Sunday, September 30, 2012

1912 - Murder in the Family

The San Francisco Call
September 30 1912


QUINCY, ILL, Sept. 29 -- Suspicion exists that Mr. and Mrs. Charles Pfanschmidt, their 16 year old daughter Blanch, and Miss Emma Kaempen, 21 years old, a teacher, whose bodies were incinerated early today, were murdered.  The tragedy took place at the Pfanschmidts country home near Payson, 16 miles southeast of Quincy.

Circumstances indicate that the four victims perished while asleep.  Nothing remained of thier bodies except the charred skeletons.  The house was destroyed.

Pfanschmidt was wealthy.  Miss Kaempen was a daughter of a Quincy contractor.

Developments indicate that all four were murdered before the home was destroyed by fire.  While the bodies of the victims are charred almost beyond recognition, the head of Miss Kaempen is well preserved, and at the top of the skull is a wound, evidently made with a club.  She and Mrs. Pfanschmidt were found partly under a mattress, which had to some extent protected the bodies from the flames.  A pillow upon which Miss Kaempen had been lying was not burned.  It is soaked with blood.

The Pfanschmidt girl's face is badly burned, but the back of her head was protected from the flames, and there is a deep wound several inches across.

Indication are that the crime was committed Friday night after the family had retired.  The telephone wires were cut and relatives of Miss Kaempen in Quincy who tried to reach the Pfanschmidt home on Saturday were unable to make a connection.

Apparently the Pfanschmidt's son, Ray, committed the horrific murders in order to get his hands on his inheritance. Read more about the murders at People v. Pfanschmidt and here.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

1912 Whenever Human Life is in Peril, Heroism is Inspired

The Times Dispatch
Richmond Virginia
September 29 1912


Newsboy is Happy Over Sacrifice He Will Make To-Day

(Special to The Times-Dispatch)

Gary, Ind., September 28.-- When William Rugh appears again at his newspaper stand he will be supported by two crutches instead of one.

When Miss Ethel Smith is able to go home from the Gary General Hospital she will have an excellent chance to get well.

Both of these conditions will be the result of the generous offer of the forty-one-year-old newsboy to submit to an operation which will remove his left leg that live skin may be obtained to graft upon the body and legs of Miss Smith.  The girl was burned while riding on a motorcycle recently, and the doctors said her life would be saved to-morrow.  The doctors will take the leg offered by Rugh, and they will use the cuticle that is on it to save Miss Smith.

To-morrow, some time after 11 o'clock, Rugh will be placed upon the operating table.  In an adjoining surgery doctors will have prepared Miss Smith for the delicate process of grafting live skin upon the places that were burned.

Rugh happily went about his business of selling papers at Sixth Avenue and Broadway to-night.  He is crippled by the shortness of the leg which the surgeons are to take from him, and he uses one crutch in walking about the newsstand.

"Oh, I don't mind," he said, when asked if he did no dread the ordeal which he will undergo to-morrow.  "I will get  another crutch and get along nearly as well."

"But you'll be in the hospital for some time after the operation, and you will suffer a lot," was suggested.

"Yes," smiled Rugh, "But I'll be saving a girl's life, and there's a lot of satisfaction in knowing that."

Rugh has never met Miss Smith.

Post Script
After doing some research I discovered that William Rugh gave more than his leg to save Miss Smith, he gave his life.  Billy developed pneumonia and died on October 18, 1912.   The funeral was held outdoors because so many people wanted to pay tribute to this extraordinary man. That day 25,000 people gathered with the mayor of Gary Indiana leading the funeral procession to pay their last respects to William Rugh.

Read here for more information and to see a picture of the William Rugh funeral.

Friday, September 28, 2012

1912 - A Vast Influx of Northerners

The Appeal
September 28, 1912



Art and Architecture of Once Great People Are There, but Hieroglyphics Baffle All the Knowledge of the Scientists.

Pittsburg.--Through the efforts of Henry Hornbostel, head of the building bureau of the Pittsburg Carnegie Institute of Technology, there will be in the Carnegie Institute before a great while specimens of distinctive American art and architecture, the legacy of that mysterious people who lived ages ago in America, attained a high degree of civilization, developed a beautiful and cultivated art, and then passed away, leaving only these treasures of art and architecture to tell what their civilization had been.  Already Mr. Hornbostel has been instrumental in arousing the Carnegie Museum of Washington to an interest in this field and it has set aside an appropriation for exploration of the art of Yucatan.  In company with Lloyd Warren, Mr Hornbostel made a pleasure trip to Yucatan during a recent vacation, going far into the interior of the country where lies waiting a storehouse of material for students of archaeology with reference to hieroglyphics as well as art and architecture.  The hieroglyphics are all the more alluring because of their baffling conditions, with never a clew (sic) yet discovered to work from in deciphering their meaning, which would reveal to us the minds of the wonderful ancient inhabitants of America.  The priceless heritage has lain neglected and crumbling to ruins while at the same time huge sums are being paid by our museums for replicas of works of art of the eastern hemisphere.

