Posts Tagged ‘1897’

New Football Rules: Queer Signals in Verse

October 24, 2010



Some Queer Signals In Verse — The Player Who Is “It” — When Simon Says “Thumbs Up” or Thumbs Down.”

Mental Tests For the Rival Athletes.

The humane effort to reform football once more and free it from all elements of danger and roughness, as inaugurated by George Aide, seems to meet with cordial indorsement. It is supposed that when the game can be played without risk of anyone being hurt and without any rude scuffling or tackling, the persons who now oppose the sport will attend in large numbers. Some of the proposed changes are as follows:



1. At the beginning of play the ball shall be put in the center of the field and the umpire shall think of a number between 1 and 50. The two captains shall guess at his number, and the one coming the nearest to it shall be allowed to move the ball five yards into the territory of the other team.

2. Before the ball is put into play after a down the captain shall line up his men and count them off as follows:

Onery, onery, ickery an!
Phileson, pholeson, Nicholas, John!
Queevy, quavy,
English navy,
Stinklum, stanklum, I-O-U Buck!

The player on the word “Buck” shall be known as “it.” He shall kneel beside the ball and the members of the opposing team shall line up opposite. The player known as “it” shall repeat “Simon says ‘Thumbs up,'” or “Simon says ‘Thumbs down,'” indicating the movements as he speaks the words, and the players of the opposing team must imitate his movements. But if he merely said “Thumbs up,” without the “Simon says,” and an opposing player puts his thumbs up, that counts as 1, and after three such mistakes the ball is advanced five yards. If, however, after twenty trials the opposing team does not make a total of three errors then the ball goes to the opposing team and is advanced on a “tag” play.

3. On a “tag” play the member of the team who stands highest in his classes is given the ball to run with it. The opposing players must touch him as he runs and say “Tag, you’re it;” but if he has his fingers crossed at the time he does not have to stop. If his fingers are not crossed he must put the ball down. Any opposing player who is slapped three times on the back by a member of the runner’s team is called “out” and cannot “tag” the runner. A runner cannot be tagged while he is touching wood.

4. Any player who takes hold of an opposing player or who displays brusqueness and lack of refinement shall be put into a compartment at the side lines known as the “boneyard,” and he shall not be released until the captain of his team answers ten questions without laughing.

5. After a touch-down has been made the professor of rhetoric shall give five hard words from the back of the book to the full back of the team scoring the touch-down. If the full back spells the five words correctly his team is credited with two points, the same as if a goal were kicked. If he fails on any word the ball goes to the opposing team on the twenty-five yard line. The ball is never kicked, as it might strike one of the players and injure him.

6. On resuming play after a touch-down all the players except one form in a ring and join hands, singing:

“London bridge is falling down,
Falling down, falling down.
London bridge is falling down,
So farewell my ladies.”

The captain of the team against which the score has been made is blindfolded and put into the circle. After a time he advances and takes hold of a player, who is asked three questions. He must guess at the name of this player. If he guesses correctly he is allowed to advance the ball fifteen yards. If he fails the ball goes to the other team, in the center of the field.

7. Both spectators and players are expected to be quiet and orderly at all times, and particularly during the mental tests.

— Chicago Record

Newark Daily Advocate (Newark, Ohio) Dec 17, 1897



Men, Be Manly – Restore Your Vigor

October 20, 2010

The “Restore Vigor” type  products seem to have been rather popular in the 1890s. The image above of the shirtless boxer is not related to the advertising below. As far as I know, he never used any of these products; I just wanted a picture of a “manly man” for the post.

Millionaires gain fame by great gifts, but their happiness cannot equal that of a citizen of the little village of Austin, Ills., who in an interview tells how he regained youthful vigor by a splendid discovery which convinced him life is worth living after all. So happy is he that he is taking the trouble to tell those who are miserable and despondent how to be so no longer.

Many men suffer the awful mental forebodings of nervous weakness in silence, knowing well the dire consequences of habits of youth — indulged in before they understood the certain results — or of recklessness in later years. Or, perhaps, like him, they tried pretentious specialists, who did nothing but take fees. But life’s sunlight burst suddenly upon him, he asserts, when, through happy chance, he found a medicinal combination, the result of years of research for a remedy for such weaknesses by men of science. At once it struck at the roots of physical and mental torture — an undeveloped state causing great embarrassment, nervousness and lack of self-possession and ambition. It cured him. It made him a man.

It is this glorious discovery which he wants to make known to any man, young or old, who feels the fire of youth leaving him and who desires to restore vigor and size to shrunken parts, and stop drains which unfit a man for work and marriage and drag him from life’s success. Upon a request in good faith mailed to A.E. Parrish, Lock Box 710, Austin, Ills., this prescription will be sent free in a plain envelope. Though far from being rich, Mr. P. says he can afford at least a postage stamp to give happiness and life-hope to a fellowman.

Write him in confidence.

The Daily Review (Decatur, Illinois) Jul 18, 1897

Sex-ine Pills for lost vigor – 1894

Also 1894: Vigor of Men – easily, quickly restored!

Thank goodness! Using Cupidene actually restored manhood.  Also at a store near you in 1894.

Vitalis, a  French remedy from 1895 states that it removes “nightly emissions,” as well as other problems. Now, what exactly are nightly emissions?

AJAX made this guy a man in 1896. I don’t think this is the same Ajax we use to scrub sinks and toilets.

Also from 1896, CALTHOS, another French remedy,  cuts right to the chase: Men Be Manly! Maybe this one helps grow facial hair.

In 1897, the Erie Medical Co.,  had a product that would remove EVERY OBSTACLE to a happy married life. Wow! Now, that’s a pretty bold claim.

Fast forward to 1901 and we have Revivo, a product that looks suspiciously like the Vitalis of 1895.  Maybe they just used the same advertising agency, since it appears these products were made by different companies.

Also from 1901, Vim Vigor, which seems reasonably priced.  Fifty cents to cure your loss of manhood sounds like a good deal.

On the offside chance none of these products cure what’s ailin’ you:

You might go see this guy — because just maybe  a little too much vigor, vitality and manhood got you something you didn’t bargain for!

Sally Poll the Clothespin Doll

July 16, 2010

The Nicest One.

I’ve got the dearest dolly,
and her name is Sally Poll.
She used to be a clothespin
‘Fore she got to be a doll.

Aunt Maggie made her for me
When I had the whooping cough,
And she marked her face with charcoal,
But it’s almost all come off.

Her dress is only gingham,
And she hasn’t any hair.
She ain’t a truly beauty,
But I tell her not to care.

For I’ve got a great big family
Of dollies, large and small,
And Sally Polly Clothespin is
The nicest doll of all.

— Gladys Hyatt in American Agriculturist.

