Archive for July, 2010

Young William Tell Fails

July 29, 2010

George Jessel (Image from http://www.life.com)

YOUNG WILLIAM TELL FAILS.

Daring Young Marksman Shoots His Father’s Lip Instead of His Cigar.

The daring act of William Tell in shooting an apple from the head of his son found emulation the other night at a saloon at No. 4114 Hughes avenue, Baltimore, but in this case it was the son who essayed the display of marksmanship, his father being the target.

Edward Thomas, Jr., 12 years old, has long been known as a crack shot. So proud has his father been of the fact that he has frequently allowed the boy to shoot apples from his head and cigars from his mouth. the other night Edward outdid himself.

The saloon was crowded, and when several strangers scouted the idea of the son attempting, or the father permitting such a thing, the parent took his stand in a corner of the room, and, placing a lighted cigar in his mouth, ordered the boy to knock the ashes off with his trusty rifle.

Crack went the rifle, while the spectators stood on tiptoe to witness the feat. To their surprise, Edward, Sr., swerved about and fell to the floor. Thinking he was killed a doctor was hastily summoned, when it was found that the bullet had passed completely through his upper lip.

Daily Iowa State Press (Iowa City, Iowa) Nov 1, 1901

This Modern “Dope”

July 28, 2010

Education.

Our Johnny is a pupil
In a public school, you know;
His class he leads
In stringing beads
All in a fancy row;
At writing he’s deficient,
He can’t spell even “cat,”
But ah! he knows
Each flower that grows,
So what care we for that?

In mathematics Johnny
Is hardly any good,
But he can knit
A woolen mitt
As well as gramma could!
He doesn’t know one hero
Or date in history,
But hip hooray!
His blocks of clay
Are beautiful to see.

Before he’s graduated
An’ awful lot he’ll know,
And he can turn
The things he’ll learn
To profit — maybe so;
But yet, somehow we hope,
He’ll learn enough
“Old-fashioned stuff”
To drown this modern “dope.”

— Paul West in New York World.

Olean Evening Times (Olean, New York) Oct 17, 1911

The Truant

July 28, 2010

The Truant — They say “absence makes the heart grow fonder,” but I’ve stayed away from school three days now and I’ll bet the teacher’ll be just as sore on me as ever!

Fitchburg Daily Sentinel (Fitchburg, Massachusetts) Mar 2, 1908

Four Meet Death in Panic

July 27, 2010

Tashmoo Dock - St. Clair Flats (Image from http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com)

FOUR MEET DEATH IN PANIC.

Drunken man Throws Match Into Gasoline and People Jump Overboard.

DETROIT, Mich., Sept. 4. — Panic-stricken over the flash of flames when a lighted match was carelessly thrown into some gasoline on the bottom of the launch Ben Hur late last night at the St. Clair flats, a number of the thirty passengers on the launch jumped overboard. Four of them were drowned. Their names are:

AUGUST MOGG, Cleveland.

H.J. WEISENGER, Detroit.

MISS BECKER, Detroit.

MISS NEWMAN, Detroit.

The launch was carrying a party of people to the hotels near Algonac from a dance at the Bedore’s hotel. One of the passengers, who had been drinking, kicked open a cock on the engine, which permitted a quantity of gasoline to flow out on the floor.

After lighting a cigar carelessly he threw his match into the gasoline. The fire caused a panic among the passengers, a number of whom jumped overboard. All but four were rescued by the Ben Hur and other small craft that hurried to the scene. The fire was extinguished and the launch was damaged little.

The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette (Fort Wayne, Indiana) Sep 5, 1905

You Better Watch Your Cheese

July 25, 2010

“LIMBERG.”

On a tree there sat a crow,
In his bill a chunk of cheese;
On the ground a fox, below,
Said, “Some music, if you please.
You are beautiful of wing,
And I bet that you can sing.”
Cheered by flattery, the crow
Sang, and dropped the cheese below,
Then the cunning fox did freeze
To the fallen chunk of cheese;
And he calmly lugged it off,
And he scoffed the song with scoff.

MORAL.

When they pat you on the back,
When they say that you’re the one;
When they say they’re on the track,
“And have been obliged to run;”
When their compliments denote
They are going for your vote,
You can do just as you please,
But — you’d better watch your cheese.

The Ohio Democrat (New Philadelphia, Ohio) Jul 17, 1874

***

From Wikipedia: “The Fox and the Crow” is a fable attributed to Aesop.

Moral of the story: Never trust a flatterer…or a politician on the campaign trail.

***

**I found this illustrated version as one piece on picsdigger.com. Their source was steinerbooks.org, but I couldn’t locate on that site.

Circling Through My Ruddy Nose

July 24, 2010

TOBACCO.

HAIL, Tobacco, queen of flowers,
Solace of my lonely hours,
Fume that fuddles as it flows,
Circling through my ruddy nose.
Let others boast of joys of soul
That kindle o’er the flowing bowl,
Or fancy raptures, as they sip
Balmy, sweets from Lesbia’s lip;
Sweeter far the fume that flows,
Circling through my ruddy nose.
Vulgar souls may deem that noses
Were only made for smelling roses;
Smokers, true to nature’s plan,
Feel the dignity of man,
And use their nose as a stack o’
Chimnies to expel tobacco
Herb divine for thee shall rise
Clouds of incense to the skies;
O’er thy notaries’ brains shall flit
Many a sooter kin of wit,
And noses yet unborn shall shine
With radiance luminous as mine.
Whether from hooker, pipe or quill
Thy fumes ascend, I love thee still,
Whatever shape thou deign’st to wear,
Long-cut, short-cut, shag, segar,
There’s not a whiff of thee but goes
A short or long cut thro my nose.
Hail, tobacco, Queen of Flowers,
Solace of my lonely hours,
Fume that fuddles as it flows,
Circling through my ruddy nose.

Ohio Repository, The (Canton, Ohio) Jun 6, 1822

Image from the following book:

Title: A paper:- of Tobacco, Treating of Smoking, by Joseph Fume
Author: William Andrew Chatto
Published: 1839
(Google book LINK)

Robert V. Carr: The Cowboy Poet

July 23, 2010

From his book, "Black Hills Ballads"

Robert V. Carr (aka Bob Carr) was the official poet of Seth Bullock’s Cowboy Brigade. I got an email from Carl Steiger the other day, which prompted me to see what all I could find on Mr. Carr. Based on census records, as well as a mention by Cabot Yerxa in one of his articles, Robert Carr appears to have been born in Illinois, and not South Dakota, as mentioned in some sources.

STORIES PICKED UP.

Th’ trees are whisperin’ a tale,
Of shade an’ lazy dreams;
Of loiterin’ and lingerin’,
Beside th’ singin’ streams —
‘Tis loafin’ time.

Th’ woods are makin’ love to you,
They’re callin’ you to jest
Come out from work an’ idle there,
Upon th’ lap of rest —
‘Tis loafin’ time.

— Robert V. Carr.

Des Moines Daily Leader (Des Moines, Iowa) May 17, 1902

SIMPLY TO LIVE.

(By Robert V. Carr in The Jaw Bone.)

To simply live, and drink of Sorrow’s cup
To know of Happiness, the blessings of Content;
To love, to hate, to rest, to strive and toil,
And know that all is for a purpose sent.
To simply live and gather by the way
Impressions which e’er mould and make the character of man.

Tri-City Star (Davenport, Iowa) Oct 18, 1904

Cowboy Lyrics.

“Cowboy Lyrics,” by Robert V. Carr, is a neat little volume of poems published by the W.B. Conkey company, Chicago.

If one is surfeited with the conventionalities of city and society, if one would have the open and unbroken prairie, if one would see the “bronco buster” in real leather breeches, if one would know the appetite before the call for dinner of the cow puncher, if one would see the roundup as it really is, he should get these “Cowboy Lyrics.” There are human tastes and human passions in the book, and they are related with much warmth and expression by the uncultured poet of the “Old Pactola Trail.” The spirit of the author is in “The Old Cowman.”

I’m not so young as I uster be,
I’m somewhat gray and wrinkley,
An’ I wear my hat — my old white hat —
On the back o’ my neck on a roll o’ fat
An’ I don’t ride much like I uster, tho’,
I’m not so dog-goned gumbo slow
When it comes to bronks, but yet I’ll say,
A buggy fer mine ‘most any day.

