Posts Tagged ‘Illinois’

The Dangers of a “Squatter Life”

September 29, 2009
Log Cabin (Image from http://photographs.mccumber.us)

Log Cabin (Image from http://photographs.mccumber.us)

SQUATTER LIFE.

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

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

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

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

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

“White man die.”

The squatter’s wife at his replied,

“What is the matter?”

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

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

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

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

“Mother! Mother!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pioneer of the West.

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

*****

Pretty awesome educational site: SQIDOO

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

Wabaunsee: Death of a Great War Chief

February 21, 2009

Chief Wabaunsee "Dawn of Day"

Chief Wabaunsee "Dawn of Day"

Correspondence of the Washington Union.

Death of the Great War Chief
“Waw-bon-see.”

Your readers, or many of the good people of the metropolis, at least, will recollect this venerable man. He was the principal war chief of the Pottawatomie nation, and was here on a visit with the delegation who came here from Council Bluffs last fall to see their great father the President of the United States.

Returning home in December, having reached Wheeling, they found that winter had set in in good earnest. All hope of getting to St. Louis by water was abandoned — the river was entirely frozen up. The party therefore took stage, being very anxious to get back to their nation, and recount to them the result of their long journey and important visit to their great father. The road was very icy; and passing along not far from Marietta, in Ohio, one of the stages turned over, and injured several of the Indian chiefs. Amongst the rest, Waw-bon-see received some serious injuries. Being old and infirm, he could not recover; but, with his characteristic firmness and intrepidity, this truly brave man held on, and continued his journey until he reached Booneville, in the State of Missouri, where he died. And thus the scene closes with this extraordinary son of the wilderness, whose life had been signalized for his many acts of daring and bravery. The very name of this “great brave” was conferred upon him in consequence of one of his daring deeds. It was this:

In one of their war expeditions, he and his little party found themselves most unexpectedly in close contact with a superior party of Sioux*, then their deadly enemies. A council was held by the Pottawatomie war party during the night, and it was unanimously decided that some decisive blow must be struck before the approaching morning should expose them to their enemies, who were superior to them in numbers. It was soon decided. This lion-hearted man, who is now the subject of these few lines, came forward, and with the brief but determined tone of a brave warrior, said he would undertake the execution of the plan. It was, that he should steal into the lodge of the unsuspecting Sioux at  the still hour of the night, and, single handed, he was to deal out fatal blows to the whole of them, well knowing that if he failed, or made a misstep, and aroused them out of their slumbers, he and all his comrades must perish. Thus nerved to the fearful and doubtful issue, this brave is seen creeping stealthily into the camp of the Sioux just as the dawn of day, when sleep is most profound. He is successful — every one of his enemies sink under the well-aimed blows of his unerring tomahawk; and thus did he secure to himself this proud name, which, for more that two-thirds of a century, has been a terro to his and other surrounding nations. Waw-bon-see signifies, in the Pottawatomie tongue, the “dawn of day.” It was just at that time that he destroyed the Sioux. Hence his name, which he ever afterwards was known by.

But Waw-bon-see, the great brave of the red men, is no more. He had seen his hundred winters; had been in many wars, both with the white and the red man, and was always foremost in battle. He was highly respected by his nation, not only for his courage, but for his just and wise counsels; he was alike distinguished both in the battle-field and in the cabinet, and his loss will be deeply deplored by his people.

It is to be regretted that he could not have reached his home and his nation once more, as he was returning after having enjoyed several personal and most agreeable and interesting interviews with the President of the United States, the honorable Secretary of War, and the honorable Commissioner of Indian Affairs, with whom he and all the other chiefs were much pleased. But the good old man has been gathered to his fathers, and it is to be hoped that his spirit has gone to the fine hunting-grounds, which the red men believe to be in wait for all their brave and good warriors beyond the grave.                 E.

N.B.–The other chiefs had recovered from their slight injuries, and were, when last heard of, at Westport, in Jackson county, Missouri, and getting on very well towards their villages at Council Bluffs.
E.

Republican Compiler (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) Feb 23, 1846

*Wikipedia gives a different account of the Sioux incident.

As a young man, Nah-Ke-ses set out to avenge the death of a close friend. He used the cover of a misty morning to sneak into an Osage village where reportedly he single-handedly killed several fierce Osage warriors before they could sound an alarm. Nah-ke-ses was then named “Wabaunsee” or “Little Dawn.” Once when asked why, “Waabaansii” responded, “When I kill an enemy he turns pale [waabaanzo], resembling the first light of the day [waaban].”

Potawatomi Web has tons of information, including maps and pictures. Great site.

