Archive for the ‘Entertainment’ Category


They Fished in Vain

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Fort Dodge Daily Chronicle: Oct. 19, 1893

They Fished in Vain

Bert Heath and Frank Barker Lost Their Horse, Never got a Bite and Hoofed it Home.

A good joke on Bert Heath and Frank Barker is going the rounds. It seems that these gentlemen got an idea into their heads that they knew something about fishing, so yesterday they got their tackel (sic) and bait together and started up the Des Moines river about six miles for a fish, and after arriving at the point there they thought they could do a good line of business, they unloaded their wagon and unhitched their horse and Mr. Barker took the animal up the river a short distance from where they had first stopped and tied him in the timber, and then went back to join Mr. Heath in a general crusade against the little minnows which they worried, until darkness had overtaken them, without any apparent success.

By this time they had wandered up the river about two miles from where they had tied their horse. Mr. Barker then suggested that they go back and get the horse and return home. There was no opposition to Mr. Barker’s suggestion, as they were not overloaded with fish to such an extent but what they could carry all they had caught, so back they went, hunting for the horse and they hunted long and they hunted late, but their search was fruitless, as it was too dark to even discover a white elephant.

Finally about 12 o’clock they gave the search up and decided to tramp it back home, a distance of six miles, and when they reached town they took an alley for home, footsore and weary. Mr. Heath could have been seen making tracks early this morning for the scene of their lost one, and returned after a two hours search with the poor old gray horse that was tied up to a tree all night.


Tom Thumb Wedding at the Christian Church Success

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The Fort Dodge Messenger: Sept. 2, 1903

Tom Thumb Wedding at the Christian Church Success

The Unique Entertainment Will Be Repeated This Evening Those Taking Part

The Tom Thumb wedding which was given at the Christian church on Monday night was a great success and is to be repeated again tonight. Mr. Tripp of Colfax, will read. There will also be solos by Professor Whiting of Tobin College, and Misses Parthena Carmichael, Vera Dohs, and Ruth Pinkerton.

The following are the names of the children who take part in the entertainment.

Paul Hogle
Ralph Tryon
Helen Flaherty
Bell Philips
Elliot Collson
Vivian Hogle
Francis Gates
Marie Kepner
Mabel Thompson
Hazel Griffin
Genet Conner
Bernice Tessler
Irene Smith
Marion Flaherty
Zerline Wigton
Edna Wigton
Eda Peterson
Helen Hoagland
Ruth Pinkerton
Roberta Carrol
Martha Fullerton
Vera Carter
Vera Tennant
Inez Berry
Myrtle Philips
Ella Johnson
Mary Nelson
Parthena Carmichael
Dorris Collson
Paul Corneilson
Fern Scott
Leon Brown
Robert Williams
Irwin Berry
Ralph Cornelysen
Elizabeth Fullerton
Blanche McDaniels
Ruby Peterson
Marie Tennant
Harold Schill
Harold McGlassen
Arthur Peterson
Joseph Carroll
Faber McFaddin
Harry McAlpin
Sammie Hancock
Vera Dohs
Gertrude Leighton
Francis Green
Lyle Colby
Fern McDaniel
Neva Gates
Minnie Heller
Maud Heller

(Editor’s note: I attempted to recreate the names exactly how they were in the original article. If any of the names are incorrect it is either a) a typo on my part or b) a typo in the original article.)


Showman Meets With Accident

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The Fort Dodge Messenger: Aug. 31, 1903

Showman Meets With Accident

John Wood, Leading Character in “Two Merry Tramps” Suffers Fractured Leg

Falls Thru Open Trap Door

Unaware of Opening in Floor, He Falls Into Basement Below

John Wood, one of the two leading characters in the Wood and Ward “Two Merry Tramps,” which is to be produced at the Midland tonight, met with an accident at 12:30 this afternoon by which he will be unable to appear on the stage for some time. As a result of his failure to see an open trap door on the stage in the rear of the opera house he was precipitated to the basement below nad suffered a fracture of the right leg between the hip and knee.

Wood, who as well as being one of the leading characters in the play, is a member of the band, and with that organization had been playing on Central avenue at noon. A few minutes before 12:30 the band returned to the opera house. A chest in which the uniforms are carried was standing near an open trap door and while in the act of placing his cap upon the cover of the box Wood unconsciously stepped into the hole and fell, a distance of fifteen feet. The other members of the band were present and several of them even saw him step back into the hole, but had no time in which to warn him of his danger. Wood himself said that the bright sunlight of the street in contrast with the interior of the opera house caused him to fail to see the opening in the stage floor. Those who saw him fall were unaware that he did not know of the opening  until too late to warn him.

A surgeon was summoned and the injured man was given attention.

The production, however, will be given tonight as usual. It is customary to provide for contingencies of this nature by carrying an understudy and in this way Wood’s part will be filled tonight.

It has since been learned that Wood’s correct name is Kenyon.


