and windows of the cabin in the best manner they could. The rifle of the youngest boy was all the weapon in the house, as he did not take it when he went to seek his father. This was taken from its hangings, and carefully examined to see that it was well loaded and primed. To her daughter she gave the axe, and thus armed they determined to watch all night, and, if attacked by the savages, to fight to the last.

About midnight they made their appearance, expecting to find the mother and daughter asleep, but in this they were disappointed. They approached stealthily, and one of the number knocked loudly at the door, crying,

“Mother! Mother!”

The mother’s ear was too acute and she replied, “Where are the Indians, my son?”

The answer, “Um-gone,” would have satisfied her, if she had not been before aware of the deceit.

“Come up, my son, put your ear to the latch-hole. I want to tell you something before I open the door.”

The Indian applied his ear to the latch-hole. The crack of the rifle followed and he fell dead.

As soon as she fired, she stepped on one side of the door, and immediately two rifle balls passed through it, either which would have killed her.

“Thank God!” said the mother in a whisper to her daughter, “there are but two. They are the three that went to hunt with your father, and one of them is dead. If we can only kill or cripple another we shall be safe. Take courage, my child; God will not forsake us in this trying hour. We must both be still after they fire again. Supposing they have killed us, they will break down the door. I may be able to shoot one,” — for in the meantime she had re-loaded the rifle, “but if I miss, you must use the axe with all your might.”

The daughter, equally courageous with her mother, assured her that she would do her best.

The conversaton had hardly ceased when two more rifle balls came crashing through the window. A death-like stilness ensued for the space of several minutes, when two more balls, in quick succession came through the door, followed by tremendous strokes againt it with a heavy stake. At length the door gave way, and an Indian with a fiendish yell, was in the act of springing into the house; but a ball from the boy’s rifle, in the mother’s hand, pierced his heart, and he fell across the threshold. The surviving Indian, daring not to venture — and it was well for his skull that he did not — fired at random, and ran away.

“Now,” said the mother to the daughter, “we must leave;” and taking the rifle and the axe, they hastened to the river, jumped into a canoe, and without a morsel of provisions, except a wild duck and two blackbirds which the mother shot on the voyage, and which they ate raw, they paddled their canoe down the river until they reached the residence of a French settler at St. Louis.

Some time after, a party of hunters started over into Illinois, and scoured the country in every direction; but they returned without finding either the squatter or his boys. Nor have they been heard of to this day. Should the traveler pass by the beautiful city of Peoria, in his westward wanderings, the old settlers in that neighborhood can point out the spot where stood the cabin of the squatter, so heroically defended by his wife and daughter, and who so nobly avenged the death of the father and sons.

The pioneer women of the West, like the men, were made of sterner stuff than enters into the composition of most of our modern ladies and gentlemen. They were brave in entering the wilderness, and they showed themselves equally so in grappling with its difficulties, and encountering its perils.

Pioneer of the West.

Richland County Observer (Richland Center, Wisconsin) Aug 11, 1857


Pretty awesome educational site: SQIDOO

The creator is a retired teacher/homeschooling mom and so the info is geared for children/teachers.  This particular page is full of information about the 1780s.

Hank Parish: A Royal City Desperado

September 27, 2009
Boarding House - El Dorado Canyon

Boarding House - El Dorado Canyon

Image from Southern Nevada: The Boomtown Years, on the UNLV website, which has quite a  collection of digital images.


Hank [P]Farish and one Taylor, of El Dorado Canyon, had a row over a game of cards. Taylor upset the table and drew a knife. Farish whipped out his revolver and shot Taylor twice, wounding him badly.

Reno Evening Gazette (Reno, Nevada) Sep 9, 1879


Murderous Desperado at Large in Lincoln County.

A letter from Pioche, under date of March 6, to a prominent gentleman of Eureka, gives the partial particulars of a desperate shooting scrape, which occurred at El Dorado, Lincoln county, in which two men were wounded, one slightly and the other fatally.

The letter reads as follows:

El Dorado has just had an extensive boom. Three days ago Hank Parish and a man styled Ni**er Clark were playing poker in Greenwood’s saloon. The former was drunk and lost $100. The loss incensed him and he pulled his pistol and shot Clark, wounding him, though not very seriously. Parish then opened fire on Greenwood and shot him in the stomach, inflicting a mortal wound. He then left. Shortly after the shooting Andy Fife, the Coroner, appeared on the scene, and was proceeding to take Greenwood’s deposition, when Parish again put in an appearance with a pistol in each hand, and demanded that Fife take $100 from Greenwood’s pocket, which he (Parish) had lost, or he would kill both of them forthwith. Of course Fife was obliged to comply in order to save his life at the hands of such a desperado. Parish defies arrest, and says he will kill the first man who attempts to arrest him. At the latest accounts he was still at large.

Daily Nevada State Journal (Reno, Nevada) Mar 11, 1881


The Pioche Record says that Greenwood, the man shot by Parish, in Lincoln county, is not dead, and is now considered out of danger. Clark, shot at the same time, is recovering, and it is thought that his wound will soon heal.

