Archive for Friday, December 28, 2012

100 years ago: Burglar caught red-handed in Mass Street shoe store

December 28, 2012


From the Lawrence Daily Journal-World for Dec. 28, 1912:

  • "With policemen behind him, policemen in front of him, policemen beside him and policemen all around him, Irving Johnson was trapped in the Starkweather Shoe Store early this morning and placed under arrest on a charge of burglary. He was caught in the very act and was unable to put up any sort of a defense. It is quite probable that he will spend some of his time in the near future at Hutchinson. Johnson effected an entrance to the rear of the store by breaking out one of the iron bars and then breaking the window. A small piece of board did the work and the would-be robber was soon inside, but night Officers Smith and Vaughn heard the noise and soon had the source located and surrounded the store. Night-watchman Monroe and Officer Silverthorn arrived shortly afterward and thus reinforced the officers.... Johnson soon realized that he was trapped and when the officers finally entered the store they found him crouched under a desk in Mr. Starkweather's office. He made no resistance when caught and the officers escorted him to the city jail for the remainder of the night."
  • "It is sad, but each year when the winter comes there are unfortunate families in Lawrence and in every city who find themselves unprepared for the battle with the cold and they must receive aid. The Good Fellows at Christmas time, tried to reach all of these people, and they did find a large number and cared for more this year than ever before, but still there are homes in the city where there is want and where there will be suffering when the winter really breaks.... To care for these people the Salvation Army is planning a distribution of clothing for New Year's eve."
  • "Kansas University boys in St. Louis are planning to welcome the basket ball squad when it goes to St. Louis this winter to play the St. Louis U. and Washington teams. There are a number of Jayhawkers in the city and they plan to show the Kansas boys a good time when they come."
  • "Samuel C. Hemphill, a Lawrence boy, has just recently secured a government patent for an invention which he has made. Mr. Hemphill has made a new oil burner which he claims is ahead of any burner that has appeared on the market. The burner is patented under the name 'Smokeless Oil Gas Burner' and is said to be a device for generating and burning gas from kerosene or other oils."


Clint Church 5 years ago

Sarah, is there any way to find out if some of the people mentioned in these articles are related to anyone in town now. I have recognized a few of the names such as Hemphill.

Sarah St. John 5 years ago

Hi joebloe! There is quite a lot of genealogical info on the Hemphill families on the internet. Almost too much! I see there is a Samuel C. Hemphill (1881-1961) buried in Baldwin:

This might be our guy. About the right age. (Keep in mind that when the 1912 newspaper called someone a "Lawrence boy" it was very likely a grown man they were talking about and that they were just pointing to his Lawrence roots, as in "local boy makes good.") He married a Dora Estella Hollingsworth (1891-1982). 1930 census shows four children -- Ruth, Esther, Anna, and Katherine.

It might be more helpful to start on the the other end -- ask some local Hemphills if any of these names line up with their family tree. If you're up for the challenge, please let me know if you get any results. I'd love to hear more about their inventor-ancestor!

Thanks for reading!

-- Sarah St. John

Phoghorn 5 years ago

Well, this was in December, and it was probably cold...perhaps Mr. Johnson was just trying to get a pair of UGGs for his wife...

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