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cop. 7 

Carles Albert Kiler, UI 1892. On the 

3anks of the Boneyard: 
3f Events 


Illinois Tales" 


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AT l^y'^O'^ LIBRARY 

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MAY 31, 1942 

:: PRESS m 

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Most of these incidents happened during my four 
years as a student at the University of Illinois. 
In what little I have digressed from the period 
1888- 1892, I have gone into earlier days to paint 
the background for happenings in my time. So 
much has to be said about student unrest, class 
fights, literary societies, military rebellions, the 
faculty, and the three presidents, much of which 
has heretofore not been told in print, that tales of 
events following my time must be omitted. Some 
of them, however, are related in Part Two. 

C. A. KiLER 

Part One 


Chapter One — I Join a Literary Society and 

Do Some Organizing 9 

Chapter Two — The Advent of Dr. Peabody and 

Some Historic Class Fights 25 

Chapter Three — Escapades, the Faculty, and 

Progress Under Dr. Burrill 42 

Part Two 

Tale One — Alley L and the University Hotel .... 59 

Tale Two — I Become a Book Agent, Travel Extensively, 

and Tell You All About It 70 

Tale Three — He Saw the Game — 

The End of the Big Betting 81 

Tale Four — Some Thoughts on Picking a 

College President 86 

Tale Five — Historical Sketch of the 

University Band 90 

Illustrations 105 




I Join a Literary Society and 
Do Some Organizing 


.SRAEL ZANGWILL, British novelist, 
once said that the only truths in the written histories are the dates. 
He insists that the details are written by biased minds, or taken from 
old records which were written by partisans ; that the novelist comes 
closer to telling the truth when he dresses up the characters in the 
costumes of the times depicted and places them in the atmosphere 
of the period. I have seen some history made in my time, have been 
a party in a modest way in the making of some of it, and think 
there is much to be said for Zangwill's viewpoint. 

Class spirit manifested itself at Illinois back in the days of the 
Illinois Industrial University. Old-timers like E. N. Porterfield '72, 
Senator Henry M. Dunlap '75, and Frank I. Mann '76 have told 
me of tricks played on each other and on the faculty by the boys of 
those far-off days. Our much-respected friends, Professor Arthur 
N. Talbot and Charles H. Dennis, both '81, and Judge Henry L. Mc- 
Cune '83, have told me their versions of the military row and the 
class fight that developed over the tree planted by '81 which was 
tarred and feathered by the villains of '82 and '83. They were 
"he-men" in those days. Boys who have since become men of great 
distinction sat up nights guarding the tree with shotguns. The suc- 
cessor of this tree is now a stately elm standing close to the new 
Union Building. 

Unrest developed among the students, which finally led to the 
changing of the name of the University, to the establishment of 
elective courses of studies, to reestablishing fraternities, to the de- 
velopment of athletics, and in general to the building of a great 

The bill introduced into the Legislature of Illinois to change the 
name of the University was written and sponsored largely by Judson 
F. Going '83, a prominent lawyer in Chicago. There was a clause 
in it permitting fraternities on the campus, but this had to be elimi- 
nated to get the bill passed. Very few members of fraternities were 

lo On the Banks of the Boneyard 

in the Legislature, and most of the faculty and students knew little 
about them. The first one on the campus didn't perform as nicely 
as it should, and there were fraternities at other institutions which 
didn't do anything to raise the standards of the student bodies. Dr. 
Gregory, the first regent of the University, was strongly opposed to 
fraternities. There was only one during his regime — Delta Tau 
Delta, established in '71. Gregory was a strong advocate of the 
student government in force at that time. The Delts, under the 
leadership of James R. Mann, were a thorn in his flesh. They 
managed to hold on until '76 despite the strongest kind of opposition. 
Dr. Gregory called the Delts and fraternities in general, "undemo- 
cratic, anachronistic, silly, and conducive to dissipation." In ad- 
dition to this, he didn't like them! But when the fight got under 
way to have our trustees elected by the people, instead of having 
them appointed by the governor, the Governor of Illinois, John M. 
Hamilton, and the Speaker of the House, Judge Loren C. Collins, 
both of whom happened to be Sigma Chis, were of course interested 
in having fraternities restored at Illinois. 

When I entered the University in the Fall of '88, I signed a 
pledge card agreeing that I would not join a secret society while I 
was a student there. I knew very little about college fraternities. 
When the Alpha Iota of Sigma Chi boys came over from Illinois 
Wesleyan at Bloomington, and signed AI after their names on a 
hotel register, I thought they were modestly admitting that they were 
pretty smart boys. If a fellow said he was feeling AI, I naturally 
thought he was feeling good. Then there was an AI sauce, but the 
letters didn't register with me at all so far as Greek was concerned ; 
but since I had signed a pledge that I wouldn't join a fraternity, 
my curiosity was aroused and of course I was ready to break that 
pledge at the first chance. 

There had been talk about fraternities in the Spring of '81, and 
as no objections were raised, Sigma Chi came in (May 31) with 
seven leading students as charter members. This number was soon 
extended to fifteen. But imagine their surprise when they got back 
in the Fall — they were ordered to disband and give up their charter ! 
So said Regent Peabody, acting under instructions from the Board 
of Trustees. I have always felt that one powerful member of the 
Board had much to do with this order. Poor Dr. Peabody got the 
blame for it, but I venture to say that Mr. Emory Cobb of Kankakee 
was also back of it. 

/ loin a Literary Society il 

The formal notice to disband came on September 13, 1881, just 
three and one-half months after the chapter was installed. The boys 
had to go through the motions of disbanding ; they sold their furni- 
ture and gave up their rooms. Then began the hazardous and 
unsatisfactory existence as a sub rosa organization, which was con- 
tinued under the phony and euphonious names of "Bivalves" and the 
"Ten Tautalogical Tautogs." They met occasionally with the Sigma 
Chis from Northwestern, Wabash, and Wesleyan. It was a hard life, 
however, so the fraternity was abandoned during the University 
year of '85-'86. 

I think it safe to say that the social life of the students up to 
1891 was confined almost wholly to the literary societies. There were 
two for the men, Adelphic and Philomathean. Adelphic was in the 
west end of the top floor of old Uni Hall, and Philomathean in the 
east. The girls with their Alethenai Society were in between. It was 
a long hard climb up to the top floor, but we thought nothing of it 
and could go up two steps at a time when in a hurry. The programs 
at the Friday night meetings attracted not only students and faculty 
but the townspeople as well. Generally the halls were filled every 
Friday night. Music of all kinds, orations, essays, recitations, book 
reviews, and debates constituted the programs. Musical talent from 
the two towns supplemented that in the University, and also gave 
an outlet to musicians who wanted to utilize their accomplishments. 
Without a doubt these societies did much to develop talent among 
the members. I have heard many an alumnus say that he got as 
much good from his membership in them as he got from class work 
in his particular field of study. I am not familiar with the classes 
of today in what is called "Speech," but I venture to say that our 
ancient literary societies, without the benefit of instructors, served 
a purpose equally as valuable as the modern curriculum affords. We 
learned how to get up on our feet and express ourselves. The present 
methods of instruction can do no more. The debates between the 
two men's societies always attracted a crowd. When it became 
known that a certain gifted student was to be on the program, his 
followers were sure to attend. Men who were afraid to try to 
make a public statement at the time they joined a literary society, 
soon found they could be real speakers. I can't remember a man 
in my society who did not overcome his timidity after one year's 
membership. The passing of these societies was a distinct loss in 
student life. 

12 On the Banks of the Boneyard 

My first meeting with James Whitcomb Riley came about in a 
peculiar way. Soon after entering the University in the fall of 
'88, I joined the Adelphic Literary Society, and at the very first 
session I attended, my brethren disclosed the unpleasant fact that 
the Society was in debt. Worse yet, the sheriff was going to take 
our piano because we owed a Champaign store three hundred 
dollars on it. As a matter of fact there had never been a dollar 
paid on it, and the Society had used it for two years. And how 
can a first-class Literary Society carry on without a piano? 

I lived in Urbana. The Courthouse was located there, so when 
the boys asked if I knew the sheriff, I swelled up and told them 
he was an old friend of mine. They at once made me chairman of 
the Finance Committee, with instructions to call on the sheriff and 
enter into any kind of negotiation that would allow us to keep the 
piano. Aged nineteen, scared to death, I called on the sheriff and 
asked him if he would go with me to our society hall and see for 
himself that the piano was being well cared for. Then I would 
proceed to raise the money. 

He agreed to this proposition. We went to University Hall and 
started to walk up the six flights of stairs. At the half-way point, 
the sheriff was out of breath and had to rest. Then an idea began 
to dawn. I hurried the poor old man up to the top floor at such 
a rate that he dropped into the first chair and was ready to listen 
to most any proposition I saw fit to make. He readily agreed to give 
me the rest of the year to raise the money. 

The Redpath Lyceum Bureau furnished our lecturers and en- 
tertainers in those days. When I asked them what they had to 
offer, a special delivery letter came back stating that James 
Whitcomb Riley and Bill Nye had been scheduled to lecture in 
Bloomington two weeks hence, but the date had been canceled and 
we could have them if we wanted them. A contract to the amount 
of several hundred dollars was enclosed. I called the members of 
my finance committee together and put the proposition up to them. 
Without hesitation they authorized me to sign the contract, for each 
one of them was just as rich as I was, and we couldn't lose because 
we had nothing to lose. It became imperative that we build an 
organization in a hurry to get the publicity necessary to fill the old 
Walker Opera House in such a short time. 

We placed handbills all over Champaign County — every source 
of publicity was opened to us — even the Clergymen graciously an- 

/ Join a Literary Society 13 

nounced the approaching entertainment for us, and when the great 
night came the opera house was full. One of Riley's biographers 
refers to a telegram from the poet in which he tells of this sell-out 
in Champaign. 

Under the contract Riley and Nye were to be on the stage ready 
for the show at eight o'clock, but when that hour arrived they had 
not shown up. I doubt if anyone ever was as nervous as I was at 
that moment ; 1 ran to the Doane House and Ed Jones, the night 
clerk, said they had left an hour before, accompanied by Colonel 
Niles. Oh, Oh, and several more of them. The Colonel owned the 
hotel, had been private secretary to Governor Richard Yates, the 
great Civil War Governor of Illinois, and was an entertainer de luxe. 
I started down the line and found them in the second tavern I 
entered. With their feet on the rail and their arms on the bar they 
were toasting each other and saying nice things about the whole 
cock-eyed world. Calling their attention to the time, I led the parade 
to the opera house only to find the stage door locked. I then took 
them down the center aisle, introduced Mr. Riley, and the show 
was on. 

A great actor, the Hoosier poet had the audience laughing and 
weeping in turn. No one could recite his poems like the author 
himself. I have heard many actors read Riley's poems but not a 
single one as good as James Whitcomb Riley could read them. Bill 
Nye got a laugh at once by stating that the audience had kept Mr. 
Riley working until he was tired "and now, by gum, I am going 
to keep on telling my stories until you all get tired !" The passing of 
more than half a century may cause me to think of this entertain- 
ment as the greatest thing of its kind, but I doubt if I can over-do 
in words the pleasure, tears, and laughter produced by these two 
great men. The Adelphic Literary Society was rich beyond all 
dreams ; we not only paid for the piano but surprised all of our 
other creditors by paying them. If my memory is correct the suc- 
cess of this enterprise led to the formation of the Phil-Adelphic 
Lecture Course, which in '96 became the Star Lecture Course. 

In the meantime considerable dissatisfaction existed among the 
students because there was no place to sit down when watching an 
athletic contest and no place for the athletes to change their clothes 
or bathe after a game. The Athletic Association passed the hat 
around to raise money, and also put on a minstrel show for the same 

14 On the Banks of the Boneyard 

purpose. The show was well attended and much good talent was 
discovered among the boys, but when the grand stand, built at the 
north end of Illinois Field, was finished, the contractor wanted his 
money and the funds were short $350; John Chester was chairman 
of the committee in charge of building the grand stand and when 
the contractor got ready to file a mechanics lien, John took him 
over to Acting President Burrill. The contractor still insisted that 
he must have his money or else — he said the new boys coming in 
next year might not recognize the debt ; Dr. Burrill couldn't talk 
him out of his determination to file that lien, so the dear old doctor 
paid the $350 and the Trustees reimbursed him at their next meeting. 
After a few years of useful and honorable existence the grand stand 
was burned — probably as a bit of Halloween fun. 

From the Champaign Gazette of January 30, 1891, comes the 
following account of the athletes and athletics of our time: 

Students of the University of Illinois have for years been advancing^ 
in athletics. A good baseball team has always been the boast of the in- 
stitution. Recently however, lawn tennis and football have become de- 
servedly popular. Champaign* has its own chartered athletic association. 
An annual field day is held near the close of the spring term. In 1889 
was formed the Illinois Intercollegiate Athletic Association embracing 
Champaign and six other of the leading colleges in the state. The annual 
field day is held in conjunction with the intercollegiate oratorical con- 
test. Champaign has the honor of taking the championship cup at the 
field days held since the organization of the association, being especially 
successful in baseball and general athletics. 

Champaign holds her own with any of the western colleges, and her 
records compare favorably with those of the eastern colleges; although 
nature has never bestowed good weather on the annual field day, thus 
spoiling our chance to break records. Among the best records on our 
books are the following: Mile run — time 5.11; standing broad jump 
without weights, from toe to heel, distance nine feet, ten inches; go as 
you please kick, height eight feet six inches; putting shot 16 pounds, 
distance t,;^ feet five inches; throwing hammer 16 pounds, distance field 
day record, 86 feet, special record, 100 feet six inches; throwing base- 
ball, Gunn '92 field day record, 347 feet four inches; special record, 360 
feet; one-half mile run, Cody '91, 2.15; hop, step and jump. Bates 40 feet 
9>4 inches; hitch and kick, Clark 8 feet one-half inch; high jump, More- 
house '92, six feet eight inches. [I think this last record is a mistake.] 

*In my time it was common practice to refer to colleges by the names 
of the cities in which they were located — thus our University was referred to 
in this Gazette story as "Champaign;" Michigan was called "Ann Arbor;" 
Wisconsin was called "Madison ;" and so on. 

/ Join a Literary Society 15 

More from the Gazette: 

Lawn tennis, though of recent date at the University, is very popular, 
and many students are becoming proficient in this new sport, among 
whom are Bouton '91, Gunn '92, Steinwedell '93, and Smith '93. Lawn 
tennis will never become as popular in Champaign as baseball or football. 
It can not awaken enthusiasm except among those playing the game, 
but it will be in favor among those not desiring violent exercise such as 
they would get in baseball and football. 

Like lawn tennis, football has been late in getting a place in ath- 
letics at Champaign and there seems to be no good reason why the boys 
have not before taken to it, for there has always been an abundance of 
good material from which to form an eleven. Within the past five years 
several unsuccessful attempts have been made to form a team, but there 
seemed to be no one to work it up properly until last fall, when Cham- 
paign's first football team was organized. 

To Scott Williams '94, is due the honor of forming, managing, and 
captaining the first team. While not a brilliant player in his position 
as quarterback, Williams deserves great credit for his persistent and 
successful efforts to bring football into favor at the University of Illi- 
nois. While the career of the team has been brief, it shows possibilities 
for the coming season. Football seemed to leap into popularity here, 
and the enthusiasts are already calculating the probabilities for the 
fall term. 

The rush line is heavy, averaging close to 185 pounds, and is fol- 
lowed by two speedy and nervy halfbacks in Pillsbury '92 and Slater '94, 
the latter as game a man in his position as any college man that wears 
the canvas in the west. Slater just exactly fills Edgar Allen Poe's dream 
of a perfect halfback. 

Huff '92, center rush, and Bowey '93, end rush, are also superior 
men in their positions. The team, losing but three men, Shattuck, 
E. Clarke, and F. Clarke '91, will go into active practice under the 
direction of a "coach" at the opening of the fall term and will be ready 
to meet all comers when the season opens. 

Baseball Ahead of Everythixg 

But the true American game of baseball reigns supreme at the 
University of Illinois. Enthusiasts hope they will not be considered vain 
in making a claim for the college championship of the state. However, 
as soon as the playing season opens, the team will be ready to convince 
any doubters as to its right to the championship. 

The present team has won every time it has played, taking games 
from Knox College of Galesburg, Illinois College of Jacksonville, in the 
intercollegiate contest held at Bloomington. Early in the spring teams 
are organized and a schedule of games played for the class cup. The class 
of '92, since its advent in the University, has been too strong for the 
other teams. The class games are organized for bringing into practice, 
and thus into notice of the authorities, new talent for the main team. 

1 6 On the Banks of the Bone yard 

Under the efficient management and captaincy of George Huff '92, 
the team will without doubt show up in splendid form. In speaking of 
Huff it may be said that Champaign has never had a better all around 
player. Though weighing when in form about 225 pounds, he is un- 
excelled as an outfielder, and in his favorite position as first baseman 
plays exceptionally well. 

The pitching department consists of Frederickson '94 and Bouton '91, 
with Cross "92 as backstop. Bouton has excellent head work combined 
with good control of the ball. Frederickson, sixteen years of age and 
standing six feet one inch in height, is considered a very promising 
pitcher, having fair speed, good control of the ball, and never gets 
rattled when things are going badly. An effort will be made to arrange 
games with Monmouth, Galesburg, Northwestern, and Lake Forest; and 
possibly with Ann Arbor and Greencastle, Ind., for the coming season. 

Our Students Under Disadvantage 

The advancement of athletics in the University is due to the earnest 
and persistent efforts of the students themselves, having received little 
encouragement and no assistance from the faculty. Champaign has been 
handicapped heretofore on the account of a lack of a good gymnasium, 
and what is equally as essential, a competent instructor. It is true the 
new Military building has been fitted up as a gymnasium and an in- 
structor secured, but what is needed is a modern college gymnasium 
with competent instructors under the control and direction of the alumni 
and the University Athletic Association. 

The Big Bust-over at Monmouth October 1, 2, and 3, 1891 

The meeting of the Illinois Intercollegiate Athletic and Oratori- 
cal Association at Monmouth in the first three days of October, 
Anno Domini 1891, was one never to be forgotten by those who 

Our newly-organized Athletic Association was gaining member- 
ship with an initiation fee of fifty cents and annual dues of the same 
amount. Our athletic teams were better than ever before and rarin' 
to go. Compared to the present organizations, of course, we were 
a primitive bunch, but two hundred students had joined the associa- 
tion, and the following officers were putting life and energy into the 

President — Charles W. Cross. 

Vice-President — Robert H. Forbes. 

Secretary — Newton M. Harris. 

Treasurer — James D. Phillips. 

/ Join a Literary Society 17 

Directors — Albert W. Merrifield, George P. Behrensmeyer, and 
Ralph W. Hart. 

Eighty-five students boarded the special train at ten o'clock in 
the morning, and when we reached Bloomington at noon, a hungry 
bunch raided the depot lunchroom, grabbed all the food in sight, and 
I regret to report many of them failed to pay for what they bought, 
thus causing the Athletic Association much embarrassment as well as 
having to pay a bill which was probably much larger than would 
have been charged had the boys paid for what they bought. 

I guess such escapades as this is what led to lining customers 
up and making them pay for food before it is consumed, as is the 
practice today. 

When our train reached Peoria the boys from Jacksonville 
thought they should have their colors on the engine taking us to 
Monmouth, but certain capable men in our party thought there 
should be no colors but our own on that engine and an argument 
that lasted the entire way to Monmouth was enjoyed by all who 
witnessed it. Our stalwarts won the argument, however, and rode 
on the cow-catcher of the engine all the way. We reached Mon- 
mouth at ten o'clock that night. Our train was late but kindly 
people met us and escorted us to the Y. M. C. A. where we were 
allotted rooms in good homes. Some of our boys hunted around 
town most of the night looking for rooms, ended up in hotels, 
and created some disturbance which caused us to have the special 
attention of the police on the days that followed. 

The University orator was W. R. Chambers, and while he failed 
to win at Monmouth, he nevertheless reflected credit on our 

The football team was managed by A. W. Gates '92, who also 
played center rush; I can't account for the absence of George Huff, 
who had been playing this position most acceptably. Other players 
were "Army" Armstrong, Jim Cook, James "Burleigh" Needham, 
Ralph Hart, Harley King, the great halfback, Fred Slater, Jim 
Steele, "Birdie" Arms, Art Bush, and Scott Williams. Our coach 
was Bob Lackey, who had been a halfback at Purdue. As I remem- 
ber this team, Roy Wright played halfback at Monmouth, though 
he also at times played baseball. He was a fleet, dodging halfback. 

The baseball team consisted of Charlie Cross, catcher; George 
Frederickson, pitcher, who could pitch day after day most capably, 

i8 On the Banks of the Boneyard 

and rates as one of the all-time great pitchers in Illinois history; 
Charlie Gunn, Billie Roysden, Tommy Jasper, Newt Harris, Roy 
Warfield, George Atherton, and Bert Merrifield, who was also 
one of the greatest sprinters in our history. This group comprises 
one of the best teams we ever had, but here again, George Huff was 
missed. In tennis Frank Carnahan was our only contestant. 

The track team consisted of Glenn Hobbs, pole vaulter de luxe; 
Con Kimball, high kicker and jumper; Chris Toerring, mile runner, 
who didn't win his event in the intercollegiate contest, but who 
showed the police a clean pair of heels that night and broke all 
records in getting out of Monmouth; George Behrensmeyer, weight 
thrower; and Zeke Aranda, bicycle rider. Jimmy Phillips was the 

The athletic teams won the state championship for "Champaign" 
as the newspapers of that far-ofif period consistently called us. Our 
victories naturally put a lot of enthusiasm into our crowd, and as I 
have already said, the police, regular and special, were watching 
us very carefully, and when a couple of boys were settling an argu- 
ment with their fists a special policeman wearing gum boots grabbed 
an innocent bystander, Chris Toerring by name, our mile runner, 
and started toward the city bastile with poor Chris. 

The Champaign crowd followed; others joined in the parade 
and the colored policeman and his gum boots got quite a heckling. 
Word was passed among our boys that Chris was to be rescued; 
we couldn't stand idly by and witness such a crime as would be per- 
petrated in the name of the law, were Chris Toerring to be locked 
up in the calaboose. Just what was to be done, no one knew and 
very much to the surprise of all who knew the innocent Chris, he 
took matters into his own hands. When this gum-booted majesty 
of the law reached into his pocket for the key to unlock the jail, 
Chris let go with both fists, and was forthwith aided and abetted 
by George Behrensmeyer and others. 

Chris Toerring got the jump on the policeman and the way he 
departed down the main street of Monmouth would have won any 
old foot race. The colored policeman kicked off his gum boots to get 
into good running form, but when Chris ducked down a side street, 
that policeman was gaining on him. It must have been that heaven 
was protecting the innocent Chris ; his sharp eyes spotted a mortar 
box buried in the ground of this side street, but the officer of the law 

/ Join a Literary Society 19 

was so intent on capturing the escaping criminal that he failed to 
see the mortar box, into which he fell with a splash that threw the 
heavy mortar all over the street. This was really quite lamentable 
but somehow our boys couldn't see it that way, and the poor colored 
man, who was a hod carrier by trade, got better acquainted with 
certain properties of mortar in that fateful moment than he had 
acquired in all his years carrying hod. Chris Toerring kept right 
on going toward Champaign until he overtook a freight train, which 
he boarded. When he reached Peoria he wired that he was safely 
out of the trouble and would we please bring his suitcase when we 
came home. 