Reno Evening Gazette (Reno, Nevada) Mar 26,  1881

Royal City/Jackrabbit (Image from

Royal City/Jackrabbit (Image from


A Drunken Brute’s Bloody Work at Royal City.

The Pioche Record of the 9th inst. says: At Royal City Sunday morning about 4:30 A.M. Hank Parish stabbed and mortally wounded P.G. Thompson, aged 31, a native of New Jersey, and lately from Aspen, Colo. As nearly as we can ascertain, the facts of the cutting are as follows: Bob Martin, H. Hill, P.G. Thompson and a Chinaman were engaged in playing poker at Jimmy Curtis’ saloon on the morning in question. Hank Parish was present, and being intoxicated, persisted in leaning on the shoulder of Thompson, although the latter remonstrated with him, claiming that he could not play poker under the circumstances.

Parish repeated the act a few times and returned to the bar, when the laughter of the poker party attracted his attention.It seems that the players were laughing at the Chinaman for passing out a “club flush,” but Parish seemingly thought that they were laughing at him, and advancing to the table, he addressed some foul language to the party, mainly addressing himself to Thompson, the latter replying that he did not give a d–n for him.

Upon this Parish struck him in the face with his right hand, and upon Thompson rising from the table, Parish struct out with his left hand and stabbed him with a large pocket knife a little above and to the right of the navel. Upon receiving the wound, Thompson cried out that he was hurt, and hurriedly left the saloon. Jimmy Curtis at once secured a team and brought the wounded man to town, arriving at McFadden’s Hotel at 8 A.M., and Dr. Nesbitt was summoned immediately.

Sheriff Turner at once secured a team and repaired to Royal City, where he arrested Parish, unaided, and he lost no time in jailing him on his return to town.

The wounded man did not seem to have a chance for recovery from the start, for previous to his death, Dr. Louder was called in and performed an operation at Thompson’s request, the same having shown an advanced stage of decomposition and that the bowels were badly cut. The deceased died Thursday evening about 9 o’clock, and although a stranger in the community, the citizens mourn him as an old resident, from the fact of his pleasing presence and fortitude under great bodily pain.

Reno Evening Gazette (Reno, Nevada) Aug 15, 1890



He Dies Protesting His Innocence, But Claims To Have Killed Three Men.

The White Pines News contains the following account of the hanging of Hank Parish at Ely on Friday last:

Hank Parish, for the murder of A.G. Thompson at Royal City last July, was hung in front of the jail yesterday at noon. The death warrant was read by Sheriff Bassett in the jail, and at two minutes to 12 o’clock the solemn procession wended its way from the jail to the scaffold, Parish ascending the steps without the least apparent fear. There were quite a number of spectators within the inclosure, and Parish stepped to the front railing and addressed them. He said:

“I have been charged with a great many crimes; I killed three men, and I was right in doing it. The last man I killed (Thompson), he assisted in stringing me up three times. They say I have a wife and family that I have not treated right. My wife has been dead thirteen years; I have two children in Oregon, well fixed. I am an ignorant man, have always been persecuted, and am innocent of crime. All this will appear in Mr. Murphy’s book of my life, and I want you to believe it.”

These words were spoken calmly and with ordinary coolness. He made no reference whatever to the Unknown Realm into which he was about to be launched, nor expressed any regret for anything he had done.

He then stepped back on the trap door, shook hands with the Sheriff and his attendants, the black cap was pulled over his head, the rope adjusted about his neck — and the News reporter hurriedly walked into the Court House to prevent witnessing the final act in the drama of life and death.

Sheriff Bassett sprung the trap; the fall was a little over six feet, and the doomed man’s neck was broken. There was not a move or a quiver of the body, and as soon as Dr. Campbell could get to feel the pulse he pronounced life extinct. The whole time occupied in the execution was but 12 minutes. Parish went on the scaffold at 2 minutes to 12 and was cut down at 10 minutes past 12.

Dr. Campbell examined his pulse before he left the jail. It was beating at 99. When the black cap was pulled over his head it ran up to 142. That Parish was a bad man, and met the fate he deserved, is the general sentiment of this community.

Reno Evening Gazette (Reno, Nevada) Dec 16, 1890


The News says:

Lincoln county has responded to White Pine’s call to the tune of $588 on account of the little job it did for that county, namely: the hanging of Hank Parish.

Daily Nevada State Journal (Reno, Nevada) Mar 25, 1891



Colorado Difficulties — The Nevada Big Mine — Aligold – Bryonic.

While Mr. (D.) Turner was sheriff he proved himself of such nerve that desperadoes did not care to face him. In 1890 it became necessary to arrest a fellow named Hank Parish, who had 17 notches on his gunstock. He had left a bloody trail all the way between Arizona and the coast and made brags that he was good for a few more. The record of the murderer was so bad and he was known to be so quick with his gun (in fact, shooting was a pastime with him) that no officer would accompany the sheriff to make the arrest. Hence he went to the cabin of the murderer alone, and getting the drop on him, arrested his man, who in due time was hanged.

