Friday, March 18, 2011

True Stories from Past Seasons

Texas & Pacific Rail Road

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The Man Who was Hanged Twice and Other Strange Tales
Compiled by Robert A Waters

From the Freeport (IL) Journal-Standard

El Paso, Texas, December 16, 1937. A "wild west" holdup of a Texas & Pacific freight train near Van Horn early this year was attempted by 27-year-old Cecil Mann of El Paso, who was finally over-powered by hoboes on the train after Mann Jumped into the train cab, firing wildly at the fireman and engineer, who after dodging bullets, jumped from the train. Mann was brought to El Paso and declared mentally unbalanced by a court.

From the Trenton (NJ) Times

Pensacola, Fla., March 10, 1900. Wayman King, a negro, who murdered Victoria Watkins Sept. 16 last because she refused to marry him, was twice hanged within half an hour here yesterday. The drop first fell at 1:05 o'clock p. m., and after the body had hanged from the gallows five minutes County Physician McMillan pronounced him dead. The body was cut down, put into the coffin and carried into the jail. There it was discovered that King was breathing in spasmodic gasps and giving utterance to smothered groans. By order of Sheriff Smith, King was again taken to the gallows, a new rope was rigged, the noose was fitted around his neck, and at 1:29 o'clock the trap was sprung for the second time. In 11 minutes life was extinct, but the body was kept suspended four minutes longer to make sure that he was dead. King was perfectly calm on the gallows, smoked a cigar, took a chew of tobacco, drank a glass of water, delivered an address and did not flinch when the rope was fitted around his neck.

From the Butts County (GA) Argus

April 5, 1877. The legislature of Massachusetts is engaged in investigating charges of cruelty against the Superintendent of the Reform School of that State. It seems that the practice prevails there of stripping the boys naked when they are refractory and lashing them, and of confining them in a sweatbox with closing sides, and keeping them there until exhausted, and other refinements of cruelty which have hitherto been accredited alone to the Spanish Inquisition. Are there no laws for the prevention of cruelty to children on the Massachusetts statute books?

From the Kingsport (TN) Times

Bristol, Tennessee, May 25, 1916. Stricken with paralysis while fishing in Denver Creek, near Pendleton’s Crossing, in north Bristol, Mrs. John Aldred, a widow, nearly 50 years old, fell into the water. Her young daughter, who had been sitting on the bank beside her, began screaming and attracted the attention of a gang of Norfolk & Western section men. Mrs. Aldred is a corpulent woman, and her clothing kept her afloat until the section men could pull her out. Chief of Police, B. D. Kellor and patrolman Worley T. Crosswhite, were summoned and took the woman to her home.

From the Santa Fe New Mexican

July 25, 1928. Murder for revenge and murder for profit have been discussed but mass murder for amusement is a novelty. And this "crime" now is attributed to a mountain lion which has been roaming around Macho canyon, 15 miles east of Santa Fe. The tenderfoot who came out to New Mexico this summer to get thrills, has them in this report. And may have chills if he runs into this mountain lion whose tracks have been found around a sheep camp. The local forestry officials received word today that a native herder reported that in the Macho canyon recently a mountain lion's tracks had been found and also the carcasses of no fewer than 20 fat and healthy sheep. It appears that the lion killed for amusement. He knocked down the sheep much as a bowler would tenpins. One after another of the hapless and harmless little creatures were killed by the terrific slaps of the lion's paws. The lion did not enjoy mutton chops, it seems; after killing 20, he retired to his pinon jungle.

From the Ogden (UT) Standard Examiner

March 19, 1935. Convicts at work in a California county road camp, in Elizabeth canyon, rebelled "because they had no hashed-brown potatoes" for breakfast. It was a substantial breakfast, prunes, cereal, griddle cakes, but no hashed-brown potatoes. Men change. When Parmentier, for whom the excellent potato soup potage Parmentier is named, brought the first potatoes to France, nobody would eat them. An intelligent king ordered the nobles at court to wear potato blossoms in their button holes in the spring. Immediately the people said, "Potatoes must be good.”

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