Our group left Monmouth showing great hilarity because of the 
athletic victories, but the trip home was without incident — except 
for the fact that the boys who had failed to pay for their lunches 
at Bloomington on the way to Monmouth, pretended to be asleep 
when we reached that city on the way home. 

Arriving at Champaign late at night we found the University 
Band together with another band playing marches, students shooting 
Roman candles, even dignified professors showing great joy and 
joining in the parade which marched from the Big 4 depot in 
Champaign to the University district at an hour way after midnight. 

The following autumn the Intercollegiate Association met with 
us and after another great athletic victory, Illinois withdrew from 
membership and since then has met competition worthier of its 

It was a number of years after we joined the Illinois Inter- 
collegiate Oratorical and Athletic Association before we began 
to think of a suitable college yell ; then someone suggested a contest 
out of which we might get a yell, and C. P. Van Gundy '88 won 
$5 for piecing together this one: 

Rah who Rah, Sis Boom Ah, Hip zoo Rah zoo, 

Jimmy blow your bazoo, Ip Sidi I Ki, U. of I. 


That's the yell in all its pristine glory; do you think it was 
worth $5? Inter-city jealousy was very pronounced in those far-off 
days, but even in that far-off time we did not hesitate to tell the 
world we were from Champaign. 

During the winter of 'go-'gi students who were dissatisfied with 
the status of our athletic competitors, such as Blackburn College, 






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/ Join a Literary Society 21 

Wesleyan, Illinois, Monmouth, and Knox, had a meeting and de- 
cided to try for a new organization. The Illinois Intercollegiate 
Oratorical and Athletic Association had been all right in its day, 
but we 3'earned for games with larger and more important institu- 
tions ; so a committee was appointed to attend a conference with 
Northwestern and Lake Forest Universities at the Grand Pacific 
Hotel in Chicago. As I remember it this committee consisted of 
Professor J. D. Crawford, Frank D. Arms, and myself, and out 
of the conference came invitations to a number of midwestern 
universities and colleges to a meet to be held here at Illinois on 
May 13, 1892. 

The following institutions accepted the invitation and agreed to 
send athletes and delegates, viz: Northwestern, Lake Forest, Wash- 
ington, Purdue, Illinois College, Iowa College, Rose Polytechnic, 
and the College of Christian Brothers. 

Our games committee consisted of F. D. Arms, J. D. Phillips, 
and the writer ; J. D. Phillips was Official Scorer, and was assisted 
by W. T. Butler and Bud Holston ; F. D. Arms was Marshal ; 
Ralph Hart, Chief of Police ; and Con Kilgour, the Bugler. We had 
an Official Photographer in the person of F. M. Needham, while 
Charlie Shattuck and Bert Johnston were the Inspectors. The Judges 
and Timekeepers were chosen from our Faculty in order to insure 
outside competitors a square deal, for those were the days when it 
was easy to start a fight. 

In the 50, 100-, and 220-yard races we entered Bert Merrifield, 
Harry McCaskrin, Lawson Scott, and Fred Weedman. Merrifield 
was a great sprinter, and won all of the dashes. 

Other events and entries were: 

Pole Vault — Charlie Gunn, Glenn Hobbs, and E. J. Lake. 

Mile Run— Robert H. Forbes and W. G. Miller. 

Hammer Throw — Army Armstrong, Fouts, and McMains. 

Two-mile Safety Bicycle Race — G. W. Mitchell. 

Hop, Skip and Jump — Charlie Gunn. 

440-yard Dash — Miller, CofTeen, McLane, and Lewis. 

Putting i6-lb. Shot — Armstrong, Fouts, and McMains. 

Running Broad Jump — Behrensmeyer and Weedman. 

120-yard Hurdles — Amos Clark, who afterwards held some 
world records, and who remains in our athletic history as one of 
our greatest athletes. 

Half-mile Race — Forbes, Coffeen, Miller, and McCaskrin. 

22 On the Banks of the Boneyard 

On the night of Friday, May 13, 1892, in Adelphic Hall at the 
University of Illinois, the Western Intercollegiate Athletic Associa- 
tion came into being, and without question it was the forerunner of 
the Big Ten of today. 

Since this meeting of the delegates marks the beginning of an 
historic period in western university athletics, I quote from the 
mini the following account of its proceedings: 

The delegates and friends came together in Adelphic Hall on Friday 
evening, and were called to order promptly at 8:30 o'clock by Frank D. 
Arms. Charles A. Kiler was made temporary chairman, and Mr. Dickie, 
N. W. U., was made secretary. After briefly stating the object of the 
meeting, the chairman called for the adoption of a constitution and 
by-laws. Mr. Metcalfe offered the constitution and by-laws of the 
Eastern Intercollegiate Athletic Association, and these were adopted 
with a few important changes. While this was being done, a nominating 
committee, consisting of one delegate from each institution represented, 
was apportioning the offices among the several colleges. They unani- 
mously gave to this University the Presidency, and named Frank D. 
Arms as the man to fill it — a just and fitting compliment to Mr. Arms 
and the University. The other officers are to be apportioned by the as- 
sociations of the colleges to whom the offices have been allotted thus: 
Northwestern, vice-president; Purdue, secretary and treasurer; execu- 
tive committee, Washington University; Rose Polytechnic; Iowa Col- 
lege; and Illinois College. This last committee is to determine the place 
for the next meeting. The report of the committee in charge of this 
present meeting showed a deficit of $37.53, which was a remarkably 
good showing considering the weather. Our local association will make 
this good. 

Many of the athletic events mentioned in this story have long 
since been discarded; about half of the men active in forming an 
Athletic Association more representative of western college athletics 
than we had enjoyed before this time have passed away, but those 
who are left will no doubt enjoy this reminder of the first step 
toward better competition for our athletic teams. 

We played our first baseball game with Michigan April 22, 1891 ; 
it was a cold, rainy day and in the present age no game would have 
been played. Michigan was a well-organized, up-to-date baseball 
team. They had a professional coach, played first-class baseball, and 
gave us a good trimming. They came again in the spring of '92 
and our boys held them to a score of 6 to 5 ; as a matter of fact we 
should have won the game, but again the weather was bad and 
Illinois made too many errors, but we beat all other competitors in 

/ Join a Literary Society 23 

both '91 and '92, and were on our way to bigger and better things, 
not alone for athletics, but for everything else as well. 

In this school year of '9i-'92 another organization of importance 
came into existence. Michigan had a daily newspaper — we had a 
weekly. The fact that we were far behind the pace set at Ann Arbor 
was not pleasant, and as editor of the Illini I corresponded with 
Ralph Stone, editor of the Michigan Daily, about organizing a 
Western College Press Association, feeling sure we could pick up a 
lot of useful information about the conduct and management of a 
college newspaper. Ralph Stone got behind this idea in a big way; 
we had a meeting at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Chicago attended 
by editors and business managers of practically all the western col- 
lege papers, and the organization created then is still in existence. 

The organization of the Western Intercollegiate Athletic Associa- 
tion as well as the Western College Press Association came at a 
period when we were striving for better things ; we were turning 
toward closer relations with the larger western universities. We 
commenced to feel that we could hold our own in competition with 
any of them. As a matter of fact no one in authority had urged 
us to be ambitious and to strive for bigger things. Up to the years 
'9i-'92 we lacked a leadership to get us into competition with 
institutions of our own calibre. 

Most of us were boys and girls from the farms and small towns 
of Illinois ; we looked like we had been born between two rows of 
corn, and I fear we acted like it also. One of our college humorists 
writing for a Bogus publication said: "When we dress for a party 
we put bear's grease on our hair, peppermint on our handkerchiefs, 
and 'taller' on our boots." The first man I ever saw wearing an 
evening dress suit was Henry L. McCune '83 when he attended 
the '92 Senior Ball ; the rest of us put on our "other" suit — I mean 
the one we wore on Sundays. I had the idea that it was smart to 
wear shoes a size too small for my feet ; instead of buying shoes to 
fit, we "broke 'em in." Even some of our professors wore box-toed 
boots too small for their ample feet and walked like they had corns ; 
such a thing as a chiropodist was unheard of and feet were ruined 
because of the Cinderella myth ! 

It is true that as seniors some of us stepped out and agreed to 
wear stove-pipe hats, gates-ajar collars, Ascot ties, Prince Albert 
coats with grey, striped trousers, and long, pointed-toed shoes too 

24 On the Banks of the Boneyard 

narrow for our feet. I still have that stove-pipe hat and I get it out 
once in a while to amuse my young friends — I think I still have that 
Ascot tie also. Most of the men wore mustaches, sideburns, and 
other facial adornment. We got our hair cut once a month "in the 
new of the moon" because it was said the moon would keep hair 
from growing so fast. Picture a senior dressed in the uniform 
described above, falling off the back end of a new electric street car 
as it swung with great speed around the corner of Green and Good- 
win streets in Urbana on a muddy Sunday morning in June of '92, 
and you will have my perfect alibi for missing the Baccalaureate 
sermon preached by Dr. Washington Gladden of Columbus, Ohio. 


The Advent of Dr. Peahody and 
Some Historic Class Fights 

IhE name "Illinois Industrial University" 
was a terrible mistake. It sounded like a court order was necessary 
to get a student sentenced to a term in the institution ; parents with 
incorrigible children wrote they would like to place them here so 
they could be corrected of inherited traits. Both widows and wid- 
owers left with children thought the Industrial University was 
exactly the place for them, and there were preachers — God bless 
their narrow souls — who called our institution a "hotbed of infidelity 
and iniquity," notwithstanding the fact that each and every student 
had to attend chapel exercises every morning at 9:45 whether he 
wanted to or not. There was the celebrated case of Foster North 
who refused to go to chapel and was thrown out of the University. 
He took his case into the courts and lost it but later the University 
offered to reinstate him only to be refused this courtesy. 

I was born in Urbana just about the time the University was 
opened for students. The driest summer on record came in 1871 
and we had a big fire in Urbana in October at the same time of the 
great Chicago fire. I insist that I can remember this fire, but my 
family and friends insist that I can't. They admit with reluctance 
that I was a very bright baby but say it simply can't be possible for 
a two-year-old to remember anything. Of course they're wrong. In 
connection with the Chicago fire, there is a fact of historical interest 
in that it was the only time the University Regiment has been 
called upon to serve the state of Illinois. E. N. Porterfield '72, a 
member of the first class graduated, and the oldest living graduate 
reports this incident as follows: "I think that the male students 
were a part of the state militia at that time; I don't remember the 
name of the man who taught us the manual of arms, but Colonel 
Snyder was our commanding officer. Our uniforms were a cadet 
grey with a coat fashioned like an infantryman's. We made a good 
appearance on parade. In October, 187 1, six companies of us were 
called to help guard Chicago during the great fire. One half of my 


26 On the Banks of the Boneyard 

company slept in the Burlington station, and the other half, to which 
I belonged, was lucky enough to be quartered in a Presbyterian 
church on 22nd street; we slept in luxury on the cushions in the 
pews of the church, while our pals slept sitting on hard seats in the 
railroad station, or lying on the still harder stone floor. We had 
Enfield rifles with bayonets, and our business was to help guard 
the city at night to prevent looting and the starting of more fires. 
We slept during the day, and were on duty for one week when 
General Sheridan came from Omaha with the regulars to relieve 
us. It was quite an experience for us boys who were not far out 
of the teen age — in fact I was only 19; I entered college in 1868 and 
graduated in '72." As Mr. Porterfield is probably the only man 
living who served in this incident, I am happy to present this first 
hand report of the service the University Regiment rendered at the 
Chicago fire. 

Unrest and dissatisfaction developed among the students quite 
early in the history of the University. I have already alluded to 
trouble in Dr. Gregory's regime over student government and 
fraternities, but with the first military rebellion in 1880 the student 
body began to resent and fight against nonsensical restrictions. The 
faculty passed a rule that no student should be eligible for a com- 
mission as an officer in the regiment "unless he was conspicuous in 
scholarship and gentlemanly bearing. He must have a unanimous 
faculty vote, and appointments must not exceed five a year." This 
ruling created such a disturbance among the students that it had 
to be rescinded, but the trouble it created, plus all of his others — 
added another weight of woe to Dr. Gregory. Farmers through 
their organizations said they thought ours was to be their Univer- 
sity ; engineers thought it was to be theirs ; the regent had added a 
Domestic Science department — the first in the country; also had 
started a class in calisthenics for the girls — again pioneering in a new 
field; he was building up the department of Literature and Art also, 
but the opposition of farmers, engineers, students, preachers, and 
others was too much for him, and no one conversant with the facts 
blamed Dr. Gregory for resigning. 

Then we got for president, Dr. Selim H. Peabody, who had been 
a professor of ph3'sics — and a very good one too. Most of his ex- 
perience before coming to the University had been as a teacher and 
high school superintendent ; also he was an editor for a short time. 

The Advent of Dr. Peahody 27 

and while Gregory was a dreamer of great dreams for the Univer- 
sity, Peabody was a teacher in a narrow sense; with precise traits 
of mind, a mathematician and a physicist, he boasted that he could 
teach any subject already being taught by others in any department 
in the University — an all-around educator, and not at all the type 
of executive needed at this trying period of our history. 

Instead of using his learning and fine traits of character in 
quieting disturbances among the students, Dr. Peabody joined with 
those of the faculty and trustees whose minds were like his, and 
the result was one continual round of trouble. Starting in a minor 
way, these troubles developed until they ended in the second military 
rebellion which was his undoing. The story of this second military 
rebellion is told in another chapter. 

Up to a few years before I entered the University in the fall 
of '88, the twin cities were lighted with kerosene street lamps, then 
came gas, and finally electric arc lights. Students who could afford 
to pay $5 a week for room and board lived a mile away from the 
University in either Champaign or Urbana, while those who lived 
for $3 a week or less stayed closer to the campus. There was a 
bob-tailed horse car that took fares from Champaign to Urbana for 
a dime, and half way, to the University, for a nickel. Only the 
faculty and well-to-do students used the horse car, however, and 
some of us walked the mile home for our mid-day meal. We thought 
nothing of walking from Urbana to Champaign over a two-board 
sidewalk where there was one, and over the terra firma where there 
wasn't. The front wheels of bicycles stood nearly six feet high 
with a little wheel about one foot high at the rear, but in my sopho- 
more year Frank Arms and Zeke Aranda bought "safeties" much 
like we have today. In the wintertime we carried our lunches to 
school and the boys had a room assigned to them in which to eat, 
which was some distance from the girls' room. It was good that 
this was so, because there were battles in the boys' room wherein 
I learned that a hard-boiled tgg is a deadly weapon when thrown 
with accuracy from a short distance; likewise a piece of pie is a 
messy thing when well directed. The walls of that lunchroom were 
marked with food of all kinds that had missed its objective. Mind 
you, I'm telling stories that happened in the late '8o's and the low 
'90's — a lifetime before the movies and vaudevillians got to throwing 
pies to make us laugh. 

28 On the Banks of the Boneyard 

Another item of interest which was an annual affair was that 
of throwing the University cannon into the Boneyard ; why the Uni- 
versity failed to watch its one and only antiquated cannon on Hal- 
loween, I don't know. For at least a dozen years in succession this 
stunt was pulled without opposition. Nothing could hurt that cannon 
anyway, as it was beyond further damage ; of course it served its 
purpose in the efforts of the militar)^ commandant to teach artillery 
tactics. Sarcastic editorials and items in the Illini during my term 
as editor must have helped to quell this boyish prank ; also that 
other one of ancient vintage, viz. — stealing outhouses and loading 
them on Illinois Central coal cars. Such pleasant pastimes died out 
along with dueling and the funny antics of King Dodo. 

Now I want to tell the stories of a few historic class fights ; 
on the campus today as we approach the Illini Union Building from 
the northwest are two elm trees with markers telling that they 
were planted by '76 and 'yy, and at the southeast corner of the 
Union stands an unusually beautiful elm which was moved and 
placed at this point by the University. It represents the members 
of the class of '81 who fought, bled, and died to keep that tree alive 
and in the ground. The first tree they planted was "tarred and 
feathered and ridden on a rail" like the fellow with the hard heart ; 
another planting was dug up by underclassmen, and then the he-men 
of '81 got organized, hid themselves in the bushes armed with shot- 
guns, and the result is the unusually beautiful elm representing 
their class today, henceforth, and forever. Amen ! 

I realize that this is another digression from my story which I 
have tried to limit to the four years from '88 to '92, but in order to 
account for later happenings among the students I want to give this 
background. Please remember that the University provided no 
means whereby the boys could "blow off steam;" the spirit of youth 
and of mischief thus manifested itself in class fights, the first of 
which centered around the planting of class trees. In order to get a 
fair picture of this period in our history — for these fights con- 
tinued up to President Draper's regime — I asked my good friend. 
Judge Henry L. McCune '83, of Kansas City, to give me his recol- 
lection of a typical tree fight. I knew he was an active participant 
in one of the best of them, and this is what the judge said: 

In those days it was the custom for a graduating class to plant a 
tree on the University premises with appropriate ceremonies, with the 

The Advent of Dr. Peahody 29 

idea that the descendants of the members of the class would assemble 
under the shade of the tree in future years and dwell on the lives and 
achievements of their ancestors. It had also been the custom for mem- 
bers of other classes to attempt to destroy this tree and thwart the 
desire of those who planted the tree to leave such a testimonial. How- 
ever, as I recall it, there was no malice about it, it was simply a test 
of wits and vigilance. 

At this point I am somewhat confused about the incident in question. 
My recollection is that it was the class of 1882 (the senior class at that 
time) which planted this tree, and it was my class of '83 which figured 
somewhat in the events that happened. Perhaps you can straighten this 
out. The senior class contained many men of valor and the under- 
classmen had made no attempt to destroy the senior tree which had been 
planted on the northwest corner of the campus near old University 
Hall. It was a measly little sapling about an inch and a half in diameter, 
but it was surrounded by large evergreen trees whose branches grew 
close to the ground and afforded fine shelter for those who wished to 
guard the tree from those who might have designs on it. In June of that 
year, after the examinations had been completed, the Literary Societies 
on a certain night were conducting their closing exercises and most of 
the students were attending these meetings. Richard E. Dorsey and I, 
instead of attending the Society meeting, went to Champaign. As we 
walked home towards Urbana, it occurred to one of us that it would 
be an auspicious time to pull up this class tree, because we assumed 
that those who would ordinarily guard it were attending the Society 
meeting. We went over and laid violent hand upon this tree, when 
much to our surprise some husky seniors came tumbling out from under 
the evergreen trees and began shooting at us. Moved by a common 
instinct, we fled toward Champaign instead of going in the direction 
of our homes. I was a pretty good runner and I think that fear gave 
me extra speed, because they did not catch me, but Dorsey was not dis- 
posed to unnecessary physical exertion, so he promptly fell on the 
ground. When the seniors caught him, he asserted that he had been 
wounded and could not go any farther. Upon further inquiry, he stated 
that his shoes were full of blood and insisted they carry him home, about 
five blocks, but upon examination they found neither blood nor wounds. 

To shorten the narrative, Dorsey was called before the faculty, and 
in some way my name was mentioned as being present. The hearing 
which involved both of us terminated with a sentence of suspension from 
the University. It did not seem to be such a serious thing, because 
examinations were over, school had ended, it was time to go home for 
vacation, and the order of suspension did not state for how long. But 
Dorsey went home and never came back. I considered the matter during 
the summer vacation, and so did my father, and decided that as there 
was no length of time for which I was suspended, that I would just go 
back to the University in the fall and see what happened. If I am right 

30 On the Banks of the Boneyard 

about my dates, this was in 1882 instead of 1881, and after I had been 
elected editor-in-chief of the Illini and our brother William A. Heath 
had been elected business manager. I returned to school in the fall, 
said nothing about the suspension, took up my duties as editor of the 
Illini and waited to see what would happen. Nothing happened and I 
went on through my course and graduated after being chosen valedic- 
torian of my class. Dorsey died after that, and only last week I was 
introduced to a nephew of his who is now engaged in the coal business 
in Kansas City. 

The next day after the seniors had taken shots at Dorsey and myself, 
our friends decided they were going to pull up that tree, as it seemed to 
be getting to be a serious matter. At that time Harry Bringhurst and I, 
together with two other boys, occupied a cottage in the yard of Mr. Burt, 
who kept a boarding house for students. We took our meals in the 
Burt house, but occupied this little cottage in the yard, where the four 
of us lived. Burt had a son, Frank, who was in college part of the time, 
but didn't work at it very hard. It was decided that Burt, Bringhurst, 
and several other boys would make a raid on the tree that night. Dorsey 
and I were to stay out of this expedition. Along toward midnight the 
"army" assembled at our house, each man with a shotgun, and at the 
appointed hour made a raid on the University grounds. Bringhurst with 
his hatchet proceeded to chop down the tree and Frank Burt stood over 
him with a shotgun to protect him. The seniors rolled out from under 
the trees and there was a battle. Frank Burt received about 105 bird- 
shots, but didn't flinch and stood his ground until Harry had chopped 
down the tree, then they separated and started home. An examination 
of Burt's corpus delicti showed that he was pretty well loaded with bird- 
shot, for he had been hit both fore and aft. We didn't wish to call a 
doctor, so we went to work on him with pen knives and as the shots 
were not very deep, we extracted about a hundred, but we did not get 
them all, and years afterward when Frank Burt was the head of the 
Police Department at Wichita, he proudly exhibited several shots still in 
his face, which were never extracted so far as I know. Harry Bring- 
hurst afterward became City Marshal of Seattle. Harry loved a fire, and 
I understand he was very efficient in putting one out. 

As the only man who was incapacitated in this battle was Frank 
Burt, and as he was not in college at that particular time, all of the men 
who were involved were able to attend class the next morning, and I 
do not know how much nor what details of the incident were made 
public. I do not know that any account of the afifair has even been 
put in writing, but as both Bringhurst and Burt are dead and the seniors 
who slept under the trees and guarded the tree were not known by name, 
I can see no harm at this time in giving you these facts. 

Class fights may well be included among the social activities of 

the students. What else was there for us to do? A volume could 

be written on this phase of student life, for I'm telling you that 

The Advent of Dr. Peabody 31 

when, in my time, the Freshman class had its annual "Sociable," it 
became the bounden duty of the Sophomores and Juniors, as well as 
a few sporting Seniors, to gang up on the poor Frosh and spoil that 
Sociable. Then when the Sophomores were about ready to put into 
print their class annual. The Sophograph, demoniacal Freshmen, 
conceited Juniors, and sporting Seniors united in stealing the ma- 
terial, destroying plates, cartoons, and everything else that had been 
prepared with such great care. Bogus Sophographs are now highly 
prized possessions of those lucky enough to have them. Then came 
the Junior Exhibition and boy, how we all landed on that affair. 
When the Seniors got up on the platform to render their Senior 
Orations, all the other classes joined in giving each and every one 
of them a first-class ribbing. I have already told about the fight 
that '81 put up to protect the sacred tree which they planted to im- 
mortalize their class, and have stated that a book could be filled with 
stories of historic class fights, but I think that a brief statement of 
the experiences of my own class — the great class of '92, the 20th 
class to be graduated, celebrating the four hundredth anniversary of 
Columbus' discovery of America — should be enough to illustrate 
this part of student activity. 