The Fitchburg Sentinel (Fitchburg, Massachusetts) Oct 12, 1896


You can read about Hank Parish’s ghost in the following book on Google:

Haunted Nevada By Janice Oberding (page 104)

More on Hank Parish HERE

The Emigrant Train – continued

September 27, 2009

Highlights of History –  By J. Carroll Mansfield

On the Way to California

On the Way to California

Low Food Supply

Low Food Supply

Herds of Buffalo

Herds of Buffalo

Music and Dancing

Music and Dancing

The Davenport Democrat and Leader (Davenport, Iowa) Jul 28, 1927

A Preacher’s Honeymoon

September 25, 2009
Horse and Buggy Couple (Image from

Horse and Buggy Couple (Image from



MONTGOMERY, Ala., Aug. 12. — On Sunday morning the Rev. Robert Hardin was assaulted in the public road while riding in his buggy at Hooper’s Mills, by “Dock” Wallace, George Argrove and Jacob Fuller, and severely cut with a large knife.

Hardin had been at Squire Anderson’s to get married, and was going to his appointment at Union Hill with his wife. There seems to have been a strong hatred of him by the bride’s relatives — Argrove her brother, and her step-father, Thomas Wallace, and his son by a former marriage, “Dock” Wallace, and his son-in-law Fuller. They had been making threats for three or four days, and had warned Hardin to leave the country or they would kill him.

On Sunday morning, when they found that the couple had run off and got married, they set out to find them. The meeting took place on the public road. Argrove seized Hardin’s horse by the bridle and peremptorily ordered him to then and there turn about and leave the country. Hardin attempted to remonstrate with the men, but “Dock” Wallace ran up to him and struck him three times with his knife, inflicting three severe wounds on his right arm and shoulder. One gash was nearly 11 inches long, nearly severing the arm at the shoulder. The second cut was on the write and the third at the elbow. Wallace was striking at Hardin’s throat and breast, but Hardin kept his body turned so that his arm received the blows.

The bride, seeing that her relatives were trying to murder her husband, jumped out of the buggy and ran. Wallace ran after her and three a stick at her. He then caught her and dealt her two blows with his fist on the back of her head and neck.

Thomas Bentley and Samuel Shumate came up, when the men desisted and turned away. Bentley and Shumate took Hardin to Abe Hooper’s and sent Hooper for Dr. Camp, of Edwardsville, who came about 3 o’clock and sewed up and dressed the cuts. He took 11 stitches in it. It is doubtful if Hardin can recover.

The New York Times (New York, New York) Aug 13, 1884

Note: Although the article says it was doubtful Robert would recover, I couldn’t find any other mention of the incident, so perhaps he survived after all.

*This story also ran in The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, GA)

National Punctuation Day!

September 23, 2009

classroom blackboard

National Punctuation Day

First the lesson, then the humor:


A Batch of Rules That Are in Accord With Modern Methods.

“Whose punctuation do you follow?”

The answer is, our own. Unlike D’Israeli’s alleged “sensible men” — who, when asked what their religion is, “never tell” — we are willing and glad to tell what our rule of punctuation is. Here you have it in a few words.

1. Never use a comma if “the wayfaring man, though a fool,” can grasp the meaning of the text without it.

2. Never use a semicolon when a comma will serve the author and the reader as well.

3. Never use a colon when a semi-colon will serve as well.

4. Wherever there is no climacteric effect to be preserved, cut up your semicoloned and coloned sentence into short sentences.

5. Use commas and periods as your standbys.

6. Use the semicolon chiefly to better express antithetis, and to group phrases and clauses.

7. Use the colon chiefly in formal enumeration, after “viz.,” “as follows” and the like.

8. Use the dash to indicate an abrupt break in the sentence, an afterthought, and, in many instances where in olden times the parenthesis was used, to indicate that the words included are parenthetically employed.

9. Use the parenthesis only when you find dashes are not sufficiently exclusive.
10. Never use brackets except where you insert some word of your own in a quotation from some other author.

11. Never use an interrogation point except when your question is direct; e.g., it would be improper to use it after “girl” in this sentence: “He asked what ailed the girl.”

These are our rules to-day. Tomorrow, if we see any new light, we shall follow it. But we are not likely to stray away from the course above marked out. Punctuation, like sentence-making, becomes second nature after awhile. In punctuation, as in sentence-making, we do well or ill as we succeed or fail in presenting our thought in fewest words. The words should be chosen and arranged as to develop our meaning, our whole meaning, and nothing but our meaning. — Midland Magazine.

Lima News (Lima, Ohio) Jan 17, 1899


Mistook the Punctuation.

The Young Woman (surprised and indignant) — How dared you kiss me, sir!

Penitent Young Man — Why, you said you’d like to see me do it.

The Young Woman — But you know as well as I do that I said it with an exclamation point at the end!

— Chicago Tribune

The Gettysburg Times (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) Oct 17, 1910


The importance of punctuation is often not thoroughly appreciated. A reporter at a Chicago paper has involved it in a libel suit because he wrote:

“The prisoner said the witness was a convicted thief.”

