As one does research reading through the old periodicals such as the back issues of the Bureau County Republican, the Bureau County Tribune and the Bureau County Record, certain articles of yesteryear catch this writer’s eye. Here are a few stories one might find humorous, amazing and just downright silly. Check these out.
Bureau County Republican, Aug. 8, 1912, “Mashers Must Quit.” Many a prominent woman of the city of Princeton have complained about “mashers” who are quite bold. The male flirts stand on street corners at night and ogle and insult unescorted women. This has become more of an issue in the year of 1912 than in previous years and will no longer be tolerated according to a decree issued by Chief of Police George Prior. The mashers have been so bold as to drag women into their carriages or automobiles for a ride in the country. Within the last week, three young men were arrested and fined for the act of mashing.
Bureau County Republican, Aug. 22, 191, “Sheffield Girl Routs A Masher.” A Sheffield girl was quite annoyed when a male suitor was persistent in his efforts to walk her home. Her reply was a swift right swing which connected with his jaw. She then proceeded without further incident.
Bureau County Republican, Jan. 16, 1913, “Freak Dances Are Prohibited.” Dances such as the Tango, Boston, Turkey Trot and Grizzly Bear have been labeled as “Freak Dances.” These dances were introduced at a New Year’s Eve dance in Princeton and will not be tolerated in Sterling, LaSalle or Spring Valley and are prohibited by ordinances with a $25 fine. It was also reported that out of town boys and girls at the Ottawa Boat Club Dance on Christmas Eve performed the Tango. Chaperones rushed to the scene and ordered such “Freak Dancing” to stop, but it was too late. The seed had been sown.
Bureau County Record, April 7, 1909, that “Unclaimed Letters” at the post office in Princeton are addressed to; Johnnie Adair, A.R. Burton, Frank Gustafson, Olaf Hansen, C.W. Robison and James Wilson.
Bureau County Record, March 24, 1909, headline was “Has Too Many Wives.” Lawrence Jensen of Princeton was charged with bigamy when it was found he had two wives, one in Princeton and one in Waukegan. Jensen had spent 11 months in prison for shooting a man with whom his first wife was living unlawfully. The married couple being separated at the time, Mrs. Jensen was living with a man who had knocked down and kicked the Jensen’s little daughter when she asked about her father. Mr. Jensen, then shot the man but only wounded him. After leaving prison, Mr. Jensen lived in Kewanee, then moved to Sheffield, and eventually Princeton. Jensen met a Mrs. Ellen Sartain who was divorced from her husband. In the meantime, Mr. Jensen had filed for divorce from his first wife. He then received letters saying the first wife was sick and then later had died. Mr. Jensen then withdrew his petition for divorce and married Mrs. Sartain. It was discovered the first Mrs. Jensen was still living in Waukegan and a charge of bigamy was filed by the second Mrs. Jensen. The second Mrs. Jensen then said she was sorry she filed the complaint as her husband was very good to her. Mr. Jensen was then advised to contact his first wife and secure a divorce in which she agreed to. On April 21, 1909, the Record reported the grand jury did not indict Jensen on the charge of bigamy as they believed he was not to blame.
These are just a few headlines from the past. Boy, how times have changed!
Princeton resident Todd Borsch can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.