The Ledger-Sentinel has this  to say about where Wabaunsee’s village was located:

Waubonsee was the principal war chief of the local Potowatomi and lived at his permanent village near Aurora. In fact, in the Treaty of 1829, Waubonsee was granted five sections of land-3,200 acres-located “…on Fox River of the Illinois, where Shaytees Village now stands.”

It has been said for years that Waubonsee’s village was located at Oswego, but it now seems clear his permanent village was indeed located well north of Oswego in the Big Woods near Aurora. What has confused things was that old settlers reported to the Rev. E.W. Hicks, the county’s first historian, that Waubonsee had a “camping ground” near Oswego. It seems a natural jump from “camping ground” to village, but it’s too far a jump. The Potowatomi, Ottawa, and Chippewa all broke up into small family groups each winter and each family group had a winter camp. Many of these winter family camps were on the Illinois River but some were also on the Fox. One of Waubonsee’s may have been at Oswego. The early settlers probably took for granted that everyone knew the Indians broke into family groups for the winter and so took no further pains to explain the significance of Waubonsee’s “camping ground.”

Newsfinder has “A Potawatomi Story.”

This story is really two stories that come from the Native American peoples of Wisconsin. The first story is a Potawatomi story of the origin of humans, and the second concerns the Potawatomi, Ojibwe, and Ottawa peoples.

You can read the story at the link.

The Kansas Collection has other information about the Potawatomi people, including “two great battles with the whites.”

Abraham Lincoln: Industrious, Clever, Ugly

February 11, 2009

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A CLEVER LINCOLN STORY.

Travels All the Way from Berlin for This Year’s Celebration.

Here is a new Lincoln story that has never been published. It was told to a Chicago man a few weeks ago by a gentleman living in Berlin, Germany:

Two hero worshipers had long desired to meet Abraham Lincoln, but when they coveted privilege was finally granted they were unspeakably disappointed in the personality of the rail-splitting President. They gazed at him in silence and then one of them exclaimed in a dissatisfied voice:

“Why, Lincoln is just a common looking man like us!”

“The great emancipator turned to the speaker and said genially:

“Yes, my friend, but I have the consolation of knowing that God loves common looking men!”

“How do you make that out?” queried the other interestedly.

“Oh, because he made so many of them!”

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HOW LINCOLN WON HIS WIFE.

She Married Him Because He Was the Ugliest Man She Ever Saw.

Mr. Lincoln used to take great delight in telling how he gained a knife by his ugly looks. That story has been published, but I have not seen another in print, telling how he gained his wife, says a well-known writer. Mrs. Lincoln was a beautiful lady, attractive, sharp, witty and relished a joke even at her own expense. She was staying with her sister, Mrs. Edwards. She had not been there long before everybody knew Miss Mary Todd. She often said: “When a girl I thought I would not marry until I could get one of the handsomest men in the country, but since I became a woman I learned I can’t get such men, which has caused me to change my mind. I have concluded to marry the ugliest-looking man I can find.”

Later on Lincoln came to town. She had never seen him before she met him on the street. She was told who he was and went home and told her sister she had seen her man., “the ugliest man I ever saw — Abraham Lincoln — and I am going to set my cap for him.” That became a common saying in street gossip. When they were married, instead of taking a bridal trip, they went to a hotel and took board at $4 a week.

When he got able he bought a lot for $200, and built a four-roomed house costing less than $1,000. When he received $5,000 from his great railroad case he spent $1,500 of it in putting a second story on his house, and there he lived until he went to Washington.

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Lincoln’s Logic.

It is said that Lincoln’s acuteness in analysis and logical powers were traceable to his complete mastery of Euclid’s propositions. Certainly whenever he attempted to prove or disprove a thing he did it. A story told by United States Judge C.G. Foster, and printed in the Syracuse Standard, illustrates his logical faculty.

In the winter before Lincoln was nominated for President he visited Kansas, and made speeches at Troy and Atchison. At the hotel in Atchison where he stayed, Gen. Stringfellow, John A. Martin and Judge Foster called upon him. In the course of the conversation Mr. Lincoln turned to Gen. Stringfellow, who played a prominent part in the effor to bring Kansas into the Union as a slave State.

“Gen. Stringfellow,” he said., “you pro-slavery fellows gave as one reason why slavery should not be prohibited in Kansas that only the negro could break up the tough prairie sod. Now, I’ve broken hundreds of acres of prairie sod in my time, and the only question which remains to be decided is whether I am a white man or a negro.”

Gen. Stringfellow laughingly admitted the force of the quaint argument, and congratulated Mr. Lincoln upon his pointed, logical way of putting things.

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LINCOLN AS A LAWYER.