What he should have written was:

“The prisoner,” said the witness, “was a convicted thief.”

The words are the same. It is the punctuation that makes the difference.

San Antonio Light (San Antonio, Texas) Feb 19, 1899


NEWSPAPER men in Germany have to be very careful about punctuation. The Hofer Tageblatt a short time ago said a decoration had been conferred upon Count von Holstein. By an oversight an exclamation point, instead of a period, appeared at the end of the sentence, and for this the authorities seized the whole issue and instituted a sit against the editor for atrocious libel.

Reno Evening Gazette (Reno, Nevada) Feb 15, 1888

Image from kockneykapers on photobucket

Image from kockneykapers on photobucket

Punctuation Puzzle.

The following punctuation puzzle is going the rounds of the press.When properly punctuated it makes good sense:

“If Moses was the son of Pharaoh’s daughter then he was the daughter of Pharaoh’s son.”

Reno Evening Gazette (Reno, Nevada) Mar 9, 1888

Can anyone properly punctuate the above puzzle?


How a Reporter Evened Up Matters With a Captious Editor.

“In one of our western cities some years ago,” said a Kansas City man, “a friend of mine was employed as a reporter on one of the local papers. The next man above him was constantly taking him to task for alleged derelictions in duty and especially for mistakes in grammar, punctuation and similar things. The editor who was forever quarreling with my friend, while a man of force and able to write in a virile manner, was nevertheless deficient in education, and his grammar was occasionally as bad as some of that of Charles Dickens. One day he had been particularly vicious in his criticisms of my friend.

“The following morning there appeared an editorial from his pen, in which the following sentence occurred:

“‘To be a true American one should visit the Rocky mountains and contemplate its beauty and grandeur.’

“Here was the chance my friend had been waiting for, and so he cut the quotation out and sent it to the owner of the paper, to whom both men were responsible, with the following comments:

“‘The first thought suggested by this strange statement is that its author should visit a school of grammar and contemplate its beauty and grandeur. This originality in the use of a singular pronoun standing for a plural antecedent might be used to advantage in a reversion of the style, like the following, for example:

“‘To be a true American one should visit the editor of The Blank and contemplate their beauty and granduer.’ Aside from the offense to English in this admonition to the American people, will the sentiment itself stand analysis?

“If the dictum be true to be a true American one should visit the Rocky mountains and contemplate its beauty and granduer, what is to become of the following:

“‘The man who cannot afford to indulge in this visit and contemplation?

“‘The busy man who cannot find time to go on a mountain gazing tour?

“‘The many good citizens who are blind?’

“The attention of the owner was arrested, and he made inquiries which resulted in his straightening out matter between the two men. While this drastic criticism perhaps did not improve the editor’s grammar, it certainly did improve my friend’s position while on the paper.”

— New York Tribune.

Portsmouth Herald (Portsmouth, New Hampshire) Mar 21, 1901

A stranger in a printing office asked the youngest apprentice what his rule of punctuation was. “I set up as long as I can hold my breath, then I put in a comma; when I gape I insert a semicolon; and when I want a chew of tobacco I make a paragraph.

Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) May 26, 1870


“Punctuation” does not mean merely the little dots, dashes and fangs with which the lines of the printer are hacked, gashed and riddled. There should be some punctuations in everything. Keep your pockets full of periods, and carry one as a wholesome lozenge on your tongue. Your daily walk should be a great dash – straight and to the point. Commas are small change, not to be spent too freely. The exclamation point is a dagger and is not needed by civilized people.

Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) Feb 15, 1892


What Came of Trying a New Method of Learning the Rules.
Washington Star.

“Brown, my, boy, there’s nothing like it. Its better than ‘French in six weeks,’ because you can work yourself into it in a month, so that you can hardly say or think anything without following the rule. Take this beautiful selection, which recalls our schoolboy days:

‘The boy stood on the burning deck, comma, whence all but he had fled, semi-colon; the flames that lit the battle’s wreck, comma, shone around him o’er the dead. period.

‘ That’s grand; that’s inspiring. You have all the beauty and all the sentiment, and besides you punctuate as you go along, and so mingle the artistic and the useful.”

Brown was quite taken with this new plan for learning how to punctuate properly. He had often felt like a brother to the fellow who wrote a book without any punctuation whatever, simply adding in an appendix a complete list of punctuation marks, from which the reader could select and punctuate as much or as little as he pleased.

The first lesson went off swimmingly. Brown so fell into the spirit of it that as he walked up the street afterward he found himself soliloquizing:

“I wonder, comma, if I had better get that paregoric, comma, for the baby, comma, before I go home. period. Perhaps, comma” — Then he slipped up on a piece of banana skin and went down flat with two exclamation points and enough stars to equip several issues of a “blanket sheet.”

For the first time in his life he felt like using the “dash” and also making a dash for the miscreant who threw that murderous peel there. He lay on the pavement long enough to denote several paragraphs, then got up with difficulty and limped down the street. But the magic power of that first lesson was still upon him and meeting a newsboy, he began:

“Well, comma, my boy, comma, have you the Star? interrogation point.”