But my heart is young, oh, my heart is young,
An’ she sings the songs like she allers sung;
Dealin’ fair and dealin’ square,
An’ findin’ friendship everywhere;
An’ never a fear does she let slide,
Fer the day when I cross the Great Divide.

Old pards are gone — no use to care,
They’ve rode the trail to Overthere;
But I’ll see ’em again, I should shout!
To jes’ shake hands fer all get out!
I’ve no regrets an’ that’s no lie,
A white man’s never afeer’d to die;
Old age an’ death has got to be,
An’ by the bods, they don’t scare me!

Milford Mail (Milford, Iowa) Jun 25, 1908

ROBERT CARR, COWBOY POET, PAYS A VISIT TO BUTTE

Robert V. Carr of South Dakota has been visiting in Butte the past few days. Mr. Carr has gained fame as the author of a little volume of verse styled “Cowboy Lyrics.” The volume is in four divisions, “Ranch and Range,” “On the Trail of Love,” “Where the Chinook Blows” and “The Road to Yesterday.” In the verses are found faithful pictures of cowboy life, as it is, life on the range and through the great West. Mr. Carr is possessed of a genial humor, a practical philosophy and kindliness of heart which find voice in these poems and are bound to make them most popular.

The Anaconda Standard ( Anaconda, Montana) Oct 25, 1909


“How.”

I’d like to meet you anywhere,
Along the sunset trail
An’ roll with you a cigarette,
An hear a range-land tale.
I’d like to hear you drawlin’ speak
That word that rhymes with cow,
An’ tastes o’ sage an’ alkall —
That little old word “How.”

I’d like to sight you from a raise
Upon the Big Divide
I bet I’d know you from the way —
The reckless way you ride.
I bet I’d yell — Aw, blame the luck!
I’d give the world jes now,
To hear the pound o’ hoofbeats an’
that little old word “How.”

Fer charmed, I’m sure, an soft handshake
Of high society,
Somehow, don’t never git its rope
Upon the heart o’ me.
I want to beat you on the bark,
In joyous, friendly row,
An’ call you names — I want to hear
Taht little old word “How.”

— Robert V. Carr in the Popular Magazine.

Syracuse Herald (Syracuse, New York) Feb 25, 1911

From Literature of South Dakota - by Oscar William Coursey

NEW BOOKS

Robert V. Carr, the author of “Cowboy Lyrics,” of which a complete and revised edition will be issued by Small, Maynard & Co., of Boston, in October, did not write his lyrics of the western cattle range from the window of a Pullman, or in ease and comfort.

Mr. Carr, in a recent interview, tells of his first attempts to lariat the wild and untamed muse.

Said he, “You must not think that the way of the writer of western verse is strewn with posies. I believe I was about 14 years old when, in addition to an overpowering ambition to be a cowboy, I began to cherish fond hopes of becoming a writer. Possessing a couple of Indian ponies, I drifted from ranch to ranch, from cow outfit to cow outfit, and when I was not annoying the cooks, I was scribbling poetry. Some of those verses I sent to a country editor. He returned them with a note to the effect that they were not worth space. Years later that editor transgressed the law and was sent to jail. That served as an awful warning to me, and later, when I became a country newspaper editor, I always published the poetry sent in.

“Still, in the camp and on the trail in that trampled country north of the Black Hills of South Dakota. I wrote of the things I saw. Sometimes they were printed, but more frequently rejected.

“I left the western country for a bitter experience in teh army in the Philippines and returned to the Black Hills a physical wreck, but still writing. I then sought the cities, but managing editors had little space for western poetry and I drifted on. In that time I came in contact with the down-and-outs, the hungry men, the broken men. I need no books to tell me of despair. In many a dark hole in the city I longed for the clean prairies and a sniff of sage. But still I scribbled. And in time I returned west.

“Years later, when my old cowboy friends had coiled their ropes forever, a magazine editor wrote me, asking for some cowboy lyrics. I was the most surprised mortal in the United States. The editor got his lyrics and I received a check. I hated to cash that check. Naturally, one does not desire to part with something that has cost him 15 years of fighting.

“Yes, the way of the poet, like that of the transgressor, is hard; but yet, when I get a friendly letter from one of the boys in the west, or some chap whose authorship is confined to chalkmarks on water tanks, I do not regret the efforts. I am thankful that I was made to suffer, for it is only by suffering that we learn anything worth while.”

The Deseret News (Salt Lake City, Utah) Jan 4, 1913

TONOPAH.

Robert V. Carr, in The Popular

Slung his money like he knowed
He had staked the mother lode
Wine and song and all the rest —
Everything the very best
Said he wanted to get rid
Of his excess dust — he did!
Wildest splendor ever saw
Struck it rich, had Tonopah

Friend had he — fair-weather kind,
But he did not seem to mind
Said that he proposed to live
While he had a chance, and give
Every kind of sin a test,
So he’d know which was the best
Swiftest sport I ever saw,
That prospector, Tonopah

Throwed his coin across the bars,
Smoked them dollar-each cigars,
Buys of diamonds ’bout a peck,
This and that girl to bedeck
“Sparkler for a smile,” says he,
“Nothin’ cheap now goes with me.”
And the beat I never saw
Of that there young Tonopah

Then one day the cuss went broke,
Put his watch and chain in soak,
Friends began to drift away
And to dodge the sad-faced jay
See that poor bum over there
Beggin’ for two bits? I swear!
That’s the young sport I once saw
Down and out — old Tonopah!

The Washington Post (Washington, D.C.) Jan 26, 1913

Both Cabot Yerxa and Bob Carr homesteaded here in 1913. Five months of each year was spent in other localities, in pursuit of dollars to keep them going through the seven months they spent on their homesteads. Bob Carr finds a position as writer for Keystone Comedies under Mack Sennett, but is told most writers only last a week. All writers are in one large room and from their various yarns Sennett selects what he considers the best to make a picture. Mr. Yerxa continues:

Shortly after Bob Carr was installed, Mac Sennett came into the room, instructing the writers they must use what was on hand in the Studio to form their stories.

There are now on the pay roll one cross-eyed man, a jig dancer, one fat woman, an Irish comedian, one small elephant, two negroes, and six bathing beauty girls. Their bathing suits are all new and we don’t want them to get wet.

Now you fellows go home and come back here in the morning, each with his own story. You must use these characters, they are all paid for by the month. We can not afford to hire extra actors, just for one picture. Go out on the lot and look over the sets available for backgrounds here in the studio. Search in the costume room, we have comedy police uniforms and other things of use perhaps. You picture story can take people to the beaches and places near Hollywood. But no long trips or over night stops, they cost too much. Income is not all we wish it was, because the public seems hard to pull away from old fashioned theatres.”

Bob stayed up nearly all night working on his story construction. The waste basket was full of discarded copy, but he felt satisfied with his plot and action, as he entered the conference room next morning.

Mac Sennett walked in early and ceremoniously laid down some typed pages and announced that he, himself, had written a story and proceeded to read it forthwith. Then he asked each man in turn what he thought of it. The assembled men, all complimented the story very highly, because they hoped to stay on the payroll over Saturday night. Sennett was not above praise and he beamed under the barage of honeed words. Turning to Bob, the last man, he questioned, “And you, Carr, what do you think of my story?” Bob needed to be on the payroll very badly, but shrewdly felt that just to echo praise would get him nowhere.

He decided to be honest and replies quietly, “I think the story is rotton poor, and not worth building onto.” There was a hushed silence in the room!

(Continued next week)

Desert Hot Springs Sentinel (Desert Hot Springs, California) Oct 18, 1951

Mr. Yerxa continues:

The other writers knew that Bob was a goner Saturday night, unless Sennett fired him on the spot. They waited.

But Mac Sennett was no rich man’s son sitting in the easy chair of authority, prepared for him by some doting father. He had come up the long hard road, lifted by his own bootstraps. Not too long ago he had been carrying a spear in a crowd of extras hired for the night on a New York stage. His present position of success and rising prominence in a new industry had been won by showing foresight, originality, and much determination. Many things far more complicated than a story lay on his desk for solution. Therefore the writing of a script was not too important. Although take aback by the blunt criticism, he was inwardly pleased by the new man’s courage of conviction. So in an even voice, he asked Bob what was wrong with it, and Bob picked the story apart. Then Sennett questioned, “All right, Carr, now read your own story.” Bob did.

Sennett approved, and ordered it to be used for the first draft of the new senario.