Cambridge City Tribune (Cambridge City, Indiana) Dec 23, 1897


Two stately little ladies these, as ever you have known,
With petticoats so very stiff that they can stand alone.
Each has a smiling face upon her wooden head,
A dainty cap adoring each, with frills, and ribbon red.
Their gown, all made of scarlet silk, are beautiful to see;
Aunt Lou dressed them for Marjorie, when she was only three.
At night, the ladies are undressed, and each is then arrayed
In nightgown white, with cap and cape, and on the pillow laid.
When Marjorie jumps into bed, she takes them in her arms,
And hugs them tight to keep them safe from the dark’s alarms.
On birthdays, and at Christmas time, all kinds of dolls she gets;
But these, her little clothespin dolls, are still her dearest pets.

Title: Our Young People
Authors: St. John’s Institute for Deaf-Mutes, St. John’s School for the Deaf
Publisher: Young People Co., 1916
(Google book LINK)

The Our Canadian Girl website has easy-to-follow instructions (with pictures) for making a clothespin doll.

These instructions came from a magazine page posted by blueprairie on Flickr.

The pattern pieces:

First of April Folly

March 31, 2010


Time Honored Observances of All Fools’ Day.


How Our English, French and German Cousins Celebrate the Day — Washing the White Lions — Barnum’s Famous Hoax, Some Familiar Tricks.

Foolery, sir, doth walk about the orb.
— “Twelfth Night.”

The young American lustily shouts when he has begun the first day of April by playing some joke on Tommy Jones, next door:

April fool! Go to school!
Tell the teacher you’re a fool!

He fondly imagines that he is doing something very original as well as witty. While we will not question the wit of his retort facetious, it may be well enough to inform him that he does not have a monopoly of this kind of humor.

All around the wide world young jokers are having the same sort of fun with their unsuspecting and gullible companions. Little Johnny Bull bellows out his “April fool” in the same familiar phrase, while young Sandy hoots it in Scotch, only he calls it “gouk” instead of “fool.” Little towheaded Fritz runs through the streets of his German village and shouts a guttural rhyme which goes:

Mach d’ Augon zu.

and which means, “April cow, shut your eyes.”

The French boys play jokes too. And when a comrade comes from the harness shop, where he has been sent for “strap oil,” they greet him with cries of “Poisson d’Avril!” which, to give a liberal translation, means that he is a “silly fish,” although literally it means “fish of April.”

Older people of other countries, as well as Americans who are no longer young, take advantage of April fool day to play sill tricks. The Germans go about it in a heavy, clumsy sort of way, but their native characteristics bar out anything which is not conceived in a good humor and which cannot be received in the same way. With phlegmatic earnestness they send each other on fruitless errands and laugh in a hearty, whole souled way when the victim is told that he has made an “April narr” of himself.

The French are apt to make their jokes in a hysterical, impulsive mood, but they are probably more given to this sort of diversion than any other nation on earth. All through France the first day of the vernal month will be marked this year, as it always is, by an outbreak of madcap pranks in which old and young will take part. So common has the custom been for centuries that an important event in French history hinges on an April fool joke which turned out to be no joke at all. Francis, duke of Lorraine, and his wife were captives at Nantes, but escaped from their prison on April 1 and, disguised as peasants, started boldly to pass the sentries. They were recognized, however, by a passerby, who ran ahead and informed the guards. The latter airily shouted back “Poisson d’Avril!” And so the supposed peasants were allowed to pass.

Fontainebleau (Image from Wikipedia

Another historical April fool day joke was that which Napoleon played on two gentlemen of his privy council, M. Regnault and M. Nisas. On April 1, 1809, these two high dignitaries were ordered to come at once to Fontainebleau, where the emperor was then staying. The distance was far, and the two gentlemen had to hire extra post horses. When they arrived, after driving fast for many leagues, they were told that the emperor was out riding. He came in after an hour or so and appeared to be greatly puzzled to see them before him.

“Did you not send for us, sire?” they said.

“No,” said the emperor, “but I remember now that this is the 1st of April. Some one may have taken the liberty of fooling you.”

M. Regnault was highly indignant and said so, but his companion took the joke good humoredly and diplomatically replied, “Perhaps so, but I am thankful to him anyway, for he gave me an audience with your majesty which I should otherwise have missed.”

Napoleon, who was very susceptible to flattery, rewarded M. Nisas with promotion, while his companion was curtly dismissed.

The adult Briton rarely unbends to such foolery, but when he does he goes into it seriously. Even to this day Englishmen remember the joke which was played in 1800 by a set of jesters in London who put their heads together and perpetrated a successful and notorious joke on a large number of people. Toward the latter part of March in that year many well known people and some who would like to have been considered such received cards of invitation bearing an official stamp in one corner and reading as follows:

Tower of London (Image from

“Tower of London. Admit bearer and friend to view annual ceremony of washing the white lions on Sunday, April 1. Admittance only at the White gate. It is particularly requested that no gratuities be given the wardens or attendants.”

There was a great crowd of cabs and pedestrians around the tower on the morning indicated, but they clamored in vain for admission until some one raised the cry of “April fool,” and then those who had thought themselves recipients of an unusual favor sneaked quietly home. The phrase “Send him to see the white lions washed” was for a long time a very popular one, and possibly is used even now.

Americans are notorious the world over for their joking propensities, but we are liable to break loose at any time and do not confine our foolery to the 1st of April. P.T. Barnum, that fun loving father of the “monster show,” perpetrated what is probably the most famous April fool day joke on record. It was perhaps a score of years ago that he advertised a new attraction for April 1.

“The most wonderful beast ever exhibited to human eyes! Puzzles the scientists! Amazes the multitude! A horse with his tail where his head ought to be!” read the flaming posters. And when the wondering crowds had passed under the canvas they saw a horse standing between the shafts of a cart with his head toward the whiffletree.

But it remained for the American small boy to illuminate All Fools’ day. Down through the centuries it had come to him with nothing but legends of a few stale pranks that were not very witty when they were new. He was not long in discovering greater possibilities in the day than the ancients or foreign folk had ever dreamed of. Putting his inventive mind to work and calling on his fertile resources, he evolved a series of April Fool day jokes which will live for centuries, but which will delight each succeeding generation.

To the American small boy we owe the brick under the hat joke, that time honored institution which lives in the memory of battered toes and aching ankles. The hot silver dollar, the coin nailed to the sidewalk, the stuffed pocketbook, apparently bursting with greenbacks, but really filled with nothing more valuable than green paper; the carefully wrapped paper parcel containing a choice collection of old rags — these are some of his humorous inventions which are not only mirth provoking to the spectators year in and year out, but are capable of many variations. For instance, the pocketbook may contain a genuine bank note, a corner of which can be artfully displayed, but a string removes it from the reach of the covetous victim just as he is about to grab it. The silver dollar may be heated so hot that it will burn the fingers of the man who attempts to pick it up, and the American boy, who is a little savage at heart, will howl with glee.