The sharp-eyes little rascal gazed at him curiously and then replied:

“Com-ah? Come off  When did yer ‘scape from the ‘sylum?”

After punctuating the town generally during the next two hours and getting a crowd of small boys at his heels, whom he escaped by seeking refuge in an empty school building — a place the average boy never enters if he can help it — he took home to his dear family a somewhat battered but still large supply of punctuation.

At 2 a.m. his wife nudged him. “John, John, there are burglars in the house!”

“What — ah? Burglars — burglars!”

Now wide awake, he sprang to the floor, exclaiming:

“Dearest, comma, I will defend you, comma, even with my heart’s blood, comma, if necessary, exclamation point.” He then threw open the chamber door right in the face of two masked burglars, who held pistols to his breast and demanded: “Your money or your life!”

With one whirl of his strong right arm he dashed the pistols aside, two bullets perforating the hall window, instead of his head, as was intended. With tow more whirls of that trusty arm he sent the burglars as surely and swiftly as one sentence follows another in the mouth of a 200-a-minute speaker out through the window after the bullets, remarking:

“There, comma, now, comma, you can hunt your bullets at your leisure, period. Call again, comma, and I’ll show you how to punctuate better, comma, but you can’t put a period to my existence just yet, period.”

Then rushing back to his wife he exclaimed:

“Joy of my life, exclamation point, light of my eyes, more exclamation points, come to my arms, period.”

They fell weeping on each others’ necks. Stars and dashes come in here, denoting a domestic scene too sacred for the eyes and ears of the vulgar public.

Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) Jan 30, 1893

An Alaskan Expedition – 1890-1891

September 23, 2009
Yukon River (Image from

Yukon River (Image from

MR. W.J. ARKELL, of Frank Leslie’s illustrated newspaper and the Judge, is organizing an expedition of special correspondents and artists to explore Alaska this coming summer. It is believed that a thorough exploration of this comparatively unknown region will reveal more wonders than were discovered by Stanley in Africa.

The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) Mar 20, 1890


The frontpiece of Frank Leslie’s Illustrated newspaper for the week ending June 28th consists of three pictures showing the start of the Alaska expedition on its long journey. An article accompanies the pictures giving the experiences of the party up to the present stage of their travels. It tells of the difficulties encountered to obtain natives to carry the necessary provisions and equipment into an unknown land. This expedition promises to be one which will rival Stanley’s in interest, especially in the minds of the American people.

Bismarck Daily Tribune (Bismarck, North Dakota) Jun 29, 1890

Headwaters of the Copper River, Alaska - 1902

Headwaters of the Copper River, Alaska - 1902

Image from the “Alfred Bennett” files on rootsweb. Lots of good old pictures!


Anxiety Regarding the Fate of Two Members of an Alaskan Exploring Party.

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 6. — Much anxiety is felt here over the fate of Wells and Price, two members of Frank Leslie’s Alaskan party, who started last fall with a small stock of provisions into the unknown Copper river country in Alaska. The last seen of them was on Forty Mile creek, where they bade good-bye to Schanz, when they declared their intention of pushing south down Forty Mile Creek, thence across Dividing Mountains and down Copper river canyon to the coast, a distance of about 800 miles.

They took a guide, who, after conducting them down that creek to the mountains that form the waters’ head between Yukon and Copper rivers, returned to Yukon. He reported they had set out boldly to pass through the almost unknown Copper river country, which is infested with hostile Indians, with few provisions and no winter clothing. Nothing has been heard of them since, and their relatives in Oakland and Kentucky are anxious regarding their safety.

New Castle News (New Castle, Pennsylvania) Jan 7, 1891

Chilkoot Pass - 1898

Chilkoot Pass - 1898

Above image also from Univ. of WA Digital Collection


The Frank Leslie Arctic Explorers in All Probability Lost.

SAN FRANCISCO, Cal. Jan. 11. — [Special] — News received by Professor George Davidson of the United States coast and geostation survey, stationed in this city, settles beyond doubt the fate of the two explorers, Wells and Price of the Frank Leslie Alaskan expedition.

Professor Davidson declares that there is only a ghost of a chance of their safety. The two men left Forty Mile creek for the unknown Copper river country last August at the same time that Schanz started for the coast with Greenfield, the Alaska census agent.

Schanz and Greenfield got through all right, though they made a thousand miles’ journey in the native canoes. Price and Wells were dissuaded from attempting to cross the divide and explore the Copper river country, as the season was far gone and the chances were that they would be caught by early snows. When they left the last outpost at Forty Mile creek they had only twenty pounds of rice and twenty pounds of flour and no fur clothes for winter. Price, however, who had spent two years in the arctic regions, said that they could easily buy supplies from the natives.

Since then absolutely nothing has been heard from them. The chief of the Copper river Indians, who left his home in October, reached the Alaskan Commercial company’s station at Alganic in November. He reported that nothing had been heard by his people of any white men up to October 20. The supposition from this is that Wells and Price have either perished or wandered from the regular trail and taken refuge in one of the widely separated Indian villages. If they were lucky enough to find an Indian village nothing will be heard from them till next month, when the natives come down to Alganic or Port Etches with skins to trade.