With the completion of the Panama canal all signs point to a vast influx of northerners into these southern states and an awakening of interest in the study of the arts.  Their pottery and decorative designs are already being made use of by enterprising dealers and advertisers in all kinds of wares as souvenirs of the celebration of the opening of the great canal.

"The day will soon come," says Mr. Hornbostel, "when excursioning to the ruins of Yucatan will be made as easily as to the Holy Land or to Egypt.  It is now impossible for petticoats to travel into the interior of the country, as it is as wild and densely forested as the interior of Africa.  Mr. Warren, myself and our guide made the journey from Merida, the capital of Yucatan, in the most primitive of wooden wagons drawn by three burros, and because of the loose construction of its wooden wheels and axles, which allow it to wabble from side to side without injury, wonderfully adapted to the rough stone roads of the country."

Two absolutely unique characteristics of the ancient people who built these ruins thousands of years ago, and of whom they and the pyramids on which many of them are built are the only trace, were noted by Mr. Hornbostel.  The first is that the towns were built without walls or fortifications of any kind, there were no roads and the houses were far apart, making them indeed garden cities, and there were no beasts of burden. "This vanished race was a peaceful people," said Mr. Hornbostel, "and such architecture of a primitive race is absolutely unique in history.  They had no fear of an invading army and no preparation to repulse one.  They had no means of moving either an army or supplies."  The second peculiarity noted by the travelers is the original form of architecture in the construction of the buildings, which are made of small stones, cut and dressed, with an original cantilever construction of arches.  This structure, Mr. Hornbostel claims, he has not found anywhere else in all his study of architecture, ancient, medieval and modern.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

1912 - "I never dreamed that he was a negro"

Washington Post
Washington DC
September 27, 1912


Mrs. Anna Wilson Quits Spouse 

Wed Three Years Ago.


Former Boston Woman Alleges Upton Wilson, U.S. Employe (sic), Is Colored, but Pretended to Be White and Won Her.  Learned Truth Here--Mother of Two Children--Awarded Funds to Go Home.

Charging that her husband, whom she alleges is a negro, married her on pretense that he was a white man, Mrs. Anna Wilson, formerly Miss Anna Maxwell, a member of a prominent Boston family, yesterday sought the aid of Judge Callan, of the juvenile court, in assisting her to leave Upton Wilson, of 418 Eighteenth street northwest, an employe (sic) of the naval observatory,  to whom she has been married for more than three years.

Wilson was brought into juvenile court yesterday on a technical charge of nonsupport, and through his counsel, Frederick C. Handy, pleaded guilty to the charge of nonsupport, and on order of the court supplied his wife with sufficient funds to return to her home in Boston immediately.  She will leave this morning and says she will never return here.  She left her husband Wednesday, and went to the house of detention and applied for aid.

Discovered His Race Here, She Says

According to the story told by the woman in court yesterday, she married Wilson more than three years ago in Boston, and never had any idea that he was a negro until she came to Washington with him, and here met members of his family, who, she declared, plainly showed their race.

Wilson was in court, but made no statement.  He has none of the characteristics of a negro, but his counsel, Mr. Handy, said that he had negro blood in him.  He is a tall, handsome man, wearing eyeglasses.  He is employed as a watchman at the Naval Observatory.

Miss Sarah L. Bucher, agent of the Board of Children's Guardians, appeared with Mrs. Wilson, and told Judge Callan that Mrs. Wilson alleged she had been living in fear of her husband for weeks.  She declared that when she first saw Mrs. Wilson yesterday she was on the verge of collapse, and pleaded for protection against her husband.

Mother of Two Children.

On recommendation of Assistant Corporation Counsel George, Judge Callan ordered that Wilson pay to Miss Bucher the money for Mrs. Wilson's transportation to Boston, and that Miss Bucher go with Mrs. Wilson while she packed her clothes.  Judge Callan also ordered that Mrs. Wilson be lodged last night at the Crittenton Home, and that her husband be kept away from her.  The couple have two children, neither of whom show any signs of having negro blood in their veins, according to statements made in court yesterday.

Mrs. Wilson came into court heavily veiled, but glimpses which could be caught of her face showed her to be an exceedingly pretty woman, with delicate pink skin and soft blue eyes.  Her eyes were tear stained, and she appeared to be on the verge of collapse throughout the hearing.

The proceedings in court were conducted in whispers in order to protect the woman's feelings, but following the hearing, Mrs. Wilson told her story.

Mrs. Wilson Tells Her Story.

"My name before I was married was Maxwell," she said.  "I was an expert bookkeeper, and held a position paying $50 a week at the time that I met this man in Boston.  I never dreamed that was a negro, but he did tell me that he had some Indian blood in his veins.  He made love to me, and we were married.

"When I discovered that he was a negro, after we had come to Washington, I was horrified.  At the time I was about to become a mother, and so determined to stay with him until the child was born.  I am going back to Boston and stay there and hope never to see him again."

