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Strange Times 177: The Object at Crum Elbow
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Today brings crusading eugenicists and tumbling ladies, plus stories of a man and a log who were spotted in rivers far apart. Swim for your damn life on…
June 26, 1921
In Reno, a judge upholds Mary Pickford’s divorce from Owen Moore, meaning that her subsequent marriage to Douglas Fairbanks is entirely legal.
In order to keep management from closing their plant, workers at the American Manganese Factor in Dunbar, Pa., propose a 40% wage cut, to be matched by cuts in housing and the cost of groceries.
A presentation by the “high priest of spiritualism,” John Slater, is interrupted by a grocer who offered $1,000 for Slater to prove he was not a fraud before being removed by “a hotel detective with a powerful pair of hands.”
Mrs. Bellaris, the heiress who went missing with her baby, is found in France at a location not divulged by the police.
The Weather: Partly cloudy today and Monday; moderate south to southwest winds.
Yet another reminder that in the 1920s eugenicists were everywhere. Like, scratch a progressive and you’d find someone advocating for the elimination of the “feeble-minded” from the gene pool. It almost makes you think that there might be widely-held beliefs in 2023 that are actually totally awful but, nah, that doesn’t seem right.
MILWAUKEE, June 25.—A hint that birth control should be made a part of social work was applauded at today’s session of the Family Division of the National Conference on Social Work, when Edward D. Lynde, executive Secretary of the Wisconsin Conference, outlined the small town problem of the social worker.
“In a town of 25,000 in Wisconsin the City Health Officer and nurse boasted that they had cleaned up conditions in a certain hovel and thereby saved the lives of at least six feeble-minded children,” he said. “This shows the absolute necessity of well-directed social work. While social workers cannot allow the death through misery of these incompetents they can prevent their birth.”
Resolutions urging the conference to support strict enforcement of anti-liquor laws and world reduction of armaments were presented.
If you thought this article was going to give you some insight into what a clock made of girls might look like or why a theatergoer would want to see one, well, you’re going to be disappointed.
The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court in Brooklyn yesterday upheld a verdict recently obtained by Mrs. Ethel Schubert of 1,284 Jefferson Avenue, Brooklyn, for $25,000 against the New York Hippodrome Corporation. Mrs. Schubert is known on the stage as Ethel Lorraine. She testified in the Brooklyn Supreme Court that she was engaged by the Hippodrome to take the position of 12 o’clock on an enormous clock face in which the hours were represented by girls. To reach her place she had to climb a ladder. On the night of the accident a rung broke, and, according to her testimony, she fell twenty feet to the stage floor.
So much extremely good stuff in this minute item, which could just as easily be headlined, “Rich Man Wastes Time.” Like—why did they need someone else to identify the log? What did everyone else think about Traver’s quest? And how heartily did the rest of the yacht club laugh at the Commodore when his mistake was made clear?
POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y., June 25.—Commodore Albert Traver of the local yacht club, seeking today to raise the object at Crum Elbow, thought to be a lost airplane, brought to the surface of the river a forty-foot log, thus clearing up the mystery. Commodore Traver succeeded in towing the object to shallow water, where a swimmer was able to identify it. The log was then brought to the surface by means of winches on yachts.
Lemme tell you, folks, if you’re a mechanic or a blacksmith or anyone else in possession of a file who meets an escaped fugitive, it is your duty to help them out of their cuffs. This is a thrilling story from the first to the last but my favorite part might be the exceptionally long first graf.
Escaping from the brig of the steamship Carolyn, in which he had been locked for shooting two other members of the crew at sea three days ago, a negro who gave his name as Charles Brown jumped overboard yesterday just after the ship had passed the Ambrose Channel lightship, swam four miles and a half with his hands handcuffed, landed on the shore at Princes Bay, Staten Island, prevailed upon a garage keeper to file off his handcuffs and escaped by crossing Arthur Kill in a ferryboat from Tottenville to Perth Amboy, N.J.
According to the information obtained by Detective Schley of the Staten Island Detective Bureau from the pilot who brought the Carolyn in, the negro got into a fight with several other members of the crew three days ago while the Carolyn was a considerable distance out at sea. One of the mates took the part of the negro’s opponents, and the negro drew a revolver and began shooting.
The negro was said to have succeeded in firing four shots before he succumbed to the united onslaught of the mate and the other members of the crew within striking distance.
Charles Hansen and Harry Johansen, two of the crew, received flesh wounds from the negro’s bullets.
Handcuffed and Locked in Room
Captain Edward Wilson of the Carolyn ordered the negro handcuffed and placed in an improvised brig. He remained an apparent quiescent prisoner for the next two days.
Brown was the only negro in the crew. He shipped at Jamaica, W.I.
Just after the Carolyn passed the Ambrose Channel lightship yesterday morning the negro escaped from the room in which he had been locked in some manner not fully explained. Without hesitation he ran to the side of the ship and, ironed as he was, jumped into the sea.
About 2 o’clock in the afternoon, Robert Sheppard of 194 First Street, Perth Amboy, notified the Tottenville police station that at 10:30 o’clock in the forenoon he had seen the body of a light colored negro, with his wrists handcuffed, floating in the lower bay not far from the Red Bank lighthouse. This was approximately two miles from where the negro jumped overboard and more than two miles from the spot where he landed.
Subsequent developments indicated that the supposed body seen by Sheppard was really the escaping negro, who undoubtedly feigned death in fear of recapture until Sheppard, who was in a rowboat, had passed. Police launches were sent after the body.
The negro, whose feat in keeping afloat for so long without the use of his arms was considered remarkable, reached shore at the foot of Princes Bay Road on the shore of Princes Bay about noon.
Irons Filed Off His Wrists
He made his way to a garage run by John Harwood, and told the latter that he had got into trouble on board ship for a minor infraction of the ship’s rules and did not want to go with the ship into port because he feared a short term of imprisonment. The negro told Harwood that his name was Charles Brown, but the police were unable last night to verify this.
Brown told so plausible a story that he prevailed upon Harwood to file off his handcuffs, a task that took half an hour or more. He then told Harwood that he wanted to go to Metuchen, N.J., where he said he had friends, and induced the garage proprietor to drive him to the ferry at Tottenville. Harwood said the negro thanked him and bade him good-bye and that the last he saw of him was going aboard the ferryboat for Perth Amboy. This was the last trace the police were able to get of him last night, efforts to pick up his trail from Perth Amboy proving unsuccessful.
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