The chances, however, are greatly against their safety, as any news of white men is carried from one village to another over great distance in Alaska in a wonderfully short space of time.

Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) Jan 12, 1891


Frank Leslie’s Alaskan expedition, sent out last year, has arrived at Port Townsend, after suffering great hardships. Claim they discovered the source of the Yukon river.

Daily Huronite (Huron, South Dakota) May 4, 1891

Men Bartering With Eskimos

Men Bartering With Eskimos

Image from Univ. of WA digital collection (C. Hart Merriam’s Expedition Description)

A Member of the Alaska Exploring Party Returns.

Special to the Journal.
SAN FRANCISCO, May 6. — A.B. Schanz [Alfred B. Schanz], a member of the Wells-Price Alaska Exploring Expedition arrived here to-day. He was taken sick at Camp Davidson and left behind. He descended the Yukon river in a boat. He made his Winter quarters at an Esquimaux village and in company with John Clark, a trader, made a forty days’ trip north on sleds. On this trip Clark lake and Nogbelin river were discovered.

Daily Nevada State Journal (Reno, Nevada) May 7, 1891


FRANK LESLIE’S Alaskan expedition is back, claiming to have discovered the source of the Yukon river in the Chilcot mountains a lake they were pleased to call Arkell. As nearly all the recent maps show this lake to be the source of the Yukon, it is not quite clear where the value of Arkell & Harrison’s discovery comes in.

Bismarck Daily Tribune (Bismarck, North Dakota) May 8, 1891


SEVERAL members of the Alaskan exploring expedition sent out a year ago from New York under the guidance of Hazard Wells have arrived at Port Townsend, Wash. thus contradicting the report that the party had perished.

Stevens Point Journal, The (Stevens Point, Wisconsin) May 9, 1891

Alaska Packers and Miners 1901

Alaska Packers and Miners - Yukon River - 1901

Above image also from the U of WA Digital Collection

Those of our people who knew E. Hazard Wells, at one time with E.T. Cressey on the Daily Leader, and at the same time a special correspondent for the Cincinnati Gazette, will be glad to know that he and his party have returned safely from their exploring expedition into the wilds of Alaska. About a year and a half since Mr. Wells and party were sent to Alaska by the Frank Leslie publishing company.

For 13 months they were lost in the wilds of the northern portion of that country, and suffered privations and hardships almost innumerable. Their escape from starvation was really miraculous. Mr. Wells says the swamps in Alaska are worse than the glaciers, and the mosquitos are more ferocious than the bears. He also says the geography of the country as represented by publishers, is very inaccurate. The experience of the explorers, together with a complete write-up of Alaska, will soon be published.

Daily Huronite (Huron, South Dakota) May 20, 1891

Forty Miles Creek book cover

From: Gold at Fortymile Creek: early days in the Yukon
By Michael Gates, 1994 (pages 58-59) Preview only on Google Books:

In 1890, three hundred miners were located in the Yukon basin. The Arctic was refloated and began to make more regular trips into the interior. Being newer and larger than the previous river vessels, it represented the gradual change which was taking place in the country as the population and gold production increased.

Eighteen ninety was also the first year in which a new route to the interior was opened up. The Chilkat Pass was jealously guarded by the coastal Tlingit, who denied White people access; but in the spring, a party of White men changed all that. Working for an American newspaper, Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Magazine, E.J. Glave, E. Hazard Wells, and A.B. Schanz crossed the Chilkat Pass under the guidance of Jack Dalton, a seasoned northern veteran. The party arrived at Lake Arkell (which is now called Kusawa Lake) and divided into two groups. The first, consisting of Glave and Dalton, struck out overland to the west; the latter, including Wells and Schanz, continued to the mouth of Lake Arkell and into the Takhini River, from which they entered the Yukon just above Lake Laberge.

Glave and Dalton had an exciting journey overland along the Alsek River (now known as the Tatshenshini River), down which they travelled, stopping at Native encampments and chronicling the countryside as they went. They eventually arrived at the mouth of the Alsek River.

Wells and Schanz travelled down the Yukon River, arriving at Harper’s new post at Fort Selkirk on 18 June 1890, and encountering Al Mayo on the New Racket (which was carrying a few prospectors to the Pelly River) two days later. They arrived at Forty Mile on 22 June, where, due to Schanz’s ill health, Wells continued on alone. Departing Forty Mile on 3 July, Wells started upriver and arrived, a week later, at Franklin Gulch, near the upper limit of the gold-bearing creeks on the Fortymile River. Here he found forty miners, each working placer claims of 150 feet. The miners, usually working in partnerships of two or more men, were mining a zigzag paystreak some six feet below the surface and were making from six to seventeen dollars per day each. Those who were being paid a wage were receiving eight dollars per day; everyone was making money, but few were doing much better than that.

