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Guest columnists

Headlines from the past

Hold on to your hats and buckle up, my friends. Here we go for another ride in our time travel machine to the past with another edition of “Headlines from the past.”

BCR Aug. 23, 1923. A short history lesson might be in order before this article is presented. Prohibition began in the United States on Jan. 17, 1920, and lasted until Dec. 5, 1933. Hence, it was illegal to manufacture, sell, store or transport alcohol or alcoholic beverages during this period in U.S. history.

Moonshine Pete Dankazas who was charged with transporting liquor did not appear in court Monday morning. His lawyer explained Pete was in the hospital for a minor operation. Moonshine Pete had been arrested a few months ago in Hollowayville carrying 40 gallons of moonshine in his Buick. Ben Wallwin of Spring Valley was also recently convicted of selling liquor.

This is a follow up to the last story dated Aug. 30, 1923 BCR. The trial of Moonshine Pete Dankazas has been put off indefinitely. Dankazas is in St. Mary’s Hospital in LaSalle recuperating from surgery. Ben Wallwin was given 60 days in jail when he was denied a new trial by the judge. He is also to pay a $500 fine.

BCR April 26, 1900. In Tiskilwa news, Ed May and his wife have returned from Chicago. They had intended on moving their place of residence there, but the artificial lights affected Mr. May’s eyes.

BCR April 26, 1900. Headlines read “Fight On Election Night.” School elections in Ladd turned into a riot of sorts. The winners of the election were at Lechner’s saloon celebrating their victory. The celebration soon came to an end when the victors were attacked by the sympathizers of the defeated gang. Clubs, chairs, stones and knives were used in the attacks. Many of the men involved are now wearing bandages, and one man has his arm in a sling.

BCR, “Piano Scheme Fails,” March 15, 1900. Three agents arrived in Princeton recently and set about recruiting merchants from town for what was later to be exposed as a scheme. A piano presented by the three men as worth the sum of $400 was used as the bait. The idea was that the merchants would pay the agents $2 for the next 16 weeks. With this remuneration came the privilege of participating in a voting contest. The patrons of each business involved would be allowed to vote for the local society to which the piano would be donated. The number of ballots each patron received was determined by the amount of money spent in each establishment. O.H. Pitkin, a local jeweler and president of the YMCA , when approached with the prospect, did some investigation into the matter. He told the three agents to return the next morning, and he would give them his answer whether or not he would participate. When the three men returned, Pitkin was ready. Pitkin had found out the piano was worth only $110. A total of 15 local merchants had agreed to participate in the venture, and the three agents would collect the sum of $480. The three agents then offered Mr. Pitkin $150 in hush money in which Pitkin then declined. The three men were last seen taking to the woods. The piano was made by the Schiller Piano Co. of Oregon.

Princeton resident Todd Borsch can be reached at borsch3@ivnet.com.