Our Freshman Sociable was planned with great care and with 
as much secrecy as possible, but of course it became known over the 
campus that it was to be held on a certain October night at the 
Columbian Hotel in Urbana. This party was quite an affair as we 
were to sit down at a banquet, followed by toasts and speeches, and 
then a dance. The other classes always made it a point to kidnap or 
in some way put out of business those who were the speakers ; I 
had been chosen toastmaster of the banquet and therefore knew I 
was a marked man, so great caution was exercised in making my 
plans. I was to take Miss Belle Van Vleck, who roomed at Gamble's, 
which was on the spot where Faulkner's Drug Store now stands. 
Remaining hidden from midafternoon until evening at my aunt's 
home two blocks away from my girl's, I ventured forth at dusk 
and when I got to University Avenue, looked east to where my girl 
lived, I saw hostile heads sticking out from behind every tree in the 
block ! This meant trouble in a big way, so I ran to the alley which 
was unpaved and muddy, came to Gamble's back yard and found 
a locked barn, a woodshed, and a hog pen covering the rear of that 
property. Dressed in my best suit of clothes, with patent leather 

32 On the Banks of the Boneyard 

shoes too tight for my feet, I had no choice but to vault over the 
fence into the hog pen. Of course I Ht on a sleeping hog who was 
just as surprised as I was — but no dirtier than I became after rolling 
over in that pen; picking myself up I performed another vault and 
ran through a grape arbor, reaching the kitchen door just as Dick 
Chester and Jerry Bouton came around the corner of the house 
with murder in their eyes. Consternation is the word that describes 
my sudden appearance in that kitchen; Mrs. Gamble dropped a 
plate she was wiping, a colored woman screamed but had sense 
enough to slam and lock the kitchen door and I was safe for the 
time being. My girl appeared on the scene accompanied by two 
seniors, Wesley Briggs, leader of the band in which I played, and 
the late Professor N. A. Weston, editor of the Illini and holder of 
the record in the hammer throw, which record stood unequalled for 
half a century. Weston was six feet four in height, well built, 
quite active, and a very handy man to have around at this crucial 
moment. Besides being entirely able to take care of himself and 
several other people in a fight, he was a mortal enemy of the two 
boys who were laying for me. 

All I could ask my friends to do was to help clean up my clothes 
and to get my girl and me out to the waiting carriage; the hasty 
scrubbing I got took off some of the hop-pen silt but by no means 
removed the smell. Then Messrs. Briggs and Weston took their 
senior canes which had leaden heads, and escorted Belle and me out 
to the carriage. When the door to that vehicle was opened we were 
shocked and surprised to find that the cushions had been saturated 
with the potent and very efficient tear producer called "Eye Water," 
a product of the chemical laboratory that opens the tear ducts in the 
eyes and causes weeping as well as distress. I have always blamed 
John Chester for this stunt. He says his father, who owned the 
carriage, also blamed him, but he swears he had nothing to do with 
that dastardly crime. Well, the only means of transportation left 
to Belle and me was to hoof it or take a street car. It was a two- 
mile walk but we considered it seriously because we knew that any 
street car we might take would be bombarded all the way to Urbana. 
Briggs and Weston agreed that they would get us to the street car 
at the Doane House but that was as far as they would go; we 
reached the car all right because of the efficient body guards, and 
rejoiced when we saw two friends on board, Mrs. Julian and Mrs, 

The Advent of Dr. Peahody 33 

Williamson, both from Urbana. These ladies had been to a church 
dinner in Champaign and in their baskets had butcher knives which 
had been freshly sharpened so they could be used to carve hams. 
Flourishing these knives the ladies dared the ever-present Sopho- 
mores to start something, which they promptly did, but instead of 
coming in the car to be carved up like a ham, the boys threw more 
of that terrible "Eye Water" into the car, most of which splashed on 
Belle and me. The conductor on that bob-tailed mule car was a 
he-man and he promptly socked Dick and Jerry on their jaws with 
his terrible right and over they went, but they picked themselves 
up and chased the car all the way to Urbana. At the halfway house 
Billy Butler and Maggie Philbrick boarded the car, looking very 
much like I had looked when I left the hog pen. Their carriage had 
been saturated also, but they had stayed in it halfway to Urbana 
when they had to give up ; getting out of the carriage Billy put up a 
fight in which he came out second best. His new suit was a wreck, 
his eyes were blacked, his head was bloody but unbowed, and he 
was thirsting for another go at the Philistines who had fallen upon 
him. When the car reached the hotel, Billy's friends were waiting 
for him and it was easy to see that he had done much damage to 
them. As we ran the gauntlet of Sophomores waiting for us, one of 
Billy's friends turned a peck measure full of flour over his head. 
I'll tell the world that those Sophomores were a playful bunch. 

When we finally got in the hotel and were washed free of our 
dirt, and the bruises had been treated with soothing balms, the 
banquet was on, and a good time was had by all. But we eased our 
tortured souls by laying plans for getting out a Bogus Sophograph 
wherein we could tell the world what we thought of the class of '91, 
and figured out ways and means for busting up the Junior Ex of the 
class of '90. 

Thus you see the vicious circle was kept alive and fostered 
because of the very natural desire for vengeance. I still have a copy 
of the Bogus Sophograph that a group of my friends published with 
my aid as Editor. After writing stinging articles in which we painted 
the class of '91 in their true colors, we put so much feeling into 
our hymns of hate that we couldn't find a first-class printer who 
would set up the type — but hate like love will always find a way, 
and by stealthy raids on butcher shops and grocery stores we secured 
paper enough to print one hundred copies, and a friend, who had a 
printing press in his home, set up the type and printed our lurid 


CL^SS OF '91. 


• » >t ^ a*o >-t<*^ 

"/ift« apis potanda higoney 
"Fools are our theme, let satire be our song." 

. — ■ >! < •«<> » ■ !< - — • 



DuHO "Hnx Oa» (Pwtrr.) 

The Advent of Dr. Peahody 35 

stories. Then with the stuff printed came the problem of getting it 
bound. We went to Cecil Bacon's house, found an old faded calico 
gown his sister would never miss, tore it into strips, punched holes 
in the paper with an instrument used to make paper wads for the 
muzzle loading shotguns of that day, bound our Bogus Sophographs, 
and distributed half of them among student boarding houses. At 
chapel exercises on that grand and glorious morning there was a 
brisk demand for copies of our publication; we were offered nickels, 
then dimes, then quarters, all of which we refused to accept, but 
when the folks began to appreciate the value of our magazine and 
offered a half a dollar for one, we released half of them and held 
off for one dollar apiece for the rest. Opportunities such as that 
come only once in a lifetime, so we made the most of it. Not con- 
tent with the success of our Bogus, some of the boys raided the 
room of the editor of the real Sopho graph and came away with all 
of the stories, poems, articles, pictures, and what have you that 
were to have graced the pages of that magazine. Vengeance on the 
Juniors was never adequately secured because their "Ex" came too 
soon after our fight against the Sophomores, and the Juniors had 
been rather a friendly group anyway. 

The following year, when the class of '93 was planning its Socia- 
ble, our class asked permission to join them and, in our weak and 
feeble way, to protect them against the depredations of the worst 
bunch of goons that ever attended Illinois — that wild andwooly bunch 
in '91. Sometimes I think our altruistic efforts were a mistake, for 
whenever '92 planned a party those trouble makers in '91 commenced 
to see red. We heard they intended to destroy our joint party, so 
'93 agreed with us that it would be wise to have our party in Dan- 
ville. Arrangements were made to have the dinner at the Aetna 
House and the dance in a near-by hall, but the best laid plans of 
all the geniuses in our two classes failed to have the police, the 
sheriff's office, and the state militia ordered out to guard us. We 
had thought of everything but calling on the majesty of the law. Our 
banquet was peaceful, the toasts were largely boasts of how we had 
put it over on '91, but when we adjourned to the dance hall where 
we had expected to find an orchestra composed of men, women, and 
children waiting to lead us into entrancing movements of the dance, 
we found something worse than the hounds of Baskerville ; that 
rowdy bunch of 'giers had got into the hall ahead of us and filled 

36 On the Banks of the Boneyard 

it with "Eye Water" and not content with this criminal and un- 
christian act, they had dug down to the gas mains, attached hoses 
to them, and had blown the gas back toward the gas house, so there 
were no lights at all in buildings lighted by this means. The combi- 
nation dancing party of '92 and '93 developed into a condemnation 
party in which we really turned our best invective upon that ornery 
bunch in '91. The trip back to Champaign was interesting and in- 
structive because plans were laid to get even in a big way when '91 
had its Junior Ex, and the story of our combined Sociable in Dan- 
ville was thus immortalized by the class poet of '93: 

And the stories weird and wonderful, 
That circulated freely everywhere 
Of Freshman matinee and other things 
Besieged the ears of willing listeners. 
The Senior gay, the Junior, and the prep 
All took great interest in our behalf. 

Each had suggestions wise to ofifer us, 

All free of charge. The schemes and plans put on foot 

To capture and detain some boys and girls 

Failed signally for want of good support. 

Our preparations were completed when 

The Sophs most humbly asked to join our feast. 

This wish evinced a judgment rare as wise. 
And forthwith all was planned to have it so. 
With '92 and '93 combined 
We did not fear the stratagem of foes. 
To Danville, on a river called Vermilion 
Some thirty miles away, we made a trip 
And put up at a second-rate hotel. 

We danced and sang and played at wicked games 

Until the host appeared and led the way 

Into a banquet hall ablaze with light. 

Seated in groups around the festive board 

We ate and drank and listened to the toasts 

By Hewitt, Carrick, and yet fairer names. 

When appetite was more than satisfied 
Some went to trip the light fantastic toe, 
While others not so skilled were left behind 
To pass away the time with other sports. 
The merriment had only just begun 
When friendly Juniors quietly stole in 
And threw some chemicals upon the stairs. 

The Advent of Dr. Peabody 37 

But little thought or care was given to this 
For it did not disturb at all our fun. 
And merry were the moments as they flew, 
Until the well known "All Aboard" was played. 
We reached the station in Champaign in time 
To see the sun break out upon the morn. 

I don't remember who this poet was, but he certainly made light 
of the depredations of '91, and refused to acknowledge that they 
accomplished anything by all the efforts put forth in Danville. This 
is the only time I have ever heard the class of '91 referred to by 
anyone of that period as "friendly." Efficient, active, able, devilish, 
victorious, all of these words — and some which we can not print 
might be used, but never "friendly." 

You see I have never claimed superiority for my class over '91 ; 
the best we can claim is a draw. It is little wonder to me that '91 is 
still one of the best organized classes and one of the groups that 
has attained individual success throughout the years since gradua- 
tion. Among them are some of my best friends of today — men and 
women whom I hold in high esteem. 

One of our best campaigners suggested that we lay low, find 
out the names of all of the enemy who would be on the program, 
kidnap them, and lock them up in the cold and dreary stalls at the 
Fairgrounds, which at that time was located in the University 

The north end of these grounds was John Street, the south 
boundary was Armory Avenue, the west. First Street, and the east 
end was Fourth Street. Except for the Fair which was held each 
year in August, these grounds were idle. The horse stalls were cold 
and dreary, and we chortled with glee as we visualized John and 
Dick Chester, John Powell, and Tommy Haworth, Jay Harris, 
Charlie Vail, and all the others concerning whom we were just then 
singing our hymns of hate, locked up in these dirty and frigid 
horse stalls, while their relatives and friends waited in vain for 
them to appear on the chapel platform and do their stufif. But 
that class of '91 always was the luckiest bunch of bruisers ever 
assembled, and I will leave you to decide who came out ahead in 
the fight that eventuated. 

I was assigned to the committee whose job it was to capture 
Tommy Haworth, the class orator. With me were Robert Forbes 

38 Oh the Banks of the Boneyard 

and George Pasfield. Tommy roomed on Fourth Street between 
University Avenue and Clark Street. There w^ere no pavements in 
those far-off days, but nevertheless we hired a carriage in which 
to convey him to the Fairgrounds after the capture; Tommy was 
a short stocky man, a good orator, and we thought a committee of 
three Sophomores full of venomous hate should be able to handle 
him easily. Going up a narrow stairway to Tommy's room we 
encountered his roommate, John Christie, who was a classmate of 
ours, and we hurried him downstairs. Stepping into Tommy's 
room we advised him to put on his coat and hat and come along 
peacefully. He could see that we meant business and that we out- 
numbered him three to one. But what did that little tomcat do but 
pick up a heavy soap dish and fire it at my head ; a fortunate duck 
saved my head and maybe my life, for Tommy had put all of his 
heart and soul into that heave, and when I ducked it struck Robert 
Forbes on his manly chest. Being strong and husky all he did was 
to grunt and to go after Tommy; but Tommy had other ideas — 
he raised a window and jumped out of the second story of that 
house. Landing on the frozen earth he ran east toward the East 
Side schoolhouse very much to the glee of the children ; they 
stopped playing and yelled, "Hey, a scrap; a scrap." Forbes over- 
took Tommy and brought him down with a flying tackle ; he was 
yelling for help and when Pasfield put his gloved hand over 
Tommy's mouth, that worthy young orator bit him ; I got several 
kicks on the shins, Forbes had been hit in the chest with a heavy 
soap dish, and when our carriage came bumping over the unpaved 
and frozen ruts we found that all the neighbors who had come out to 
see the fight were on Tommy's side. It was just after the noon 
meal had been served and one lady, with a desire to help the 
underdog, threw a dish pan of hot water on us. The crowd increased 
to alarming proportions, and our committee decided to seize the 
opportunity to escape — that is, if Tommy would let us go. I still 
think some good little man like Tommy Haworth will lick Joe Louis 
and become the champion of the world. He went back to his room, 
changed his clothes, then went over to his Junior Ex and his 

John Powell was another star number on that program and a 
committee called on him, clothed his wrists with a pair of handcuffs, 
and was taking him to the Fairgrounds when Lieutenant Hoppin, 

The Advent of Dr. Peahody 39 

Commandant of the Battalion, came along accompanied by a student 
captain and a citizen with a ball bat, so another committee was 
likewise frustrated. 

A street car was thrown off the track and ten people hurt; as 
I remember that accident cost Helen Butterfield a broken leg. Well, 
our efforts to lock up the people on the Junior Ex program went 
wrong, but the benzyl bromide which was taken into the chapel in 
small glass vials tied against the heels of our shoes, gave the per- 
formers as well as the audience something to think about. Our poet 
tells the story in classic words and I think it worthy of reproduction. 

Writing in blank verse our '92 poet gives a graphic recital of all 
the woes we had suffered from the boisterous brethren of '91, the 
last indignity being the theft of the material for our Sophograph, 
the class annual. Telling of the quiet search we had conducted with- 
out avail, he thus discourses: 

But at length the class found that an insult had been put upon them, 
That their papers were gone — hooked by an unprincipled supe of the 

And that class had approved of the act, then sternly prepared we for 

Not in haste did we rush, but calmly, with premeditation and forethought 
We turned to our task and prepared for the conflict, 
Just as a knight of the ring when proffered an insult or challenge 
Pauses to glare at his foe with grim and indignant demeanor 
Then slowly with blood in his eye, removes from his person the 

And eyeing his prey with a scowl, rolls stealthily upwards his wristbands, 
Lays naked his brawny neck and wades fiercely into the conflict. 

So went the Sophs to war, with coolness and sternness of purpose. 
Paused to size up '91, to get on to their fears and their weakness, 
To remove all scruples, all love, all feelings of kinship and friendship 
All but a thirst for revenge and a vow to demolish the Juniors; 
Then got we to work with a will. Some raided the lab after midnight 
And made from the spoils of their raid an abundance of good 

While a guard of stout fellows without, lay waiting to waylay the 


The others in organized squads, and each squad with a trustworthy 

A hack, and some bracelets of steel, lay low for the jubilant Junior. 
Who as yet unsuspicious of ill, their opponents continued to torment 
With questions regarding their loss; while the Sophs, who were 

robbed of their papers, 

40 On the Banks of the Boncyard 

Though outwardly smiling and gay, their hearts glowed as fiercely 

within them 
As fires deeply set in the earth, melt the foundations of mountains, 
Where under a landscape all smiles, lurk earthquakes and dire desolation 
So smoldered the hate of the Soph, concealed by a smiling exterior; 
But the Junior went ignorantly on unconscious of coming disaster, 
While the Sophomore gritted his teeth and waited impatiently for Friday, 
Held mystical meetings at night and darkly discussed many projects 
For kidnapping Juniors by stealth or by force, for blacking their eyes 

and their faces; 
For hiring some fellow to faint and panic create in the chapel. 

While scouts coming constantly in and spies from the camp of the 

And Juniors who sold their birthright for a mess of Sophomore pottage, 
All kept us informed of the plans, the fears, and the hopes of their 

Ah truly, there's honor among thieves if we with the Juniors compare 


At length in the heat of the fight came a pamphlet, a tan-colored Bogus; 
The Juniors bought copies in haste and read nearly halfway through 

Before they learned they had been sold, too, as well as the Bogus, 
While the Sophomores smiled a sweet smile and continued collecting the 

Oh the Junior looked sad, from his face the smile of security faded, 
A look of uneasiness sat on his pallid and woe-begone visage. 
"Now why did we not hurry up and publish our Bogus before them?" 

While fear at his heart knocked harsh like the night-born raven 
Which scared Mr. Poe in the dark with its weirdly spoke prophecy 

"Never !" 
Alas, nevermore now can you get ahead of the Sophomores; never. 
Without the consent of the Sophs can you venture to the exhibition. 
For behold they are organized well and grimly the morrow are waiting, 
They wait but the morrow to rise in their might and demolish the Juniors. 

Then the faculty took us in hand and they gave us abundance of taffy. 
Inviting us all to march in and fill the front seats in the chapel. 
"Oh yes," we replied, ''we'll be there, we will all march together to chapel 
And if some of the Juniors should dare to quote from those papers 

they've stolen. 
We'll storm the stage where they sit and wipe up the floor with their 

We'll mix them so well with the mud that you'll have to collect them on 

As diatoms sometimes are caught by filtering the slime of the Boneyard." 

The Advent of Dr. Peabody 41 

At length with the dawning of day came the anxiously awaited 

In fact it was come before dawn, for tomorrow gets up rather early. 
They dragged along until noon but with noon came the terrible tidings 
That a gang of stout Sophs had been seen on a road leading out of the 

With a star of the Juniors in tow or more correctly in handcuffs, 
Who nobly battled in vain as the gang made tall time for the timber. 

The poem continues with stories already told of the release from 
capture of the Juniors, and of the overturning of the street car, and 
of the Sophs and the people marching into the chapel while we all 
suffered from the fumes of the "Eye Water." The poem describes 
the devastation created by the fumes and telling of the laughter 
caused by the venerable old gentleman in the front row who took off 
his overcoat and placed it over a register thinking that was where the 
fumes were coming from. It finally ends in despair, expressing the 
fear that the day would never come when Sophomores and Juniors 
could ever live together in peace. This fear is happily passed; we 
may yet live to see the day when even the savages of Europe will find 
a way to live in peace. God hasten such a day ! 


Escapades, the Faculty, and Progress 
Under Dr. Burrill 


.NOTHER dress reform movement for 
women got under way about 1890. One of the leaders was Mae 
Wright Sewall of Indianapohs, a well-known writer and lecturer of 
that period. She was invited to talk to the young women at the 
University of Illinois on the evils of their styles in dresses, and 
talked so convincingly about the horrors of the corset, the tight- 
waisted dresses, the high heels on shoes, the heavy hats, the big 
sleeves, etc., that the girls agreed with her that they would be 
deformed for life unless they adopted the uniform she recom- 
mended. This consisted of no hat at all, no corset, nor any other 
tight fitting garment, and a loose sailor suit of heavy material, with 
low-heel shoes. Now those among us who can remember the days 
of the big picture hats pinned on to a huge bunch of hair, the high- 
neck dresses fitted over wasp-like waists, the long skirts that trailed 
in the dust of the unpaved streets, the bustles, and the high shoes 
laced up above the ankles, will agree that the uniform suggested by 
Mrs. Sewall was a decided contrast. It was so different that it was 
funny, and one of our band boys by the name of Arnold Beuthein, 
whose sense of humor was overdeveloped, discovered thirty-five or 
forty girls hiding back of the bookstacks in the Library, all dressed 
alike in the sailor uniform. These girls were waiting to march into 
chapel in a body, as no one of them had the nerve to appear 
alone. Arnold rushed down to the band, which was about to play 
the march for the parade into the chapel, told the band boys about 
his discovery, and suggested that the dress reform costume was 
such as to cause a sickening feeling something like one has when he 
faints. When the girls appeared at the door every man in the band 
dropped his instrument and fainted. George HufT kicked his bass 
drum across the platform, with the cymbals clanking at every turn, 
and the girls marched in with the eyes of the student body and the 
faculty focussed upon them. 

Were they mad? I'll say they were, and they took their venge- 
ance out on a perfectly innocent member of the band ; a young man 


Escapades 43 

who was not smart enough to think up an incident of this kind in 
such short order. 

That dress reform movement lasted exactly one-half day. The 
girls all went home at noon and came back dressed like the women 
of the period — entirely willing to risk all the damage which Mrs. 
Mae Wright Sewall had predicted would follow such dressing. But 
the seeds sown by Mrs. Sewall and other reformers of that day have 
borne fruit, and women are today dressed far more sensibly— in fact 
they have progressed much farther toward common sense in clothing 
than the men. 

This story is being typed in a temperature of ninety-five degrees, 
Fahrenheit ; I see girls going by with bare legs, no stockings or 
socks of any kind ; very short skirts or no skirts at all ; above the 
shorts are loose fitting waists cut very low in the neck. The girls 
aren't abashed at showing large bare portions of their anatomy, and 
why should they be? Mae Wright Sewall dreamed of comfortable 
health-giving clothes for women, and I wish she could have lived 
to see the lovely girls of today who dress for comfort in hot weather. 
She might tremble to see these same girls with toeless slippers and 
bare legs in the wintertime, but she could take comfort in the 
thought that they wear fur coats ! 

