The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Sunday, April 24, 2005
 

Utah digital newspaper archive conceals gems


It's a classic part of the invisible web. Utah Digital Newspapers provides odd runs from odd papers - mostly within the period 1870-1920, so far as I can see, all in image format (PDF).

It's galling that the rags concerned are so damned obscure - why not the LA Times, San Francisco Chronicle or the likes (the New York Times already is digitised pay-only, of course).

However - there's undoubtedly stuff of interest to be mined (appropriately for the state concerned). For instance, the Davis County Clipper (Bountiful, UT) for January 6 1899, includes on page 2 the following sad tale, under hed A Folding Bed Accident:
Mrs Lucretia Kent, a widow, met her death in a horrible manner. Her fate was revealed when a friend, entering the house, found her dead body. The hand was pinioned inextricable (sic) under a folding bed. The body was decomposed, showing that death had occurred several days ago. When found, the woman's broken hand was still clasped in the bed as in a blacksmith's vise. How the accident happened will never be known definitely.

Another snippet, datelined London, suggesting Kaiser Wilhelm II had been sent a cheque for $5,000 by a newspaper for an article on the Spanish-American War, is introduced by the words
There is an arousing story going the rounds...

I think even Bill Keller might balk at chutzpah like that!

We're told of a
fight between the "one gallus" and "silk stockings" factions of the Republican party in Cheyenne

(Is that like social conservatives and process conservatives?)

And, on a racial note, we have this charming vignette of integrated life in the West:
Alfonso Russell, a musician in the Twenty-fourth infantry, and Will Ross, a Cheyenne colored man, quarrel in a bagnio at Cheyenne, the affair ending in a shooting. Five shots were exchanged, but no (sic) was hit. The men were find (sic) heavily and released.

A bagnio? Yup, that's a whorehouse to you, pardner! And no color-line either.

Mighty wild times in Wyoming before the era of Dick Cheney and his Comstocks.

There's also a tantalising reference to
"Vicksburg" Woods [1], known on most of the race tracks of the country
who is tragically unknown online.

Whether the guy got his nickname for fighting at Vicksburg, or gambling there, your guess is as good as mine.

  1. The (Northern) English comedian Jimmy James had a lugubrious stooge called Eli Woods, whose name in the act was Bretton Woods. This is their most famous sketch. (As funny as concrete drying? I heard bits of it on the radio a month or two back, and it truly was dire. But remember, we Brits had post-war austerity and rationing at the time!)


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