Archive for Wednesday, May 15, 2013

100 years ago: Search continues for missing Lawrence child

May 15, 2013


From the Lawrence Daily Journal-World for May 15, 1913:

  • "All efforts to locate the whereabouts of 'Billy Bob' Atkinson have been fruitless. The little fellow has completely disappeared and there is absolutely no clue upon which to base any hope that he may be alive. Wild rumors that have all proven unfounded have been current all day but an investigation of each of them showed that it was merely a guess or a supposition.... At the river this morning the work of dragging was taken up again. A number of men worked for several hours this morning without obtaining any results whatever. Late this afternoon it is planned to use dynamite in an effort to bring the body to the surface if it is there.... Mrs. S. W. Atkinson, mother of the lost child, is prostrated with grief over the disappearance of the little fellow and is seriously ill."
  • "There was a real old fashioned Class Scrap staged on Mount Oread yesterday evening and it took a squad of Lawrence police to separate the fighting Sophs and Freshmen. And it required the combined efforts of a pail of water, a bottle of camphor and a number of classmates to bring one of the Freshies back from the land of dreams. Trouble has been brewing for several days between a good many of the Sophomores and the Freshmen. The second year men have been unusually active in the enforcement of the Freshman cap rule and yesterday when some unlucky Freshman appeared on the campus without his regulation headgear. a number of eager Sophs paddled him. Some of the Freshmen resented the rough treatment of their fellow classman and suggested that they organize and secure revenge on their tormentors. Accordingly it was planned that about fifty of the huskies in the 1916 class gather on South Tennessee and administer a little of the same kind of treatment to a few of the leading Sophomores.... A free for all fight soon started and the paddles and sticks were used in earnest. In the midst of the excitement one of the Sophomores, who apparently was more excited than the rest, struck a Freshie on the head with a bottle, rendering him unconscious.... The injury was a bad one and 'Freshie' did not regain consciousness until early this morning. The affair badly frightened the students mixed up in the riot and every effort is being made to keep the matter quiet. There is a very stringent ruling of the University regarding hazing and the members of the two factions are liable to suspension. It is reported that the University authorities will investigate the matter and take some action against the ringleaders."
  • "Mrs. Harriet Adams, one of the survivors of the Quantrell Raid upon Lawrence, died last night at her home in Iola, Kan. Mrs. Adams lived on Indiana street in this city at the time it was burned by Quantrell and his band of ruffians. Her home was burned, but she escaped. Mrs. Adams was 84 years old at the time of her death. The body will be brought to Lawrence for burial."


Sarah St. John 4 years, 10 months ago

Regarding the first story, see yesterday's story and comments here:

As the search continued over the week to come, one of the unfortunate outcomes was the suspicion that fell on anyone traveling through the area with a child, especially those referred to in subsequent articles as "gypsies" (which in this time and place was probably not meant in an ethnic sense but rather in a general nomadic sense). Innocent travelers who happened to have a curly-haired child were followed and, in an unofficial way, investigated by the searchers.

mom_of_three 4 years, 10 months ago

I just love how the articles were written back then, with more "emotion" or flowery words.... even obituaries were that way. just so different and interesting.

workinghard 4 years, 10 months ago

I know the river has moved since this happened. I wonder if there is a map that shows it's location at that time? Used to go down to the river at that same spot (end of Tennessee) as a kid. It was a great place to explore until the city put the trail through.

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