When I left Urbana to become a book agent in the last week of 
May of 1889, a committee of students had just been refused the 
privilege of dedicating the new Armory, now the Gym Annex, with 
a dancing party. This refusal was a great disappointment because 
the new Armory was one of the very first large buildings in the 
country to be constructed without any columns supporting the roof. 
Professor N. C. Ricker of the Department of Architecture had 
designed a roof supported with steel girders such as are used to 
support suspension bridges, and it was an ideal place for a dance. 
The same answer had been given to this request that was handed 
out to other requests for dances on University property: "There 
is an unwritten law in Illinois that there shall be no dancing on State 
property." That answer was always most unfortunate because the 
students knew very well that it wasn't true ; a number of students 
had been to assembly balls in the state house at Springfield, as well 
as in the big state armory, also in Springfield. Of course in '89 we 
must all remember that many people still thought it very wicked 
to dance or play cards, and there were faculty men as well as 
trustees of the University who still felt that way, but the students 

44 On the Banks of the Boneyard 

thought it would be much more honorable to say that a refusal to 
a petition for a dance was based on this prejudice rather than on an 
excuse which had no foundation in fact. Every time we were denied 
a dance on the grounds that "There is an unwritten law" we got sore 
because we knew this statement to be a fabrication, and we resented 
being treated as children. The students who were remaining over 
for Commencement quietly went ahead with preparations to give the 
new Armory a proper dedication ; lumber yards were visited at 
night and ramps were made from the loot, so that an open window 
let the orchestra and the dancers into the building. It was then dis- 
covered that the electricity was not yet hitched on to the city power ; 
did this deter the belles of the ball? It did not because empty beer 
bottles with candles in them placed around window ledges furnished 
plenty of light. Like Napoleon's soldiers at Waterloo the students 
sang, "On with the dance, let joy be unconfined; likewise to hell 
with the faculty and trustees who don't believe in dancing." I 
wasn't there to see the tragic end of this dance, but eye witnesses 
furnished graphic descriptions. Along about midnight when the joy 
was just getting a good start at being unconfined, the big and heavy 
east doors to the Armory were swung open and in walked Dr. 
Peabody! Great guns and Jehosaphat; his entrance was entirely 
unexpected by the dancers, but some students with more foresight 
than the rest had anticipated such an eventuality, and had stationed 
themselves in a dark corner near the big door with a fire hose, had 
already arranged for fire pressure, and I regret to report turned a 
powerful stream of water on poor Dr. Peabody, hitting him amid- 
ship and washing him out of the building. Eager hands reached for 
the beer bottles, strong lungs blew out the candles, and the merry 
dancers faded away in the dark singing "P-e-a-b-o-d-y, Peabody is his 
name." When the University opened the following September two well- 
known students failed to return to their scholastic duties at Illinois. 

Thus was the Armory dedicated according to plan ! 

If this outburst of animosity had ended with the dance and the 
desecration of Dr. Peabody 's sterling figure, it would have been 
tragic enough, but I have said many times that there were goons 
and ruffians in our University, and on June ii, 1889, there appeared 
on the campus a Bogus Program, nauseating in character, editorially 
anonymous, insulting and degrading in description of those whose 
characters it sought to ruin. Time softens the contempt right- 



minded students had for the perpetrators of this outrage, but thank 
God I don't know their names. Justice demands we remember that 
in 1889 the people of Champaign-Urbana meant to be fair-minded 
but, of course, judged by present standards, their views were nar- 
row. Suspicions were easily aroused and false impressions obtained 
from seeing a man and a woman enjoying each other's company 
in a buggy ride, dinner in a public place, or attendance at theaters, 
concerts, or what not. If a man and a woman were often seen 
together and didn't get married, they most certainly got talked about, 
but I can't account for the character assassinations projected in this 
Bogus Program. The front page of the program is its mildest part 
and is all I dare publish: 









June II, 1889 

46 On the Banks of the Boneyard 

I suffered as much from the narrow and backward viewpoints 
of some of the faculty and Board of Trustees as any other student, 
was as much aroused by their lack of understanding of young 
people as anyone else, joined in the movement that brought relief 
to our tortured souls, but I was never in any movement tending to 
degrade those engaged in it, and through all the years of more 
than the half century that has passed since these untoward events 
happened, have never found myself able to condone or forgive the 
perpetrators of such filth as described above. 

Another phase of student activity, coming largely because the 
boys had nothing to do but study and recite and eat pie in between 
these two jobs, was the Color Rush. There were no coke-and-smoke 
joints in our day; the most popular place to meet and discuss our 
grievances was where we could find the best raisin pie. After one 
of these pie orgies in October of '91, a Freshman by the name of 
Eddie Quinn had the nerve to walk into the University Library 
with his class colors pinned on his coat. Eddie was a red-headed 
Irishman who never ran away from a fight, and in this case it looked 
like he was out hunting for one. I was there but have never been 
able to understand why there were so many Freshmen in the Library 
at that moment unless Eddie had asked them to be there ; Sopho- 
mores upset their chairs in the haste with which they jumped up and 
started for Eddie and his Freshman colors. A much beloved pro- 
fessor tried to shoo the boys out of the sacred confines of the 
Library, and while he succeeded because of able assistance, his per- 
son was badly damaged and his clothing torn to shreds. As the 
crowd pushed through the west doorway of the Library, Rob Burn- 
ham was knocked down the stairway. By some manner of means the 
fight got down to the floor below where the fighters were wedged in 
so tight that our great and good friend George Huff was pushed 
up on top of the heads of those jammed in about him. George was 
another man who never ran away from a fight, and finding himself 
up in the air he grabbed the chandelier just above him, and when it 
broke up close to the ceiling all of George's two hundred and fifty 
pounds plus the chandelier landed on the heads of those below him. 
Gas was pouring from the open pipe, and I can still see dear old 
Janitor Baker whittling a plug with which to stop the flow of gas. 
The color rush stopped, broken heads were held under cold water 
faucets, clothing was made as presentable as possible, a number of 

Escapades 47 

promising young men got fired, and went right out into the cruel 
world to become distinct successes in business and professional life. 
Thus endeth the first color rush at Illinois. Resquicat im pace. 

There were twenty-seven men and three ladies on the faculty. 
I have a picture in front of me and there are but two of the men 
who have clean-shaven faces ; the others have full beards, sideburns, 
mustaches, and all sorts of facial adornment. We had not yet 
emerged from the whisker era; in fact it hung on for another ten 
years or more. If you want to get a sure laugh just throw a picture 
of a man of the '8o's or '90's on the screen today. I was told that 
the best mustachios grew on upper lips that had never been shaved 
and of course I wanted one of the best, so I let 'er grow for years 
without even trimming the darn thing. Mustache cups were in 
common use on dining tables just as shaving mugs adorned the racks 
in the barber shops. We men were "things of beauty," but I won't 
use the rest of that quotation for I can't see how anyone can call a 
full beard " a joy forever." 

Among the members of the faculty brought on by Dr. Peabody 
was the Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory, James H. Brownlee. 
Born in Kansas, he had served in a Kansas regiment, fighting 
guerillas for the term of his service in the Civil War. Well over 
six feet tall, always clad in a Prince Albert coat and box-toed 
boots. Professor Brownlee was a commanding figure who put over 
his lessons in a big way. His students agree that Brownlee was a 
great teacher, and when asked for the source of a quotation, or 
where to find a certain poem or story, his answer was quick and 
correct. George Huff was one of Brownlee's favorite students, not 
because of any ability as a writer of English in themes of any 
character, but because the professor recognized he was teaching a 
personality. Problems in chemistry and mathematics were easy for 
George, but when it came to writing an oration he was sunk and 
besides he was too busy. Once when Professor Brownlee gave us 
an assignment to hand in original orations, George hired Mickey 
Quinn to write one for him for a fee of one dollar. When the ora- 
tion was finished Mickey collected his fee and George handed in 
the oration without reading it. The next time the class met, the 
Professor said, "Ladies and Gentlemen, I am proud and happy to 
announce that we have a genius among us. Never have I had the 
pleasure of reading a more eloquent oration than one that was 

48 On the Banks of the Boneyard 

handed to me at our last meeting. It shows genius in its conception, 
a great knowledge of English in the choice of words, and as a 
matter of fact it is an inspired oration." As the Professor spoke 
George Huff was slumping lower and lower in his seat and Mickey 
Quinn was edging closer and closer to the door. Then the Professor 
rose to his full height and with great elocutionary effect read 
Webster's reply to Hayne — one of the oratorical masterpieces. 
When the class was dismissed Mickey went downstairs three steps 
at a time with George right after him ; Mickey missed classes for a 
few days after this episode. 

Another member of the faculty with a striking personality was 
Col. Edward Snyder, Professor of German. Like Brownlee, he was 
a tall, well-built man with a distinct military bearing; brusque and 
businesslike in manner and with a decided guttural remnant of his 
native German in his speech. He had served in the Civil War, had 
been Commandant of the University Regiment, and was in every 
way an outstanding personality; but he was kindly and sympathetic 
with students. He made loans to students who would otherwise have 
had to leave school in their senior years and, together with his wife, 
left his comfortable fortune to the University when he died. One of 
my classmates and best friends, Frank G. Carnahan, had a terrible 
time getting interested enough in the German language to pay 
any attention toward mastering it. At the very beginning of our 
Freshman year, Frank was asked to pronounce the simple sentence, 
*Tch habe nicht." He had been too busy with other things to study 
his lesson, and had paid no attention to pronunciation and this is 
what he said: "Itch habby nitscht." Professor Snyder grabbed his 
head and groaned: "My God, my God!" 

Dr. Burrill was one of the most famous scientists of his time, 
but you would have to learn this fact from an outside source ; modest 
and unassuming he was always looking for new fields to conquer in 
his studies of the diseases of plants and trees. Like most of the 
rest of our faculty, he wore a beard with which he let nature take 
its course. He never took the street car when he went to Urbana 
or Champaign and, when I was fortunate enough to walk with 
him, wore me down with his speed. I took a course in Microscopy 
under Burrill just to listen to the words of wisdom he would give 
in his lectures ; but of course I acquired a lot of information about 
the use of the microscope, the preparation of slides, and how to slice 
off thin sections of whatever I wanted to examine. 

Escapades 49 

Burrill had been a soldier in the Civil War, and though he dis- 
claimed any knowledge of current events, proved that he knew more 
than most anyone else when he became acting president of the 
University. His funeral oration over the body of Senator M, W. 
Mathews was a classic ; sometimes he talked for an hour after his 
speech was through; at such times it might be said he lacked 
terminal facilities. I remember one hot day in June at one of the 
first alumni dinners — perhaps the very first — Dr. Burrill consumed 
two hours responding to the toast "Our University." He was fol- 
lowed by the aged and crippled Professor Taft, Lorado's father, who 
rose and said: "Ladies and Gentlemen, I won't detain you long 
owing to what might be called the inclemency of the weather. When 
I was a schoolboy in a class in public speaking, I was taught these 
three rules for public speaking: first, have something to say; 
second, say it so you can be heard; third, when you get through, 
sit down!" He glared at Dr. Burrill, said "I thank you," and sat 

I took a course in Animal Husbandry under Professor Morrow 
because he was such a kindly and gifted man. He would always 
apologize when he used big or Latin words: "I much prefer to 
use the common terms, and I didn't invent these big words." My 
course was Literature and Science but I stepped out of it quite a 
ways; I can still tell a Poland China hog from a Berkshire, a 
Clydesdale from a Belgian horse, and a Shropshire from a Ram- 
boullet sheep, and believe it or not, I can tell a Hereford from a 
Jersey cow. Professor Morrow's name goes into history as the man 
who established the Morrow Plots — the world's oldest experimental 
field in soil fertilization. The north end of this tract of land has 
never been fertilized and now produces about sixteen bushels of 
nubbins of corn a year, while the south end, fertilized scientifically, 
produces close to ninety bushels. In between these two extremes 
are plots representing what can be obtained from various types of 
fertilization — from the careless farmer to the very best. The British 
economist, Stead, figured that the Morrow Plot is the most valuable 
tract of land in the world. When the north end of that plot, which 
is never fertilized except by fallen corn stocks, is denuded of its 
humus, we will know how long it takes to reduce fertile black soil to 
sand, and then maybe some scientist will prove that the great deserts 
were once fertile lands. 

50 On the Banks of the Boneyard 

Professor S. W. Shattuck, Colonel of a Massachusetts regiment 
in the Civil War, business agent of the University, a quiet, dignified 
professor of mathematics, was another outstanding personality on 
our faculty. If he ever had a student w^ho was dumber in mathe- 
matics than yours truly, he was too polite to admit it, but I could 
commit the formulas to memory if I couldn't apply them, and Pro- 
fessor Shattuck passed me in the exams because he said he was sure 
I tried, which proves that he had an understanding mind. 

In architecture we had Professor N. Clifford Ricker, one of 
our own graduates of the early '70's. If I were looking for a model 
of a typical bookworm, Professor Ricker would be it. He read books 
on his way to and from the University. His text book, "History 
of Architecture," is still used around the world. He had very little 
to say, was liked by all of his students, and built up an extensive 
library for the Department of Architecture, to which he contributed 
translations of some fifty volumes of important foreign books on 

I also studied chemistry way beyond what was required in my 
course; the man who was head of the department in my first year 
was a nonentity whose name I have forgotten, but I remember 
Bedros Tartarian, a good teacher and a fine man. Then came Pro- 
fessor Palmer who was a noted chemist and a hard worker. 

I studied physics under Professor S. W. Stratton, one of our 
own alumni. He was a great physicist and a successful teacher. 
From here he went to Chicago University, then to Washington as 
head of the Bureau of Standards, then to Massachusetts Institute 
of Technology as President. 

Peter Roos, head of the Art Department, had a sense of humor, 
and I enjoyed a year's work with him. 

Nathaniel Butler of the English Department was a doctor of 
divinity as well as a student of English. Learned in Greek and 
Latin and I think also in Hebrew, he was a scholarly gentleman who 
left us to go to Chicago University when it opened for the second 
time. He made the study of Old English and the classics a 
pleasure and it was a shame to let him get away from us. 

Professor James D. Crawford was always interesting in history; 
he had been an athlete in his college days and helped in the organi- 
zation of athletics here at Illinois, and in the formation of the 
Western Collegiate Athletic Association. He was also Librarian for 

Escapades 51 

a number of years. I enjoyed working with "Jimmie" Crawford 
and think he possessed a good understanding of student problems. 

I had Professor Rolfe in geology and physiology. Our faculty 
had to work to earn their small salaries in the '8o's and '90's and 
Rolfe was far from lazy. There was no such thing as sabbatical 
leaves of absence and Professor Rolfe expected work from his 
students and got it. I regret very much that I had no work under 
Dr. Stephen A. Forbes or Professor Arthur N. Talbot; both were 
great men, loved by their students, inspired teachers, and ranked 
among our all-time great faculty men. Teachers of their calibre 
don't come along more than once in a lifetime. 

Altogether, it can be said that the faculty in my time was a most 
excellent one. We had good teachers, great men pioneering in 
research and securing results of tremendous importance with 
equipment not always of the best. 

Most of our faculty had the love and respect of the student body, 
but somehow or other Regent Peabody failed to win the confidence 
of the students. Personally I got along well with him and regretted 
very much the indignities some of the students displayed toward 
him. There was very little fun in our drab lives, and no place at 
all to work out either the surplus enthusiasm of youth or the grow- 
ing animosities of those who didn't like the regent. 

Here are the words of a song expressing a sentiment altogether 
too prevalent in those days: 

There is an old doctor who lives in this town, 
Peabody is his name. 

He owns a few boys whom he likes to keep down, 
Peabody is his name. 

Peabody, Peabody, Peabody, 
Peabody is his name. 

As I have said before, unwise and even foolish restrictions were 
placed on the student body. If the regent and the faculty didn't 
believe in dancing or card playing, they might at least have remem- 
bered that there was a decided difference of opinion about such 
entertainment, and might have given the students the benefit of this 

Of course we could have dances in down-town halls, but to give 
as a reason for refusal to allow dancing on University property the 
statement, "There is an unwritten law in Illinois prohibiting dancing 

52 On the Banks of the Boneyard 

on State property," was going too far — and besides it was entirely 
untrue. There were students who Hved in Springfield who had 
danced on state property, so we knew someone was ribbing us. 

I remember a visit paid to the University by a group of girls 
from the Illinois Female Seminary of Jacksonville, an institution 
sponsored by the Methodist church, and one of the girls thought 
it was a shame we couldn't have a dance; now I ask j'-ou if it would 
be courteous to disappoint a group of good-looking girls ; of course 
it wouldn't, so we took them up to the Adelphic Literary Society 
Hall, cleared out a floor space, wheeled a piano into the clearing, 
and were having a grand time dancing the waltz, schottisch, polka, 
etc., when the door opened and in walked Professor I. O. Baker 
on his way up into the tower to wind the clock ! To say that the 
professor was properly shocked is putting it very mild, but he 
wasn't feeling any worse at that terrible moment than were the boys 
who could be punished for this monstrous violation of the rules. 
The dance stopped ; we all ran down those long steps and out into 
God's sunshine feeling guilty of having committed an awful crime. 
The girls went back to the Illinois Female College thinking surely 
they would be punished, while we boys braced ourselves to face 
whatever chastisement the authorities might give us. They weren't 
so bad as we thought they would be because we appealed to the 
gallantry of the faculty committee that heard our story; I think 
we were warned never to do such a heinous thing again, and of 
course we promised to be good ! 

But the straw that broke the camel's back, or maybe I'd better 
say that the straws which added up broke the camel's back, came 
when Billie Miller '92 was reduced from first lieutenant to a place 
as private in his military company, for failure to maintain an aver- 
age eighty-five per cent in five studies. This incident led to a riot 
that upset the old order and was the real start toward making our 
alma mater a great University. It is therefore fitting that it be 
given a place in University history. There was a rule which read 
that no man could hold a military commission if his grades fell 
below eighty-five per cent in five studies, but this rule had never 
been enforced and when Billie was made the victim of a rule that 
heretofore had been regarded as obsolete, the entire class in military 
science went on a strike in which most of the student body joined. 

Escapades 53 

The humiliation of Billie Miller was so manifestly unjust, and 
coming as it did on top of many other unfortunate events, it is 
easy to see why the student body and most citizens of the community 
rose up and joined the strikers. An indignation meeting was called 
and Swannell's hall was filled to overflowing with an irate bunch of 
people. An indictment had been prepared by a rising young lawyer 
who disliked Regent Peabody, and it is a fact that the student 
leaders of the strike were not in favor of putting our complaints 
in this form, but we were awed and overwhelmed by the force and 
learning of this young lawyer and meekly submitted to the legal 
phraseology" — the "saids and aforesaids" which were distasteful but 
despite them I must admit that our complaints were all properly 
outlined, however the effect of the document was somewhat damp- 
ened by a clause charging Regent Peabody "with the grossest kind 
of impartiality." After the indictment had been read, a number of 
fiery speeches were made and it was unanimously agreed that we 
should present to the trustees of the University, our long list of 
complaints against Dr. Peabody and the faculty. 

In the meantime it must be mentioned that a law had been passed 
by the state legislature calling for the election of trustees by a vote 
of the people, and as a number of alumni had been elected, we were 
assured of an understanding and sympathetic board. Another straw 
blown our way toward more liberality for students, was the famous 
decision of the Indiana supreme court permitting the return of 
fraternities to Purdue University. This helped us because the 
troubles at Purdue paralleled those at Illinois. 

The trustees gave us an early hearing and the students and 
military class were represented by Charles H. "Whiskers" Shamel 
and myself. Shamel and I were naturally very nervous, but so was 
Dr. Peabody. The regent admitted all of our allegations, and made 
much of the charge that he was "guilty of the grossest kind of im- 
partiality ;" since our charges were admitted by the regent, we 
rested our case without argument and when the trustees rendered 
their unique decision, we felt sure there was nothing to worry about. 
The trustees decided that everything was all right; the regent and 
faculty were all right, and the students were all right, but they 
restored Billie Miller's commission, which was most reassuring. 

Now comes the story of events that invariably accompany a 
revolution. Poor old Dr. Peabody was the goat and on him were 

54 On the Banks of the Boneyard 

heaped insults and indignities which he didn't deserve, for I have 
always thought that some of the trustees and faculty were the 
powers that forced harsh and unjust rulings upon the students. 
Chapel exercises were held at 9:45 every morning and they became 
a bedlam of hisses and cat calls. Someone cut the webbing under 
the regent's big chair and he went on through the seat when he 
sat down at one chapel service. Another time when he tried to 
open the Bible it was wired shut ; the poor man then started to 
repeat the twenty-third psalm and got it all wrong. The committee 
of students who had directed the strike soon learned that it is 
easier to start a revolution than it is to control it, and ever since 
that time I have been able to understand the terrible excesses of 
crime and torture that invariably follow a revolution. The student 
radicals turned themselves into goons and ruffians, and I can't find 
words strong enough to express the revulsion that was felt by every 
right-minded student. These terrible events continued until the 
end of the school year and then the trustees failed to re-elect Dr. 
Peabody. He left the University to become head of the department 
of Liberal Arts at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, 
and served with great distinction in that position. 

The trustees tried to make dear old Dr. T. J. Burrill, who had 
long been vice-president, the president, but he wouldn't accept the 
appointment but did agree to serve until a president could be found. 
This was June of 1891. Now let's see what followed this change in 

Regent Peabody, in his last trip to Springfield for the biennium 
of '89-'9i, had secured from the legislature the sum of $68,650, 
which was the largest amount secured up to that time. 

Dr. Burrill, a scientist, knew little and cared less for matters of 
finance, so he called on alumni, faculty, and students, to go to the 
legislature for the biennium of '91 -'93 and to ask for twice what 
the University had secured in the last period. We were fortunate 
in having very able representation in the person of Senator M. W. 
Mathews and Representative T. B. Carson, both of Urbana. All 
working together we got $135,200; for '93-'95 we got $295,700. 
With the advent of President A. S. Draper in '94 money commenced 
to come in a big way, for he got $427,000 covering the '95-'97 
period. I must add that by this time Senator H. M. Dunlap '75 
represented our district with great distinction. 

Escapades 55 

I secured these figures from the University comptroller, the 
ever-reliable Lloyd Morey, and he smiled as he told me that it now 
takes $275,000 to run his department for two years. 

Attendance figures went from 469 in '89 to 855 in '95, and then 
began a steady climb until the University of Illinois now has one of 
the largest student bodies in the country. 

The physical plant at the University of course had to increase 
with the attendance and appropriations and we have today one of 
the best equipped institutions to be found anywhere. Furthermore, 
notwithstanding our lack of lakes and ravines, of rivers and hills, 
the campus compares in beauty with any other in the land. 

Dr. Burrill didn't believe in fraternities but he "tolerated" them, 
and President Draper recognized in them a distinct place in student 
life, gave them his whole-hearted support, and today every national 
fraternity of any consequence is on our campus and most of them 
are better housed than those at any other institution I have visited. 
Guests from other parts of the country are amazed at the number 
and quality of our fraternity houses ; these are constantly being 
improved. Thousands of dollars are spent every summer restoring 
the buildings, adding new furniture, and keeping up to date these 
valuable houses ; it is safe to say that our students live as well as 
those of any other student body in the country. The University 
demands certain standards of excellence of the rooming and 
boarding houses, thus aiming for the best kind of living conditions. 
For sheer beauty of building and furnishings, our new Union Build- 
ing has no equal in the country. Realizing that I am taking in a lot 
of territory, I want you alumni to come to the University and check 
my statements. 

With the change in administration from Peabody to Burrill, 
fraternities began to return to the campus ; Kappa Sigma was 
granted a charter early in May of '91, and Sigma Chi was restored 
to its place in University life at about the same time. Then they 
came in quick succession. With Dr. Burrill's advent also came 
elective courses of study, liberal ideas in our athletic policies ; where 
we had been held down to local competition with small colleges in 
Illinois, we have already told you how we expanded, helped to 
organize the Western Intercollegiate Athletic Association which 
soon grew into the Big Ten, and it can not be denied that we have 
long occupied an honorable position among American universities. 