Wells continued his trek overland from the upper reaches of the Fortymile River until he reached the Tanana River, down which he travelled, arriving at St. Michael in September. He spent the winter travelling overland through Alaska and eventually arrived back in Washington state in early spring. This expedition was the first of a succession of journeys, made by gentleman travellers’ through the Yukon over the next few years. These observers left their mark on the history of the region in the written accounts of their travels. Glave and Dalton returned the following year to further explore the southwest Yukon. As a result of their discoveries, a new route into the interior was established. The famed Dalton Trail was used by Jack Dalton to transport horses and cattle north to the Yukon River and then downstream to Forty Mile. The trail became one of the minor routes of access to the Klondike River during the gold rush.


The Deseret Weekly: Stories of the Klondike Aug 21, 1897

A Chat with W.J. Arkell in which he talks about the Alaskan expedition.

The Tobacco Argument

September 23, 2009

“Down in Indian Territory something happened that gave the moralists grounds for a tirade against the use of tobacco and the other side grounds for argument in favor. A squaw who had began the use of tobacco at the age of 13, died at the age of 114. How long would she have lived had she began using tobacco at 10 or even 11?

Nevada State Journal (Reno, Nevada) Jan 9,  1931

A Comstock Miner Murdered in Bodie

September 21, 2009
BODIE, CA pre 1932

BODIE, CA pre 1932

Image from, where there are lots of nice photos, although most are more current, they still give you a good idea of what the town looked like.

A Comstock Miner Murdered in Bodie

The Murderer Escapes.

BODIE, Jan. 14.

About 2 o’clock this morning Thos. Treloar, a mine, was assassinated by a Frenchman named James DeRoche. Treloar’s wife was attending a ball, and he had ordered her not to dance with DeRoche.She did so, however, to his great annoyance. At the hour mentioned the two men met, and DeRoche shot Treloar through the head, the ball entering just below the left ear.

A crowd gathered and the murderer was arrested. At this moment Treloar’s wife came along in company with a gentleman and his wife, when DeRoche shouted: “Mrs. Treloar, I have killed your husband!” He was taken to jail, but, upon pretext that the vigilantes intended to hang him before morning, Deputy Sheriff Joseph Farnsworth took the prisoner to his boarding house handcuffed. Durning the night DeRoche mysteriously disappeared while Farnsworth was asleep.

Reno Evening Gazette (Reno, Nevada) Jan 15, 1881



The Hanging of De la Roche by Vigilantes — The Victim Receives the Benefit of an Informal Trial.

Says the Carson Tribune of yesterday: “Word was received here to-day that the Bodie Vigilantes had captured and hung De la Roche, the murderer of Treloar. The particulars, so far as we can learn, are that a pursuing party of the vigilance committee followed a scent to a place called Smith’s Dump, distant about ten miles from Bodie. The vigilantes interviewed two French Canadians residing at the Dump and demanded to know the whereabouts of De la Roche, who denied all knowledge thereof. They were then strung up, and under torture revealed the hiding place of the murderer.

The vigilantes captured their man and the mob clamored for his immediate execution. Pat Reddy, the lawyer, appealed to the mob to let the law take its course and to allow the man to be tried by the courts, assuring his hearers on his honor that he would prosecute him to the bitter end. The mob listened respectfully, but refused the request. The leaders, however, agreed that De la Roche should have an informal trial, and the crowd adjourned to a house, where a court was organized. Twelve of the leading men of Bodie were chosen as a jury. Mr. Reddy conducted the prosecution and Hon. J.R. Kittrell appeared for the defense. We have not learned who acted as Judge. The result of the trial was that the jury found the defendant guilty and he was sentenced to be hung immediately, and the sentence was put into execution at once.

The particulars of the crime for which De la Roche suffered, briefly stated are these: He knew Treloar’s wife in the East, and was criminally intimate with her. Treloar was jealous and forbade his wife to go to a ball with De la Roche. She disobeyed, and at 2 o’clock in the morning, while the ball was still in progress, the two men met and Treloar was killed. De la Roche was arrested and given into the custody of a deputy Sheriff, who handcuffed him and took him to a lodging house, and during the night the prisoner escaped.

Farnsworth, the deputy Sheriff, was threatened with lynching, but escaped to Carson. He was arrested yesterday on a telegram from Bodie, and is now held on parole. He refuses to swear out a writ of habeas corpus, saying he is innocent of criminal intent; that the man escaped while he was asleep, and he is willing to go back to Bodie as soon as the excitement dies out and meet any charges that may be brought against him.”

Reno Evening Gazette (Reno, Nevada) Jan 18, 1881


Mrs. Treloar narrowly escaped being lynched in Bodie with her paramour Da Roche. A noose had been provided for each, but Mrs. Treloar’s life was saved by one dissenting vote in the Vigilance Committee meeting. The woman made all the trouble, and her execution would have excited little pity.

Reno Evening Gazette (Reno, Nevada) Jan 20, 1881



Particulars of the Hanging of DaRoche by a Vigilante Committee.

