Category Archives: Newsflash

Slow News Day?

From The New York Times, August 1, 1897, page 1.


Remarkable Result of Mr. Peter Drapp’s Rat Chase in a Fifth Avenue Store.


Perforated the Calf of Gilligan’s Leg and Caused Him to be Sent to the New York Hospital for Repairs.

There was a surprising disturbance of the public peace and public peace officer in Fifth Avenue yesterday afternoon. The primary cause of it was a rat, the propelling cause was an inoffensive citizen named Peter Drapp, the victim was a policeman, and a pair of shears figured incidentally, but prominently.

No. 409 Fifth Avenue is near the corner of Thirty-seventh Street, and is the florists’ establishment of Seibrecht & Son. It was one of the quietest places in New York. The avenue is not very busy at this season, and, while flowers grow best in Summer, they go best at other seasons. No vehicles were passing. The Fifth Avenue stage which was due to make a noise at that time was busy a block or two away, where the horses had stopped to look at the men giving imitations of laborers at work in the water main excavations, the driver was absorbed in mental mathematical operations intended to locate a missing nickel, and the passenger was waiting with the beautiful patience the stages are intended to develop.

Moved by the silence to a suspicion that he had overslept himself and was late for business, a large gray rat which lodges in the Siebrecht cellar suddenly ran through the hole he had made for himself in the store. Peter Drapp, who is a clerk, saw the creature, and gave chase. When they had gone a few laps the rat saw that Mr. Drapp was gaining, and fled out upon the avenue.

Police Officer John Gilligan of the West Thirtieth Street Station is an impressive policeman and was doing the force and himself credit as he strolled on his beat watching a young woman who was just ahead of him. He saw the rat, and so did the woman. She seized her skirts and cantered around the corner. He paused while a mental struggle occurred between instinct which men, terriers, and cats have in common to pursue a rat, and the dignity becoming a Fifth Avenue policeman, which forbids him from sharing any merely human interests or being subject to merely human impulses. Then he did a very human thing and said “Ouch!” A sudden shock and surprise had caused nature to triumph over dignity and the traditions of the force.

Mr. Drapp, fired by the chase and reckless with the eager ardor of pursuit, had seized a large pair of shears, ordinarily used for the amputation of flower stems, and essayed to use them as a dart or harpoon. Like Apollo of old, whose bad aim with a discus gave Mr. Drapp the hyacinths he sells, Mr. Drapp threw wild. His purposes were laudable, but his calculation was bad. The shears went astray, and the points of them perforated the calf of the right leg of Police Officer Gilligan, a calf at that moment belonging to the Mayor and Common Council of the City of New York. That was when Policeman Gilligan said “Ouch!”

Also he fell. The experience of having a stray pair of shears fly through the atmosphere of Fifth Avenue and stab a policeman twice in the calf of his leg was a new one, beyond the contemplation of the regulations. Gilligan did not know whether he was assassinated or merely killed, but he knew something remarkable had happened to him. Therefore he fell and waited. Meanwhile Mr. Drapp was paralyzed by the result of his harpoon practice and simply stood and stared. The overthrow of a policeman by a missile intended for a rat hurled by a florist’s clerk was beyond his conception and baffled his imagination.

It was some time before anybody did anything. The rat was first to recover presence of mind and withdraw.

Mr. Drapp finally ran out and saved his shears, pulling them out of Gilligan’s calf, where they obviously did not belong. They were uninjured.

The sight of a policeman prostrated with a pair of shears in his leg soon drew a great crowd, however, and many rumors circulated. Mr. Drapp found himself being pointed out variously as a maddened victim of municipal oppression, the leader of an Anarchist group, and a dangerous maniac, and withdrew from the scene. An ambulance from the New York Hospital removed the wounded man to that institution. The rat seemed to be all right when last seen.

Front page, ladies and gentlemen, front page.