Only Woman Circus Manager

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The Fort Dodge Messenger: Aug. 29, 1903

Only Woman Circus Manager

Mrs. W.H. Harris of Nickel Plate Shows in City

Arrives With Shows This Morning — Performance This Afternoon and Evening

Mrs. W.H. Harris enjoys the unique distinction of being the only successful woman manager of a circus. Mrs. Harris arrived in the city this morning and with her came the Nickel Plate Shows, of which she is manager. For the past three years this organization has been under her supervision and at no period during the twenty years previous to that time had the shows been more prosperous. Before his death Mrs. Harris’ husband was manager of the Nickel Plate shows and at his demise the widow pluckily took up his work and has since carried it on with unlookedfor (sic) success.

The Nickel Plate shows gave a performance this afternoon and will repeat the same this evening at the corner of Twelfth street and Fifth avenue north. The Fort Dodge public will remember these shows for the excellent performances given on past visits to the city. At the last engagement on Decoration Day, May 30, 1902, an unusually good production was given here to the satisfaction of the hundreds of people who witnessed it. In view of this fact and the further fact that the shows have improved even over their standard of last year a detailed description of their merits is unnecessary. Mention may be made, however, of the exceptionally clever work of William Melrose, who left the Barnum shows in Europe and returned to this country last spring, as well as the work of the Jenniers family of acrobats.

Fort Dodge athletic enthusiasts will be given a treat in the opportaunity (sic) to witness the work of Harry LaSage, whose athletic work is performed on a bounding rope. Mr. LaSage until a short time ago was physical director of the Illinois Athletic association.

The Nickel Plate shows arrived in the city this morning over the Rock Island from Perry. They leave on the Illinois Central for Waterloo where two performances are given Monday.


“World’s Fair” Day Was Great Success

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The Fort Dodge Messenger: Aug. 16, 1904

“World’s Fair” Day Was Great Success

More Than 200 Fort Dodge People Attend Duncombe Celebration Monday

Sports Were Features of Day

East End Team of This City Takes Game From Duncombe, Score 13 to 1 —
Bloomer Girls Play Foot Ball and Draw Large Crowds

A crowd of more than two hundred people took the train for Duncombe on Monday morning and spent the day in the enterprising little city to the east of us. Monday, August 15, was the great day of the year for the people of Duncombe. The “World’s Fair” day, which has been celebrated by the citizens of that place for many years, and which always takes a big crowd from Fort Dodge.

Program of Sports

The program of the day consisted almost of sports, and of these events there was no stint this year. Basket ball, foot ball, base ball, horse races, races on foot, sack races, three-legged races, egg races, and in fact, everything in the line of races that could be imagined. there were also wrestling matches and boxing matches and in the evening two big dances in operation in the two halls of Duncombe at the same time.

The real features of the day and the greatest drawing cards on the program was the basket and foot ball games played by the Boston Bloomer girls. The games were both fast and furious and kept the sightseers interested from start to finish.

Boston Bloomers baseball team

Post card showing nine members of the Boston National Bloomer Girls Base Ball Club, wearing baseball uniforms, posed with L.J. Galbreath in the center. Photo courtesy Library of Congress collection.

Base Ball Game

The feature next in interest, perhaps, was a ball game between the East End nine of this city and the local team of Duncombe. This game was in the hands of the East Enders from start to finish and resulted in a score of thirteen to one in their favor.

Many Stayed Over

Many of the Fort Dodge people who attended stayed for the dances in the evening, a goodly number of them not getting home until this morning. All report that the people of Duncombe know how to entertain and will be glad of another similar opportunity to visit that city.

(Editor’s note: The Boston Bloomer girls were a baseball team. The Library of Congress website says this:

“Bloomer girls” take to the baseball diamond challenging amateur, semi-pro, and minor league men’s teams in front of thousands of spectators. Known for wearing practical, loose Turkish-style trousers created by Amelia Bloomer, hundreds of teams ‘barnstormed’ the country during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, providing women an opportunity to travel and play this traditionally all-male sport.)


New Game Has Reached Town

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The Fort Dodge Messenger: Aug. 12, 1903

New Game Has Reached Town

Is Known as “Brist” and is Becoming Popular

Played With a Boomerang and a “Rakaw” — Interest Follows Practice in the Game

The latest novelty in games the successor to ping pong, “Brist” has struck Fort Dodge. This is an out door game played by any number of persons with paraphernalia known as boomerangs and “rakaws.”

The boomerang, an instrument as its name signifies, which will return to the player when thrown into the air, constructed along the idea of the Australian boomerang, it returns. It is not, however, of the same shape as the Australian boomerang.