56 On the Banks of the Boneyard 

The events described in this story take us from the IlUnois Indus- 
trial University to the granting of degrees under Dr. Peabody's 
regime and then to the real beginning of the University of Illinois 
under Dr. Burrill ; it deals largely with my own experiences and 
those involving my class and the class of '91. Should it be that 
descriptions differ from others you have read or heard, please recall 
what Israel Zangwill had to say, "The only things true in history 
are the dates ;" and remember that I am neither historian nor 
novelist, just an old-timer trying to tell the stories of his days in 



I find it difficult to read long stories. 
It seems to me that any man who 
has experiences to relate or stories to 
tell, who is gifted with a vivid imagi' 
nation, should he able to tell them 
within limits so reasonable that the 
reader or listener can stay awal^e. 
Brevity is the soul of wit today the 
same as it always has been, but good 
friends have advised me to add a 
second part to my tales — so here goes. 


Alley L and the University Hotel 


.HE MOTTO of my class in the University 
was "This One Thing I Do." I never had any ambition in Hfe 
except to take care of my immediate family. That assignment was 
given to me by my father a few hours before his death, and though 
I was only seven and a half years old at the time, it made such a 
lasting impression that it became the ruling passion of my life. 

It is true that I have done some things for my community, my 
state, my country, and various organizations to which I belong ; there 
has never been a time in my life since my father died when I didn't 
have a job. A dollar a week was a lot of money in my childhood, 
but I earned it and gave it to my mother. After a fair start as a 
newspaper reporter, I took the first job that came along offering 
bigger pay because money was so much needed by my family. 

My old friend Frank H. Clark of the class of '90, a mechanical 
engineer and head man for D. L. Barnes, consulting engineer, 
found me on Madison street in Chicago early in the fall of '92 and 
said he had a job he thought I would like and one that I could do. 
The pay was much bigger than what I was earning at the time, so 
I went with Frank for an interview with Mr. Barnes, who, among 
many other affairs, was chief engineer for the Alley L Railroad — 
the elevated system which at that time was being rushed to com- 
pletion, so it could haul people to the World's Fair. 

Mr. Barnes confided to me the fact that altogether too much 
hard coal was being consumed on the road which at that time ex- 
tended from Congress street to Forty-second. The coal, which was 
dumped into the tenders of the locomotives at 39th street, was 
weighed at the mines before bringing it to the Alley L yards where 
it was elevated and dumped into the tenders. Mr. Barnes wanted me 
to determine why the Alley L was consuming twice as much coal as 
was consumed in New York under similar service. He agreed that 
it would take some time to make a careful investigation. Findings 
must be carefully verified because the loss was heavy, and everyone 
connected with any part in handling the coal was under suspicion. 
I was to be careful in picking my helpers because the trainmen 


6o On the Banks of the Boneyard 

would know something was going on and would naturally be sus- 
picious and resentful. 

Time recorders were put on the trains to account for speed 
between stops and every item entering into the test was carefully 
placed into being. I asked my classmate and friend, Frank Carna- 
han, to work shifts with me — and they were twelve-hour shifts at 
that — twelve long hours at a time up on the structure and in the 
coal yards at 39th street. We worked for several weeks on that cold 
coal job turning in daily reports to Mr. Barnes's office, but the same 
amount of hard coal kept going into the engine tenders. 

One night while I was working on a night shift in very cold 
weather, the man who handled the dump cart, Mike Fogarty by 
name, went over to Wabash avenue to get a bucket of beer. He had 
just left the structure when a burly engineer by the name of Van 
Tassel jumped up in front of me and wanted to know "What t'ell 
are you college boys doin' on this railroad?" Nearly all of our 
engineers were from the New York system, and Van Tassel was a 
leader among them; likewise he was big and strong, had a nasty 
disposition, and was drunk. 

My friend Mike was away after the beer, I was badly scared and 
no match for Van Tassel, so I asked Van to sit down and I would 
tell him all about it. Stalling for time until Mike got back with that 
bucket of beer, I kept Van entertained with the sad sweet story of 
the lives of the poor college boys working on that cold structure, 
trying to find out why more coal was consumed in Chicago than 
under similar conditions in New York. In the meantime Mike had 
returned and Van had consumed half of our beer on top of the 
liquor already in him. 

Then he let out a roar that was wonderful to hear because it had 
an element of friendliness and humor in it. When he got control of 
himself and could talk, he said: "Any damn fool locomotive engi- 
neer on this structure could have told you where coal is going." 
Boy, oh boy, I sat with bated breath hoping Van wouldn't die laugh- 
ing until he finished his story. "You have a lot of corn- fed firemen 
working for you. They should have stayed on the farm and handled 
pitchforks instead of coal shovels. What do they know about firing 
hard coal? They never saw any until you put them up here. Just 
about the time this coal gets hot, they dump it out and throw in 
more with the result that our steam pressure is always low. That's 
where all of your coal is going." 

Alley L 6i 

So endeth the coal story, and a lot of young college boys were 
out of jobs all of a sudden. Our records turned out to be of great 
service however, and Frank Clark kept me busy with other investi- 
gations until about February, when my old friends, W. L. Abbott '84, 
W. H. Stockham '85, and George N. Morgan '84, approached me 
with a proposition that was going to make us all rich. 

The World's Fair which was to have been held in '92 had to go 
over for a year because it wasn't ready. Neither the buildings nor 
grounds were ready for the big show, nor was the city of Chicago 
ready. My trio of friends were successful young business men, 
Abbott an engineer, Stockham a manufacturer, and Morgan a 
lawyer, with whom I had studied and worked between jobs. They 
suggested that they would back me in a hotel venture. They held out 
glowing dreams of the lack of hotels in down-town Chicago. Rooms 
were so scarce that visitors would pay almost any price for them. 
Ten to fifteen dollars a day would be easy to get, and money would 
be so plentiful it would come a runnin' up hill to get into our coffers. 

It didn't take much to convince me; I believed everything they 
told me, and we closed a lease for three buildings, each three stories 
high and all alike. The location was on Congress street just west 
of the Auditorium Annex, now called the Congress Hotel, which 
was being finished while we were remodeling our three old buildings 
and making them into a hotel. They were the dirtiest buildings I 
ever saw; the tenants ahead of us were a bunch of Armenian Rug 
Dealers, and after viewing the dirt left by these gents, I had some 
sympathy for the Turks in their efforts to clean up the Armenians. 

Our buildings had to be cleaned, wired for electricity, closets 
had to be built into rooms, plumbing modernized, everything deco- 
rated and furnished— and we had about six weeks to get the job 
done, for our lease was from March 15, for one year, with an 
option to purchase within that period. Artisans were all employed 
in Chicago, the whole city was working feverishly getting ready for 
the Fair. I don't know how it was done, but we opened for business 
on March 15 confidently expecting people to come in droves begging 
to be "taken in" — double exposure — at $10 to $15 a day per each! 
Well, our dreams bursted like bubbles ; the people didn't come, and 
aside from the wonderful friends in Champaign-Urbana, we had 
very few registrations in April. I cut the rates for the friends from 
home, and welcomed a British M. P. by the name of Fred G. Byles 

62 On the Banks of the Boneyard 

from Bradford and Percy Alden from London — ^two English news- 
paper men who came early to get the atmosphere of Chicago and 
to send home reports about the Fair. They came April 26, and 
were two very fine men, who got a big kick out of everything in 
Chicago, and were much intrigued by conversations with the Illinois 
baseball team which had come up for a couple of games with the 
new University of Chicago team, which was coached by Amos 
Alonzo Stagg. When the baseball team went back to Champaign, 
a lot of hotel towels, soap and soap dishes were missed. The two 
English newspaper men were decidedly interested in this episode 
and were happy when most of the loot was returned and the rest 
paid for by the manager of the team. 

Our furnishings may best be described as "fearful and wonder- 
ful." I shopped around for the cheapest goods on the market. We 
put showy leather furniture and gorgeous rugs in the lounging 
rooms, but the bedroom suites cost $15 for the bed, dresser, and 
washstand. Of the springs, mattresses, pillows, and bed clothes 
the less said, the better. Nearly everyone who stayed with us on 
their first visit to the Fair, came to us on the second and third visits. 
I asked them why they were good enough to come back, for no one 
knew better than I did, that our hotel did not measure up to other 
down-town hotels in accommodations and furnishings. In every 
case the people replied that they liked the location, the atmosphere, 
and the staff — for all of which I was deeply grateful. 

Jim Cook '93, alternated with my brother, Bill Kiler '97, as day 
and night clerks, an Irish woman by the name of Nellie was the 
head chambermaid, and a unique and mysterious character by the 
name of Thomas was head of the janitors and man of all work. 

The song about "Nellie being a lady" didn't apply to our Nellie. 
She came properly recommended but one day we saw her leaving 
the house all dressed up and carrying a traveling bag which obvi- 
ously was not hers. Jim Cook stopped her and learned she had not 
only taken the bag from one of our guests but had it filled with 
the choicest bits left in the rooms by the people who were down at 
the Fair. The next head chambermaid bore another name, and was 
a real lady. 

Mr. W. H. Colvin, the coffee man. who owned the buildings, 
made it a condition precedent in our lease that we employ Thomas 
as head man among our workers. There never was a finer char- 
acter than Thomas. It was easy to see that he had a good education, 

Alley L 63 

and that he deserved better things in life than his position could 
give him. It w^asn't until close to the end of the Fair, when I 
developed a terrible cold and fever, that it became known that 
Thomas was a doctor of medicine. While he was taking care of 
me he broke down and told me his story. There was nothing new 
in it — the same old tale of wine, women, and song — then dope, and 
now a heroic fight to shake off the habits that had ruined him. 
Thomas was a good man ; he won his fight, and after the Fair went 
to a little town in Iowa, practiced his profession with an old doctor 
who was trying to retire, and was doing well when I last heard 
from him. 

A little Italian boy by the name of Frank lived in the basement 
with Thomas ; a good-looking child of the streets who shined shoes, 
sold newspapers, fought off other boys who tried to muscle-in on 
his location, and became a great favorite with our guests. Thomas 
kept him clean. The boy would develop violent attachments for 
certain ladies who were kind to him, and would bring in armloads 
of roses and other lovely flowers for them. Of course he couldn't 
pay for such extravagances but wouldn't tell where he got them, and 
all I could do was to wait until he got caught. This happened more 
than once, but in each case settlements were arranged out of court 
with the florists. The poor boy couldn't be cured of this desire to 
purloin flowers for his friends. I don't know what finally became 
of him. 

We were not prospering in April and the early part of May, 
though of course we had some business. Canadians came in goodly 
numbers and a couple of German scientists stayed several weeks. 
A nephew of Harriet Beecher Stowe by the name of W. H. A. 
Parks lived with us and had a job with the Massachusetts exhibits. 
He was quite apt to let one know that he was a nephew of Uncle 
Tom's Cabin, but was a kindly man and very friendly with the 
Germans and the Canadians. Through W. C. Ells, a graduate of 
Illinois and a mining engineer in Mexico, we had a number of 
Mexican guests in early May — but we were still losing money. Our 
pay roll and rent had to be met. The rent was $666.67 a month, 
and the help was about the same. We also had to pay for electricity 
and gas. My worries were plenty. 

Then I saw in the papers that the Kentucky Press Association 
was coming to Chicago on a special train. Their secretary, who had 
charge of all the arrangements, was R. E. Morningstar of Bowling 

64 On the Banks of the Boneyard 

Green. I remembered that a fine young man of that name was 
once the champion roller skater of the country, and had given an 
exhibition in Busey's Hall in Urbana. Acting on this hunch, I went 
with a committee of the Chicago Press Association to meet the 
Kentuckians in Indianapolis, only to learn that Bob Morningstar 
had arranged their headquarters at the Palmer House. Being 
desperate, I offered them rates much lower in price — and by gosh 
it worked. They jftlled up our little hotel, enjoyed our hospitality, 
went home and wrote us up in their papers, and from that time on 
to the very end of the Fair our house was full of people from all 
over the south. With their patronage we paid our bills — without 
them we would have been a sweet-smelling flop. On such matters 
as this hangs the fate of many a business. 

On our register were the names of leading citizens from every 
city of any consequence in Kentucky and Tennessee, together with 
many from interesting little towns and farms bearing great names. 
Nothing succeeds like success ; with the people from the south came 
others from everywhere. Berkeley Balch from New York came 
often and sent many fine friends ; W. C. Ells and H. L. Enbody 
sent many Mexicans ; Fred G. Byles, Percy Alden, George Davies, 
Evan Daniels, and O. E. Howell from England wrote us up with 
many kindly words, and we had a steady stream of English people. 

Read these names and wonder with me how they happened to 
come to our poorly furnished hotel, and like it well enough to write 
nice things about it — Peter Kirkevaag of Norway, R. A. Bonhomme 
of Yeddo, Japan, Dr. Carl von Bergen from Sweden, Eugene de 
Mitkiewitz, Ceylon, Frank Grierkin from Alaska, and D. Zernoff 
from Moscow, with a large party of singers and dancers who per- 
formed most beautifully at the spectacular show called "America," 
which was playing all season at the Auditorium theatre just across 
the street from us. Of course there were many others, and I 
really believe it must be true that they liked the atmosphere of our 
place — for we didn't have much else to offer. 

The Sigma Chi convention was held at our hotel on July 20-21, 
1893, and was an outstanding event in the lives of all participants. 
A. A. Sharp came a month ahead fearing he might miss something. 
Other early arrivals were Fred Scheuch, Jr., Guy Cramer, Wirt 
Howe, Lucius Tyler, Frank Crozier, A. C. Wright, E. Madison 
Allen, E. W. London, George Ade, and Will Heath. These names 

Alley L 65 

are only a few ; I wish I could name them all. The Chicago Sigs 
through their committee of which I was one, had arranged elaborate 
entertainment at the Fair, at the play, "America," and over the city. 
We chartered the steamer Whalehack to take the boys to the Fair 
as well as for a moonlight excursion on Lake Michigan. The or- 
chestra played Charles K. Harris's new song "After the Ball." I 
can still hear George Ade's fine baritone rising above weaker voices. 
Did we see the Midway — I'll say we did, and the Midway conces- 
sionaires remember our visits with mingled feelings. 

Being young and enthusiastic I cashed checks freely — one for 
$300 written on the back of an official size envelope, and to the 
everlasting honor of our boys, all of those checks were good. A 
flag containing our new coat of arms, designed by Henry Vinton, 
was adopted at this convention, and that night we attended the play 
at the Auditorium. Among the feature attractions at the show was 
a family of famous acrobats — the Schaefer Family from Germany. 
Their finale was a pyramid built with all the family standing on the 
shoulders of the parents. The youngest child was a little five-year- 
old girl who was tossed up to the top of this pyramid. On this 
evening she had been given the new Sigma Chi flag, which she 
unfurled and gracefully waved toward the boxes occupied by our 
crowd. This gesture brought the house down. One of the most 
enthusiastic Sigma Chis in the world was Charlie Ailing of Chicago. 
Before the tumult and the shouting had quieted down, Charlie came 
to me and asked that I invite the Schaefer family, and all those 
having leading roles in the show, to come in the cafe and have 
refreshments on him when the show was over. I hunted up Milward 
Adams, the manager of the theatre, and had him extend the invita- 
tion to the actors. I thought there might be 12 to 15 who could be 
called leaders, but when, after a long wait in the cafe, the actors 
arrived, it looked as if the entire cast had been included. The great 
singer Louise Beaudet came with somebody's Sig pin on her ample 
breast. The Russian toe dancers from some Royal Theatre in St. 
Petersburg tried to look quite royal. When Brother Ailing asked 
Herr Schaefer what he would have for himself and family, Schaefer 
replied that he never permitted his family to drink anything but 
Champagne — Louis Roderais Carte Blanche. This put an idea in 
the head of the others and where dear old Charlie had expected 
they would order beer, the liquid consumed cost $6 a quart! I 

66 On the Banks of the Boneyard 

don't remember the size of the check, but feel sure that the rest of 
us didn't let Brother Ailing get stuck for it. That's what we got for 
not specifying that the party was to be a Dutch lunch. 

Of course we had all of the experiences that come to a hotel 
during a great World's Fair. There was the poor fellow from my 
home county who blew out the gas and lost his life. There was the 
Swede lumberjack from Wisconsin who came in with a week old 
ticket to "America" and wanted us to give him a room for it. I 
asked where he got that ticket and recognized from his description 
the saloon where such stunts were pulled. When we went to that 
place, the poor Swede didn't need the police help which I had 
provided. He picked a man up from a table and threw him into a 
corner while the rest of the gang beat it for the exits. 

A young couple with four children bought one room and all slept 
in it. When they left the chambermaids found bedbugs galore. 
Early one morning one of the maids heard a lady crying, and with 
her pass key went in the room to see what was the matter. The poor 
lady said her husband had been out all the time since they came and 
that her fur coat and other valuables had been stolen out of the 
room. We begged her to keep quiet until the husband came in, 
and in the meantime I telephoned my good friend Sergeant Briscoe 
at the Harrison street police station, acquainting him with what we 
knew. There are certain earmarks about every case of this kind 
which are easy to recognize by trained observers. When this man 
came in and told the boys with great eloquence how much his loss 
was from the goods stolen out of his room, we introduced him to a 
couple of plain clothes men who bluntly asked him for the pawn 
tickets ! It didn't take them long to get a complete story out of this 
man. He went to the pawn shops with them, got the goods he had 
pawned, and then to Al Hankins's gambling joint where the money 
had been spent. What happened there I don't remember, but the 
poor boob who had fallen into the hands of men who gamble for 
profit, wired home for money and neither he nor his wife got to see 
the Fair. 

Late in the autumn of '93 came the Bread Riots on the Lake 
Front — they were part of what is called in the text books "The 
Pullman Strike." Carter Harrison, the elder, was Mayor of Chicago. 
We saw him in action several times and retain profound admiration 
for him as an able administrator, and a two-fisted fighting man. He 

Alley L 67 

had a bad situation on his hands, since the Governor of Illinois, John 
Peter Altgeld, had refused to call out the state militia to help main- 
tain order. However, the President of the United States was Grover 
Cleveland, who was made of sterner stuff. When Mayor Harrison 
asked him for help, the soldiers came down from Fort Sheridan 
and restored order in a comparatively short time. 

We had been hearing from our southern visitors about a prom- 
inent man who was coming to the Fair. He was a banker, owned a 
coal mine, was very courteous when sober but inclined to have his 
own way all the time when in his cups. When he arrived we found 
him a well-dressed, quiet-spoken man whom we liked at once. He 
handed me $1500 which he asked me to put away until he needed 
it. This was a lot of money to keep in our safe, but we took it and 
put it in an envelope. He sealed it and wrote his name across the 
sealed portion. After he had been with us a few days he came in 
after midnight accompanied by the vilest-looking cab driver in 
Chicago and demanded his money. Jim Cook was on duty and told 
him the money was in my room, that I had been asleep for several 
hours and the money could not be had until morning. Then our 
customer commenced to live up to the reports we had about how 
bad he would act when he couldn't have his way. He made the boys 
call me, thus attracting the attention of many other guests. I got 
up, saw the situation at once, and told him how sorry I was that the 
money was locked up where I couldn't get it until morning. By 
this time our friend was in a rage and reached into his pistol pocket 
for his gun. I didn't realize what was going on but Jim Cook did. 
Jim was quarterback on our football team and quite an active young 
man. He jumped over the counter, lit upon our friend, and threw 
him out of the front door before the cabby could get into action; 
then Jimmy socked that cabby just once and out he went on top 
of the little man. He followed it up by taking our guest in his arms, 
carrying him to his room, and putting him in bed, with the door 
locked on the outside. 

We heard no more from him until about noon the next day, 
when he called up asking for a doctor. We sent for our doctor 
from the Auditorium Hotel, who attended to the marks on our 
friend, and in a short while down our guest came, dressed in fine 
clothes and with a number of patches of court plaster on his face. 
"Mr. Kiler," he said, "I want to apologize for my unseemly conduct 

68 On the Banks of the Boneyard 

last night and to thank you all for saving my money for me. I 
want to invite all of you who can come, to be my guests at dinner 
tonight at the Auditorium Hotel." That was some dinner. We were 
all glad that I knew the kind of champagne to order — I learned it the 
night of Charlie Alling's party for the actors. 

There was to be a big Halloween celebration at the Fair, which 
was to write finis on that most beautiful of all World's Fairs. Pay- 
ing guests were becoming few and far between, but I had a bunch 
of friends who came around and helped me kill time. We were 
sitting around the fireplace one cold October day when in came Olin 
McCormack, Captain of the Guards on the Midway Plaisance. Olin 
was looking for a gang which was tough enough to go to the Mid- 
way on Halloween and bust up the Turkish village. He said those 
Turks had been a source of trouble to the Guards all through the 
Fair and if we could get organized and tear that village to pieces 
he would see that there was neither a guard nor a policeman any- 
where within the call of the Turks. 

This looked like trouble of a character for which I had no 
liking, but my friends around the fireplace thought it was exactly 
what the doctor ordered for a noble ending of the Midway shows. 
I think that Burr Mcintosh and Sam Durand might have been the 
leaders, though my memory may be at fault. At any rate an im- 
pressive organization was formed and took off in great glee, looking 
forward to closing the Fair in a fitting and proper manner. 

All through the formation of this enterprise I had the feeling 
it was no place for me ; the only time I was any good in a fight was 
when I could use my "nigger shooter" and then run away, but my 
friends were big and strong — all of them had been athletes in col- 
lege, so I was talked into going along. We approached the Turkish 
village with joy in our souls and a song on our lips — I think it was 
that well-known hymn "Hail, Hail, the Gang's All Here." Someone 
upset the stand in which there was a Turkish ticket seller, we 
brushed aside the man at the entrance, and rushed right into the 
show. If you remember that place, it had a tent tied up to the 
ceiling of a circular room, then gracefully draped around it. I think 
I was the very last conspirator to enter the room. The battle had 
begun ; chairs were already filling the atmosphere. Something hit 
me on the head, and when I came to, gore was running down my 
face. I kept one hand on the wall while I feverishly hunted for an 

Alley L 69 

exit. On the way around I came across a curved Turkish sword 
and a fan that revolved on a handle both of which I purloined. 
Finally I came to some ropes and pulled on one only to find that it 
let loose about half of the tent which contained a ton or more of 
World's Fair dust, and that added everything but beauty to my 
appearance. By this time it was every man for himself and there 
were no police to help us. When I reached an exit I took advantage 
of it with all possible speed and started east for the Illinois Central 
station. Hearing footsteps behind me, I turned and beheld two 
large, athletic-looking Turks who were without question bent on my 
extermination. I knew the keeper of the Midway Animal Show and 
threw myself on his mercy, begging him to put me in the cage with 
his man-eating lions. He raised the lid of a strongbox in which 
he moved his animals around, and I disappeared inside just as those 
demon Turks arrived. They demanded to know where that man 
with a bloody head had gone. My friend stalled a while and then 
said he had seen someone go through his cages very fast — so fast 
that he had lost track of him. That animal keeper was an upstand- 
ing man, with a nasty looking club in his hand, and those Turkish 
gentlemen had to believe him. When he let me out of that odorif- 
erous cage, I thanked him and asked what I could do for him, 
and darn his picture, he said: "I always have yearned for one of 
them Turkish swords." So the only souvenir I have of that 
adventure is a fan that swings on the handle. 

