Thursday, August 29, 2013

Graduates of the Saloons' Back Doors—How They Are Debauched by Young Men.


Graduates of the Saloons' Back Doors—How They Are Debauched by Young Men.


   Nellie Stewart, Frances Whitfield (or Gray), Mollie Squires and Clara Zeck, the young women who indulged in several disgraceful street fights Monday night, and who were picked up early yesterday afternoon by Patrolmen Barclay and Gasselt, were all arraigned in the municipal court yesterday afternoon on charges of disorderly conduct.  The girls defiantly pleaded guilty, and through the intercession of City Attorney Davis they were allowed to go.  A plan was set on foot during the afternoon to rearrest them and take them before Justice McDevitt's court on state charges, but fortunately for the girls, it was not carried out.

    One of the girls interested in the quarrel on Monday night emphatically denied a published statement that it was a mere accident.  She said that there has been a long-standing grudge between Nellie Stewart and the Whitfield girl, who lives in Salem.  The latter came to Portland a few days ago expressly to settle her quarrel.  Monday night she collected a crowd of girls of the same stamp, and, after all of them had been served with drinks in different saloons about town till they became disgracefully drunk, they sent up to the Stewart girl's lodgings and dared her to come down.  She refused to come at first, but finally, egged on by a couple of her friends, she came down, and the street brawls which followed resulted.

   The exception of Nellie Stewart, none of the girls who participated in the ill-starred affair is more than 19 years old, and the youngest, Clara Squires, is barely 17.  All of them are of respectable parentage, and are graduates of some of the local institutions of learning.  To girls such as these, the back rooms of many of the self-styled "first-class" saloons are always open.  They first go to such places in company with young men whom they admire because they are a little "sporty."  After a few weeks, instead of going there with them, they go there to find them.  Drinks are always served on request.  As a rule, bartenders do not question the ages of their female customers or refuse them any intoxicants for which they may ask.  Some of the scenes which are enacted every night in some of these places are of such a nature that a recital of them would not be credited.

   There are at present in Portland at least 20 young girls, all of them under 20 years of age, who two years ago were living at home and leading respectable lives, but who now run about the streets at night from one saloon to another, associating with men whose loose morals render them outcasts from decent society.

   There are a dozen saloons scattered about the central portion of the city which are glad to receive girls in their rooms because of the following they attract, and because men always spend more money when drinking with women than they do when drinking among themselves.

   The extent of degradation which young girls can reach in little time by such associations is almost incredible.  It is, however, very well evidenced  by the language was that was used during the squabble Monday night.   No North End saloon bummers or thugs in any drunken brawl could revile each other more foully or pour forth a grosser stream of filthy epithets than those that came in torrents from the lips of half a dozen frail young girls, none of whom was old enough or wise enough to be away from her mother.  When the Squires girl was arrested by Patrolman Barclay, yesterday morning, she assumed an air of insolence and answered him in a manner which would have brought the blush to the cheek of a hardened woman of the town.

   Several of the girls who were concerned in the fight promised to leave town last night, but it is hardly likely that any of them will keep their promises.

Oregonian. March 17, 1897.

[I love the sensational and breathy writing of this article ("no North End saloon bummers or thugs in any drunken brawl could revile each other more foully or pour forth a grosser stream of filthy epithets than those that came in torrents from the lips of half a dozen frail young girls"), but this piece see-saws between addressing a real social ailment (teenage drunkenness, and possibly, or probably, worse, subsidized by local saloons) and an early form of patriarchal finger-wagging at middle-class young women not staying locked up at home all the time.  Indeed, young girls running " about the streets at night.. with men whose loose morals render them outcasts from decent society" sounds like a 1,001 b-movie cautionary tales from the 1950s (and beyond).  Not to be dismissive – the Oregonian's crusade against the saloons and drunkenness is remarkably consistent, and the mention that "the scenes which are enacted every night in some of these places are of such a nature that a recital of them would not be credited" sounds rather terrifying given their participants (the barely 17 Clara Squires and some men in the back-room of saloon).]



Wednesday, August 21, 2013


   Donkey—Hulloa, Porker.  Why stay in that pen and be fed on wheat?  Wouldn't you like to get out here in the pasture?

   Wheat-Fed Porker—Go 'long,  you ignorant donkey: you don't know that "the pen is mightier than the sward."  I belong to the famous Shield Brand Ham, Bacon and Lard family.. Through this Shield Brand connection, I have access to all the best families in Oregon.  The ladies ask their grocers for Shield Brand every time.

["Pen mightier than the sward" is amazing.]