Judge Callan ordered that in addition to paying Mrs. Wilson's railroad fare back to Boston, Wilson give $5 a week for the support of his children.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

1912 - American Women Growing Stouter, Blame Confectioners

Hopkinsville Kentuckian
Thursday, September 26, 1912


Where Women are Growing Leaner Instead of Fleshier

If we are not off on our ability to guess correctly, there are far more lean women in Hopkinsville than fleshy ones.  We do not say this in a derisive way.  The "Gibsonian" woman is pretty to look at, even though she may not be physically able to attend to strenuous household duties.  If she is financially able to live without it, eat something like half a square meal once a day and subsist on fountain drinks, interspersed with an occasional saucer of cream and a "banana split," that is all right.  But some of these days some of these "Gibson Pictures" will marry.  How then about taking up home duties?  If the "Gibsonian" is not wealthy and her doting husband is ditto, sooner or later will come either discontent or illness, or both, finally culminating in a suit for divorcement.

In the Louisville Herald of last Sunday nearly a page article appeared in which it was proven by statistics that the American woman is growing stouter.  But the author did not lay the cause at the door of the American woman, but at the door of the confectioner.  He insists that our women are eating too much candy and hence their increasing obesity. He says that America consumes more candy than any other nation, excepting England, and we are not much behind in the use of saccharines.

The article was written by an Englishman, and he backs up the statement with statistics that can be relied upon.  He says that in 1861 Americans used 18 pounds of candy per head annually; 1872, 40 lbs.; 1884, 54 lbs.; 1891, over 60 lbs; 1897, 78 lbs.  He says that the great increase of 1872 over 1861 was due to the fact that the civil war was begun in 1861 and sugar could not be obtained.

We would rather agree with the writer, but can hardly do so.  Most men would much rather see a woman when she is on the street with rosy cheeks, form not so very sylph-like but straight, graceful in movement and solid enough to hit the concrete walk with force loud enough to be heard, than to see a zephyr coming down the sidewalk, making no more noise than a sparrow hopping from twig to twig, but still as pretty as a dream.  Give us the girl that can prepare a meal when the cook fails to show up on time in the morning and mother is not well.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

1912 - Plans Public Cemetery

The Times Dispatch (Richmond VA)
September 25, 1912

Chicago Will Operate Beautiful Burying Ground at Cost

Chicago, September 24:
A public cemetery operated at cost, not a "Potter's field," but a beautiful park, attractively equipped, is planned by President Peter Barten, of the board of Cook County.  The plan was broached yesterday while the board was considering the levying of taxes on the property of a number of wealthy cemetery corporations, hitherto exempt.

"Why should these corporations, whose property is listed in some instances in millions, grow wealthy from burying the dead?"  demanded President Barten.  The county attorney suggested that the county had authority to operate a cemetery, and it was ordered that county employes (sic) immediately seek a suitable plot of land.  Cleveland, O, according to Mr. Barten, is engaged in a similar project.

Monday, September 24, 2012

1912 - Sensational Exhibit Attracts Large Crowd

The Democratic Banner
September 24, 1912
Mt. Vernon Ohio

Sensational Exhibit Attracts Large Crowd

Washington, Sept 23
Fully 10,000 person, according to the official estimate, visited the exhibition in connection with the international congress of hygiene and demography.  The center of general interest, on the part of men and women alike, was the sensational exhibit of the sex hygiene section, concerning which nearly half a hundred lectures have been given during the past wee.  The marvelous and unique exhibit of the models of leper specimens also attracted particular attention.

Out in the campus, large crowds visited the campfire girls, the Red Cross and army field hospitals, the army cooking school and field baking plant, the Boy Scout colony and other organizations or exhibits that are placed under canvass.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

1912 - Loses Faith in Artist Husband

From the The Salt Lake Tribune
September 23, 1912

"Reincarnated Daughter of Pharoah" 
Suing Ralph Chesley Ott for Divorce.

By International News Service.
St. Louis, Sept. 22 - Mrs Ralph Chesley Ott, "reincarnated daughter of Pharaoh," who is suing her noted artist husband for divorce, now denies that she ever had faith in the old Egyptian gods.  She adds that when her two children came she utterly lost all faith in her husband's fantastic belief, and now, if she can recover her children through the courts, she will be satisfied with realities and forget all the dream talk and theosophy woven by Mr. Ott.

The husband is now in Springfield, Mo., with the children, and is expected to file a general denial to his wife's divorce charges this week.

According to their tales, she was the Princess Amneris 5000 years ago, and he was an artist in the employ of her haughty father, Pharaoh.

As in the modern romance it was a case of love at first sight when the princess and the artist met for the first time in the queen's chamber of the great pyramid.

Ott's modern meeting of his 5000-year-old ideal was at the University of Missouri after he had returned from a commission to study Egyptian architecture for E.G. Lewis.  She was then Mrs. Jane Schauffert, an artist's model.
1910 article from San Antonio Light and Gazette