I got down to the hotel on one of the Illinois Central freight 
trains with seats cross-wise of the box cars, and waited for my 
friends to show up. They finally all drifted in — the worst- whipped 
bunch of Halloweeners who ever started out looking for trouble. 

In conclusion all I have to say is that the Allies had better give 
the Turks an3^hing and everything they want to get their help in 
this present war. Whichever side those birds take will win the 
conflict ! 

The last names on our register were R. H. Stanhope of Toronto 
and P. L. Boynton of Pittsburgh. These gentlemen, together with 
my friends who had helped me clean up the Turks, also joined in 
the obsequies of the University Hotel. Both the lease on the building 
as well as the furniture were sold to men who never used them. 

And that's the story of our hotel. 


I Become a Boo\ Agent, Travel Extensively, 
and Tell Tou All About It 

IhE book agent era was at its 
height during my college days. Many boys at the University of 
Illinois, as well as at other universities, made money enough to pay 
their way by this kind of work. As I was one of them, I like to 
tell of my experiences during the vacation period between the fresh- 
man and sophomore years, in which I travelled from Hannibal, 
Missouri, to the Cumberland Valley in Pennsylvania. 

I sold vegetables on commission, fired a furnace with hard coal, 
milked a cow that could put more vigor and spirit into the swish of 
her tail than the mate of a sailing vessel could put in the swish of 
a cat-o'-nine tails, and in addition I was assistant librarian in the 
Urbana Public Library. This combination of efforts got me through 
the Urbana High School as well as my freshman year in the 

Along toward the end of the freshman year a gentlemanly 
agent representing a Library Association called on me, and wanted 
me to take a job travelling over the country selling memberships to 
the people. These memberships gave the buyers the blessed privilege 
of purchasing books at wholesale prices. There were two member- 
ships, selling for $io and $12. With the $10 one went a cloth- 
bound volume of Tennyson's poems; with the $12 one, a beautiful 
leather-bound volume. When I say beautiful I mean just exactly 
that. This book with its lovely embellished binding of English 
morocco leather was alone well worth the money, to say nothing 
of the golden opportunity to purchase books and magazines at 
wholesale prices, and thus acquire a worth-while library. 

The company was liberal in its terms to agents — forty per cent 
of the gross sales amounting to less than $100 a week, and fifty 
per cent commission where the sales exceeded that sum. All we 
had to do to secure this wonderful chance to get rich as agents was 
to journey to Chicago at our own expense, live there one week while 
being taught the art of approach to a customer, and acquire the 


/ Become a Book Agent yi 

graphic description of the premium volume of Lord Tennyson's 
poems together with the golden opportunity each and every pur- 
chaser was given to buy his books at wholesale. All of this we must 
commit to memory. The agent told of men and women who had 
made as much as $200 a week at that business. 

Now I was getting tired of milking that darn cow which was 
marking me with scars from the swish of her tail. Selling vegetables 
on commission was also losing its charm, and my sister, Reka, 
could take the job of assistant librarian for the summer, so why 
shouldn't I take a chance at this golden opportunity? I had money 
enough in the bank to take care of my family and finance my edu- 
cation in the art of salesmanship, so I signed a contract, and when 
school was out, packed my bag, and took an Illinois Central train 
for Chicago. 

The agent for the National Library Association had suggested the 
Waverly Hotel as a good cheap place to stay. The only thing I knew 
about it was that it had been the headquarters for the anarchists 
who had met in it and plotted the Haymarket riot, but as I could 
get a room for seventy-five cents a day, I registered there. Ladies 
and gentlemen, permit me to say there were things in that room 
worse than anarchists; after a few hours in bed I would have 
welcomed anarchists with their whiskers and bombs. It was my 
introduction to that scavenger of the bedroom, the ciniex lectularius, 
commonly called the bedbug. Seventy-five cents for that bed! I 
stayed there one night and then went out on the west side to a 
rooming house. Years afterwards, when I was chasing items for 
the Inter Ocean, someone told me that I had introduced a colony of 
the cimex lectularius into that more or less respectable rooming 
house, thus causing the landlady much woe and very great expense. 

After committing to memory the speech telling of golden 
opportunities to be derived by joining the National Library Asso- 
ciation, I was sent to Hannibal, Missouri, the birthplace of Mark 
Twain, Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, and Samuel L. Clemens. 
They were the only people I knew in Hannibal. After half a day, 
however, I learned that the best salesman ever to work for the 
National Library Association, one J. P. Grier, had been in Hannibal 
a month ahead of me and had worked the town dry. After gradu- 
ating from Northwestern Law School, J. P. Grier became a suc- 
cessful lawyer in Chicago. He had left a good name in Hannibal, 

^2 On the Banks of the Boneyard 

however, and really established my Library Association and its 

Before starting to work in earnest I took my pen in hand and 
told the Library Association in my best style of invective what I 
thought of them. Sending me into a town where the great J. P. 
Grier had been ! They answered me in a kindly apologetic vein 
telling me to keep all the money I had taken in and then to move 
across the river to Barry, Illinois. I was to work all the towns in 
Pike County. 

Meanwhile I had got acquainted with a boy of my age in 
Hannibal. His father was an undertaker, and the boy had to spend 
a lot of time sitting around the shop waiting for someone to die, 
then he would call his father. Having very little to do I spent most 
of my time with this boy, and his father gave me valuable tips 
about people who might be interested in my line. Among these 
prospects was a gentleman lazier than Puddin'head Wilson. He 
owned a lumberyard. He refused to fall for my most eloquent 
passages. When I talked economy, explaining to him how much 
money he could save buying books and magazines, he knocked me 
cold by saying, "My dear boy, I wouldn't turn my hand over for 
a dollar." The first man I ever met who didn't give a darn for a 
dollar, he lingers in my memory through the fifty-two years that 
have passed since that summer in Hannibal. My boy friend took 
me over to the Island in the Mississippi, immortalized by the ad- 
ventures of Tom Sawyer. I let my imagination run riot while 
exploring the cave and was looking for Indian Joe at every bend. 

But the adventure de luxe connected with Hannibal was a night 
trip out into the country along a river road to bring in the body 
of a poor man — so poor the county had to bury him. My friend's 
father didn't care to make the trip, so he sent his son. The boy 
came around to my boarding house and asked me if I didn't want 
to take a ride out into the country. Of course I did — but that kid 
didn't say a word about what he was being sent out into the country 
to get. Had I known what was ahead of me I would have had an 
engagement with a girl or a customer. Was that night dark, and 
the road bumpy! I'll tell the world that I was full of fright and 
regret long before we reached the house of the dead man. It looked 
like the Grapes of Wrath, and when I had to help place that dead 
body in the back part of the spring wagon, I was sure we would 

/ Become a Book Agent 73 

meet the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse on the way back to 
Hannibal. That undertaker boy was a bit shaky himself, though he 
refused to admit it. I requested speed on the way back to town for 
there were ghosts lurking back of every tree; eerie spirits were 
chasing us; there was no one on the road, and no houses or barns 
or any other blessed sanctuary to which I might escape. The boy 
friend held the reins on that team of Indian ponies and I applied 
the whip. All of a sudden we came to a bend in the road which 
brought the Father of Waters in sight, but we were going too fast ; 
we got out of the road, the wagon hit a rock, jumped at least ten 
feet in the air, and landed with such a terrific bump that we lost our 
passenger in the rear. Gosh ; my gosh, and a whole lot of goshes ! 
A scared team of ponies, a pair of boys scared worse than the 
ponies, a narrow river road, and a dead man lying somewhere 
back of us where it was darker than Dante's Inferno. The road was 
too narrow to turn the wagon around ; the ponies were too excited 
to be turned around; in the argument that ensued I couldn't see 
why I should leave the wagon to go on the treasure hunt which 
might be as much as a quarter of a mile back of us. I kept thinking, 
"Suppose someone would drive along the road and run over the 
dead man." That would be worse than the Grapes of Wrath and 
Tobacco Road put together. Finally we tied the ponies to a tree 
and walked back until we found the body. We got it back into the 
wagon, and into Hannibal at the witching hour of midnight. I never 
took another trip out into the country with the undertaker boy. 

After a week's work in Hannibal I had $65 with which to move 
over into Pike County, Illinois. The town of Barry was a complete 
flop as I remember it. Can't remember anyone I met there except 
a windy lawyer who swelled up to the bursting point over a case he 
had before a justice of the peace. Then I moved into Pittsfield, a 
lovely town full of charming people — but one of the first things I 
learned was that the great J. P. Grier had also worked that town 
ahead of me. Once more I sent the Library Association a choice 
assortment of language. I must have had something in those days 
of my youth, for again I was told to do the best I could and to keep 
all the money I took in. Scott Wike, the Congressman from that 
district, bought one of my twelve dollar memberships ; Jeff Orr and 
Harry Higbee, leading lawyers, were kind to me and bought the 
best I had to sell. So did Judge Mathews and an interesting lawyer 

74 On the Banks of the Boneyard 

by the name of Yates, who loved to quote Shakespeare. Jeff Orr had 
just recovered from a long sick spell, and when I told Mr. Yates 
that Mr. Orr was one of my customers he dramatically exclaimed, 
"Richard is himself again!" Pittsfield was good to me and I moved 
over to Griggsville with regret, but I sold some memberships in that 
town, and remember Dr. Stoner who had a boy at an eastern school, 
and argued that $3 a day was too much to pay any working man. 
When I delivered the copies of Tennyson's poems in Pittsfield and 
Griggsville and made my collections, I had done much better than 
in Hannibal, and kept all I took in. 

Then I spent a day at my home in Urbana — and was I glad to 
get there. Homesickness had almost thrown me for a loss while I 
was away, but a few hours with my family set the world in order 
again. I went to Chicago, called on my company, and was given 
a ticket to Harrisburg. Pennsylvania. They didn't give me a berth 
in a sleeper, so I sat up all night in the hottest day coach imagin- 
able, and was sick and disgusted when I reached Harrisburg. Train 
sickness had me down all the way east. When that train was going 
around Horseshoe Bend, death would have been a blessed relief. 
But I located a good clean place to live, and soon felt better. The 
boarders were kindly and interested in me to such extent that I 
felt new encouragement. 

My company made a big point of the sales value of having big 
names at the head of the list. I had been taught to go after the most 
important people in the city. The boarders all said that General 
Beaver, the Governor of Pennsylvania, was the most popular man 
in Harrisburg as well as in the entire state. Next to the Governor 
stood the Bishop of Harrisburg. 

I went over to the state house to call on the Governor. The 
private secretary sized me up as an undesirable citizen and per- 
sisted in asking embarrassing questions. The door to the Governor's 
office was wide open and just as I feared I was losing my argument 
with the private secretary, a commanding voice boomed, "Jerry, who 
is that boy who wants to see me?" I beat the important secretary to 
the door of the office, and the kindly though commanding voice said, 
"Come on in and tell me your story." The instant I laid eyes on the 
Governor I knew we would get along. He had lost one leg, had a 
pair of old-fashioned crutches, was in his shirt sleeves, whiskers all 
over his face, and rather long hair. I noticed at once that he chewed 

/ Become a Book Agent 75 

fine-cut tobacco. My father had served as a soldier in the Civil War, 
and most of the men I knew back home wore hair and whiskers like 
the Governor's, and also chewed fine-cut tobacco. 

Inspired by General Beaver's kindliness I told my story. He 
wasted no time in giving me an order and placing his name at the 
head of the list. My friends at the boarding house agreed this 
was a great start. A newspaper man said he knew the Governor 
woufd help me, if I could get in to see him, but he didn't think I 
could get by the secretary. He didn't realize how a youngster's 
nerve is developed after he has had a few front doors slammed 
on him. 

Then came the call on the Catholic Bishop. I was somewhat 
perturbed over the idea. I was not a Catholic and had been told 
that priests would be rough on a young Protestant. I tried to think 
up a method of approach different from that used on the Governor, 
and pushed the bell at the episcopal residence with fear and 
trepidation. Imagine my surprise when a scholarly, kindly man in 
a black cassock came to the door and, without asking my mission, 
invited me into his library. He gave me a drink of ice water and 
remarked that it was very hot to be walking around Harrisburg. 
After these pleasant formalities he asked what he could do for me, 
and I was so completely disarmed by the courtesies shown to me 
that the speech I had committed to memory left me. But I finally 
managed to say that I had never before seen a library in a residence 
with bookshelves clear up to the ceiling all filled with handsomely 
bound books, and therefore it seemed useless for me to talk to him 
about the golden opportunity I had to offer. Nevertheless I could 
put him in a position to buy books at wholesale and at the same 
time present him with a handsomely bound volume of Tennyson's 
poems. All I asked in return for this great favor was his signature 
just underneath Governor Beaver's. 

The Bishop replied that he could not accept a gratuity from a 
boy trying to pay his way through college. At the same time he was 
always buying books, so he was happy to take a $10 membership. 
I thanked him and told him that I never had been treated so kindly 
anywhere as I had been in Harrisburg. He laughed and said he 
felt sure I was not the kind of a book agent as the one who had been 
in Harrisburg a few weeks before selling copies of a work on "Early 
Christian Martyrs." This man called on a lawyer named Johnson 

76 On the Banks of the Boneyard 

and was dismissed with the statement, "I never buy books for the 
house. Mrs. Johnson attends to that." Then the agent went out to 
Johnson's house and told Mrs. Johnson he had a work on "Early 
Christian Martyrs" which her husband wanted but he wouldn't buy 
it because buying books was her business. Airs. Johnson said O.K. 
and paid him $5 for a copy. Then the agent went back to the law 
office and told Mr. Johnson that his wife had no money but wanted 
that book badly as she could use it in her Sunday School teaching, 
and Johnson bought one for another $5 cash. When he got home and 
had taken olT his shoes and coat for slippers and house jacket, he 
said, "By the way, my dear, I bought that book for you ;" she asked, 
"What book?" "Why the one about the 'Early Christian Martyrs'." 
Mrs. Johnson nearly fainted as she told him she had also bought one. 
Just then the train-hack passed on its way to the depot and sitting 
in one corner was the book agent. Johnson rushed to the door but 
realized he had on his slippers. A friend was passing so he asked 
him to "Go to the depot and hold that nice-looking black-haired man 
in the corner of the hack until I get there." The friend hurried to 
the depot just as the train pulled in, accosted the book agent and 
said, "Mr. Johnson asks for me to hold you until he gets here." The 
book agent queried, "Johnson — do you mean Lawyer Johnson — oh 
dear, I sold him a book and forgot to deliver it to him ; would you 
mind taking it?" Of course the friend was willing to oblige and 
cheerfully paid $5 for the book. When Mr. Johnson arrived, the 
train was pulling out and he had another copy of the book about the 
"Early Christian Martyrs !" I assured the Bishop that I was not that 
kind of an agent, and started in on a most prosperous run of luck 
in Harrisburg. 

Those two names of the Grt)vernor and the Bishop opened many 
a door to me. I have never forgotten their kindnesses. 

Among the interesting people at my boarding house was the 
superintendent of the gigantic steel mills in suburban Steelton. He 
saw at once the advantage that members of my Library Association 
had over other people in buying books and getting their magazines 
at wholesale rates. He not only bought a membership but took me 
over to the mills and introduced me to leading employees who lined 
up at the superintendent's desk to sign my subscription book. 
Prosperity was mine in a great big way. 

/ Become a Book Agent yy 

After making my deliveries in Harrisburg and Steelton, I started 
down the Cumberland Valley to Mechanicsburg. The conductor on 
the Cumberland Valley Railroad knew everybody on his train and 
was most courteous ; well-dressed too, for his blue uniform was made 
like a Prince Albert coat, resplendent with brass buttons ; there was 
gold lace on his cap, his linen was immaculate, and he wore box-toed 

I had been advised to go to the home of Mrs. George Bobb in 
Mechanicsburg, and have been happy ever since in the recollections 
of that charming home. There were a few other boarders besides 
myself. Mr, Bobb was Mayor of the town, and in addition to the 
dehcious food and kindly interest in me, Mrs. Bobb was the only 
housekeeper I have ever known who had a special dish on the 
table where a hearty eater could put chicken bones. She expected 
her boarders to eat several pieces of fried chicken, as well as 
several roasting ears of corn, and by golly she had a dish where 
one could put the remains. 

There was a Soldiers and Sailors Reunion at Gettysburg, and 
Mr. Bobb invited me to go down with him. The kindly Mr. Bobb 
piloted me over the battlefield pointing out spots where he had 
seen his friends mowed down. His descriptions were vivid and full 
of heroics, and of course some of them were terribly gruesome. 
The Marine Band from Washington was stationed over on Little 
Round Top across the valley from the town, and in the evening I 
heard for the first time the beautiful strains of "Little Annie 
Rooney." Please remember this was the summer of 1889 when 
"Annie Rooney" was a brand new song. We spent the night in 
the little brick hotel in front of which, according to a great poet, 
stood "Old John Brown of Gettysburg with his long rifle and 
picked the rebels off." I was tired and nervous and even the sooth- 
ing strains of beautiful "Annie Rooney" failed to cool my fevered 
brow. That night, after a fitful sleep, I woke up to find a ghost 
dancing around the walls of my room. It seemed very real for a 
few minutes, but calm reason finally returned and I discovered that 
it was the reflection through a key-hole of an electric light bulb 
swaying in the wind out in the hall. 

The trip over the battlefield was an education worth-while to me, 
I returned to the sale of memberships in my Library Association 
feeling sure that war was such an awful thing it could never happen 

78 On the Banks of the Bone yard 

again — and now look at this cock-eyed world. There are hundreds 
of battlefields scattered over it today where the carnage has been 
more horrible than several Gettysburgs ! 

From Mechanicsburg I moved to Carlisle and there I met an 
episcopalian clergj^^man who had once lived in my home community. 
He asked many questions about folks at home which alleviated my 
homesick soul. Then I met Captain Pratt, superintendent of the 
Indian School, who had known and admired my boyhood friend, 
Carlos Montezuma, who at that time was doctoring the Nez Perces 
Indians on their reservation in the northwest. 

After being graduated from the University of Illinois in '84, 
Carlos Montezuma had attended Rush Medical College in Chicago, 
and as a young doctor was assigned to the big job of stopping some 
kind of an epidemic among the Indians in Oregon. He made good 
in a big way in this work, and lived among those people until he 
was called to Chicago in 1893 to preside at the World's Congress 
of Religions on American Indian day. Let me get out of my college 
years long enough to say that I had a message from Montie asking 
me to meet him at the Northwestern station on his return to Chicago. 
He had grown heav}^ living among the Indians and had worn Indian 
clothes. When he got out his civilized clothing to return east he 
had become altogether too big for it — but he wore it anyway. His 
shoes were full of feet, his hat too small, his hair too long, and no 
part of his suit could be buttoned, but his joy at reaching Chicago 
was unmistakable. 

I was running a hotel on Congress Street just across from the 
Opera House entrance to the Auditorium Theater, and suggested 
we go there and leave his telescope bag. This we did. I sug- 
gested we call on my barber and have his hair cut, then buy some 
clothes. No sir; he had read of the great new Auditorium Hotel 
and he must eat his dinner there. Acceding to his wish, I took him 
to the main dining room of the Auditorium Hotel, and maybe you 
think his appearance didn't cause the folks to stare. When the meal 
was over all eyes were on us as we walked up Michigan Avenue 
to a clothing store. With his hair cut, new clothes and shoes, Montie 
was a fine figure. He presided with great dignity through the period 
of the consideration of Indian Religions at the World's Fair, and 
then settled down to the practice of his profession in Chicago. 
Today he lies buried among his own people in an Indian graveyard 

/ Become a Book Agent 79 

about thirty miles north of Phoenix, Arizona. Montie was an out- 
standing figure among our alumni and deserves a more complete 
description of his life and work than I can give here. 

Now to get back to Carlisle again — I must say it was a charm- 
ing city, and I was quite successful there. Many incidents worth 
recording happened, and I met some wonderful people. A. B. Sharpe, 
Esq., an unusually entertaining man and a leading lawyer, told me 
about a family of three maiden ladies living in an old stone mansion. 
Every year on June 15 they put slip covers on their upholstered 
furniture, closed their house, and moved to one they owned at 
Atlantic City. On September 15 they closed the house in Atlantic 
City and moved back to Carlisle — as regular in their movements 
as the swallows of Capistrano. Strong Presbyterians, they loved to 
entertain visiting clergymen. Their guest room contained an old- 
fashioned four-poster bed with draperies hanging all around it, and 
as the bed set up high, four steps ran along one side. Once upon a 
time a visiting guest had got into his nightie, mounted the steps, and 
dived headlong into the bed. Much to his consternation, and to the 
chagrin of his hostesses, the family cat had taken possession of that 
bed and had a nest of kittens in it. The visiting preacher lit on top 
of the cat with her family, and according to Mr. Sharpe, the poor 
man ate his meals off the mantel for some time afterward. The 
dear old lawyer laughed heartily as he told this story, so I hope it 
is still good. 

Isn't it strange what lingers in our memories throughout more 
than a half century? There must have been matters of importance 
to me that happened in Carlisle, but Captain Pratt's interest in Carlos 
Montezuma, and Mr. Sharpe's story of the cat and the clergyman 
remain in my memory, while more important events are forgotten. 

At Shippensburg, I met Mr. Hahn whose daughter lived in 
Champaign — Mrs. J. B. Harris. In the later years of his life Mr. 
Hahn came to Champaign to live — a very fine old gentleman. Then 
I met Dr. Zug, a young physician who wanted to take me bear 
hunting in the Cumberland Mountains. In Chambersburg I met 
a lot of people by the name of Maxwell, and found that they were 
related to friends at home of that name — in fact the Champaign 
Maxwells came from Chambersburg. The negroes had a "Big 
Monday" celebration which was a sight to see, as well as wonderful 
to hear. It was a religious celebration. I remember quite well the 

8o On the Banks of the Boneyard 

vivid portrayal of the sufferings their race had endured throughout 
the age of slavery. 

In this city I brought my summer's work to an end and went 
back home a richer and wiser young man. Pennsylvania had been 
very good to me. I have never forgotten the wonderful people I met 
in all the towns from Harrisburg down the Cumberland Valley to 
Chambersburg, the people who had made it certain I could support 
my family and finish my college education. 

The success I had enjoyed as a book agent led two of my friends 
to try the same kind of work the following summer, but they came 
back with a sad and doleful twinkle in their eyes. They had been 
sent up into Michigan by the company, had met with no success, and 
got back to Qiicago with a lean and hungry look on their faces. By 
rare good luck they met George Huff on State Street, who invited 
them to go with him to his home in Englewood for supper. Did 
they accept? I'll say they did. They both told me afterwards that 
never in all the world had such a banquet been served! One of 
these friends has met with great success in the business world; has 
been a guest at many fine dinners, but no food ever tasted as good 
to his starved palate as the supper he had that August day in 1890. 

Book agents sometimes had doors slammed in their faces ; at 
other times the doors opened and evil-minded dogs jumped out. The 
successful agents were those who needed money and were ready to 
take whatever happened to them in order to get it. 