Oregonian.  November 22, 1896,

Friday, August 09, 2013

Rarity of a Perfect Nose

A beautiful nose is the greatest possible ornament to the face of a woman, and so rare that it excites the admiration at once. Lavater, the physiognomist, declared that there were thousands of beautiful eyes to one handsome nose. It is a somewhat singular fact that only about three in every 100 noses are to be found where they belong - in the middle of the face: 97 will be digress from the perpendicular line which the bridge should form from a straight line drawn exactly between the eyes. The Greek nose, which is the beautiful, is so rare that artists have frequently looked in vain for a Greek-nosed model.

[Written by Tristam Shandy's father, apparently...]

["Babe, why are you wearing that clown outfit?" "Its a dressing sacque, dear."  "A sack?"  "Sacque, dear."]

Oregonian, from its 'For Women' pages.  Sunday, July 7, 1895.

Saturday, August 03, 2013


Exciting Chase After Two Men Who Insulted a Woman—One is Captured and Gets Fined.
    As Mrs. W. M. Woodall accompanied by Miss Frances Taylor, was returning to her home on Third and Columbia streets, about 9 o'clock Tuesday evening, two strange men accosted them on First street near Jefferson and began to make ungentlemanly remarks to hem.  The first remarks were passed in silence, but when the men became more insolent in pressing recognition, the ladies told them to mind their own business or there would be trouble.

   No attention was paid to this warning and the men went so far as to attempt to take hold of the arms of the women.  This last impertinence so frightened them that they started to run.  The two men also turned the corner on Columbia street and pursued the women to the doorstep of Mrs. Woodall.

   When Mrs. Woodall got into the house her husband had already retired. She however, lost no time in apprising him of her very unpleasant experience, and he at once started in pursuit of the men.  The men were still near the gate when Mr. Woodall appeared at the door and the exciting chase began.  One of the men escaped on a side street, while Mr. Woodall, in hot pursuit of the other, continued the road race down Columbia towards First.

   Upon reaching First street, the pursued man dodged into a saloon, while the enraged husband, in his night clothes and brandishing a large club he had picked up on the way, followed closely after.  The crowd of men who were gather about the bar were so frightened by the flying spectre-like men that some of them dropped their glasses and lost their appetite.  The saloon-keeper, with the instincts of a Trojan warrior, grabbed Mr. Woodall and unceremoniously threw him out of the back door, while the same summary movement was performed with the man whom Woodall was pursing, only the latter was ejected through the front entrance.

   Mr. Woodall, not to be outdone by the action the irate saloon-keeper, ran around the saloon from the rear end to the front, and got there just in time to catch the man he had so vigorously pursued.

   Officer Smith appeared on the scene immediately after and took the man to the city jail, while Mr. Woodall retraced his steps to his home to tell his wife of the capture.

   The man, who gave his name as Alex Leuden, and claimed to be a barbed, working in a Washington Street shop, had an examination in the police court yesterday afternoon.  He denied having made any improper remarks to the ladies, but admitted that his companion did.  The name of this companion he did not know, for he claimed the man was only a casual acquaintance.  As the women, however, positively identified Lueden as the man how accosted them and took improper liberties in addressing them, the court did not place much reliance in his statements.   Leuden was found guilty and fined $30.


[I like to think that Mr. Woodall was this broad shouldered Bluto-from-Popeye type fellow.  The club he brandished would thus be either a small tree or a lamppost torn summarily from the very ground.  I also like to imagine that the saloon-keeper was an even more broad-shouldered Bluto.]

-Oregonian.  June 7, 1889.

Friday, July 26, 2013

A Breach of Etiquette

A Breach of Etiquette --- At Astoria, on Sunday, Samuel White had some misunderstanding with Mrs. Riorson and she called for the police, whereupon Samuel did there and then willfully and maliciously bite her nose.  The next day he was arraigned before Justice May and held to await the action of the grand jury in the sum of $800.  White had evidently not been properly brought up.  He should have chewed the lady's ear, which would have passed for a bit of pleasantry, but to bite her nose and thus spoil her good looks is a piece of cannibalistic savagery which cannot be too strongly condemned.  His conduct on this occasion is very un-[illegible].

[By "should have chewed the lady's ear" is the author referring to the act of affection (sexual foreplay) or to the act of talking to someone or both?  Or neither?]

 Oregonian.  February 27, 1889.

Thursday, July 18, 2013


John Barry, While Drunk, Treats the Dead Body of His Aged Wife with Brutal Violence – No Adequate Punishment.
    A brief item appeared in these columns yesterday morning on the death of old Mrs. Barry, who has been rooming at the old lodging-house at the corner of Second and F streets.