Bob stayed on the payroll over the first Saturday night, and indeed was kept on the story writing staff until the time came for him to return to the desert….

Desert Hot Springs Sentinel (Desert Hot Springs, California) Oct 25, 1951

The most picturesque and attract[ive] cabin on the desert in homesteading days was that of Bob Carr. This was “B.A.”, before autos. There is something sacreligious about riding over the desert or up to a cabin in an automobile. The Desert is so quiet and clean, and wild life so retiring amidst the scant vegetation, that a mere man made machine roaring about is sadly out of place.

The Carr cabin was on a sandy shelf thirty feet above the desert floor, with a clear view to the south and of San Jacinto Mountain. On the west was a thick high bunch of mesquite which gave ample shade and furnished complete protection from the west wind.

It was built of up and down boards with cracks covered by batt strips. All knot holes covered carefully with tin can covers. The one living room was 10 x 14 feet. Cast iron stove at the east end and small sleeping porch at the west end. The only furniture was a plain pine unpainted table, with Bob’s typewriter, the only dictionary in the desert, and a few books of synonims. Three plain wooden chairs and a couple of boxes for extra seats and a pile of mesquite wood for fuel completed the cabin requirements.

Yet with this meager array, his quiet wife, Stella, was able by her ingenuity and feminine view point to make the cabin extrememly attractive. Little plants in dishes and cans, home made curtains at the windows, spotless dishes, magazine pictures, picked with care, fused with Congress. He made pinned here and there, and curtains and stiched covering shelves made the room very cheerful.

(Continued next week)

Desert Hot Springs Sentinel (Desert Hot Springs, California) Nov 1, 1951

Mr. Yerxa continues:

Stella was a very excellent cook and made wonderful bread. Whenever Bob was out at night she always had a lighted lamp set right against the window glass, and we could see this for many miles, as we trudged cabinward from the railroad post office through desert sand in darkness. Stella Carr was a cheerful companion to Bob and pioneered all through the homesteading days, and at his death, took up her home in Sierra Madre, California, where she now lives.

On that pine table, Bob wrote many a magazine story, novelette, and western poetry, which has amused and interested thousands of people all over the United States. He had a flare for using characters in western settings and stories to make readers laugh. Others were war stories from his experiences in the Spanish American war, or straight western style, cowboys, miner, and Indians.

Bob Carr was a delightful personality and a great comrade. We had wonderful days on the desert together. Just we two walking about, examining all the new things of the desert about us, and enjoying endless conversations, about philosophy, religion, history, poetry, books, Indians, explorers, and the strange complication that civilization has brought into human life. And always with us was that intelligent burro “Merry Xmas.”

Desert Hot Springs Sentinel (Desert Hot Springs, California) Nov 8, 1951

Bob Carr always viewed any situation from the dramatic angle because he was a born story teller. One day after the wood boxes were heaped high, and all the water pails full to the top in both cabins, he and I got to discussing what two men could do with their bare hands if lost in the desert without food or equipment. Or two Indians running away from marauding tribes. So we approached the problem this way. We hunted round for clay, carried some to Two Bunch water hole, formed a shallow wide dish, and hastily burned it. Although badly cracked it served our purpose to bring more clay to our pottery work spot.

We had used matches to start our fire as twirling a stick to get a flame we considered unnecessary time loss.

Having now abundant clay and water, we fashioned a crude olla to hold a gallon of water, and a rather deep dish with thick walls to cook with. Also we formed two small bowls to eat out of, and made two clumsy spoons. We placed these articles to dry slowly, and later in the day fired them in hot ashes. They held water. With carefully selected stones of the proper size we set out on the prowl for food. We succeeded in obtaining three small birds, and after a time one small cotton tail rabbit fell to our barage of stones. We could not in fairness use a knife, so we used sharp pointed sticks to aide in skinning and cleaning our game.

After searching we found a rock with an edge sharp enough to sever the heads and feet, and to cut up the birds and rabbit into small pieces. We filled the deep dish with water, threw in the pieces of meat and started them to cook over a fire. Some mesquite beans were gathered, cut up and added to the stew. Several sage leaves were added to give flavor. After considerable time the food was ready and served in the individual bowls and we had our clay spoons to use. Thus refreshed, we gathered branches, and palm leaves to build an Indian style “wick-i-up” and were well launched in the business of house-keeping.

Desert Hot Springs Sentinel (Desert Hot Springs, California) Mar 6, 1952

Cabot Yerxa

The Cabot Yerxa image can be found on Find-A-Grave,  (LINK) along with a biographical sketch, posted by Jane Pojawa.

Cabot Yerxa, homesteading here in 1913…. Mr Yerxa continues:…

Bob Carr and his wife homesteaded on land joining mine in 1913. They kept a dozen chickens, which were well locked up at night. But at one period a chicken was missing every few days during daylight hours. Large animal tracks were noted, a few feathers scattered about and some drops of blood in the sand. That was all.

Bob cleaned his rifle and kept it near the door. On one bright sunny morning, he and I were sitting in the shade of his cabin speculating as to whether it was a coyote or linx responsible for missing chickens. Just then we heard a chicken squawk near the edge of mesquite brush, and looked in time to see a big spotted linx retreating with a full grown chicken in its mouth. Bob grabbed the rifle and we took up the trail. In a few moments we saw the linx with its prey and it saw us too. Whereupon the linx promptly dropped the chicken and advanced slowly towards us, menacingly. Stopping now and then with teeth bared and snarling, its glinting eyes steadily in our direction. We three were very close together now, and just for an instant the linx crouched low and steadied itself for a spring upon us. But Bob was cool and had been holding a line on the animal with his rifle. His shot went true to the mark and the linx never completed the spring, but fell within a half dozen feet of us, screeching and clawing the small brush and sand. Had we been unarmed we would have been in for a very serious encounter, indeed. Such a large animal could kill a man, or at least make extremely serious injuries.

(Continued next week)

Desert Hot Springs Sentinel (Desert Hot Springs, California) Mar 19, 1953

Cabot Yerxa continues his report of animals and men of the desert back in the early teens of our century….

The Bob Carr single pine board cabin, with a one slope roof, was on a sandy shelf above the flat desert and half hidden in thick undergrowth of mesquite and grease wood. Bob and I, had cleared several pockets out of the sandy depression amid the sand hills near his cabin. These pockets were circular open spaces in which a camp fire was safe and out of any adverse wind condition which might be affecting the open desert.

To these secluded spots we often went for talks and long discussions of outside news which had trickled in to us by mail. Sometimes to wonder at the way nature had provided plants, birds and animals, and other desert things with qualities which made their survival possible in such a land as this. For variation we talked about books, famous people, historical events, and pages out of history which have changed the course of the world. Sometimes Bob would recount again parts of his past life which had been very eventful and on some days we went over the trials and experiences which had befallen me, which were many and varied. Anyway, we spent very interesting hours crouched by small campfires buried out in the desert without benefit of radio or television which people find so necessary today. We did not even have a newspaper. There we were, just two men by a fire, in the middle of many thousand acres of land, with no roads, and no strangers prowling about. After I found the black burro called “Merry Xmas,” it would follow us and lay down by the fire, and I am not at all sure that “Merry Xmas” didn’t understand much that was said. Because its intelligence was so much greater than any ordinary burro.

(Continued next week)

Desert Hot Springs Sentinel (Desert Hot Springs, California) Mar 26, 1953

Bob Carr and Cabot Yerxa, both writers, enjoyed each other’s company and the desert before it became inhabited. Mr. Yerxa continues.

In a large mesquite tree of venerable age lived a family of seven great spotted white owls …standing fully twenty inches high and the wing spread of these beautiful birds of the night was astonishing. During the darkened hours they would often fly slowly, and close overhead with a ghostly swish of wings.

Sometimes they would come quietly to rest on a convenient limb and call a very mournful “Who, who.” This was all very eerie in these primitive surroundings.