How the Immortal “Abe” Won His Early Successes at the Bar.

A suit was brought in the United States Court in Springfield against a citizen for an infringement of a patent right. Mr. Lincoln went to the most skilled architect in the city, inquired how he spent his winter evenings, and received the reply: “If time are brisk I sometimes work; otherwise I have no special business.” Mr. Lincoln said: “I have a patent right case in court; I want you as a partner, and will divide fees. I know nothing about mechanics — never made it a study. I want you to make a list of the best works on mechanism, as I don’t suppose they can be purchased here. I will furnish the money, and you can send to Chicago or New York for them. I want you to come to my house one night each week and give me instructions.” In a short time he had witnesses to meet him, and they were thoroughly drilled. When the trial commenced, Mr. Lincoln put his questions at the cross-examination so scientifically that many witnesses were bothered to reply. When his witnesses were put on the stand, so skillful were his questions that the court, the jury and the bar wondered how “Abe” Lincoln knew so much about mechanism. His witnesses could reply promptly. He gained the suit and a reputation such that Mr. Lincoln was sustained in every patent right case brought into that court, up to the time he went to Washington. He went to Chicago, St. Louis, Iowa, Ohio, Kentucky and Michigan to try patent right cases, and the last year of his practice did little else. –Thomas Lewis’ “Recollections of Lincoln,” in Leslie’s Weekly.

The Daily Herald (Chicago, Illinois) Feb 9, 1901

Lawrence Krug: Women, Insurance Policies and Arsenic

February 2, 2009

funeral_21

A FUNERAL STOPPED.
A Coroner Steps In to Make an Investigation of the Cause of Death.

CHICAGO, Jan 13. — Yesterday afternoon people in the vicinity of 553 Larrabee street were surprised to see the funeral of a girl known as Lucy Krug stopped by the police as it was about to leave the house, especially as soon after several detectives and Deputy Coroner Barrett and his assistants arrived to make an investigation as to the death. In September, 1885, Lawrence Krug, a captain, was married to Mrs. Heidelmeyer, a sister-in-law of Officer Heidelmeyer, of the Rawson street police station. Krug and hs bride started on a wedding trip to New York, he previously insuring his wife’s life for $1,000 in the Knights and Ladies of Honor. When on their wedding tour Mrs. Krug died and Krug was married again in New York. He had been at home but a few months, when this second wife, whose life had also been insured in the same association, died. Two months after her death he married Mrs. Albertine Rohr, who was nine years older than he. This was in September last. Six weeks later she was attacked with typhoid fever and died. This last Mrs. Krug was also insured in the Knights and Ladies of Honor. During her illness she was attended by Dr. Kalistein. Some comment was made at the time and some suspicions were aroused at her death by the fact that the insurance, which was made out to her daughter, Mrs. Charles Anderson, had been signed over to Krug.

Lucy Heidelmeyer, or Krug, as she was generally called, daughter of Krug’s first wife, was insured in the same association and the policy was made payable to her stepfather, Krug. He was placed under surveillance and Dr. Bluthardt will make a post mortem examination on the body.

Atchison Daily Globe (Atchison, Kansas) Jan 14, 1887

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VERY SUSPICIOUS
A Man Marries Three Wives in Two Years and They Die Mysteriously.

CHICAGO, Jan. 15. — Inquest was begun today on the body of Lucy Heidelmeyer, step-daughter of Lawrence Krug, whom it was believed that the latter had poisoned in order to obtain her life insurance. It had been shown that three wives of Krug, to whom he had been married within the space of two years, had all died somewhat mysteriously, and that they had all held life insurance policies which were made payable to him. The county physician said he had detected no trace of mineral or corrosive poison. Ida Schoenstein, who is a relative of the dead girl and attended her during her illness, testified that she had gone to a drug store for medicine prescribed by a doctor. It was a bright, clear liquid and after she had returned to the house with it Krug took it into the kitchen to see what was  in it, he said, and when he gave it back to her instead of being bright and clear it was cloudy. Other testimony of a character tending to throw suspicion upon Krug was given by relatives of the dead wives. Miss Schoenstein testified that on Monday when the body of Krug’s step-daughter was laid out in the front room, Krug called her aside and asked her to marry him. When she refused, he said: “You must, for I will make you.” Dr. M.G. Kellner testified that he had been called to attend deceased on Christmas. He was told that she was suffering from rheumatism and he prescribed for that malady. The next day he made a critical diagnosis and observed marked symptoms of lead poisoning. He began antidotal treatment for lead and the girl was improving when witness was notified by Krug that his services were no longer desired. Dr. John Simpson had been called to attend the third Mrs. Krug and prescribed for malarial fever, from which it appears she was suffering. Next day Krug notified him that another physician had been engaged. During the proceedings Krug had been quietly taken into custody and officers dispatched to his residence, where all articles of a suspicious nature were levied upon. Krug’s appearance on the stand at the outset of the examination created a rather favorable impression, except for the fact that he was excessively nervous.