   It is a case which calls for than a passing notice, as exemplifying the life of a hard-working wife, joined to a worthless and dissolute man.  Barry's exploits yesterday were on a par with his previous night's performances.  He was in the police court yesterday noon, where he pleaded guilty to a charge of being drunk.  The officers, humanely inclined, spoke a good word to the judge for the man, as he was supposed to be overcome with grief, and he was suffered to go, that he might attend his wife's funeral.

   He took his departure and went to the morgue, where his wife's body was lying.  Between frequent potations he went in and out, finally becoming so drunk as to fall down several times, bruising his face and tumbling over the stove.  The police had to be called in, and he was again conducted to jail.

  The reports of his conduct on the previous night seems so outrĂ© and incredible that a reporter was yesterday detailed to ascertain their truth.  Shortly after 7 o'clock Wednesday evening a roomer in Mrs. Barber's lodging house came up the back stairs and discovered something in the hall.  A light was brought, and it was found to be old Mrs. Barry, with life practically extinct in her body.  She was carried to her room, and the sisters at St. Vincent's hospital, who have always interested themselves in Mrs. Barry's case, were notified.  They came to the house and prepared the body for the grave with snow-white linen and a cloth upon the face.  The watch was given to Mrs. Barber, the lodging-house keeper, and another lady friend who volunteered to aid her.

  In due course of time, well fired with liquor, Barry returned home.  He went to his room and ordered the women out.  Not being possessed of sufficient determination they obeyed.  Alone with the corpse of the woman, whose meager and hard-won earnings had been his almost sole support, the brute began his orgies.  He first laid hold upon the shroud and cloths placed by the Sisters' loving and tender hands, and tore them from the body.  He struck her repeatedly upon the face, calling upon her to rise.  For the first time, the patient woman failed to do his bidding, and seizing her roughly he dragged her from the bed to the floor.

   BY this time help had arrived.  Two men forced their way into the room and replaced the body on the bed.  They wiped the blood from the face, covered the battered and bruised spots, and renewed, as far as they could, the linen coverings. 

   Barry then drew a knife, and he as he bore the appearance of a maniac, they withdrew.  Before the drunken ruffian had time to renew his despoliations, the police arrived, he was conveyed to the station, and the rest of his exploits are already told.

   Many old citizens remember Mrs. Barry.  She was a hard-working industrious woman and a faithful wife.  Of late years she has well worn herself out and such work as sewing, scrubbing, and nursing which the Sisters could throw her way has been her sole revenue.  Barry has maintained a show of working odd jobs, but the roomers in the house who knew them say that she has virtually supported both from her slender earnings.

   What little money came into the old brute's pocket was assiduously employed in getting drunk.  He became gradually so enfeebled that, following a debauch he would spend the entire day in bed.  The old lady did her utmost to quiet his noisy outbursts, and when he slept or was quiet she went in search of work.

   John Barry's wife is dead.  Her years of patient and unrequited toil are all gone by, but even her shroud of death did not detain her brute of a husband from acts of unspeakable violence which a dog would not be guilty of to a dead objection of his affection.

   Our advanced civilization such that ninety days in jail is the probable limit to his punishment.  There are portions of the West where brutality such as this is followed without delay by tar and feathers, or a rope over the limb of the nearest tree.

   The old lady's body still lies at the morgue.  Mrs. Barber has been trying to secure donations upon the street sufficient to give the body a decent burial.

   Barry will appear in the police court this morning to answer a charge of being drunk and disorderly.  Whatever his plea or sentence, if he has any feeling when sober, he will not have an enviable memory to cherish of the death-bed of his faithful wife of so many years.

   There is not a penalty upon the statute books adequate to such an outrage, and the public sentiment of a community ought be such that no man who has committed such an act could continue to live in it.


Oregonian. January 4, 1889.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Broke ass broke

I was recently reminded recently of a specific evening at the L___ back in about the winter of '97-98.
M_____ and myself, both fairly freshly minted 21-year-olds, walked up to the bar. I went to my bank and got say $20, probably leaving me something like $14 on balance. This was my poor student existence - living from one $150 paycheck to the next. We then proceeded further up the street and M_____ hit up his ATM for a $20 as well.
Stepping into the warmth of the tavern, we saddled up to the bar and ordered small pitchers of Blitz that came with a glass. These cost about $3.00 as I recall (fondly). After paying our barkeep, M_____ proceeded to get his wallet in order. In the process of doing so, I espied his receipt from his ATM visit. I was shocked _SHOCKED!_ to see that he had EIGHT HUNDRED AND THIRTY DOLLARS in his bank account - a princely sum!
The above still, from a scene from the film Dark of the Sun, was reproduced for me by M____ that same winter, possibly the same evening.