To our campfire hideouts Bob and I took the occasional city visitors who chanced to come to see the desert and us. We would start out at night, in the dark from Carr’s cabin, walking single file, with the city man in line. We walked in circles, and loops, thru thick brush, sometimes on hands and knees under low lying mesquite branches. Then over sand hills, through rocky washes, and patches of cactus, until the weary visitor was nearly exhausted and at last drop into one of our secluded camp spots. Here a small fire was built and stories told of wild cats, mountain lions, linx, rattlesnakes, etc. The visitor thot he was miles away from the Carr cabin, and with the background of night and location of the camp fire spot all the stories seemed very real. But in fact we were never more than a quarter mile from the cabin. Often coyotes would yap, desert rats scampered about in the brush and sometimes the firelight glinted back from animal eyes peering out at us from the darkness. So therefore, when the large white owls sailed overhead slowly with a very audible swish of wings, and called “Who, who” in the blackness of the night, — all visitors were ready to return to the cheerful lamp lighted cabin. We walked them the same long way on the return journey, up hill and down and round about, so they never suspected that it was all a game which Bob and I enjoyed very much. The stories these men told in Hollywood about visits to Carr’s desert cabin were very amusing.

Balzac, the French novelist, often wrote a whole book just to set forth the character of one person, so Bob and I got the idea of writing very short character sketches for newspaper readers. Bob wrote most of these, but I helped along. They were published in Los Angeles papers, one every day.

(Continued next week)

Desert Hot Springs Sentinel (Desert Hot Springs, California) Apr 2, 1953

Bob Carr and Cabot Yerxa worked and played together on the primitive desert years ago. Mr. Yerxa continues:

Bob Carr had been a cowboy, miner, newspaper reporter, soldier, and columnist. He was the pioneer type man, but primarily he was a writer. We had plans all made to start a desert magazine here in this location when he passed away in Sierra Madre, California. It was too much of a problem for me to undertake alone, therefore the project never got underway. But Randal Henderson started the “Desert Magazine” so the field is now well covered.

Bob and I each wrote about one hundred of these characters cameos:…

Desert Hot Springs Sentinel (Desert Hot Springs, California) Apr 9, 1953

Here are some examples of the character cameos mentioned by Cabot Yerxa which also ran in the Atlanta Constitution, the Anaconda Standard and the Indianapolis Star (Above heading and cropped cameos are from the Indianapolis Star) :

*****

*****

*****

*****

Cabot Yerxa builds a house back of Miracle Hill in 1925. He tells of animals interested in his progress….

Into the new ranch house went not only my own small buildings, but the Bob Carr cabin from its place in the mesquite hills, which I purchased and took down board by board and hauled home….

Desert Hot Springs Sentinel (Desert Hot Springs, California) Apr 1, 1954

Cabot continues his description of the house he built back of Miracle Hill, recently the home of General Alexander and 27 Wolf Hounds. A fire destroyed the house and the General moved into a tin store house in back which was destroyed a few weeks ago.

Desert Hot Springs Sentinel (Desert Hot Springs, California) Apr 8, 1954

Carr gravestone also posted on Find-A-Grave (LINK) by Jane Pojawa.

NOTE: Notice the gravestone has Mr. Carr’s death as being in 1930, but the obituaries are from 1931.

ROBERT W. [V.] CARR, COWBOY POET DIES SUNDAY

Sierra Madre, Calif., Jan. 12 — Robert V. Carr, 43, known as “the cowboy poet of the Black Hills” died here yesterday. He had been living in the desert near Palm Springs while in search of health.

Carr for many years was a writer for the Whitewood, S.D. Plain Dealer, where he first began to celebrate the bad lands of that state in poetry. He later worked on newspapers in Chicago, Denver, Spokane and Seattle and edited a livestock journal at Sioux City, Ia. He came here in 1912.

Edwardsville Intelligencer (Edwardsville, Illinois) Jan 12, 1931

WESTERN AUTHOR CALLED BY DEATH

SIERRA MADRE, Jan. 13. — Death closed a life of adventure late Friday night when Robert Carr, 52, well known Sierra Madre author, died at his Canyon Park home following an extended illness. Carr, who lived in Deadwood, S.D., during pioneer days and edited a weekly paper there, came to Southern California 12 years ago. His adventurous life furnished material for his short stories which have appeared in many magazines. He as a veteran of the Spanish-American war. He is survived by his widow.

Arcadia Tribune (Arcadia, California) Jan 13, 1931

CARR — Estella R. Carr of Sierra Madre, passed away March 31, 1973. A native of Illinois, she had been a resident of Sierra Madre since 1912. She was a widow of the late Robert V. Carr, well writer and syndicated columnist. She is survived by a niece, Mrs. Genevieve C. Pedlar of North Hollywood; and other nieces in the East. Funeral Services, 11: a.m. today, at graveside, Sierra Madre Cemetery, Ripple Mortuary, Sierra Madre, directors.

Star News (Pasadena, California) Apr 3, 1973

*****

You can read Robert V. Carr’s poetry books online:

Title: Cowboy Lyrics
Author: Robert Van Carr
Publisher: Small, Maynard & company, 1912

Google book LINK

*****

Title: Black Hills Ballads
Western Americana, Frontier History of the Trans-Mississippi West, 1550-1900
Author: Robert Van Carr
Publisher: The Reed Publishing Company, 1902

Google book LINK

William Allen: Congressman, Senator, Governor

July 22, 2010

Governor William Allen (Image from http://www.ohiohistorycentral.org)

The Old Governor and the New.

HON. WM. ALLEN took the oath of office as Governor of Ohio, on Monday last. After this, ex-Governor NOYES introduced the new Governor in the following courteous remarks:

GOVERNOR NOYES’ FAREWELL.

MY FELLOW-CITIZENS: I have the honor to introduce to you a gentleman long distinguished in the country’s history, and now called by the sovereign voice of the people to preside over the interests of our State; the Hon. William Allen, Governor of Ohio. [Great and prolonged applause.]

GOVERNOR ALLEN’S INAUGURAL.

Upon being thus introduced Governor Allen spoke as follows:

GENTLEMEN OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY: The events of October have made it my duty to appear before you, and in your presence to take the oath prescribed to the Chief Executive officer of the State.

I have taken the oath, and shall earnestly seek to perform the promises it exacts.

At the opening of your session my predecessor, in his annual message, submitted to you a general statement of the several Executive Departments of the Government. He likewise made such suggestions as seemed to him necessary and proper.

If at any time during your session the public interests should, in my judgment, require me to do so, I will submit to you some additional suggestions in the form of a special message.

The Constitutional Convention, now in session, will no doubt complete its important labors and submit the result for ratification by the people during the current year.

Should such ratification be obtained, your next session will be one of extraordinary labor. You will then be required to revise the whole body of the general laws of the State, and, by appropriate modifications, adjust those laws to the requirements of the new Constitution.

For these reasons you may deem it unnecessary to alter in any very material particulars the existing laws at your present session.

But there are some legislative acts which will, I believe, attract your immediate attention. These are the acts by which taxes are imposed and appropriations made. Even if you were now convened under ordinary circumstances, you would, I believe, feel it to be your duty to reduce existing taxes and appropriations; for it is evident to all men that the increase of taxes and public expenses has for some years past been much beyond the actual and rational necessities of the public service.

But, gentlemen, you are not now convened under ordinary circumstances.

A few months ago, that undefinable but tremendous power, called a money panic, imparted a violent shock to the whole industrial and property system of the country.

The well-considered plans and calculations of all men engaged in active business, or in the exertion of active labor, were suddenly and thoroughly deranged. In the universal business anarchy that ensued, the minds of men became more or less bewildered, so that few among them were able distinctly to see their way or know what to do or what to omit, even through the brief futurity of a single week. All values and all incomes were instantly and deeply depressed.

There was not a farmer, a manufacturer, a merchant, a mechanic, or a laborer, who did not feel that he was less able to meet his engagements, or pay his taxes, than he had been before. The distressful effect of this state of things was felt by all, but it was more grievously felt by the great body of the laboring people, because it touched them at the vital point of subsistence. Many of these men were unable to find that regular and remunerative employment so essential to their well-being, while some of them, especially in the large towns and cities, would have suffered for the want of the nutriment upon which the continuance of life depends, but for that prompt humanity and charity so characteristic of and so honorable to the whole American people.

It is in the midst of this condition of things that you are now convened; and it is manifestly the duty of the Legislature of the State to afford the only relief which it has the constitutional power to afford, by the reduction of the public taxes in proportion to the reduced ability of the people to pay.

Yet, this cannot be done without at the same time reducing the expenditures of the State Government down to the very last dollar compatible with the maintenance of the public credit of the State, and the efficient working of the State Government, under the ever-present sense of necessary economy. I do not mean that vague and mere verbal economy which public men are so ready to profess with regard to public expenditures — I mean that earnest and inexorable economy which proclaims its existence by accomplished facts.