It was the American boy who conceived the idea of pinning to the backs of staid old gentlemen placards reading “Please Kick Me,” “I Am an April Fool,” etc. He invented the chocolate cream bonbon stuffed with cotton and cayenne pepper, the cigar which explodes and endangers the eyesight of the smoker and other kindred agents of expressing his innocent joy. It was a grown up American boy, too, who invented the April fool wineglass, which is apparently full of wine, but which is a delusion and a snare. This year there is a brand new article of this kind on the market. It is an excellent imitation of a plate of fried eggs, but the eggs are made of porcelain and glass, so be careful when you sit down to your morning meal on the 1st of April next, for the practical joker of the family may have made an investment.

There have been many fruitless speculations as to the origin of All Fool’s day and its customs. It has been traced back as far as the ancient Hindoos, but its lineage is doubtful and the quaint rhymed from Poor Robin’s Almanack best expresses the result, or lack of it, of all investigations on this subject:

The first of April, some do say,
Is set apart for All Fools’ day,
But why the people call it so
Nor I nor they themselves do know.


The Lewiston Daily Sun – Mar 19, 1897

Abraham Lincoln: He Franked for Them

February 14, 2010

Abraham Lincoln (Image from



An Envelope That Is More Valuable Than the Best Stamp In Any Collection — The Soldier Who Wouldn’t Tell Lincoln a Lie.

“Let this go.     A. LINCOLN.”

Unless it has been destroyed there is a home in Fond du Lac county, Wis., a soldier letter in an envelope bearing the above words, signed by the great war president.
Frank King was a Lamartine boy, fresh from the farm, and a character our whole company took to kindly from the first.

When the army was camped in Virginia, near Washington, the winter of 1861-2, it was a common practice with the soldiers, when they got a pass, to visit the city to buy a package of envelopes and call at the capitol, send in for their senator or representative and get him to frank them.

One of our boys came back to camp in high feather. He had two packages of envelopes — one franked by Senator James R. Doolittle, now a Chicago lawyer, the other by the late Senator T.O. Howe, who succeeded Captain James as postmaster general in President Arthur’s cabinet. For 20 years senators and members have been giving a good deal of their time to helping soldiers with their pension claims. If they have done it as willingly and pleasantly as they used to frank envelopes for the boys, they must be pretty nearly angels.

“You fellows, there, are making a big blast over getting a couple of senators to frank your envelopes,” said Frank King. “Just you wait till you see me come back from Washington with the president’s name on some letter covers.”

Within a few days Frank King and Harry Dunn, who for years after the war was a Chicago business man, went to the city. They called at the White House. It was easier to see the president then than it is now. At certain hours of the day a soldier could reach the chief executive with fully as much ease as a senator can in these later years.

King was the ringleader. Approaching the guard, he said: “We want to see Mr. Lincoln. Please stand aside and let us pass.”

“Who are you, and what is your business?”

“You tell old Abe we have charge of a regiment over on Arlington Heights and want to see him on an important matter. He’ll let us in.”

“Where are your shoulder straps?”

“We came over in our everyday clothes. Come, we are in a hurry. Let us go in and see Mr. Lincoln.”

The parley had attracted the attention of the president. The door swung open and the good natured chief of the nation smiled upon the cheeky young fellows and bade them step right in.

“What can I do for you, my men?”

“Mr. Lincoln, I want you to frank these envelopes,” said King.

“Better get your congressman to do that.”

“I’d much rather have you do it, Mr. Lincoln. The folks at home would like to see your name on my letters.”

“I’ll fix one of them. Take the rest to your congressman. Who is he?

“I don’t know.”

“Where is your home?”

“Lamartine, Fond du Lac county, Wis.”

“That is my friend Scott Sloan’s district. You go to Mr. Sloan. He will fix the rest of them.”

The president shook hands with the two privates, asked them to be brave soldiers and wished them a safe return to their western homes.

Frank couldn’t make his tentmates believe that the president had written:

“Let this go. A. Lincoln.” But the next day he wrote a letter to his father. The name of Lincoln was personally examined by all of the neighbors.

In January, 1864, our regiment was in Washington on the way home, having re-enlisted — “veteranized,” as they call it. In company with two others I went to the White House. The president shook hands with us, thanked us for swearing in for three years more and expressed the hope that we would have a nice visit on our veteran furlough.

“Mr. President,” said Jones — Ed Jones — “you franked a letter for one of the boys in our company, Frank King. I wish you would frank one for me.”

“Odd as it may seem, you are the second soldier to make such a request. So both are of the same company? Very well.”

On Jones’ envelope he wrote “A. Lincoln, President,” and as he handed it back he asked what had become of that other man who had asked him to pass a letter.

“He was killed at Gettysburg.”

I shall never forget the look of sadness in the president’s face when the answer was given, and it had not disappeared when we left the room.

“Jones, what did you tell him about King for? Did you see how it pained him?

“What did he ask about him for? Do you suppose I was going to lie to a man I would die for? was Jones’ indignant reply.

— Chicago Times-Herald.

Edwardsville Intelligencer (Edwardsville, Illinois) Jan 15,  1897

Gettysburg - July 1, 1863. The 6th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry Regiment charges the 2nd Mississippi Volunteer Infantry Regiment in an attempt to capture the Southern forces sheltered in an abandoned railroad cut.

Image (by Dale Gallon,)  from Perfect Frames Military Gallery


U.S. Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles

Name: Frank King
Residence: Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin
Enlistment Date: 22 Jun 1861
Side Served: Union
State Served: Wisconsin
Service Record:     Enlisted as a Private on 22 June 1861.
Enlisted in Company E, 6th Infantry Regiment Wisconsin on 22 Jun 1861.
Killed Company E, 6th Infantry Regiment Wisconsin on 1 Jul 1863 at Gettysburg, PA.


Robert Burns: “John Anderson, My Jo”

January 25, 2010

From: The News (Frederick, Maryland) Mar 28, 1924

Intriguing comment [excerpt] left by Astri on a previous post about Robert Burns and Auld Lang Syne:

I just discovered at a local Robbie Burns party celebrating his birthday last night, here in western Canada, what I, for 3 or more decades, have loved and sung in Norwegian as an old Norwegian folk song. This is “Jon Anderson, Min Jo”.

Last night at the party, I discovered the English-language song called “John Anderson, my Joe” – to nearly the same tune (some of the ancient natural-scale tones common in the Norwegian folk music had been anglicized or ‘normalized’ according to english folk tunes) and with basically the same verses, in English.