The Bodie Free Press of Jan. 18 contains a long account of the lynching of DaRoche, from which the following particulars are taken. (DaRoche murdered the husband of a woman he had seduced):

“After the adjournment of the Court and DaRoche was taken back to his narrow cell, a mysterious committee was organized, the like of which has existed in many towns on this coast since ’49, and whose work has been quick and thorough. This committee held a long session, and its conclusion resulted in the lynching of DaRoche. Between 1:30 and 2 o’clock Monday morning a long file of masked and unmasked men were seen to file out of a side street into Bonanza avenue. There must have been two hundred of them and as the march progressed to the jail the column increased. In front were the shotguns carried by determined men. They were backed by a company which evidently meant business, and no ordinary force could foil them in their progress. When the jail was reached it was surrounded and the leader made a loud knock at the door. All was dark and quiet within.

The call had the effect of producing a dim light in the office, and amid loud calls of “DaRoche,” “Bring him out,” “Open the door,” etc., Jailer Kingen appeared, and responded by saying: “All right, boys; wait a moment; give me a little time.” In a moment the outside door was opened slowly and four or five men entered. Under instructions the door of the cell in which the condemned prisoner lay was swung open. The poor wretch knew what this untimely visit meant, and prepared for the trying ordeal and his humiliating death.

It was some moments before he was brought out, and the crowd began to grow impatient. With a firm step he descended the steps and came out on the street in a hurried manner, closely guarded by shotguns and revolvers. The order to fall in was given, and all persons not members of the committee were requested to stand back. The march was rapid. Not a word was said by the condemned man, and his gaze was fixed on the ground. When Websr’s blacksmith shop was reached a halt was made. In front of this place was a huge gallows frame, used for raising up wagons, etc., while being repaired. “Move it to the spot where the murder was committed,” was the order, and immediately it was picked up by a dozen men and carried to the corner of Main and Lowe streets.


When the corner was reached the heavy gallows was placed upon the ground, and the prisoner led under it. On each end of the frame were windlasses and large ropes attached. The rope placed around the prisoner’s neck was a small one, and when the knot was made it rested against the left ear. It was at least three minutes before everything was ready. DaRoche was asked by the leader if he had anything to say. He replied: “No; nothing.” IN a moment he was again asked the same question, a French-speaking citizen being requested to receive his answer. The reply this time was: “I have nothing to say, only O God.”

“Pull him,” was the order, and in a twinkling his body rose three feet from the ground. Previous to putting on the rope the overcoat was removed. A second after the body was elevated a sudden twitch of the legs was observed, but, with that exception, not a muscle moved while the body hung to the cross-beam. His death took place without a particle of pain. The face was placid, and the eyes closed and never were re-opened.

Strangulation must have been immediate. While the body swung to and fro, like the pendulum of a clock, the crowd remained perfectly quiet. No one spoke a word, excepting one of the leaders, who constantly requested the crowd “to keep back and give the man all the air possible.” While the body was still hanging a paper was pinned on his breast bearing the inscription:

“All others take warning. Let no one cut him down. Bodie 601.”

At the expiration of twenty minutes the pulse beat rapidly, but at the end of thirty it ceased to move and the man was pronounced dead. However, to be sure of the fact, Dr. Deal was summoned and asked to inspect the body. He felt of his pulse and pronounced life extinct. In another moment H. Ward had the body cut down, placed in a plain box and removed to his undertaking rooms. The mysterious committee had completed its work, and the captain gave out the order “All members of the Bodie 601 will meet at their rendezvous.” In a moment the scene of death was deserted. To use a familiar expression DaRoche died game. He as firm as a rock to the last and passed out into the unknown without a shudder.

Reno Evening Gazette (Reno, Nevada) Jan 20, 1881


Old Timer Says:

“The Vigilantes over in Bodie were busy. Thomas H. Treloar was shot down by Joseph De Roach on January 11 and buried on the 13th by the fire department and miners’ union. That night the vigilante committee hunted all over Bodie for De Roach. Not finding him they called on Sheriff Farnsworth to produce De Roach or take the consequences. De Roach was captured on the 17th and after a short trial before Judge Lynch was sentenced to be hanged. He was that day.

Nevada State Journal (Reno, Nevada) Jan 9, 1931


You can read more about the Treloar murder in:

Bodie’S Gold: Tall Tales And True History From A California Mining Town
By Marguerite Sprague (pages 110-114)

Also on Google Books:

Violence in America: The history of crime
By Ted Robert Gurr (pages 137-139)

My Wife Was So Fat…..

September 16, 2009

Fat Woman Meets With a Sad Mishap While Trimming Vines.
Publishers’ Press Dispatch.

HANOVER, Pa., Dec. 22. — Mrs. Wm. White is very stout, weighing nearly 300 pounds. Yesterday while trimming vines, she stood upon a barrel. Her weight broke down the head and she fell into it. So tightly was she wedged in her wooden prison that the united efforts of herself and husband were not sufficient to release her. The husband was finally compelled to roll the barrel containing Mrs. White to a blacksmith shop, half a mile away. There the iron hoops were cut away and the woman given her freedom.

New Castle News (New Castle, Pennsylvania) Dec 22, 1900