In the prodigality of the past you will find abundant reason for frugality in the future.

I close these brief observations by returning my thanks to the people of the State for that expression of their good will and pleasure which brings me before you.

I thank you, gentlemen of the General Assembly, and our fellow-citizens here convened, for the respectful attention with which I have been heard; and I thank my predecessor for the courtesy and urbanity which he has extended toward me since my arrival in this city, when for the first time I had the pleasure of making his personal acquaintance.

The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Jan 17, 1874

Governor William Allen

ALLEN pays $525 per month for himself and family at the Neil House. — Democratic economy!

Kenton Republican.

This may be true: but one thing is sure — the honest old man will pay it out of his own, not the people’s pocket! He recently sold $30,000 worth of cattle from his own farm, and has a lot of durhams and shorthorns left. We can assure our Republican friends that Governor Allen will never purchase a landaulet, silver-mounted harness and gold-headed whip out of the governor’s contingent fund. He was born in the “earlier and purer days of the republic. It is left to the WILLIAMES, the DELANOS and the parasites who are appointed by GRANT, the chief salary grabber, to indulge in carriages and horses at the expense of the taxpayers of the country. There is a day of reckoning coming for all public thieves.

Plain Dealer.

The Ohio Democrat (New Philadelphia, Ohio) Jan 30, 1874

Governor Allen has returned all Railroad passes sent to him, saying that he does not think it comports with his position to accept favors of that kind.

Cambridge Jeffersonian (Cambridge, Ohio) Feb 26, 1874

One of the first official acts of Governor Allen was to pardon William Graham, a notorious rebel sympathizer of Summit county, who was serving out a life sentence for the murder of two loyal citizens during the war. This act stamps the real character and sympathies of Gov. Allen, and is alike an insult to the dead and the living — the hero in his grave and the loyal people of the State.

The Coshocton Age (Coshocton, Ohio) Mar 6, 1874

Democratic State Convention.
Everything Harmonious, and a General Good Feeling.

{excerpt}

SPEECH OF GOVERNOR ALLEN

He said a speech now would be out of order. He stood before them as a servant of the Democracy always, when unobstructed, points to truth, honor and liberty of all men. He regarded the people as every thing and the agent as nothing except as he executes their will. He had served the people for sixteen years, and left their service with his hands as clean as when he entered their service, and when he came to die, he would rather have inscribed on his tombstone:

“Here lies and honest man, than to have millions of stolen treasures to leave to his children. He knew not that he should serve the people more than one year. A voice, “Yes, you will.” Another voice, “You will be the next President,” immense cheering. Well, I do not seek or decline any position the people may call me to fill. I again thank you. Continued cheering and three hearty cheers “for William Allen, the next President of the United States.”

Allen County Democrat (Lima, Ohio) Sep 3, 1874

LAST year the Radicals in Ohio called upon William Allen to “rise up,” and now they are sorry for it. The old gentleman refuses to take his seat, but stands up  17,000 strong.

The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Oct 31, 1874

"Rise Up" William Allen - Nov 5, 1874 - The Democrat - Lima, Ohio

“Rise Up” William Allen.

The Democratic organs which have been so distressed over the intemperate habits of President Grant, should give their immediate and prayerful attention to His Excellency, Roaring William Allen, Governor of Ohio. The Kenton Republican says:

Governor Allen was very sick when he left here last Saturday night, and had to be carried from the barouche into the sleeping car. His stomach was so overloaded with mean whisky that he was as helpless as a child. and yet the Democracy speak of this man as their prospective candidate for the Presidency.

A representative man of the party in every sense of the word!

This is melancholy. The people of Ohio have known for a year past that His Excellency keeps something “thirteen years old” in his cellar, but they did not suppose that he ever had to be helped to his carriage on public occasions. William will find it difficult to “rise up” with a record like this against him.

The Coshocton Age (Coshocton, Ohio) Nov 20, 1874

“Your Taxes.”

In his speech on the 8th inst. Governor Allen said:

‘There it is, draped in black. A State has disappeared. Louisiana as a sovereign State of this Union has no existence. This night a part of the standing army paid by your taxes has crushed it out of existence.’

That is more of the old rebel talk about a ‘Sovereign State.’ Gov. Allen is much troubled about the taxes of the people. While upon this subject we wish to call his attention to a matter in the annual report of the Auditor of State, page 228. It reads thus:

INAUGURATION OF GOV. ALLEN. — 1874.

Feb. 21, William Wall, carriage hire …$100.00
Feb. 24, Frank Hemmersbach, service of band …75.00
March 10, Charles Huston, hairbrushes, perfumery, soap, combs and shoe-blacking …24.00
April 10, James Naughton, 75 years of crash at 12 1/2 cents per yard …9.38
Total … $217.88

And it costs the tax-payers of the State two hundred and seventeen dollars and eighty-eight cents to get one old Democrat scrubbed up and perfumed so as to appear decent when presented to the public. But, is not 75 years of crash rather a long towel to only one of the unwashed Democracy? To the rescue, fellow-citizens! Our liberties are in danger! Suppose the Democratic Legislature should pass a law to buy soap, fine combs and 75 yards of crash for every unwashed Democrat in the State.

Holmes County Republican.

The Coshocton Age (Coshocton, Ohio) Feb 5, 1875

It Makes a Difference Whose Ox is Gored.
[Pomeroy Telegraph.]

Governor Allen and Senator Thurman were called out one night last week in Columbus, to help celebrate the election of a Democratic Mayor in that city, by three hundred less than the usual majority. The Governor was terribly severe on corruptionists, and had a good deal to say about the corruption existing at Washington, but somehow he forgot to say anything about that lately brought to light in the Ohio Legislature, and which his party friends sought diligently to cover up.

Your average Democrat is fierce on Republican scoundrels, but when it comes to exposing and punishing those of his own party, he generally declines. It strikes us that an Ohio Democrat, at this time, must have a good deal of cheek to talk about corruption in others.

Let him look at the last Ohio Legislature and then keep silent.

The Coshocton Age (Coshocton, Ohio) Apr 30, 1875

Here is a strategy! Down in Dark county there lives a man named William Allen, a long, lank, sullen, dyspeptic, tobacco-chewing man, who was once a Democrat, who served a couple of terms in Congress — one as a Democrat and another as a Republican. He is a lawyer, has been a Judge, and has boxed the political compass thoroughly. The only thing good about him is his name!

Now the Republicans think if they could only put up this William Allen against our “Old Bill,” they would make a point. We don’t think it would amount to much, though it would lead to the confusion which used to attend the fight between “Old Doctor Jacob Townsend Sarsaparilla, and that of “Young Doctor Jacob Townsend.” Ours is the original William, and having once “risen,” all the namesakes and Radicals in the State can’t keep him from being re-elected.

Hurrah for the original Bill! No counterfeit bills taken by the people of Ohio.

Plain Dealer.

Allen County Democrat (Lima, ohio) May 13, 1875

What kind of whisky do they drink at Coshocton? Is it what is termed ‘rifled,’ ‘rot-gut’ or the kind that kills around the corner?

The intelligent editor of the Coshocton Democrat in giving a three column history of old Bill Allen, telling how he was born away back in the misty past, just before the dawn of history in the old North State, which accounts for the various reports as to his age. After discoursing like a love-sick maiden on the old ‘chap’s’ love scrapes, he launches out on his political career and says, ‘Allen accepted the challenge of the Whigs to debate with Thomas Ewing. In the very first debate, Allen, in the opinion of the audience, had much the best of it, and so firm did the conviction become, that Ewing was withdrawn after the second joint discussion.’ Great Heaven! to compare William Allen with, perhaps, the greatest man intellectually this State ever produced! It would be just as appropriate to compare the editor of the Coshocton Democrat to a jackass and so enrage the animal that he would kick the day lights out of you for it.

Again, this editor would have us believe that old ‘Uncle William’ discussed philosophy with Socrates, paraded the streets of old Athens arm in arm with Plato and Aristotle, for, he says: ‘Gov. Allen is a great historian, is deeply versed in philosophy and the sciences, and is better acquainted with rare books than almost any scholar any one ever met.’ No wonder the old man was acquainted with rare books! It is supposed those things existed before the deluge when the Governor was a boy, but the idea that the old Governor knows anything about philosophy and the sciences!