I said to my friend driving home in the car, “I wonder if Burns heard this song and ‘lifted’ it for its beauty and lovely sentiment,” ~  maybe while travelling in Norway, or in a pub meeting Norwegian travellers (brought together by the prospect of beer, ever-alluring to both our peoples, from early days of mead-making and viking-travel, on doubt!)!

It would be interesting to find out when the Norwegians first started singing this song.  Might turn out to be one of those chicken/egg things, but I would be interested in finding out more. I tried searching the Norwegian title, and I only got 2 hits, neither of which gave any information.

This comment jogged my memory of a temperance poem I had previously posted, which turned out to be a parody of “John Anderson, My Jo.”  I decided to see what else I could dig up on this same poem, being it is Robert Burns’ birthday. Evidently, this poem was so popular, it was parodied quite a bit. Below is a sample of what I found:

From the Murder by Gaslight blog (link below)

Looking for a sausage vat picture for this first parody, I was surprised to find the above image actually took me to a blog  post about the murder referenced in the parody! Link: Louise Luetgert: The Sausage Vat Murder

Rather sick sense of humor, I think:


John Anderson, my Jo, John,
When you and I first met
We loved each other well, John;
But not, already yet;
We had a little spat, John,
Not many months ago,
And you boiled me in a sausage vat,
John Anderson, my Jo.

The Nebraska State Journal (Lincoln, Nebraska) Oct 21, 1897


John Anderson, my Jo John
When we again prepare
To kill the boar black pigs John,
That scent the perfumed air,
We’ll bribe our fellow men, John,
With cash before we go,
To haul them to the slaughter pen,
John Anderson, my Jo.

The Nebraska State Journal (Lincoln, Nebraska) Nov 22, 1897

I saw the great regatta go
A half a mile from land;
The sons of Eli tried to row
Their boat to beat the band.
The oars sank deep, the men perspired,
I heard them puff and blow —
Too slow the pace, they lost the race,
John Anderson, my jo.

The Nebraska State Journal (Lincoln, Nebraska) Jul 10, 1909


Now, for a couple of advertisements:

The Ohio Democrat ( New Philadelphia, Ohio) Oct 18, 1888


John Anderson, my Jo, John,
When last it was we met,
Our winter supply of Coal, John,
Hand not been purchased yet.
“It’s time you was skidooing, John,”
I hear all the wise people speak —
There should be something doing, John,
Then do it now — this week.

No.2 Chestnut . . . $5.75 the ton
UNION COAL CO. 119 Main St.

The Fitchburg Sentinel (Fitchburg, Massachusetts) Jun 25, 1906


A political parody:

John C. Calhoun (Image from


Tune – “John Anderson my Jo.”

John C. Calhoun my Jo John, I’m sorry for your fate,
You’ve nullify’d the Tariff laws, you’ve nullify’d your State;
You’ve nullify’d your party, John, and principles, you know,
And now you’ve nullified yourself, John C. Calhoun my Jo.

Oh! John how could you look into the face of Henry Clay?
The glory of the Western World, and of the World away;
You call’d yourself his ‘master,’ John, but that can ne’er be so,
For he ‘would not own you for a slave,’ John C. Calhoun my Jo.

The Father of the Tariff, and patron of the Arts,
He seeks to build his country up in spite of foreign parts;
And Harrison will soon upset the little Van & Co.
And renovate the ship of State, John C. Calhoun my Jo.

John C. Calhoun my Jo John, ambition in despair
Once made you nullify the WHOLE, the HALF of it to share;
The ‘whole hog now you’ve gone,’ John, with Kendall, Blair & Co.’
But ‘you’ve got the wrong sow by the ear,’ John C. Calhoun my Jo.

American mechanics, John, will never sell their votes
For mint drops or for Treasury bills, or even British coats;
They want no English coaches, John, while servants they forego,
For their carriage is of Yankee stamp, John C. Calhoun my Jo.

Oh! John he is a slippery blade with whom you’ve got to deal,
He’ll pass between your clutches too, just like a living eel;
You think he’ll RECOMMEND you, John, but Van will ne’er do so,
For he wants the fishes for himself, John C. Calhoun my Jo.

John C. Calhoun my Jo John, if this you dare to doubt,
Go ask the LIVING SKELETON who deals his secrets out;
His favorites are marked, John, the mark you cannot toe,
And you’ll soon repent the bargain made, John C. Calhoun my Jo.

This is dirty business, John, go wash your little hands,
And never bow your knee again to cunning Van’s commands;
‘How are you off for soap,’ John, I cannot say I know,
But ‘your mother does not know you’re out’ John C. Calhoun my Jo.

The brave sons of the South, John, will never own you more,
And Benton’s Mint Drops will not save — you’re rotten to the core;
The people will no power, John, on such as you bestow,
And you’ve jump’d your final sumerset, John C. Calhoun my Jo.

Then better men, my Jo John our sad affairs will fix,
Republicans in principle, the Whigs of Seventy six;
The offices they’ll purge, John, Swartwouters all must go,
And Sycophantic fellows too, John C. Calhoun my Jo.

The farmer of North Bend, John, will plough the weeds away,
And the terror of Tecumseh then will gain another day;
America will flourish John, mechanics find employ,
And our merchants will rejoice indeed, John C. Calhoun my Jo.

John C. Calhoun my Jo John, when one term shall expire,
He’ll drop the reins of power and with dignity retire,
To look upon a smiling land, that he has rendered so,
And every Whig will cry AMEN, John C. Calhoun my Jo.

Poet’s Garret, Baltimore, January, 1840.

Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio) Mar 7,  1840

Francis Scott Key

This last one is not a parody, but rather interesting, if Francis Scott Key actually penned these additional verses:


A Pipe Creek Man Awakens a Reminiscence of Francis Scott Key.

A correspondent of the Washington Evening Star writes: In your issue of Saturday you publish an added verse to Burns’ “John Anderson, My Jo,” written by a lady from Georgia.

Mr. Francis S. Key, the author of the “Star Spangled Banner,” wrote two additional verses to Burns’ poem, and not remembering having seen them published, I send them to you.

Mr. Key writes:

“There ought to be another —

John Anderson my Jo, John,
From that sleep again we’ll wake,
When another day’s fair light
On our opened eyes shall break.
And we’ll rise in youth and beauty
To that bright land to go,
Where life and love shall last for aye,
John Anderson, my Jo


John Anderson, my Jo, John,
One day we’ll waken there,
Where a brighter morn than ever shone,
Our opened eyes shall cheer.
And in fresh youth and beauty
To that blest land we’ll go
Where we’ll live and love forever,
John Anderson, my Jo.”

Pipe Creek, October 13, 1842. B.