By the way, what has become of the book agent? The nearest 
approach to him that calls on me today is the student selling sub- 
scriptions to magazines. 

But the real book agent was quite a boy in his day. 


He Saw the Game — 

The End of the Big Betting 


.HE LAST GAME of the year is 
always a classic to football followers. It makes no difference in 
what section of the country one may be, there is sure to be a game 
of football played the week before Thanksgiving, upon the outcome 
of which, the partisans think, depends the fate of nations. High 
schools, colleges, and great universities arrange schedules with an 
idea toward having the last game of the season settle a champion- 
ship — if a championship is not involved, there is generally a life- 
time grudge to be settled, and ardent followers of each team must 
see this game. 

Such a game used to be held each year between the Universities 
of Ohio and Illinois; I must say that nothing but pure sportsman- 
ship and a desire to win actuates the teams and followers so far as 
the game is concerned, but there have been years when the Big Ten 
Championship has rested on the outcome of this contest. The most 
thrilling finish I have ever seen in a half century of watching oc- 
curred at Columbus when these teams met in 1919. 

That was "Chick" Harley's senior year, and he had never played 
in a losing game in the four years covering his career at Ohio, 
Illinois had been undefeated that year also, and the final game 
would settle the Big Ten Championship. 

The nervous tension that pervades a campus before such a game 
had the students, alumni, and followers of both teams within its 
grasp. There were rumors of much betting. Fraternities were bet- 
ting all the money they had saved up with which to buy lots and 
start the construction of new houses. Each side was full of confi- 
dence, and therefore a bet became a good investment — there would 
be twice as much money to put into that new fraternity house if the 
brothers could get their savings placed in an even money bet, and 
rumor had it that some of the sisters were also ready and willing to 
risk money on an outcome that appeared to be such a sure thing. 


82 On the Banks of the Boneyard 

As the game was being played in Columbus, the students at 
Illinois had to ride all of Friday night on special trains to reach 
the scene of the conflict. To the hundreds of students whose fond 
parents sent monthly allowances of a size to permit such an ex- 
cursion, the trip was easy, but there were hundreds of others whose 
only chance to see that game depended upon the spirit of adventure. 

Profiting by the experiences of the past, I got aboard the train and 
in bed before the noisy brethren commenced the parades that pass 
through the Pullman coaches all night long ; but there was a hump in 
the mattress that kept me awake. I might as well have sung all the 
songs beginning with "Hail, Hail, the Gang's All Here" and on 
through "Sweet Ad-o-line" to "I Want a Pal Just Like the Gal That 
Married Dear Old Dad." Finally this hump began to move, and 
being cold sober, I knew it was not a snake — a little investigating 
revealed the body of a husky youth parked under my berth. 

Of course there was no sleep for me with this squirming hulk 
beneath me. so I leaned over the edge of the berth and ordered the 
young man out. You'd be surprised how quickly he got out of that 
little place and into the berth with me, saying: "Gee, I never was so 
glad to get out of a place in my life ! There was a smoking cigarette 
stub in the cuspidor, and I nearly choked to death." 

His name might have been Johnnie Jones, and in the wild 
scramble for a taxicab when we reached Columbus, Johnnie secured 
one of the first to get away. Three old friends of mine were coming 
on the Chicago train, and Johnnie went with me to meet them, taking 
charge of their baggage and getting cabs with ease and dispatch. 
The Deshler Hotel was full to overflowing and had no room for us, 
but Johnnie found one of his student pals who had come over 
the day before in order to place his bets, and ushered us up to a 
suite of rooms that had been assigned to this rich friend. At break- 
fast Johnnie blandly admitted that he had no money, but by this 
time we were so interested in this intrepid youth that his big day 
was assured. 

What a two-fisted, good-natured "go-getter" that boy was! 
After breakfast one of my friends suggested that we get a taxi and 
take a ride around Columbus; though taxis were difficult to get, 
Johnnie had one in a few minutes, and the way he collaborated with 
the driver to steer us around Columbus was amazing, for he had 
never seen the town until that morning. When he thought we had 

He Saw the Game 83 

seen enough of the city, he directed the driver to take us out to the 
Columbus Country Club, and then brought us back to the Athletic 
Club which was close to our hotel. 

We had an early lunch at a table that had been ordered in ad- 
vance by the thoughtful Johnnie, and in the fight for taxicabs after 
lunch he succeeded in getting one up to the hotel for us because 
he used his feet, fists, and vocabulary with deadly effect upon those 
who tried to take that taxi away from him. On the way out to the 
stadium he asked for our tickets, presented them at the gate and 
walked right in with us, finding a seat on a step in our box. 

What a game of football we saw that bleak November day! 
Those two great teams fought back and forth until Ohio finally 
scored a touchdown by means of an uncanny run by the great 
"Chick" Harley right through the whole Illinois team. In the third 
quarter, "Dutch" Sternaman of Illinois ran down the east side of 
the field for a touchdown, but Ralph Fletcher failed to kick goal 
as Harley had done, and the score stood 7 to 6 in favor of Ohio. 

Only a minute was left to play when Ralph Fletcher of Illinois 
brought the ball back to the twenty-two yard line. The time left 
was desperately short. 

We could hear the newsboys yelling that they had papers for 
sale giving a full account of the game which Ohio had won 7 to 6. 

Then to our surprise "Bobby" Fletcher, Illinois quarterback, 
took his position to try for a goal from the field. 

Bobby was pretty well winded because of his splendid work in 
helping his brother Ralph bring the ball up to within kicking distance, 
so Zuppke sent a substitute into the game, to give him a little rest ; 
once more he lined up to kick, and another substitute was sent in. 

He knew that his coach was giving him a chance to calm down 
before attempting that kick, and I can still see his white teeth gleam- 
ing as he turned and smiled his thanks to Zup — then with his head 
down and his eyes on the ball, he sent it squarely between Ohio's 
goal posts, and the score was 9 to 7 in favor of Illinois — and only 
twenty seconds left to play! 

By the time the kick-ofT had been made and one futile play had 
been run off by Ohio, the gun sounded and the game belonged to 

For a few minutes there was a sickening calm on the Ohio side 
of the stadium, and much excited yelling on the Illinois side — but 

84 On the Banks of the Boneyard 

strong men couldn't stand all of that nervous tension without re- 
actions of various kinds taking place. One of my friends rested his 
head in his hands and exclaimed: "My God, what a dramatic finish !" 

1 saw an officer from Chanute Field at Rantoul, Illinois, punch an 
Ohio man in the jaw in resentment for an insult to our team and 
the whole state of Illinois. I saw an Illinois doctor who was sick in 
his stomach making a mess of things. 

You may talk about the great days when the Poe boys were 
winning games for Princeton back in the '90's; of Chicago's win by 

2 to o over Michigan in 1905 ; of Princeton coming from behind and 
beating Chicago 21 to 18 in the last few minutes of play in 1922; 
or of Northwestern's win over Minnesota in the last quarter by a 
score of 32 to 14 in 193 1 — it matters not to me what great finishes 
you may have seen in any athletic contest an}'where at any time, 
I'll still believe that I saw the most thrilling finish, and experienced 
the most dramatic moment of them all when Illinois won that game 
at Columbus in 1919. 

We got out of the stadium only because Johnnie Jones kept his 
head and his sturdy strength. He secured a taxi and took our per- 
spiring and wilted party back to the rooms of his rich chum "Torch" 
Mathews. Finally "Torch" came to his rooms and Johnnie handed 
him a telegram which he had picked up from the floor; all "Torch" 
said when he read it was "Confound the luck, there's two thousand 
dollars more I might have had." Then he emptied his pockets and 
threw great handfuls of money into the middle of his bed — when his 
fur overcoat was emptied, all the other pockets yielded equally as 
well and a fortune rested in the middle of that bed. On the bed- 
spread "Torch" and Johnnie were smoothing out and counting the 
money with which certain fraternities had fondly hoped to buy lots 
on which to build new houses — money v^^hich proud fathers had 
sent to spendthrift sons to pay for coonskin overcoats — worse 3'et, 
money which enthusiastic youth had borrowed to bet on a team 
that couldn't lose ! 

Needless to say that boy Johnnie had a big day. He had not spent 
a cent of his own, and he made the trip back to Champaign in a 
stateroom with his friend "Torch." Where is the man who dares 
to say that the spirit of adventure is dead? 

The betting on this game became a college scandal ; it placed our 
universities in a class with the ordinary run of gamblers, and cheap- 

He Saw the Game 85 

ened the sport commonly accepted as the greatest of all university 
sports. I am proud and happy to record the fact that under the 
leadership of our own great Director of Athletics, George Huff, '92, 
a movement w^as started that has practically eliminated betting on 
Illinois games. At any rate it can be said that whatever betting is 
done is kept under cover, and little, if any at all, is done by students. 


Some Thoughts on Pic\ing 
a College President 

JToOTBALL coaches who talk about 
"a punt, a pass, and a prayer" as well as their constant fear that 
they may not have selected the best man for left halfback, right 
end, or what not, know nothing of the anxiety that grips a com- 
mittee whose job it is to pick a new president for dear old Alma 

There is no position in all of the high places to which men must 
be chosen, that calls for so much time, study, and careful investiga- 
tion of the candidates as is given by every conscientious committee 
which has the responsibility of picking a new university president. 
Sometimes such a committee works hard for months ; individual 
members of the committee travel from coast to coast interviewing 
men whose names command respect, and when the selection is made 
disappointment and dissatisfaction begin to register before the first 
year has passed. This results from the fact that a man may be a 
success in one institution in one part of this big country, and 
not meet with the same success in another institution in another 

Advancing the merits of good men for the high position of 
president of a university calls for a technique unlike that of any 
other position within the gift of men. When a man wants to be a 
candidate for President of the United States, or for the Senate, 
or for Congress, he has his friends go out among the committeemen 
from the precincts up through the county, state, and nation. These 
friends can determine pretty definitely how public sentiment stands 
for their man. If he can get proper support, if he can be built up by 
publicity and propaganda, they bring him out for whatever the office 
may be. 

But such tactics are sure death to a man who wants to be a 
university president because the people supporting any institution 
of learning want its president to be a free and independent soul. He 
must be a strong man capable of making his own decisions ; he must 


Picking a College President 87 

be a man of action, unafraid of cliques or factions within or without 
his institution ; he must command respect so that he can have a dig- 
nified discipHne among his faculty and students for only thus will 
he secure the support necessary to promote the best interests of his 

The job calls for rugged individualism tempered by the good 
sense that prompts a man to ask the advice and the help of his 
colleagues, his trustees, and the people of his state. If his in- 
stitution is a state university supported by public funds, he must 
have the ability to approach the legislature with a program and a 
budget that is almost obviously for the best interests of all con- 
cerned. The legislature is always a cross section of a state just 
as Congress is of the nation. There are representatives of the hilly 
sections as well as those of the fertile valleys ; there are the small- 
towners, the medium-size townsmen, and the people of the big cities. 
There are broad-minded men with a desire to be fair, and there 
are the narrow minds with a desire to destroy. There are under- 
standing souls and mean souls. There are fanatics and liberals — 
but with it all, they generally represent very well the people who 
elect them, and a good college president is a man who can get along 
with all of this heterogeneous assemblage. You can see that he 
must be fair, fearless, and resourceful. 

Like the story of the man who goes out west to get rich and 
comes home to find a gold mine or an oil well on the old farm which 
he gave away, committees appointed to pick a new president for a 
university begin by looking everywhere but at home. This is per- 
fectly natural for was it not said a long time ago that "a prophet 
is not without honor save in his own country," and please remember 
that every person on this committee is actuated by one desire, and 
that is to get the best man in the country for president. So in- 
vestigations must be made of the many men all over the land whose 
names have been brought to the committee by alumni and friends 
of the university. 

These investigations reveal much that is intensely interesting. It 
is easy to see that there are institutions of learning where practical 
politics has worked to the detriment of the faculty. The alumni 
of state universities can't be too careful in their efforts to keep the 
selection of trustees out of the hands of the state central commit- 
tees of the two leading parties. It is obvious that these central com- 
mittees will name men and women for trustees who are entitled to 

88 On the Banks of the Boneyard 

political reward, rather than folks who are unselfishly willing to 
serve without any idea except to further the best interests of the 
university. Even alumni who are "in" politics feel that university 
trustees must be selected from outside the realm of practical poli- 
tics. A man with an ax to grind ; a man whose son or relative has 
been dismissed from college for some reason ; a man who has made a 
big campaign contribution and wants his reward — all of these are 
poor material for trustees. No matter how meritorious the individual 
may be, the taint of politics is upon him. Investigating committees 
find that institutions upon which politics had laid its hand have 
trouble keeping their outstanding scholars, and that the great names 
among scholars do not care to join faculties in such institutions. 
When a president is chosen for such a university, the political 
method of selection is naturally used, whereas in a university kept 
free of politics, a faculty committee, an alumni committee, and a 
trustee committee work long and faithfully to get the one man in 
the country who comes the closest to meeting all of the requirements 
needed by the head of a great institution of learning. 

Out of the many names submitted the selection is made by a 
process of elimination until a name comes to the front that is ac- 
ceptable to the entire committee. Then everybody wonders why that 
man wasn't picked in the first instance. 

Another interesting thing the investigating mind discovers is 
that many a good man is handicapped by his family. It is impossible 
to satisfy all the elements within the constituency of a great uni- 
versity, and there are many places where mere man should tread 
with fear and trepidation. The chief argument advanced by the 
Catholic church for the celibacy of the priesthood is that woman, 
God bless her, introduces the danger of spreading certain items of 
talk which really should be kept closely at home. Whether this 
matter enters into the discussion of the selection of a college presi- 
dent, I am not prepared to say, but it serves to illustrate the fact 
that the wife of a president must be a very discreet lady. She must 
win and keep the friendship and the respect of the faculty wives 
as well as the townspeople and the numerous visitors from over the 
broad land. A wife who has the charm that wins people is a tre- 
mendous asset to a university president, and if he has children who 
are inclined to be too worldly, he had better send them to college 
in Siam or Madagascar. 

Picking a College President 89 

It is imperative that the new university president has the confi- 
dence and respect of the rest of the college world. He must stand 
high in scholastic and scientific circles, not alone in his own country 
but abroad as well. No matter how well known a man may be in 
public life, no matter how many high positions he may have held 
in the affairs of men, this investigating committee will not decide 
on a man unless he has the O K of men who constitute the university 
world. That is why so many men who have worked hard to make 
their own departments outstanding are the ones chosen to be presi- 
dent of their own or some other university. Witness the selection of 
Conant at Harvard, Dodd at Princeton, and Willard at Illinois, 
among those recently chosen. 

University faculties are polled to find outstanding men, and the 
opinion of scholars and scientists is eagerly sought by the committees 
who have assumed this tremendous task of getting the best man for 
this all important position. A man who has brought his own depart- 
ment up to a commanding position among similar departments in the 
university world, must be something more than a scholar. He is an 
executive of a high order or he would not be able to hold men 
already on his staff and to attract others to his department. For 
after all, the faculty is the backbone and sinew of any great uni- 
versity. Students from all over the world are attracted by a well 
known name in scientific or scholastic work. High school principals 
recommend universities because of the standing of the faculty. 

For all of these reasons I feel sure that most committees charged 
with the responsibility of choosing a new president for dear old 
Alma Mater, will ultimately select a man who is quietly but vigor- 
ously making a success of his own department — whatever that 
department may be. 


Historical S\etch of the University Band 


.FTER a disaster on the football field, 
when our light-weight, fine-looking team, composed entirely of Uni- 
versity students, has been pushed around, sat upon, and thrown out 
of bounds by a team of big bruisers, we all find solace in the thought 
that "anyway, we have the best college band in the world." Our 
band can play marches, overtures, and selections from the operas, 
and can provide entertainment de luxe with great music and unusual 
marching, all of which removes the sting of defeat when we get 
beaten, and adds greatly to our joy when we win. 

To get at the earliest history of the band as well as student life 
at the beginning of our University, I wrote to Mr. E. N. Porterfield, 
the oldest living graduate, and a member of the first class, '72. Here 
is a paragraph of his answer: "Yes, we had a band, in which I 
played E flat alto, and later I played the tuba. The University 
furnished silver instruments for the band. Many of the horns went 
over the shoulder, and they were made that way for drilling pur- 
poses. At that time all men students had to drill, and I joined the 
band to get out of so much drilling. The band had a good German 
teacher, but I have forgotten his name. My roommate, Henry 
Robbins, was the leader of the band. He taught me how to write 
and transpose music. I played in the band the last two years I at- 
tended the University, and during that time we learned forty pieces 
of music, and we could play for all occasions." 

Since Mr. Porterfield's last two years in the University were 
'70-'7i and 'yi-y2, this statement of his takes us back to his junior 
year for the first year of an organized band. Henry M. Dunlap '75 
told me that at the beginning of the University there was a fife and 
drum corps which played the tunes used in the Civil War to help 
the brigade in marching. Since this fits into the picture of the 
earliest days, we can believe there has been a band of some kind 
from the very beginning, and that a brass band was organized in 
the school year of '70-'7i. In that year I. W. Colberg, of Urbana, 
gave lessons to the band members each week, and it is recorded 


The University Band 91 

that he was paid $4 a lesson. Colberg must have been the German 
teacher referred to by Mr. Porterfield, and without doubt he was 
the teacher and Henry E. Robbins was the first leader. 

Then came Henry M. Dunlap '75, J. A. McLane '78, C. H. Cobb 
'80, John B. Roberts '83, H. B. Braucher '85, Grant Gregory '87, 
C, Wesley Briggs '89, William E. Sandford '92, Glenn M. Hobbs '91, 
Charles A. Elder '93, R. V. Sharpe '93, William L. Steele '96, John 
T. Atkinson '96, again William L. Steele '96, then head of the 
School of Music, Walter Howe Jones, and last but by no means 
least, the great leader and organizer who happily is still with us. 
Colonel Albert Austin Harding. 

Senator Henry M. Dunlap '75 proudly told me many times that 
he was the leader of the band during his period in college, that he 
played the military calls for assembling the students for drill and 
chapel, and that his instrument was the E-flat cornet. It was 
through his leadership that Frank I. Mann '75 became a member of 
the band and played the solo alto. These two gentlemen lived to 
see the band develop into the great present day organization, and 
never failed to attend band concerts and all other University func- 
tions where the band performed. To Senator Dunlap was awarded 
the first "I" gold band medal, and I am the proud recipient of the 
second award. I can remember back to the days of the leadership 
of Grant Gregory '87, who was not only a good leader of the band 
but a college orator and literary society leader as well. 

Then came C. Wesley Briggs '89, who was leader during his 
last two years in college, as was Grant Gregory before him. The 
college careers of these two men run parallel, as Briggs was also 
an orator — in fact he represented our University in the oratorical 
contest when the Illinois Oratorical and Athletic Association met 
here in 1889. ^^ didn't win, but you should have heard him give 
an imitation of the oratorical flights, as well as the enunciation and 
pronunciation of the fellow who did. This bird pronounced the 
word heart — "he-art," and how any group of judges could give him 
first prize was one of the wonders of my day. My first year in the 
band was Briggs's last year as leader. 

He died many years ago, but Grant Gregory, who was his prede- 
cessor, lives in Provincetown, Mass., and has been kind enough to 
send the following letter and account of his connection with the 
band. I am happy to have the statements published herewith from 

92 On the Banks of the Boneyard 

former leaders of the band because each throws some new Hght 
on the band in the various periods of its existence, thus adding a 
personal touch which makes a human interest story— entirely aside 
from the historical value of the letters. Mr. Gregory's letter and 
the statement of his leadership follow: 

296 A Commercial St., Provincetown, Mass. 
Dec. 4, 1941. 
Mr. C. A. KiLER, 
Champaign, 111. 

My dear Mr. Kilcr: 

I comply with your request for information about the University of 
Illinois band in my leadership in the i88o's. There is not much to tell. 
We had a photo of the band, but I cannot find it. If it exists it is in a 
box stored in an inaccessible attic over a studio that formerly was rented 
by my artist son-in-law, Ross Moffet. 

Something of the fine achievements of the band in the last fifty years 
has drifted to me now and then, and I have naturally rejoiced at it, as 
I have in the splendid growth and usefulness of the University itself. 
When a man now tells strangers he is an alumnus of the University of 
Illinois he does not have to add explanations. 

Wishing you success in your history of the band I am 

Yours cordially. 

Grant Gregory 

Statement of Grant Gregory '87 Anent His Leadership 
OF the Universfiy of Illinois Band 

I was leader of the University of Illinois band in the seasons 1885-86 
and 1886-87 — ^^y junior and senior years. My recollections of the band 
have dimmed somewhat in fifty-five years, but I can say that in the i88o's 
the band was decidedly primitive, and would have made no hit with 
John Philip Sousa. I led with a B-flat cornet; Ed. Goldschmitt played 
the baritone horn; Stebbins, our smallest man, performed shrilly on the 
piccolo, our smallest instrument; Wesley Briggs, who died long ago, 
handled a clarinet with skill (and succeeded me as leader); and Phil 
Steel massacred his lips on an E-flat cornet. The names of our tall 
drum major and those who played the bass and snare drums, the tuba, 
the trombone, and three or four alto and tenor horns escape me, al- 
though I can easily recall their faces. 

The only boys in the organization who could make any pretense to 
be called musicians were Goldschmitt, who was a rather accomplished 
violinist and had married the University's teacher of the piano, and 
Briggs, whose mother had made him toil over the piano. I had had a few 
lessons on the violin and the piano and enough instruction on the alto 
horn to be admitted to the band when Braucher, my predecessor, was 
leader. Besides the cornet, violin, and piano (on which I pounded 

The University Band 93 

chords for improvised stagg groups singing "My Bonnie Lies Over the 
Ocean" and other songs much liked in college circles), I played the 
double bass fiddle for dances and raised my voice with the afore- 
mentioned ditties. 

My most difficult task as leader was tuning the instruments. When 
I was sure (if I ever was) that the rumbling tuba harmonized with the 
whistling piccolo I swelled with pride. Our music was of the simplest — 
mostly marches. An easy arrangement of the "Mikado," then new in 
America, "Pinafore," and some of DeKoven's compositions we wore to a 
frazzle at our concerts. My honorarium for leading and taking care of 
the music was $5 a month, as I recall it, but it looked as big to an 1887 
man as does $5 a week to a student of the 1940's. Our military duties 
consisted of keeping the battalion in step and sounding off on dress 

Most of the band members in those days were farm boys without 
musical training, who yearned to make music, or to escape drill. When 
there was a vacancy in the band the leader toiled with an applicant long 
enough to have him play satisfactorily the "ta ta" of the "ump ta ta" 
on the alto horn — from which, if he improved, he was promoted to the 

All the players enjoyed their jobs and I had no difficulty in the 
matter of discipline — except once. The band was prowling around 
Champaign near midnight on a serenading tour. As we crept beneath 
the trees of the west side park toward the house of a popular coed, we 
were startled by round, white objects that whizzed past our ears. I 
was wearing my senior silk hat, newly acquired and highly prized. For 
fear of an accident to this precious headgear I ordered the tuba player, 
a large chap, to walk behind me as a human screen. Thinking my hat 
was a magnet for the white missiles, he hastily moved away from me. 
All became calm when we learned that the ammunition was white 
onions and not venerable eggs. Not once did my senior symbol become 
a bull's eye, and I was glad to ignore the insubordination. 