Great Jupiter! Hurl your thunder-bolts upon the devoted head of that Editor! But the poor fellow knows not what he is talking about. Too much honor had turned his head. ‘Old Uncle William,’ philosopher and scientist! Shades of the old philosophers! smite that man! Old Bill Allen a philosopher! In the next number that fellow will be claiming that the devil is a Saint, because the old thief always, and under all circumstances, marches under the Democratic banner.

Gentlemen of Coshocton take charge of that man. Don’t permit him to run at large while the people are paying so much money to make such ‘chaps’ comfortable at the Asylum for idiots.

Zanesville Courier.

The Coshocton Age (Coshocton, Ohio) Jul 15, 1875

Cambridge Jeffersonian - Aug 26, 1875

:[From the Plain Dealer.

We are Coming, WILLIAM ALLEN.
We are coming, William Allen,
From the meadow and the hill.
We are coming from the workshops,
From the furnace and the mill;
‘Tis the steady tramp of the thousands
That gives that steady roar,
That rolls from the Ohio
To Lake Erie’s sandy shore.

We are coming, William Allen,
O’er the river and the rill,
Over bog and over meadow,
Through the valley down the hill;
From the filed and from the forest,
From the mountain and the glen.
Blow your fog horn, William Allen,
Equal rights for equal men.

We are coming, William Allen,
From the Factory and mine;
For labor’s great tin-pail brigade
Is wheeling into line;
And massed in solid columns,
Armed with freemen’s ballots, we
Are coming, William Allen,
Lead us on to victory.

Allen County Democrat (Lima, Ohio) Sep 16, 1875

THE Democratic orators have a good deal of demagogue clap-trap to offer to the “poor man,” and a good deal to say about bloated bondholders and aristocratic land holders of great farms that the poor man ought to own a portion of, &c., &c. Governor ALLEN is one of the latter and owns a fourteen hundred acre farm, but he don’t say a word about giving or even selling a few acres for a garden spot to a poor man. His pure sympathy don’t take just that turn, although he is very much in need of more votes than he will get.

He proposes to fool them to vote for him by promising them “more money” — somebody elses money — if they can get it, after he gets their votes.

And here is Dr. BLACKBURN who his friend NICHOLAS SCHOTT says, has 400 acres, — does he propose to divide it with the “poor men” of Jackson township? NICHOLAS says “he is a little on the stingy order,” which seems to answer the question. The demagogues who have so much gushing interest for the poor man are not all fools.

The Coshocton Age (Coshocton, Ohio) Oct 7, 1875

IN a speech which Governor Allen made at Washington O.H. some time last Fall, there occurs this passage:

“The Democrats came into office last January after our political opponents had held control of the State of Ohio for nearly twenty years, but we could not find, after the most careful examination, a single case of official corruption.”

And this is more than he could have truthfully said of his own party before they had been in power as many months.

The Athens Messenger (Athens, Ohio) Oct 7, 1875

Nov 4, 1875 - The Coshocton Age

ALEXANDER DURANTY & Co., merchants of Liverpool, England, have failed for two million dollars, and the Democrat thinks it is all because BILL ALLEN and SAM CARY and the rag-baby were not elected last fall.

Sad.

The Coshocton Age (Coshocton, Ohio) Apr 20, 1876

IN the midst of the terrible slaughter of Democratic candidates for the Presidency, on account of some crooked transactions in money, or Congressional lobby jobs, the Democrat favors old BILL ALLEN as the only one not tainted, or sound on the rag-baby question. Yet old BILL has not the ghost of a chance.

The Coshocton Age (Coshocton, Ohio) Apr 27, 1876

OLD Governor “Bill” Allen, the warmest-hearted, most genial, generous and yet firmest and truest of Democrats, has retired from politics and the world. He leaves no better man behind him.

Memphis Appeal.

The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) May 19, 1877

Image from Find-A-Grave

Find-A-Grave memorial LINK

SUDDEN DEATH OF EX-GOVERNOR, WILLIAM ALLEN.

Special to the Columbus Dispatch.]
CHILLICOTHE, July 11, 1879

The community was startled this morning by the report of the sudden death of ex Governor William Allen. He had been in town on Wednesday, chatting with old acquaintances, apparently in the best of health and spirits. Yesterday he had a slight chill, after which he took medicine and a warm bath. But apparently there was nothing in that illness to cause alarm.

He sat up late on his porch last evening, but after retiring was restless and arose, requesting Dr. and Mrs. Scott — his son in-law and daughter — to assist him, and they led him to a chair, into which he

DROPPED DEAD.

The cause of his death is ascertained to have been heart disease, although he had never suffered from any premonitory symptoms.

Governor Allen retained his intellectual vigor to the last. At the time of his death he was in the seventy-fourth year of his age. From sixteen to eighteen years of that period have been spent in public life — as a member of Congress, Senator of the United States, and Governor of Ohio. He was universally respected and beloved by all who knew him here, and his loss will be sincerely regretted by his neighbors and the poor who his hand often fed.

The date of the funeral is not yet fixed, but probably will take place Sunday; as it is feared the body cannot be preserved until Monday, when the family desire the interment to take place. A number of distinguished men and old friends of the Governor are expected to be in attendance at the obsequies.

The Marion Star (Marion, Ohio) Jul 12, 1879

Fruit Hill - Allen Homestead (Image from Rootsweb)

DEATH OF EX-GOV. WM. ALLEN.

The Venerable Patriot and Statesman Breathed his Last Yesterday Morning.

THE telegraph brought the painful intelligence to this city yesterday forenoon of the death, at his home in Ross county, at an early hour yesterday morning, of Hon. WM. ALLEN, ex-Congressman, ex-Senator and ex-Governor of Ohio, in his 73d year. Gov. ALLEN was born in North Carolina. In his boyhood days he walked from his native State, to Chillicothe, Ross county, where he studied law. In 1830 he was elected to Congress. In 1836 he was elected to the United States Senate, and re-elected in 1842, serving with CLAY, WESBSTER and BENTON with equal prominence, as one of the intellectual giants of that day. In 1873, after a voluntary retirement of 25 years, he was elected Governor of Ohio, but was defeated in 1875, after one of the most memorable campaigns ever known in the State.

Governor ALLEN was a man of the most undisputed honesty, broad and comprehensive in his views and fearless and able in defending them. He was the choice of the Ohio delegation in the St. Louis Convention in 1876 for President. Through a long and eventful public life, no suspicion of wrong doing was ever charged by his political adversaries, and no other man was held in such high esteem by his party friends.

He was a man of vast information upon all questions of a scientific, literary and political nature. He was never an idler, but in his rural home on Fruit Hill he prosecuted his researches as zealously in his latter years as he did when a student at law.

He was a friend of the oppressed, and his speeches in the campaign of 1875, were full of the spirit of Democracy which stood for the “man against the dollar.”

His Democracy partook of the fervor of religious zeal. He was eloquent in paying it the highest tribute which has ever been paid. In accepting the nomination for Governor in 1873 he said of the Democracy “upon its success and that alone rests the prosperity, liberty and happiness of the American people.”

In a speech delivered at Lancaster, Ohio, on the 19th of August, 1837, Senator Allen then rising rapidly to fame, spoke these memorable words:

“Democracy is a sentiment not to be appalled, corrupted or compromised. It knows no baseness; it cowers to no danger; it oppresses no weakness. Fearless, generous and humane, it rebukes the arrogant, cherishes honor and sympathises with the humble. It asks nothing but what it commands. Destructive only of depotism, it is the sole conservator of liberty, labor and property. It is the sentiment of freedom, of equal rights, of equal obligations. It is the law of nature pervading the law of the land.

We have this speech before us in a copy of the Chillicothe Advertiser, of September 9th, 1837, making eleven columns of that paper. It was a masterly effort and devoted principally to the perils which menaced the rights of the people from the United States Banks and delineated the baleful influence of an organized banking monopoly.

Gov. ALLEN leave but one child, Mrs. Dr. SCOTT, who resides at the old homestead. The particulars of his death did not accompany the meagre announcement by telegraph, and we reserve until next week a more extended notice of this great and good man, who in the public and private station was a man of unimpeachable probity, enlarged patriotism, an intellectual giant, a warm hearted citizen and a noble man. Ohio has lamented the death of many of her statesmen, but the death of none that have gone before will be more keenly regretted than the death of the philosopher, patriot, and statesman, WILLIAM ALLEN.

The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Jul 12, 1879

WILLIAM ALLEN.