The News (Frederick, Maryland) May 21,  1885

Poetry in Advertising

November 9, 2009


Hark! hark! ’tis SOZODONT I cry
Haste youths, and maidens, come and buy.
Come and a secret I’ll unfold,
At small expense to young and old.
A charm that will on both bestow
A ruby lip, and teeth like snow.

The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) Jun 25, 1884


Hie, lads and lassies hie away
Nor brook a single hour’s delay,
If you would carry in your mouth
White teeth, and odors of the south.
Haste, haste, and buy a single font
Of the unrivalled SOZODONT.

The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) Aug 13, 1882

men shampoo 1893


This is the poem, which is hard to read on the above image:

Yes, barber, what you say is true,
I need a number one shampoo,
And came in, as I always do,
Because I can rely on you
To choose pure Ivory Soap, in lieu
Of soaps ol divers form and hue
From use of which such ills ensue.

Well, sir, we barbers suffer too,
From humbug articles, and rue
That we have tried before we knew
Poor toilet frauds to which are due
More scalp-diseases than a few.
I know we are the safer who
Use Ivory Soap for a shampoo.

Carroll Sentinel (Carroll, Iowa) Oct 3, 1893

santa claus soap1890


The Daily Northwestern (Oshkosh, Wisconsin) Jun 11, 1890


The Georgia Buggy Co. 39 S. Broad St., 34-36 S. Forsyth St.

In the dead hour of night,
While sleeping with all your might,
The Genii made a sweeping flight,
And took the street cars out of sight.

In this hour of dire distress
The public their indignation express;
You to the courts go for redress
And get a forty-eight hour request.

To our friends we kindly advise,
Let the street cars go in demise,
Buy a vehicle, which is wise,
And show the boss your despise;

If not street cars by the door,
You have carpets on your floor;
To and from work you can go
In a fine vehicle bought low
At the only Georgia Buggy Co.

LAST WEEK the buyers kept us busy from start to finish. Mighty bad weather though for imitators to be left out in the cold. The Georgia Buggy Co.

The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) Mar 8,  1896



How sweet to love,
But Oh! how bitter,
To love a gal,
And then not git her!
And know the only
Reason why
Is because you didn’t
The furniture buy
Of Stowers.

203 West Commerce street.

San Antonio Light (San Antonio, Texas) Jul 25, 1897

This one is my favorite:

Machine Poetry.

Dear friends, we are modest, decidedly so,
But sometimes our pen at random will go;
And we now feel inclined to let the thing run,
And write a short notice abounding with fun.

Our neighbors, good fellows, who are all on the track,
Cry “Hurrah for the West!” and never look back;
And not wishing to linger or fall in the rear,
We crave for a moment your poetic ear.

Our scribbling we think resembles the kind
Once written by Homer, the man that was blind;
But only like his in regard to the eyes;
Not at all Homer-like viewed otherwise.

He wrote with gravity, candor and sense;
We write for the purpose of getting the pence;
And if we succeed, and obtain our desire,
We’ll throw down our pen, make our bow, and retire.

The facts of the case we are willing to tell;
We have a few things we are anxious to sell;
And we take this queer way of letting you know
That you don’t save the coppers if by us you go.

Of Superfine Flour we have “piles” upon “piles,”
To supply all our friends for a circuit of miles;
We sell on commission for a profit quite small,
Believe what we say, and give us a call.

Of Sugar we have not a very small “heap,”
Which we are selling quite fast, for we’re selling it cheap.
One dollar will buy eight pounds of the sweet;
And now the dear children may have cookies to eat.

Of Coffee and Spices we have a supply,
That are fine for the palate and nice to the eye;
Ground or unground, roasted or not,
Cinnamon fragrant, and Black Pepper hot.

If Fremont‘s elected, and for it we hope,
For the disappointed ones we’ve plenty of Soap
To cleanse their long faces and banish their tears,
And keep them contented for at least eight years.

Saleratus and Soda, and Teas you may find;
Cream Tartar in packages just to your mind;
Caps,Percussion, by the box, the thousand or more,
You can have whenever you visit our Store.

In the Furniture line we make no pretensions,
But we have some chairs of ample dimensions,
Which are faithfully made and painted nice,
And are offered for sale at a very low price.

Nails, Sash, and Glass we have always on hand,
For those who are building in this glorious land.
Six cents for the Sash, for the Glass four and a half,
And Nails at a price that will make you all laugh.

Do you want Gunpowder, and a little cold Lead,
To finish old Bruin with a ball in his head?
Come along with your shot gun, revolver, and rifle,
And we’ll fill up your horns and ask but a trifle.

We have Salt by the barrel, and Syrup so nice
That if you trade with us once we know you will twice.
Dried Apples we sell to those who like pies,
And Cheese that would dazzle an epicure’s eyes.

Of Nicknacks and Notions, such as Baskets and Matches,
Warm Coats and thick Pants for those who hate patches,
With Mittens and Gloves, and Cotton and Thread,
We have a few left, and a Comb for the head.

And now, kind friend, we propose to retreat
From the stomach and back and come down to the feet;
Just after our measure, our metre, and time,
And give you some sense along with the rhyme.

When Mother Eve in Paradise was staying,
And ‘midst those shady walks and sparkling fountains playing,
‘Tis said that she revolted, (what a shame!)
Then took fig leaves, made aprons of the same,
Ingeniously attempting thus to cover
Herself and guilty man half over.

Banished from Eden’s calm and blest retreat,
She wandered forth with unprotected feet;
To scorching sand her pedals were exposed,
And, grov’ling in the dust, spread out her ten fair toes.
A flaming sword hung o’er those scenes of sacred mirth;
Barefoot and sad she trod the sin-cursed earth.

How long her children wailed and wanted Shoes,
Is no recorded by our homely muse.
One fact is clear: No longer need they weep,
For Boots and Shoes, nice, strong, and cheap,
To suit the foot and please the eye,
We have to sell just when they please to buy.

We keep on a corner where two roads meet,
And when your faces there we greet,
With treatment kind and prudent pay,
We’ll send you smiling on your way.

Richland Center, November 3, 1856.

Richland County Observer (Richland, Wisconsin) Nov 18, 1856



Let Stutchfield, Hoyt, and all the rest,
Boast of  their wares the very best,
But if you wish to make a trade,
Call at my shop, where ready made,
And made ‘pon honor, you’ll be sure
To find all kinds of Furniture
Bedsteads — the plan best e’er invented —
On which a man may rest contented.
On which bugs, white, black or yellow,
Fleas, dogs or snakes, ne’er bite a fellow
Its match you ne’er saw in your life,
It opens and shuts just like a knife.
My neighbor says, “If I had tools,
I’d make a few to gull the fools,”
But mine, when tried, you’ll surely find
Will suit a very different mind
Come, get a little wife, young man,
And a bedstead made on my new plan,
You’ll want some Chairs, a Table and Settee,
A Boston for the wife, a Crib for the baby.
My prices, too, so very low,
You’ll wonder why you waited so.
Bring your Lumber, or Cash in hand,
Opposite the Old Whyler Stand.