From college I went to the frontier in western Kansas. There, in 
Ludell, I organized a brass band, with instruments bought by enter- 
prising business men. Soon afterward I drifted to Kansas City, where 
I nearly went on the road with a circus band, but happily found news- 
paper work instead. In my city room I kept up my practice on the 
cornet till I heard the neighbors were threatening to have me arrested 
as being too noisy. I promptly sold the instrument and today can 
scarcely make a sound on a horn. I have been content to join the 
multitude of people in America who listen to good music and let those 
who can produce it. 

I have always been delighted to hear of the success of the band and 
bands that succeeded us primitives. I suppose that the piccolo and tuba 
players now do their own getting together before creating sweet sounds 
that drift along the reaches of the Boneyard. 

94 On the Banks of the Boneyard 

Then came the man who really put the band on the map; 
WilHam E. Sandford was his name, and his class was '92. Up to 
his time the band rarely attempted to play anything but quicksteps 
and marches. Sandford not only improved the quality of this kind 
of music but also improved the marching and general appearance, 
and gradually raised the standard of the music, introducing over- 
tures. He played the baritone horn, and you should have heard him 
play "Rocked in the Cradle of the Deep" with variations. Under his 
regime the band played "Poet and Peasant" — "Pilgrims Chorus 
from Tannhauser," and I seem to remember Meyerbeer's "Corona- 
tion March," as well as a "Funeral March" by Beethoven. 

So far as I can learn, Will Sandford was one of the first — if 
not the very first — college band leader in the country to attempt 
anything in his programs except marches and topical tunes. A 
master of his instrument, nothing in band music was too difficult 
for him, and he kept us poor players, who had joined the band 
simply to get out of military drill, long hours working on ambitious 
musical numbers, the result of which was the first concert band — 
probably the first time in college history when a band of our char- 
acter put on a concert, and entertained an opera house full of people, 
for an entire evening with something besides the light marches that 
might be expected from a college band. Will Sandford wrote a most 
entertaining article for the Illinois Alumni Magazine in 1940, and 
as it tells of his experiences with the band better than anyone else 
can tell it — also bringing in historical sketches that the rest of us 
have forgotten, I am giving it to you in full. Here it is. Mr. 
Sandford speaking: 

In the fall of 1887 I was enrolled as a "prep" in the University. I 
was sixteen — just about coining on the stage of life. Now, after many 
years, and perhaps with the exit from the stage not so far away, I have 
been given the privilege of noting some memories of the days when 
I was a part of the University band. 

Wesley Briggs was leader when I joined, and to him I owe many 
thanks for developing me as a soloist. He played the E-fiat clarinet in 
the band, and was also an accomplished pianist. Early in my University 
days he drilled me on many solos, accompanying me on the piano. 

To this development I owe my appointment as "leader" when Briggs 
graduated in 1889. 

So at the early age of eighteen I was given the opportunity of 
further developing the band. Whether I succeeded or not is a matter 
of history. 

The University Band 95 

Briggs' band numbered about ten, as my memory recalls. Obviously 
it could handle only light marches. 

There were fewer than 400 students at that time, so the band 
really absorbed a fair percentage of the attendance. Material came 
mostly from country towns, few of which could boast of very fine bands. 
Today nearly every high school has an excellent band, some of whose 
members eventually attend college and supply well-prepared material. 
The "leader" of the University bands is now "conductor," devotes all his 
time to the band and is likely paid a very comfortable salary. In my 
day the "leader" was selected from the student body and received $45 a 
year ($15 for each term). 

In comparing the University of those early days with the University 
of today, the band compares very favorably with the band of today. I 
am proud to state that the band of which I was the leader from 1888 
to nearly the close of 1891 played an important part in steadily increas- 
ing development. 

I was fortunate in having some very good players during those 
days. Glenn Hobbs, with his incomparable ability as a cornetist, gave 
me a big lift. So did John Bassett, who was my boyhood chum. His 
remarkable ability as a snare drummer added a lot of tone and zest. 
And, by the way, George Huff played the bass drum, and as he did 
everything well, he was an excellent performer on the big drum and 

I should mention all the boys, but space is denied me. However, I 
wish to pay special tribute to my bosom friend Charles A. Kiler, who 
was one of the altos. 

I remember when Briggs' band accompanied a delegation to De- 
Pauw University, Greencastle, Indiana, to encourage our orator, 
Schaefer, in the inter-state oratorical contest. Previously John Finley 
had won it. This time, however, we lost. We entered Greencastle with 
much eclat, but we left town playing a dirge, much to the amusement of 

On this occasion I saw General Lew Wallace, author of "Ben Hur" 
and of Civil War fame, who lived at Crawfordsville. 

The band was often the butt of practical jokers. One day when we 
assembled prior to chapel, our instruments were missing. There was no 
marching music that day. The instruments were found later hanging 
on trees in the janitor's garden, which occupied a site where the 
chemistry laboratory now stands. 

Another time the mouthpieces were missing, but we armed against a 
repetition of this by purchasing extra ones. However the "varmints" 
who delighted in crippling the band removed tuning slides from the 
horns on another occasion, thus disabling the instruments. 

After this depredation I don't recall a similar raid, and I suspect the 
guilty ones graduated in 1888. 

When I first joined the band the instruments were, in most cases, 
a sight to behold — badly battered up and of ancient breed. Some of the 

96 On the Banks of the Boneyard 

horns had rotary valves, rarely seen today, and it took a lot of my time 
to keep them in workable condition. Finally I approached Dr. Peabody 
with a plea for some new instruments, and my request was granted. 

By 1889 and 1890 the band had developed very satisfactorily, and 
we were playing all the standard marches of the day, were more careful 
about watching expressions, and had even mastered "Poet and Peasant 
Overture," which was indeed an accomplishment. The spirit of the 
band had taken on force. Altogether I believe we had the best college 
band extant. 

I cannot pass up this opportunity to relate an incident or two which 
illustrate the character of Dr. Selim H. Peabody, then head of the 
University. He was of a distinctly reserved, rather stern and dignified 
make-up. However, he called me into his office one day, whistled and 
hummed an air (I believe he even approached a dance step), and asked 
me if I knew what it was. He had just returned from Europe, and had 
heard the tune repeatedly. It was "Funiculi-Funicula." 

When Charles Elder joined us I wanted an E-flat clarinet for him. 
I again stated my needs to Dr. Peabody. While in Chicago the next 
week he got one. Elder took great care of the instrument, wrapping 
it in paper after each performance. Dr. Peabody noticed this, and one 
day he handed me a fine leather case. He remarked that he had bought 
the clarinet and case from his own purse, but that I should say nothing. 
I didn't keep that secret. 

During 1889 I was successful in getting permission to alter our 
uniforms. I desired blue but was compelled to adhere to the conven- 
tional cadet grey. However, we substituted white trimming for the black 
and our caps were trimmed with silver braid. My own uniform was 
made resplendent by silver chevrons on black background with an 
embroidered bugle in the center. This adorned my left sleeve. The 
improvement in uniforms increased the already fine spirit of the band 
and improved the appearance as well. 

With much regret, and only after long deliberation, I left the 
University and my beloved band at the close of the winter term in 
1891. I wanted to specialize in pharmaceutical chemistry, which was 
listed in the Illinois catalogue but was never taught. I went to the 
University of Michigan in the fall of '91 and graduated there in '92. 
There was no band at U. of M., but I played in the Ann Arbor city 
band which was hired by the University when needed. 

When I left the University of Illinois, I recommended Glenn Hobbs 
as my successor. He was appointed and carried on until he graduated. 
Hobbs afterwards organized the first band at the University of Chicago. 

Upon graduating at U. of M. I received an offer from Illinois to 
return as assistant in chemistry. I gave up an equally good chance to 
join Parke Davis & Company in Detroit. The lure of Illinois drew me 
on, and I am pleased to say that the band invited me to play with them 
on occasions. They also arranged for me to go with them to the 
Columbian Exposition where they played twice daily at the Illinois 

The University Band 97 

building. We were billeted on the top floor for sleeping quarters. Try 
and get much sleep amidst a lively bunch of lads like that ! 

I continued as instructor until the close of 1896. During that 
period I played in all the bands except the one under Will Steele. 

I do not recall what year it was that I first met Maud Kimball. I 
think it was 1889. That gracious lady and excellent musician added 
worlds to my musical career. I want to take advantage of this oppor- 
tunity to express my undying thanks for her support in solos in which 
she accompanied me and for the spirit she added to music in the 

I'll never forget one evening when she invited me to the chapel to 
spend an hour or two with Kittie Baker Wadsworth and herself. Mrs. 
Wadsworth was here on a visit. Her wonderful soprano voice cannot 
be forgotten nor the equally fine mezzo-soprano of Miss Kimball. That 
evening was resplendent with such music as one rarely hears. I have 
always felt distinctly proud of this invitation. I endeavored to add a 
share on my euphonium, accompanied by Miss Kimball. 

I have not been allowed space enough to enumerate many incidents 
during those years — needless to say the preparation for this article has 
revived many happy events, and has brought in review many familiar 
faces. I think we would all love to live those days over again. 

In closing I salute the University of Illinois band. 

W. E. Sandford '92 

Mr. Sandford's letter brings up many events of interest as well 
as outstanding performers in the band and of the newly created 
Music Department. We assembled in the halls every morning at 
9:30. The men stood in military formation while the roll of each 
company was called. The girls assembled in the library on the sec- 
ond floor. When the company rolls were called, each sergeant 
reported to his captain, a bugle sounded, and the student body 
marched into the chapel, which was on the first floor, for a 15- 
minute devotional service. The band played, the choir sang, the 
regent read scripture, prayed, and made announcements. If trustees 
or distinguished visitors were present, they were introduced and 
spoke briefly. Alexander MacLean of Macomb, long time a trustee 
and one of the few earliest trustees to be gifted with a sense of 
humor, was a great favorite with the students of my day. He could 
tell stories to illustrate the lessons he was putting over, and I am 
sure he is well remembered by all who were in college in the '8o's. 

Miss Maud Kimball was head of the music school and leader of 
the choir, and Kittie Baker Wadsworth, the gifted soprano men- 
tioned by Mr. Sandford, was the daughter of dear old Janitor Baker, 

98 On the Banks of the Boneyard 

who was at one time a teacher of elocution. She married J. G. 
Wadsworth '82, who became prominent in Iowa banking circles. 

Glenn M. Hobbs '91 succeeded Sandford as leader of the band. 
Glenn was an unusually good cornetist, and frequently played solos 
at chapel and at Literary Society meetings, accompanied on the 
piano by Miss Kimball. I may say also that Charlie Elder with his 
clarinet, Will Sandford with his euphonium, and once in a while 
some other band member also played solos, but the men whose 
names I have mentioned were our outstanding soloists in my day. 
Glenn Hobbs has given great service to the University in his work 
as secretary of the class of '91, and he wrote the words to the 
beautiful song the present band boys sing to the inspiring tune from 
"Finlandia" by the great Finnish composer Sibelius. 

Charlie Elder was a skillful performer with his E-flat clarinet, 
and he added much to the band during his term as leader. Then 
came R. V. Sharpe '93, a cornetist, who was the leader of the band 
when it played at the World's Columbian Exposition. He was fol- 
lowed by Will Steele '96, who also showed that he possessed the 
elements of leadership; the spirit of the band was excellent — as a 
matter of fact I don't remember a time when the band was not a 
loyal and pleasant organization. 

John T. Atkinson was an invalid when he became leader and 
while he worked when he should have been resting, the real w^ork 
fell on the ever reliable Will Steele, who took over the leadership 
again in his senior year. Because Steele was one of the prominent 
men in band history, I asked him for a story of his time in the 
band; here are his recollections: 

My introduction to the "University of Illinois Military Band" was in 
the fall of 1892. I humbly approached H. R. Rowe at his daily post in 
the old hat room. In answer to his questions, I told him I was a member 
of the Illinois Watch Company Band of Springfield, Louis Lehman, 
conductor. Rowe asked, "What kind of stuff did you play ?" 

What a poor thing is fame ! "Well," I replied, "William Tell Over- 
ture among other things." I could see this created a sensation, and I 
knew that I was launched. 

Charlie Elder '93 had led the band during the previous year, and 
had promoted the succession to R. W. Sharpe, also of '93, who led the 
band until the end of the school year in June. Sharpe directed the band 
at the concerts that we gave at the Illinois Building at the World's 
Columbian Exposition. Yours truly took over for the year '93-'94- My 
successor was the late John T. Atkinson, who may have become ill 
during his incumbency; at any rate, while he was ailing I had charge 

The University Band 99 

of the band, and again assumed the leadership during my senior year. 
This was also Walter Howe Jones's first year as head of the Music 
Department of the University. I had picked out the good old "William 
Tell Overture" for our Commencement number, and Walter Howe was 
worried about it. I told him to lay off until we had rehearsed it some 
more. When he finally heard us go through with it he said: "It's all 
right, Willie, go ahead." I think Walter Howe Jones had charge from 
then on until Harding. 

And in this thought Brother Steele is entirely correct. 

Nov^ Cometh the days of Walter Howe Jones, who not only led 
the band but also the Glee Club and the Music Department of the 
University. Walter Howe's instrument was the piano, of which he 
was a master. He was a composer of good ability, and some of his 
songs are still sung by students who don't know who wrote them. 
The Romans had a phrase for this — "Sic transit gloria mundi" — 
and while the names of men may be forgotten the worth-while 
things that they did still live. 

Then we come to the modern band; the band of today; the 
band of Colonel Albert Austin Harding; pronounced by great band 
leaders as the greatest college band in the world. I have often 
expressed the wish that every department in the University was as 
vital and coherent an organization as the University band. Harding's 
personality and ability as an organizer puts the life and energ}' into 
the band that has brought it up to an eminence where it can truth- 
fully be pronounced the best of them all. From this point on to the 
end of my story I can quote from the numerous and deserved 
tributes to the band and its leader — for everything that I might 
say has already been better said by experts. In the Illini of Novem- 
ber 12, 1925, we find the following historical sketch: 

In 1902 A. A. Harding, now director of the bands, entered the Uni- 
versity. He became interested in the band, and in 1905 was made the 
student leader of the organization, which consisted of 30 pieces at that 
time. From this small nucleus the band began to grow and attract atten- 
tion. Soon, because of its importance to the University, a department 
of the band was created. It continued a steady growth reaching 160 in 
191 5 and 215 in 1918. However, in 1919, because of the war, there was 
no increase in membership. In 1920 there were four divisions: the 
Concert Band, the First and Second Regimental Bands, and the Fife 
and Drum Corps, altogether numbering 250 members. At the present 
time the enlistment in the band is limited to 300 men, who are selected 
by competition each semester. 

Our band possesses what is said to be the finest collection of band 
music in the United States. The collection consists of some 3000 pieces 

lOO On the Banks of the Boneyard 

made up in England, France, Germany, Spain, and Italy, to which must 
be added the compositions written and printed in this country. In 1918 
the band owned only $10,000 worth of equipment, but this has been 
greatly increased since then. Many of the instruments, which are too 
expensive for the members to purchase, are owned by the band. The 
first annual concert was given in 1890, and there has been one given 
each year since then. The concert band goes on a tour annually, stop- 
ping at important cities where concerts are given, and on its return to 
the campus, the final concert of the year takes place. The idea of 
twilight concerts was first conceived by Director Harding in 1908, and 
since then has been copied by college bands all over the country. 

The following biographical sketch of Colonel Harding reads so 
well, that I use it in full: 


By Merle Bruninga '42 

March 13, 1940 

Leader began horn-tooting in old barn; 

Harding ployed fife in Paris, Illinois, Drum Corps; 

Fullback on Grid team 

Builder of the "World's Greatest College Band," A. A. Harding, 
director of the University of Illinois band for 35 years, has come a long 
way since he first tooted a cheap brass cornet in the old barn of his 

Beginning his official musical career as a lo-year-old fife player in 
a Paris, Illinois, fife and drum corps, the great bandmaster-to-be played 
at a Republican political rally in 1890. 

As a high school student Mr. Harding played the piccolo, and when 
he was a senior he became director of the Paris high school band. 

Captain of his high school football team, Mr. Harding was as much 
at home on the gridiron as on the band platform. He weighed 135 
pounds, and played hurdling fullback. Although he was a trifle light 
for the Illinois regulars, he played on the freshman varsity when he 
came to the campus. 

Acting on the spur of the moment, the Illini bandleader dropped his 
handwork in 1902 to enroll in the University College of- Engineering, 
aiming for a degree in sanitary engineering. He was a classmate of 
M. L. Enger, present dean of the College of Engineering. 

"Harding wasn't meant to be an engineer," Mr. Enger recalled, "for 
he spent practically all of his time with the band, even then." 

Dependent on his own resources, the musical engineer worked his 
way by playing for dances at $5 a job, big money in those days. 
Harding played in the Knights of Pythias band, the local community 
band, and in surrounding towns. 

In 1905, however, the music in Harding's blood won out when the 
University ofifered him the directorship of the Illinois bands. A senior 
in engineering, the youthful Harding accepted. 

The University Band loi 

Having taught himself to play nearly all the instruments in the 
band, Harding would put down his cornet when the band played "Stars 
and Stripes Forever" and pick up his piccolo to swell the shrill obligatto 
on the final chorus. 

Under the guidance of Harding the University band has developed 
into an organization of professional calibre made up of individuals of 
amateur standing. 

"I have always believed that a university band should be something 
more than a group of musicians ballyhooing around town or just 
marching as a militant unit; that it should be a band developed in 
keeping with the dignity of the university," the bandmaster declared. 

Saying that the band always reflects the prestige of a university, 
Mr. Harding explained that he has attempted to bring the Illinois band 
to the same level as a symphony orchestra, and make it as pleasant to 
listen to as a symphony indoors. 

Believing that through a band the greatest music appreciation can 
be developed, Harding maintains that if persons will sit through heavy 
music in order to hear the lighter music they love, they will develop 
a taste for the heavier numbers. 

"That is the main reason I have always introduced some of the 
numbers from popular musical comedies as encores," he explained. 

On Feb. 20, 1880, Mr. Harding was born in Georgetown, 111. Fol- 
lowing the death of his mother in his early childhood, he went to live 
with his maternal grandparents in Paris. Ten years later, Harding 
went to live with his paternal grandparents. 

Harding was married to Margaret Rogers, a former Paris school- 
mate, on commencement day in 1913. The Hardings now live at 710 
South Elm Street, Champaign. Their daughter, Jane Austin Harding, is 
attending school in Chicago. 

Through Mr. Harding's fast friendship with John Philip Sousa, the 
"March King" left his entire personal library of music and original 
manuscripts to the Illinois bands. 

Past president of the American Bandmasters' Association, Harding- 
is the only college bandmaster to have held that position. He is also 
honorary president of the Illinois Bandmasters' Association, and has 
been awarded two honorary degrees of philosophy for his work, one 
from Davidson college, Davidson, N. C, and the other from Phillips 
university, Enid, Okla. 

Harding first met John Philip Sousa at a dinner given by Presi- 
dent James of our University in 1906, when the great composer and 
bandmaster was here with his band. From this meeting grew the 
friendship that ended only with Sousa's death, and which without 
doubt was the reason Sousa left all of his library of band music to 
our band. 

As a compliment to Colonel Harding, the American Bandmasters' 
Association met here in 1938, and at that time Miss Frances Myers, 

I02 On the Banks of the Boneyard 

the able University reporter for the Champaign News-Gazette, inter- 
viewed the leading bandsmen and composers of our country, w^ho 
were in attendance. What they had to say follows: 


March 27, 1938. By Fran Myers 
Netvs-Gazetfe University Editor 

"What makes a band great?" 

Long the University of Illinois band has been extolled as the "great- 
est university band." John Philip Sousa once said this of the band, and 
it's still true today. 

But why? 

Noted bandmasters the nation over explain the reasons. 

"To be great, a band must have first, good players, and second, a 
good director," Edwin Franko Goldman, famous conductor of the Gold- 
man band of New York City, who has just composed his 83d march, 
explained when approached on this subject. 

"No band," he warned, "is better than its conductor." 

"Prof. Harding has set a high standard here and I'm sure he has 
maintained it. He is a fine musician and a great organizer. He set a 
goal and reached it. He made up his mind he wanted a band of great 
proportion and players who could play." 

Director Goldman added: "The University of Illinois band attracts 
the better high school players. They aspire to make it. The band is 
made up of evenly balanced players in all sections. In most of our bands 
the second, third, and fourth parts do not play as well as the first parts. 
In the University band, all parts play equally well. 

"This is the finest university band in the world. There is no uni- 
versity band that can compare with it. And very few professional bands 
can compare with it. 

"To give the marvelous concerts this band played — referring to the 
two last week — the University bandsmen have to be able to play their 

Karl L. King, Ft. Dodge, la., newly elected president, American 
Bandmasters' Association, composer of many marches for the Illini 
band, takes the story on: 

"It's the man, Harding, who lias made the University band 
great," Director King stated. "He has been the father of the school 
band movement in the United States. His band has been the 
training school for most of the other school band heads." 

Director King, who ran away from a job in a newspaper com- 
posing room to play baritone in a circus — he played 10 years with 
Sells-Floto and Buffalo Bill, and Barnum and Bailey — pointed to 
Prof. Harding's work as head of the school band clinics. 

The University Band 103 

The center of the entire school band movement is here at the Uni- 
versity of Illinois. Harding's influence reaches out in every direction. 
Nothing can happen in the band music world without crossing the path 
of Professor Harding and the University of Illinois. 

I've written marches such as the "Purple Pageant" for Northwestern, 
"Wisconsin's Pride," and now one for Wayne University, but every 
one is for a director who formerly was with Harding and the University 
of Illinois. Every time you reach out, you cross Professor Harding's 

So it is the man who makes the University band great. 

Dr. C. S. Putnam, director, University of North Dakota band, 
Fargo, declared the University band crowds the laurels of any 
organized band today. He pointed to several professional bands as 
fine organizations, but explained their members do not have the 
pep and go of the University band. 

Some of the bands haven't the youth coupled with the thorough 
music knowledge, such as the University of Illinois band. That's the 
reason this is the most wonderful student band. 

Frank Simon, famed conductor of the Armco band. Middle- 
town, Ohio, declared: "Fine musicians make a band great." He 
added, however, that a conductor is a "big factor." 

"And even after a band has fine musicians, it still is no better 
than its conductor," Director Simon stated. "It is a conductor with 
a personality, with dynamic characteristics, and exacting qualities. 
A conductor must be able to express himself. These qualities you 
have in Mr. Harding. More than that, he is an organizer and a 
business man — a rare combination. 

"Mr. Harding has built a movement here that will endure for 
all time." 

Harry L. Alford, Chicago, who has written marches for the 
mini band and done much paraphrasing, all exclusively for the 
Illinois band, pointed to just three factors which make the Univer- 
sity band great. 

"Mr. Harding, the complete ensemble, and the way they play 
together," Mr. Alford stated. 

And while the personnel of the University band changes from 
year to year. Professor Harding is able to train the new members 
who come into the band to play up to his standard and help retain 
the title of the "greatest University band" for the University of 

I- ■• , i^ 


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