Sketches of His Life and Public Services.

HON. WM. ALLEN was born in Edenton, Chowan county, North Carolina, on the 5th of January, 1807. He was, by the death of both father and mother, left an orphan in his infancy. His parents were poor. In his boyhood days there were no common schools in North Carolina, nor in Virginia, whither he early removed, and he never attended any school of any kind, except a private infant school for a short time, until he came, at the age of sixteen, to Chillicothe, Ohio. He, however, early manage to acquire the rudiments of learning; and that was the golden age of public speaking, and the era of oratory and orators in this country. He was enthused and carried away with a passion for listening to public addresses, upon every occasion and upon any subject, marking the manner and treasuring up the words of the various speakers he listened to — and he would go far to get the opportunity to hear. He soon secured a prize to him more precious than silver and gold — a pocket copy of Walker’s Dictionary, which he consulted for the pronunciation and meaning of every word that he heard and did not understand. This companion always accompanied him to public meetings, all of which he sought and attended as a deeply interested hearer.

Several of the years of his boyhood life were spent at Lynchburg, Virginia, where he supported himself working as a saddler’s apprentice. When he was sixteen years old, he collected together his worldly goods, tied them in a handkerchief, and set out on foot, walking every step of the way from Lynchburg, Virginia, to Chillicothe, where he found his sister, Mrs. Pleasant Thurman, the mother of Hon. Allen G. Thurman, who was then a small boy, whom he had never seen before.

After taking up his residence at Chillicothe, where he has ever since resided, (except when absent in the public services) young Allen was, by his sister, placed in the Old Chillicothe Academy, where he received his only instruction from a teacher. She herself selected and supervised his general reading. In this he derived the greatest advantage. The books she placed in his hands were the works of the best and most advanced writers and thinkers, by the aid of which his thoughts were impelled in the right direction, and his mental development became true and comprehensive.

Struggling on, and maintaining himself as best as he could, Allen entered, as law student, the office of Edward King, father of Hon. Rufus King, President of the late Ohio Constitutional Convention, and the most gifted son of the great Rufus King of Revolutionary memory and fame. When he came to the bar and while he continued to practice, forensic power, the ability and art of addressing a jury successfully, was indispensable to the lawyer’s success. This Allen possessed and assiduously cultivated, rather than the learning of cases, and technical rules, and pure legal habits of thought and statement, which made a counselor influential with the court.

While it is true that William Allen will be chiefly remembered for his services in the Legislature and executive departments of the government, it is certain that he was a learned and able lawyer. His name appears frequently in the earlier volumes of the Ohio Reports, and in some instances his arguments were abstracted by the reporter, Mr. Charles Hammond. They show conclusively that he was not only thoroughly familiar with the principles of the common law, but clearly understood the limitations on governmental power, State and Federal.

Political activity, a widespread reputation as a legal power in the judicial forum before a jury, and a fine military figure and bearing, joined to a voice of command, fixed him in the public eye as one deserving of political promotion. He had not long to wait. His Congressional district was strongly Whig. Wm. Key, Bond? and Richard Douglass so hotly contested for the place in that party that a “split” was produced, to heal which Governor Duncan McArthur was induced to decline a gubernatorial re-election, and to become a candidate, they both withdrew in his favor. Against him Wm. Allen was put in nomination by the Democracy, to make what was deemed a hopeless race. With a determination to succeed, he spoke everywhere, ably and effectively, mapped out every path and by road in the district, and visited nearly every voter at home, thus insuring the full vote of his party at the polls, and the accession of many converts.

During this campaign he met and overcame in debate William Sumpter Murphy, the grandson of the Revolutionary General Sumpter, and at that time recognized as the first orator in Ohio, who had been put forward as another Democratic candidate to divide with Allen the Democratic vote. The power he displayed in this canvass was fully exemplified in Allen at a later period, when he accepted the challenge of the Whigs to debate with Thomas Ewing.

At the end of that memorable contest for a seat in Congress, William Allen was declared elected by one vote, when he had scarce attained the Constitutional age to occupy it. Five hundred men are yet living who claim the honor of having, by lucky accident, cast that vote. Although the youngest member, he at once took rank among the foremost men in the House of the 23d Congress, and took a leading part in its most important discussions.

An election for United States Senator was soon to occur, and the two parties struggled for a majority in the General Assembly. Ross county was Whig; but the Democrats nominated a strong candidate for Representative. Allen labored for his election, and he was elected by one vote, which gave the Democrats a small majority in the Legislature. There were a number of candidates for Senator. An Eighth of January supper, with speeches, came off, at which all the candidates were present and delivered addresses. That of William Allen took the Assembly by storm, and he was nominated and elected over Thos. Ewing, who was then in the Senate. He reached Washington on the evening of March 3, 1837, to witness the inauguration of Presidnet Van Buren, and to take his seat in the Senate the next day. Late at night he went to the White House, where he was cordially welcomed and agreeably entertained by Andrew Jackson, the retiring President, who was his fast friend and ardent admirer. Before the end of his first term, he was re-elected by a very handsome majority; and he remained in the United States Senate until the 4th of March, 1849, being then, at his retirement, one of the youngest members of that body.

During the twelve eventful years that he represented the State of Ohio in Senate of the United States, he took a prominent part in all the discussions upon the great questions that Congress had to deal with. Most of the time, and until he voluntarily retired, he was Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations, being entitled to that elevated position on account of his eminent ability. He had just reached the meridian of his splendid powers. Tall, of a majestic and commanding figure, with a magnificent voice, an opulence of diction seldom equalled, a vigorous and bold imagination, with much fervor of feeling and graceful and dignified action withal, he combined all the qualities of a great orator in that memorable era when the Senate was full of great orators — in the day of its greatest intellectual magnificence. And in all the years he was there he never uttered a word nor gave a vote that he had occasion to recall or change.

While Governor Allen was a member of the United States Senate he married Mrs. Effie McArthur Coons, the beautiful and accomplished daughter of General Duncan McArthur — his early, true and only love. She chose him from among a host of distinguished suitors from several States. She inherited the old homestead and farm, where Allen, having added many acres to the latter, with his daughter, Mrs. Scott, her husband and their children and his grandchildren resided, until the summons came.

Mrs. Allen died shortly after the birth of their daughter and only child, Mrs. Scott. In health and sickness, William Allen was a most devoted and affectionate husband; and, after the death of his wife, he rode on horseback with the remains from Washington City to Chillicothe. He never thought of marrying afterward; and it is almost certain that if he had not married her, his only love, he never would have married at all.

Governor Allen always possessed unyielding integrity, and ever strongly set his face against corruption and extravagance in every form. When he entered public life, he had the Postmaster General certify in miles the shortest mail route between Chillicothe and Washington City, and always drew pay for mileage according to that certificate. He refused constructive mileage, and after his retirement from the Senate, the Whig Congressman from his district offered to procure and forward to him $6,000 due him on that score; but he would receive none of it. William Allen and John A. Dix alone refused it.

No man was ever more true and faithful in his friendships than William Allen; and few public men have gone as far as he to maintain a straightforward consistency in this respect. He virtually declined the Presidency of the United States, rather than seem to be unfaithful to an illustrious statesman whom he loved and supported.

After he retirement from public life at Washington, Governor Allen greatly improved by study. He has since been a more profound man than he was at any time during his career in the Senate. He was a great historian, was deeply versed in philosophy and the sciences, and was better acquainted with rare books than almost any scholar one can meet. His home was the home of hospitality, and to visit him there was to receive a hearty welcome and a rare intellectual treat. His farm is not surpassed in any respect by any other farm in the magnificent valley of the Scioto; and, as a thrifty and successful farmer, no man in the State was his superior.

In August, 1873, William Allen consented to take the Democratic nomination for Governor of Ohio. He became satisfied that it was a duty he owed his party, and the people without distinction of party; and when it became a public duty, he promptly accepted the situation, and came forth from his retirement to make what nearly everybody, but himself and the writer and compiler of this sketch, deemed a hopeless race. He made an able and effective canvass, and was elected by nearly one thousand majority, being the only candidate on his ticket who was successful.

He was inaugurated Governor on the 12th of January, 1874, in the presence of the largest assemblage of people that was ever before at the capital of Ohio. His inaugural address was everywhere regarded as a magnificent State paper. The New York Tribune said it “was a very model of a public document for compactness and brevity, devoted to a single topic — the necessity of reducing taxes and enforcing the most rigid economy in all matters of State expenditure.” Upon this point the Governor said:

“I do not mean that vague and mere verbal economy which public men are so ready to profess with regard to public expenditures — I mean that earnest and inexorable economy which proclaims its existence by accomplished facts.”