Norwalk, Oct. 10, 1849

thompson acrostic

Acrostic Advertising


jacob leu stoves

Acrostic Advertising #2


The Globe (Atchison, Kansas) Jan 18, 1878


Gresham’s Answer to Queen Lil
When I received your cablegram
I thought I sure would faint
For though I often used Parks’ Teas
‘Tis not for your complaint.
I feared that Mrs. G. would think
Wrong about our connection
Till on her dresser there I saw
Parks’ Tea for her complexion.

Sandusky Register (Sandusky, Ohio) Sep 13, 1894

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.

Bicycles and Bloomers

August 6, 2009

Bicycle Bloomers1894cp


We do not speak in disparaging tones when we say that a woman who wears bloomers has loose habits.

— Syracuse Post.

The queen of Spain now knows what pain
And woe and ruth are like.
No legs has she; and so, you see,
She cannot ride a bike.

— New York Recorder.

“Woman is still far from her ideals.”

“Oh, I don’t know. We don’t wear them as loose as we did.”

— Detroit Tribune.

There’s a bicycle girl in Weehawken
That has set all the neighbors to tawken;
This feminine biped
Wears bloomers bright striped,
And red is the shade of her stawken.

“I hear,” said the cheerful idiot, “that they are talking of revising the costume of the Goddess of Liberty.”

“And what will it be pray?” asked the typewriter boarder, who has a wheel.

“Red, white and bloomers,” said the cheerful idiot. –Indianapolis Journal.

Bobbie — Say, fellers, let us holler “Rats!” as that woman passes.

Freddie — What’s the use? Don’t you see she has bloomers on? — Judge.

The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) Jun 16, 1895


There were more bloomers out on bicycles in this city yesterday than ever before and fewer accidents. The new woman is rapidly ceasing to be a public danger.

— New York Evening Sun.

It is only a reversal of condition. The society girl wears bloomers on her bodice and the bicycle girl wears sleeves on her pantaloons.

— Nashville American.

“I don’t for the life of me see how you can uphold bloomers,” said the conservative man.

“I supposed not,” said the fluffy girl. “The suspenders fad has been out of date more than two years.”

— Indianapolis Journal.

Bicycle bloomers should be proud of the sensation they have created. They appear as topics of earnest discussion on the lecture platform, in the club, and even in the pulpit. And the agitation is still growing. Not the silver question itself has more hopelessly divided families, separated friends and made sworn enemies than the now end-of-the-century theme — the bicycle bloomers.

— Baltimore American.

“Do you keep bloomers to rent?” she asked, as she sailed into the fashionable dressmaker’s on Fulton street, yesterday.

“No,” said the polite saleswoman, “but we keep materials for repairing rents in bloomers. Have you –”

But she was gone.

— Brooklyn Eagle.


“Mother, may I go out to bike?”

“Yes, my darling daughter.
But when you reach the Schuylkill pike
Don’t tumble in the water;
For if you do you’ll get a fall,
With a melancholy thud.
And then yourself, your bike, and all,
Will be a was of mud.”

— Philadelphia Inquirer.

The bloomers or the knickerbockers of the lady bicyclist of the period present a neat and tasteful appearance. To say that the wearers look like men is unadulterated nonsense. The men who say so themselves disprove the assertion by the very fact that they denounce them and stand on the street corners, as too many of them do, leering and sneering at them as they pass. If they looked like men, these cheap and nasty fellows would not waste a minute looking at them.

— New York Recorder.

The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) Jun 19, 1895


Pity the blind. hey have never seen the bloomer-clad woman on a bicycle.

–Sonerville Journal.


To a Bicycle Girl:

Whenne on two rims of stele this maid doth go,
Within my hedde I fele
A whele

— Washington Star.


When money for a modish gown
The modern maid desires,
She has a scheme that’s sure to down
The most unkind or sires.
Should he refuse, she does not pout,
Nor into weeping go,
But knocks him quite completely out
With: “I’ll wear bloomers. So!”

— Detroit News.

The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) Jun 30, 1895

Probable Reason 1897

The Daily Review (Decatur, Illinois) May 30, 1897


Previous posts about bloomers:

Amelia Bloomer, Dress Reform and Bloomers

No Fillings for the Whangdoodle in Bloomers

Helen Kinau Wilder: A “New Woman” in the Pacific Islands

August 2, 2009

Helen Wilder pic1 1897


The Honolulu Heiress Who Wears a Humane Officer’s Badge.

Miss Helen Wilder, youngest daughter of Mrs. E.K. Wilder, the mistress of a large fortune and one of the most popular society girls in Honolulu, has been specially honored by the attorney general by receiving a commission as a humane officer. The badge of her office, a handsome silver plate, was pinned on her breast by Marshal Arthur M. Brown a few days ago, and Miss Wilder wears it with much pride.

Miss Wilder has the distinction of being the first woman in the Hawaiian Islands who has been appointed a humane officer. The honor was conferred upon her unsolicited by the attorney general in recognition of her frequent efforts to relieve dumb brutes and bring cruel masters to punishment. Miss Wilder is reputed to be the wealthiest heiress on the islands. She is a great favorite in society, and has a very wide circle of friends and acquaintances on the coast.
— San Francisco Chronicle.

Hornellsville Weekly Tribune (Hornellsville, New York) Apr 16, 1897

Helen Kinau Wilder pic horse gun 1899



She is One of Hawaii’s Finest — Helen Wilder Wears the Star of the Hawaiian Police Force and Wears it Very Creditably.

(Special Letter.)

Helen Wilder wears the star of the Hawaiian police on her breast. She is probably the only woman police officer in the world. She is wealthy, too, at that, the heiress of a vast Hawaiian estate, and prominent in Hawaiian society. She is simply a plain woman with plain ideas, no fuss or fizzle, believing herself on an equality with man, neither asking nor giving favors. Helen Wilder calls a spade a spade. She chooses to be called a policeman, disclaiming her right to the title of “special officer.” She does not even object to the sobriquet of “cop.” But then the things that Helen Wilder does object to are the very ones that are most dear to the heart feminine. She wouldn’t give a lei of sweet scented maili for all the gowns that Worth ever made. She doesn’t care a fig for dances teas or the dilly dallying of society. She snaps her fingers in the face of conventionality without so much as a “beg pardon.” She dons a short skirt, a shirt waist, a military hat and rides her horse with the daring of a vaquero, or she handles the reins with the dexterity of a pioneer stage driver; in a rowboat she can paddle as swiftly and as easily as a Kanaka fisherman. Wherever she is, whatever she may be doing, she carries a pair of handcuffs to snap on the wrists of the tormentor of children and animals. Above all, she is always Helen Wilder. Like no one else in dress, manner or speech, she can always be depended on to do the unexpected. Honolulu did elevate its eyebrows though when her engagement was announced to Frank Unger. ‘Twas strange, indeed, that she should choose this bon vivant, this light-hearted Bohemian, prince of good fellows. A beautiful cottage was built for them at the beach of the Waikiki.