Atchison Daily Globe (Atchison, Kansas) Jan 17, 1887

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The Kruggs Poisoning Case.

CHICAGO, January 24. — It is now certain that Lucy Herdelmeyer was poisoned. Prof. Haines, of the Russ Medical College  has completed a chemical analysis of her stomach. He found traces of arsenic in every vital part. It was administered in such liberal quantities that the only wonder is that the girl lived as long as she did. Capt. Schaack also ascertained that Lawrence Krugg, the girl’s stepfather, who is being held to await the result of the investigation, lived for a long while with a celebrated chemist in Germany, and there gained extensive knowledge of the deadly qualities of various poisons. Yesterday Prof. Haines began an analysis of the remains of Krugg’s third wife, which were exhumed for that purpose last Thursday. Officers think they have a strong chain of circumstantial evidence against Krugg. The inquest on the step-daughter will be resumed this week and inquiry redoubled as to the four other deaths charged against Krugg. He has authorized the sale of two houses belonging to him in order to raise money to defend himself in the criminal court.

San Antonio Daily Express (San Antonio, Texas) Jan 25, 1887

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Cord Tightening Around Krug’s Neck.

CHICAGO, Feb. 4. — The inquest on the body of Lucy Herdelmeyer, the young girl whose step-father, Lawrence Krug, is alleged to have poisoned, as well as two of his former wives, in order to obtain money from their life insurances, has been concluded. The jury returned a verdict to the effect that Lucy Herdelmeyer came to her death from arsenical poisoning, and that the poison was administered by Lawrence Krug with intent to commit murder. Krug will be held to await action of the grand jury.

Newark Daily Advocate (Newark, Ohio) Feb 4, 1887

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KRUG’S MANY VICTIMS.

CHICAGO, March 1. — The poisoning of another woman, making five in all, is to-night alleged against Lawrence Krug, who lies in the county jail suspected of murdering three wives and a stepdaughter. The supposed fifth victim is Gunda Schoeppner, a pretty 19-year-old daughter of Krug’s first wife’s sister. After much consultation Gunda’s friends and relatives to-day decided to ask an investigation by the County Physician. According to their statements Gunda was a close companion of her unfortunate cousin, Lucy Heidelmeyer, the stepdaughter whose death caused the arrest of Krug. At the funeral Gunda was present as befitted a near relative. Each time, she, like Lucy Heidelmeyer, was shocked by proposals of marriage from Krug even before the services for the dead were completed. The proposals were made in the presence of numerous witnesses. After the first advances Gunda made no effort to conceal her aversion to Krug, but continued to maintain her companionship with Lucy. About the time of Lucy’s death, a number of weeks ago, Gunda fell ill with a similar complaint, and, although given the best medical aid, her mysterious ailment is yet unconquered. While she has rallied somewhat during the past few days, the girl is in a critical condition. Her friends express the belief that Krug poisoned her out of pure malignity, in revenge for the undisquised contempt with which she treated him. Krug’s other four victims had assigned their life insurance to him, but in Gunda’s case no mercenary motive is apparent. Dr. Geifeldt, who has been in attendance upon Gunda, delines to talk upon the matter.

The New York Times, Mar 2, 1887

Joliet Prison

Joliet Prison

Wife Poisoner Krug Dead.

JOLIET, Ill., Sept. 16. — Lorenzo Krug, the poisoner of Lucy Heidlemeyer at Chicago, is dead. Krug was suspected of having poisoned three different wives previous to the time when Lucy Heidlemeyer became a victim. He is said to have poisoned his wives in order to obtain the insurance money on their lives. He was so tried not tried on these charges, but on the death of the Heidlemeyer woman he was convicted and sent to Joliet prison for eighteen years. During his short imprisonment Krug has rapidly declined in health, consumption ending his career this morning in the prison hospital.

Chicago Daily Tribune, Sep. 17, 1889

*Thanks to Kate from the P.A. Penn Genealogy Group for the Krug death notice.

To Return Like a Dog to his Vomit

January 14, 2009

crowsnravens1

We extract the following very excellent article from the Peoria (Illinois) Register.