Crazed by Cigarettes

Crazed by Cigarettes
(Special to The World)
KNOXVILLE, Tenn., Dec. 28. — James L. Householder, aged nineteen, died in the arms of his sweetheart, Miss Lue(?) Gilliam, aged seventeen, at her home in this city last night after taking carbolic acid. The young man left a note for his mother stating that Mack Dryser would explain all.

Dryser said to-day that Householder had told him he had helped to kill a man in Atlanta two years ago, was about to be apprehended and intended to kill himself. The boy’s father believes that his mind had become temporarily unbalanced by the use of cigarettes.

The World, New York, New York. Tuesday, December 29, 1903, Page 3

The [eastern city] of the Northwest

A new town, called Paradise City, has been started in opposition to Moscow, up in Idaho. The rivalry is said to be very acrimonious. One is the St. Louis and the other the Chicago of the Northwest.

Daily Evening Bulletin, (San Francisco, CA) Wednesday, April 14, 1875

Anxiety and Lies!

Two items from The Daily Huronite, Huron, South Dakota, Monday April 12, 1886:

April 12. — It is requiring a strong force of militia to maintain order at East St. Louis. The incendiary fires are under control. The anxiety does not abate.


The Globe, in staring headline, says, “Somebody has lied.!” After residing nearly six years in Dakota, watching its statesmen, legislators, land agents, politicians, and newspaper men, we are reluctantly led to admit a strong probability that the Globe is right.


(note: everything before the dateline is a headline in different fonts separated with a horizontal line. That’s how dramatic this story is.)


Frenzied by Insomnia, Wertheim Exclaimed:




And Finally Tore Open His Throat and Let Out His Life on the Jagged Edges of the Glass Left in the Frame

Charleston, S.C., April 1. –Samuel Wertheim, an oil merchant of Veasey street, New York, killed himself in a most shocking manner in the offices of G. M. Politzer here this afternoon.
Continue reading


A curious case of love and persecution has come to light in New York. A man named Romero fell in love with his son’s intended wife, and in order to marry her, sent Romero, Jr., to Cuba. The latter was soon reported to be dead and the wedding took place. Subsequently the young man returned home, when his father caused him to be arrested and put in the lunatic assylum. The wife has discovered the facts in the case, and secured the release of her first, and perhaps only love, and an interesting and spicy lawsuit is now said to be very probable, growing out of this exceedingly romantic affair.

Florida Union, (Jacksonville, FL) Saturday, August 18, 1866; Issue 52; col F


Anderson Released.
He Did Not Murder His Wife as Supposed.
“Birmingham, July 24.– Sheriff Shirley, of Tuscaloosa county, this morning received a telegram from the sheriff of Shelby county saying that Lucinde Anderson, the wife of George Anderson, supposed to have been murdered by her husband and step-son, is in the poor house at Columbiana, as the husband claimed. Anderson and son were accordingly released from jail. There is no danger of Jones being lynched. He is in jail here.”
The Macon News, (Macon, GA) Saturday, July 24, 1897; col D


“One of the funniest things got up in New York lately was the excursion of the Augur Association, in burlesque of the target excursions. Each man carries an augur instead of a gun, a calithumpian band accompanies them, and the exercises consist in walking blindfolded to the target and boring a hole through it. Not one man in twenty can do it, and the blunders that are made cause a great deal of sport.”

The Ripley Bee, (Ripley, OH) Saturday, January 01, 1859; Issue 32; col G


“SPONTANEOUS COMBUSTION. On Wednesday morning a heap of coal of about 100 chaldrons, which had been placed several weeks before, on wet ground, in Boston, was discovered to be on fire, smoking like a volcano, with a volume of sulphuruous matter rising in a state of ebullition. Unquenchable by water, it was found necessary to remove them to prevent a conflagration. This is the third instance of the kind within a year in that city.”

The Saturday Evening Post, (Philadelphia, PA) Saturday, September 06, 1828