But the house at the beach has never been occupied. Helen Wilder broke the engagement when the wedding day was almost at hand. Honolulu sighed in relief. “That was just like Helen Wilder.”

Then there came a dashing young officer who laid siege to her heart according to naval tactics. And when he sailed away on the seven seas from each port came a letter for Helen Wilder. But alas! the same mail would also bring a missive for one of the many Afong girls. And gossip said that the officer had plighted his troth a deux. And under its breath it whispered that he was addicted to French perfumes. So the second time Helen Wilder took the circlet of gold from her finger. Helen Wilder is not the girl to droop and pine and wear her heart on her sleeve. Instead she wears a five-pointed bit of silver on her hat and breast, and she is proud of this policeman’s star, for it gives her the power to stop abuses. The native policemen are very fond of this member of their force. On Christmas day she gave them a dinner in the police station. Only those on the “force” sat down to the feast, and many were the grateful thanks which the policemen heaped upon their sister member. The soldier lads who landed at Honolulu have likewise reason to be grateful to Helen Wilder, for right royally did she treat them. Her mother, “Aunt Lizzie,” as she is called, was not less hospitable. A funny story went the rounds, and none laughed heartier or told it more gleefully than Helen Wilder herself. Aunt Lizzie invited a number of the boys in blue to dine. Helen happened to be away. They are Aunt Lizzies _odies and listened to her stories, for which she is noted.

Then a youth asked, “Who is the funny looking girl who wears stars? She’s a freak!” The question made those who knew the truth see stars. Helen Wilder goes wherever her duty calls. If the checkrein of the swellest turnout in Honolulu is drawn too tight she commands the driver to stop and fasten it. Fear she has never felt. Collie, Jap, Kanaka or white man, she arrests them all, in spite of threats. Let the drivers overload the ‘buses, or the Waikiki tram cars pull out overloaded, and out will come her handcuffs. She will brook cruelty toward neither children nor animals. It was reported that the captain of a steamship that put into port at Honolulu had maltreated his children. Helen Wilder boarded the steamship and investigated the charges. She found that the captain for some slight offense had locked the children in a state room for several days, keeping them on bread and water. To the surprise and indignation of the protesting captain this young woman promptly marched him down the gangplank and straight to jail.

But arrived there, she was told that the captain, not being a resident, must be released. So the steamship put off for Victoria, the captain vowing vengeance. When he landed there he found a local society for the prevention of cruelty had been requested from Honolulu to take him in charge, and was met with a formal request to explain things. In this way Helen Wilder followed him up and endeavored to have him punished for breaking the law, as she claimed. Other women in other cities have been made special officers. But Honolulu claims that there never was a special officer like Helen Wilder. She wear her star constantly and she uses the power which it gives her constantly.

Helen Wilder is as much a part of Hawaii as is Mauna Loa. Visitors never fail to ask who she is. For with close-cropped hair and confidant stride, her soft hat and shining star, she never fails to attract attention. Hawaiian society, which is itself complex and odd, does not often frown upon her eccentricities.

They like her because she is bright and original, because her personality is as refreshing as it is peculiar. They recognize her clear-grained human worth. Men who are tired of the inane or the clinging vine act find in Helen Wilder a comrade who is interesting, amusing and altogether charming.

Daily Iowa State Press (Iowa City, Iowa) Apr 29, 1899

Helen  Wilder 1899 pic horse2


A Honolulu Heiress Who Has Her Own Way.


In Her Capacity as Police Officer She May Make Arrests Without Warrants, and Brutal Mule Drivers Must Curb Their Anger.

Helen Wilder the Hawaiian heiress, has just been given a judgement by a Honolulu Jury in a suit for damages brought again her by a man she had arrested for cruelty. The case was of unusual interest to Honolulu, because it determined the fact that Miss Wilder, in her capacity as a police officer, may make arrests without a warrant.

The suit was brought by Oloof Hollefson who drives a street car in Honolulu. One day Miss Wilder noticed that one of Hollefson’s mules was bleeding on the shoulder from a chafing collar. She compelled him to leave his car and passengers and drove him off in her carriage to the police station, where she had him booked for cruelty to animals.

There was a heated argument over the legality of the arrest, counsel for Hollefson claiming that as no warrant had been served the arrest was illegal, and therefore $5,000 was due for a damaged reputation and durance vile.

When the jury brought in a verdict in favor of Miss Wilder, she put on her soldier hat and sauntered out of the court room humming “My Honolulu Lady.”

Then Honolulu puckered its brow for a moment over a knotty little problem, ‘Who would have paid that $5,000 had the decision been otherwise? Would the government have been responsible or would Helen Wilder have been compelled to sign a check for that amount?’ However, in Hawaii ?et people do not worry long over useless conjectures.

Even if Miss Wilder had been forced to pay the money it would not have been such a dreadful calamity, for a girl who has $150,000 in her own right, besides “great expectations” can afford to pay for the privilege of arresting a man.

And if it had fallen on the government? Well it is worth $5,000 to have a policeman ?whose? an heiress.

…..[the rest of the article repeats text from other articles]

Fort Wayne News (Fort Wayne, Indiana) Apr 15, 1899


The Only Policewoman.

Honolulu has a policewoman. Her name is Helen Wilder, she is 23 years old, and is a regularly appointed officer of the Hawaiian police force. She wears a soft felt hat, on which glitters the silver star that shows that she is a policewoman. She carries a revolver and is not afraid to use it. She has made several arrests unaided. Miss Wilder loves children and animals, and wherever she is, or whatever she may be doing, carries a pair of handcuffs, which she is quick to snap upon the wrists of the enemies of her small and lowly friends.

Daily Iowa State Press (Iowa City, Iowa) May 3, 1899


The Honolulu Heiress a Bride.

San Francisco, June 5. — It has leaked out that Miss Helen Kinau Wilder, the Honolulu heiress, who has gained fame through her humane work in the Hawaiian islands and her eccentricities abroad, was secretly married on May 16 to Horace Joseph Craft, manager of the Pacific Cycle company at the Hawaiian capital. The wedding took place at midnight in the Honolulu Theological seminary, the officiating clergyman being the Rev. Jolin Nua, a native theological student. The bride went immediately to her home after the ceremony. On the following day she took passage on the steamship Australia for this city.