“In the prodigality of the past, you will find abundant reason for frugality in the future.”

His appointments, and all other acts of his administration gave general satisfaction, and were commended by the people without distinction of party. His inauguration was the herald of a new era — “the era of good feeling” in Ohio. Colonel Forney, in his Philadelphia Press, but stated a universally recognized truth, when he said: “Governor Allen, of Ohio, is winning golden opinions from all parties by the excellence of his administration of the affairs of the State.”

At the close of his administration he again returned to private life and to “Fruit Hill,” his beautiful home, with the firm determination that he would never give them up again for public position.

The Democratic State Convention that was held the following summer (1876) in  the city of Cincinnati, endorsed William Allen as the choice of the Democracy of Ohio for the Presidency, and instructed the delegation from this State to support him in the then approaching Democratic National Convention. He esteemed that endorsement, by that grand Convention, as the highest compliment he had ever received. When the writer hereof informed him what the Convention had done, he replied: “I am content. I can receive no higher honor than that.”

William Allen was the last survivor of an illustrious line of statesmen. He, too, is gone. It is hard to realize it “His sun of light is set forever. No twilight obscured its setting.” A great man is dead, and the people of a great State and a great Nation will manifest in a thousand ways their sorrowing sympathy. His memory and the memory of his deeds “will outlive eulogies and survive monuments.”

The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Jul 19, 1879

***

Ohio History Central has a biographical sketch HERE.

Horse Thief Was a Thief-ette

July 22, 2010

HER SEX REVEALED

WOMAN CONVICT ESCAPES DETECTION ONE YEAR.

SENSATION IN PENITENTIARY

HORSETHIEF PROVES TO BE A YOUNG GIRL.

“Burt” Martin Convicted as a Man Turns Out to Be Lean Martin — Had a Male Cellmate.

For eleven months a woman has been imprisoned in the Nebraska penitentiary garbed as a man. She was tried, convicted and sentenced in Keya Paha county on a charge of horse stealing all the time dressed in man’s garb, and she passed the scrutiny of the guards at the entrance to the prison eleven months ago with the secret of her sex preserved. Now she is once more garbed in woman’s clothing and in this dress, she will spend the remainder of her three year sentence.

Discovery Made.

That such an unusual occurrence could happen considering the gauntlet every person admitted to the penitentiary must run seems incredible. Yet the discovery of the sex was not made till two days ago, by the prison authorities. The woman’s real name is Lena Martin but she has been known as Burt Martin and under this name she has gone for many years. Her father is dead but her mother resides not far from Springview. she was sentenced for rustling horses and when she came down to Lincoln, she had the reputation of being good at “borrowing” animals. The convict Martin was always regarded as of rather delicate constitution. He had small feet and small hands. His face was like that of a young boy as he was only nineteen years old when admitted. He was five feet, eight inches in height and weighed 140 pounds. He was employed in the broom factory and performed his duties well as the ordinary prisoner.

Were the Guards Napping.

When a prisoner is admitted to the penitentiary, he is thoroughly examined for identifying marks and one of the first duties of the guards is to give a bath in a large open bath room where any peculiarity or deformity would be noticed and made note of as a means of identification in case of escape. Nothing is now known of the incidents surrounding the admission of the young woman as this occurred eleven months ago under the previous administration. The guards might have been napping when she entered or the girl may have been more than usually clever at concealment. She was passed through and given a suit of stripes and since that time has not given the authorities any cause for suspicion until recently.

Whispers of a Mystery.

It was whispered about the prison among the convicts that a mystery surrounded the personality of young Martin. Some of the prisoners talked much of Martin’s cell mate and gave a gentle hint to the guards that an investigation would result in a revelation. At this time the prison physician was called upon to tend the cell mate and the secret was revealed by degrees.

As soon as discovered, the young woman wanted to be garbed in woman’s dress but the penitentiary authorities did not have a stock on hand and the steward was compelled to come to Lincoln and get a complete lady’s outfit. So not till yesterday was the lady horsethief once more dressed in woman’s clothes. She took the discovery of her sex without much chagrin and appeared to regard the matter as a rather comical incident.

The prison authorities know little about the history of the case before it came to them. The young woman lived in a county where the stock interests are large and where there are many cases of cattle rustling. When she gave her name to be entered on the records, she told the officers that she was a married man.

The Nebraska State Journal (Lincoln, Nebraska) Oct 4, 1901

Convict a Woman.

Lincoln, Neb., Oct. 1 — For 11 months the officials at the Nebraska state penitentiary have supposed that a prisoner known as Burt Martin was a man. The discovery that the convict is a woman and that her real name is Lena Martin was made two days ago by the prison physician. She was arrested, tried and convicted at Spring View, Keya Paha county, as a man, a year ago, for horse stealing. She seemed to take it as a joke when the discovery was made. Her mother lives near Springview. She is 20 years of age, large and coarsely built.

Lima Times Democrat ( Lima, Ohio) Oct 4, 1901

WOMAN CONVICTED AS MAN.

Her Sex Discovered Only After She Had Remained in the Penitentiary Eleven Months.

For For 11 months the officials at the Nebraska state penitentiary have supposed that a prisoner known as Burt Martin was a man. The discovery that the convict is a woman and that her real name is Lena Martin was made two days ago by the prison physician. She was arrested, tried and convicted at Spring View, Keya Paha county, as a man, a year ago, for horse stealing. Recently her cell mate intimated to the guards that an investigation would not be barren of developments. This was made when the prison physician was called to attend her.

She has donned woman’s clothes and will serve out the remainder of her three-year sentence. She seemed to take it as a joke when the discovery was made. Her mother lives near Springview. She is 20 years of age, large, and coarsely built for a woman. She comes from a ranch country, and was not known by her nearest neighbors, 20 miles away.

Daily Iowa State Press (Iowa City, Iowa) Nov 1, 1901

Governor Savage

PARDONS DISGUISED WOMAN.

OMAHA, Neb., June 23. — Governor Savage has released from the state penitentiary the convict who was sentenced under the name of Bert Martin, but who after a year was found to be a woman named Lena Martin. The woman had masqueraded for years as a man and was convicted of cattle-stealing. Recently her sex was discovered and on the promise that she would return to the home of her mother in Springview, Neb., and live an honest life she was pardoned yesterday.

Fort Wayne News (Fort Wayne, Indiana) Jun 23, 1902

LENA IS PARDONED ON PROMISING TO BE GOOD

LINCOLN, Neb., June 24. — Lena Martin, a woman convict in the Nebraska penitentiary, recovered while disguised as a man, was released from prison by Governor Savage on her pledge to reform. Lena carried on a deception for several years in northern Nebraska, but finally was arrested for cattle stealing and was sentenced to the penitentiary for three years. The prosecution was against “Bert” Martin, a man, and to the eye of the laws  he was still a man for a full year after entering the penitentiary for the prison authorities did not until that time discover her sex.

New Castle News (New Castle, Pennsylvania) Jun 25, 1902

Pin Backward My Skirts

July 21, 2010

BACKWARD — PIN-BACKWARD.

BY MELINDA MELROSE.

BACKWARD, pin backward my skirts in their flight,
Make me small again, just for to-night.
a am so weary and my skirts so long,
Sweeping the pavements as I walk along,
Gathering the dirt from out of the street,
Looked at by every one that I meet.
Mother, dear mother, I know I’m a fright,
Pin back my skirts, mother, pin ’em back tight.

Mother, dear mother, the days are so warm,
And I’m tired of this dress I have on,
It is so clumsy and don’t fit me right,
Pin it back, mother, pin it back tight.
Now I’m ready, don’t I look sweet?
Smiling on all I happen to meet,
I’m in the fashion, so that is all right
Pin back my skirts, mother, pin ’em back tight.

Mother, dear mother, I know it’s a sin
To wear dresses that show off one’s limbs,
But what is a poor girl to do,
If all the world wears them she must wear ’em too.
It is only those who are thin that are afraid
To show off a form that is not well made.
You may laugh, but you know that I’m right,
Pin back my skirts, mother, pin ’em back tight.

The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Oct 23, 1875

1875 (Image from http://www.igg.org.uk)