‘CROWS, VERSUS ALCOHOL. — Col. E. has one of the best farms on the Illinois river. About one hundred acres of  it are now covered with waving corn. When it first came up in the spring, the crows seemed determined on its entire destruction. When one was killed it seemed as though a dozen came to its funeral. And though the sharp crack of the rifle often drove them away, they always returned with its echo.

The Colonel at length became weary of throwing grass, and resolved on trying the virtue of stones. — He sent to the druggist for a gallon of alcohol, in which he soak a few quarts of corn and scattered it over his field. The black legs came and partook with their usual relish; and as usual they were soon pretty well corned; and such a cooing and cackling, — such a strutting and staggering!

The scene was like — but I will make no invidious comparison — yet it was very much like

When the boys attempted to catch them, they were not a little amused at their staggering gait, and their zigzag course through the air. At length they gained the edge of the woods, and there being joined by a new recruit, which happened to be sober, they united at the top of their voices in haw, haw, hawing and shouting either the praises or the curses of alcohol. — It was difficult to tell which, as they rattled away without rhyme or reason, so very much like —
But the Colonel saved his corn. — As soon as they became sober, they set their faces steadfastly against alcohol. Not another kernal would they touch in his field, lest it should contain the accursed thing, while they went and pulled up the corn of his neighbors. — To return like a dog to his vomit — like  a washed sow to the mire — like – not they. — They have too much respect for their character — black as they are — again to be found drunk.’

Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio) Aug 28, 1838

William E. Mason: Fashion Forward Senator, Author and Joker

January 7, 2009
William E. Mason

William E. Mason

Billy Mason as a Boy Joker.
Senator William E. Mason always has been a joker. Even when a school boy he never let a chance pass without having his fun at the expense of some one else.
When he was a public school pupil, the boys knew as much about ‘cribbing” as they do now, and it was nothing new for them to conceal needed information on their cuffs or inside their watches.

One day when Willie Mason was taking an examination the keen eyed teacher observed him take out his watch every minute or two. The pedagogue grew suspicious. Finally he strode slowly down the aisle and stopped in front of Willie’s desk.

“Let me see your watch,” he commanded.
“All right, sir,” was the meek reply.
The teacher opened the front lid. He looked somewhat sheepish when he read the single word, “Fooled.”
But he was a shrewd man. He was not to be thrown off the scent so easily.
He opened the back lid. Then he was satisfied. There he read:
“Fooled again.” — New York Journal.

Lima News (Lima, Ohio)  May 21,  1898

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Down with Them, Says Mason
Chicago, September 15, 1901 [excerpt]
“Some excuse may be found in hatred or partisan excitement for the assasinations of Lincoln and Garfield; but no such excuse exists for this foul deed. The president was killed by a sane man, who had learned his lesson at the school of anarchy, who had been taught in public places that rulers should be slain, who had been influenced and incited to his deed by the nest of anarchy in Chicago.”

Atlanta Constitution, Sep 16, 1901

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NEW WASHINGTON STYLE.
Senator William E. Mason as a Glass of Fashion.

The belt vest or vest belt of which Senator William E. Mason is the originator is the new style in waistcoats peculiarly adapted to stout people and to very warm weather, says the Washington correspondent of the New York Evening Post. Like so many of those nice things that we are told about, it is “within the reach of all.”

These directions might suffice: Take an old vest — any closet will furnish one — and with a pair of sharp shears bisect it just above the second button from the bottom. In wearing draw it tightly in front and either button or buckle it in the back. The result is a waistcoat which is at the same time a belt. It conceals the suspender buttons and the upper seam of the trousers and really fills a long felt want. Washington seldom leads in fashions, but it may do so this time.

The Newark Advocate (Newark, Ohio)  June 27,  1902

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Former Senator Mason an Author.
“We have not heard much lately of William E. Mason, once senator from Illinois,” remarked Stanley Higginbothan, of Chicago, at the Raleigh last night. “Mason is not very old, and has always been too active for retirement from political and other paths. Now comes the information that he has writtne a book — but, mind you, a semireligious book — and that seems odd for a politician. Mason did not use his name with the volume when it first came out a year ago. The title of the book was ‘John, the Unafraid,’ and it deals with modern problems in a straightforward way.

“The book has attracted attention, I am told, among clergymen, and, no doubt, some of Mason’s old congressional friends who are not clergymen will be curious to see what their old friend can bring forth in the way of a semireligious literary production. No one who ever knew jolly ‘Billy’ Mason, story teller and raconteur, during his Washington days, would suspect him of writing a book dealing with religious teachings, and with frequent reference to the words of Holy Writ, it is evident that there is hope for the final regeneration of many other statesmen now in the whirl who may enter the literary world once they have finished with political office.”

Washington Post, The (Washington, D.C.)  May 15,  1911