Naugatuck Daily News (Naugatuck, Connecticut) Jun 5, 1899


Eccentric Bride.

In a little country cottage near San Francisco an eccentric young heiress is spending the queerest honeymoon in the world. Helen K. Wilder of Honolulu always declared that when she should get married she would spend her honeymoon alone, says the New York World. A few weeks ago she married H.J. Craft in Honolulu and told him he had given her the opportunity to carry out her wish. The next day she sailed alone to San Francisco. She is now waiting for the month to elapse before going back to take up her wifely duties in Hawaii.

Newark Daily Advocate (Newark, Ohio) Jul 17, 1899


This refers to her husband, that she divorced:


The Baby Elk Lodge in the Newly Acquired Hawaiis.

Tom Reed, esteemed leading knight of the local lodge of Elks, has received from Honolulu a group photograph of the latest lodge of Elks that has been instituted. The Elks cannot go outside of the United States, but now that the Hawaiian islands have been annexed there is a baby Elk lodge there, instituted on April 15 last.

In the group are two well known Butte Elks, who have removed to Honolulu. They are Horace J. Craft and Francis Brooks. The number of the Honolulu baby is 616.

The Anaconda Standard (Anaconda, Montana) Jun 23, 1901



Writes my Hawaiian correspondent: “Like the scent of pressed roses recalling an old romance was the suit in court last week for the cancellation of a trust deed conveying to E.D. Tenney the property valued at something over $100,000. The deed was executed in 1897 by Miss Helen Wilder and was made in contemplation of marriage to Frank Unger of San Francisco, to whom she was then engaged.

The engagement was soon afterwards broken off, and Miss Wilder a couple of years later married Horace J. Craft, from whom she was afterwards divorced, though I understand they are still very good friends. Unger was quite a prominent figure in society on the coast in those days. He had traveled extensively, he had a pleasing musical skill, could tell good stories, and was altogether companionable.

Incidentally he had furnished two or three of the musical selections in the “Geisha Girl,” which was then in the height of its success. Helen Wilder was the daughter of the late S.G. Wilder and grand-daughter of Dr. Norman Judd, one of the early missionaries. Her father died, leaving a very comfortable fortune as fortunes were counted those days, the days before some of the sugar barons began paying taxes on incomes of a million yearly.

Helen was an athletic girl who rode and drove the best horses in Honolulu. It was her fondness for horses that led her to start a movement, the first in Honolulu, for the prevention of cruelty to animals. When she found that the native police showed neither enthusiasm or judgement in the matter of making arrests she secured a commission as a special policeman herself, and spent her time, or a good part of it for several years, in looking after animals that were being cruelly treated. The work she did in this line was of the most wholesome and effective sort, and its influence last to this day.”


“When she was on the witness stand the other day giving testimony in behalf of her petition for the revocation and cancellation of her deed of trust, she very frankly explained the reasons why it was made. She said that her family believed that Frank Unger’s affection for her was inspired largely by her wealth and yielding to their advice she had made the deed whereby only the income of the property was reserved for herself, the principal to go to any children she might have, or, if she died childless to be disposed of by will. The engagement was broken off soon after the deed was made, and she never married Unger, the consideration for the deed had failed and she therefore wanted it cancelled, so that she would again have the direct control of her property. After her divorce from Horace J. Craft she resumed her maiden name, went to California and bought a ranch near Watsonville. There she has lived ever since.”  — Town Talk.

Oakland Tribune (Oakland, California) Dec 8, 1906


It appears her family’s suspicions were probably correct:

The Late Frank Unger

Bohemians gathered Monday on the sad mission of laying in the grave all that was mortal of Frank Unger. He was a strange and singular character — traveler, musician, wit, bon vivant, raconteur and good fellow. He was a man of the world in the fullest sense. Without considerable means and not following any occupation that brought in wealth, he lived like a prince. He was ever the companion of rich men and women, yet it never seemed in an unworthy sense. For more than thirty years he came and went, and no doubt he found congenial friends wherever he might chance to be — whether in his own land or at the ends of the earth. For many years he was the fidus Achates of Harry Gillig and wandered with him and Mrs. Gillig about the globe. He was as much at home in Paris as in San Francisco. He traveled around the world a number of times, the last time within a year as the guest of Raphael Weill, himself one of the most notable of Bohemians. And so Frank Unger went through life, getting more out of it than men generally do, counting his friends by legion, brightening existence for all with whom he came in contact, but coming at last at the age of 65 to that final scene which all must meet. He would have like it that way — with friends and companions with whom he was wont to gather when life was at its full, performing the last rites, saying the heartfelt thing, dropping a furtive tear into his grave.

Oakland Tribune (Oakland, California) Dec 26, 1915

Helen K. Wilder Passport Photo

Helen K. Wilder Passport Photo

Passport application: Click for larger image:

Passport Application 1918

Passport Application 1918

The letter that is attached to her application, explaining her reason for traveling to Russia is very interesting:

Helen K Wilder passHARRON letter1918

I am not sure if she ever made this trip because I cannot find her on the passenger lists and according to, Russia was in a state of unrest at the time:

During World War I Vladivostok was the chief Pacific entry port for military supplies and railway equipment sent to Russia from the United States.

After the outbreak of the Russian Revolution in 1917, Vladivostok was occupied in 1918 by foreign, mostly Japanese, troops, the last of whom were not withdrawn until 1922. The anti-revolutionary forces in Vladivostok promptly collapsed, and Soviet power was established in the region.

Samuel Gardner Wilder

Samuel Gardner Wilder

The following biography text images refer to Helen Wilder’s father,  and come from the book: LEOMINSTER MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL AND PICTURESQUE By William A. Emerson
LITHOTYPE PUBLISHING CO. Gardner, Mass. 1888: (Click for larger images)

Samuel G. Wilder Biography

Samuel G. Wilder Biography


I think it is rather interesting that Helen is not mentioned at all, but then some of the information doesn’t seem to be exactly correct, as it does not mention his son, Samuel Gardner Wilder, Jr., unless they just got his name wrong.


Guardianship Over Man, 23, Is Sought

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 4. — The guardianship petition was filed in the superior court today on behalf of Miss Helen K. Wilder, of Watsonville, over the person and property of her nephew, Samuel Gardner Wilder, 23 years old, son of S.G. Wilder, a banker of Honolulu. The young man is at Lane hospital and is about to be removed to the Livermore sanitorium. It is declared that he is mentally and physically incompetent following illness in Hawaii. He was brought here by an uncle, A.L.C. Atkinson, who filed the formal petition yesterday in behalf of Miss Wilder.

Oakland Tribune (Oakland, California) Oct 4, 1921

Helen Kinau Wilder died Feb 4, 1954 in Santa Cruz County, California. I was not able to locate an obituary for her.