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.