The Australian boomerang is a piece of wood carved in an irregular semicular (sic) shape so that when it is thrown by a native, having much practice and considerable strength and dexterity, will return to the spot from which it is started. The modern device, with which the game is played, is simply a cross-like arrangement, composed of two sticks larger at the ends and which are fastened in the center in order that it may be made any size. By pressing the sticks close together and making the angle smaller the boomerang when thrown, flys (sic) in an oblong path. When the sicks are placed at right angles the device completes a semicircle and with practice one may throw the instrument around a house. The “Rakaw” is the net like arrangement used to catch the returning boomerang.

The game of “Brist” with which the boomerangs are use is played by standing in the center of three rings and throwing the boomerang. The object of the game being to catch the boomerang if possible without stepping out of the inner circle. If this is done the player is credited four points. If he catches it in the second circle three is made and in the third two. Ten innings constitute a game. Each player is given three consecutive throws in each inning, so that the highest possible score for a game is 120 points, twelve to each inning.

The originators of the game claim that anyone with a few hour’s (sic) practice can learn to manipulate the strange device. This being so the game will without doubt prove as popular as the late Bill Nye’s paper of the same name.

(Editor’s note: The Bill Nye referred to here was Edgar Wilson Nye. Below is a video of John Flynn, who is well-known in boomerang competition, demonstrating various types of boomerangs. In the first couple of minutes he shows a Brist boomerang and the net, spelled rakaw in this article. He goes on to show fast catch boomerangs.)


The Lions Take a Fast Ride

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The Fort Dodge Messenger: Aug. 6, 1904

The Lions Take a Fast Ride

Horses Run With Cage Holding King of Beasts

Big Vehicle Gets Start of Team and Driver And Dashes Down Hill Leading to Round Prairie

A runaway with a cage of lions is an exciting thing at best and when the danger of a steep hill is added to the event, the affair takes on a form that involves considerable danger.

This is the very thing that occurred this morning as the pageant of the Norris & Rowe show left their grounds on Round Prairie to the Third street viaduct, the big vehicle proved too much for the brake and the horses were unable to hold it back. When the predicament dawned on the driver, he let the horses run down hill until they struck the level of the viaduct, where the big wagon was slowly brought under control. It dashed clear across the viaduct, however, before the driver could regain control.

The rapid rate of travel and the bouncing he got, proved a matter of considerable concern to his highness, the king of beasts, who was the single occupant of the cage, and he dashed against the bars of his prison in a manner that threatened it with destruction.  He had quieted down fairly well, however, by the time the procession reached Central Avenue, and was only walking back and forth in a manner that denoted the rapid ride had gotten on his nerves. The parade got back to the show grounds without further accident.

(Editor’s note: This article was published on a Saturday. At the time, The Fort Dodge Messenger published Monday through Saturday. There is another article, published on Aug. 8, 1904, which details an incident later the same day as the parade, when the lion escaped during the circus performance and severely injured a horse belonging to Charles Dayton.)


Youths of City Turn Aeronauts

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The Fort Dodge Messenger: Aug. 2, 1904

Youths of City Turn Aeronauts

Balloon Ascension Every Evening in the Eastern Part of the City

Herman Price Makes Balloon

The Corner of Third Avenue North and Eighteenth Street is the Scene of the Ascension, Which akes (sic) Place Every Evening

The carnival balloon ascensions have made as great an impression on the small boy as does every while west show and attractions of like nature. After every wild west show has been here the small boy turns into a western cowboy or Indian for a month and the favorite play grounds of the youth are turned into a scene of massacre with the cowboy to the rescue. Bows and arrows are made as are also lassoes of every description and until the novelty wears off, the mothers have a hard time to kep (sic) the faces of the youths free from war paint. The same applies every time a circus gives a performance when every youth turns trapeze performer or a contortionist of some kind But to have the youths turn aeronauts is a new experience to the mothers of this city. After previous balloon ascensions small parachutes were in great demand but twelve-year-old Herman Price is the first to have daily balloon ascensions.

Although there is no one who goes up with the balloon or no parachute drop made, other particulars of a balloon ascension are carried out to the smallest detail. First the balloon which is about six feet in height is placed over a hole and this hole is connected with a larger one in which a fire is made. The fire is then started and after the balloon is well filled with smoke, quantities of kerosene or gasoline are thrown on the fire to make it gas and as the boys, if they are lucky in begging a large quantity from their mothers, throw it on unstintingly, the balloon is soon filled.

After Herman decided that the balloon is filled sufficiently, the order to cast off is given and the balloon starts on its journey. The balloon as a rule is sent up several hundred feet and sometimes when the boys in the neighborhood have been successful in getting a large quantity of oil or gasoline the balloon is sent to a height where it is scarcely visible. When the balloon is up a great distance it can be  scarcely distinguished from a large balloon especially if it is at dusk when the boys generally send it up.

The balloon is made of a glazed paper which holds the gas and smoke very well. A canvas balloon of this size is too heavy as Herman has found out and so this glazed paper was used in place of it and a very good substitute it has proved. The paper holds the gas and smoke for several minutes which is amply sufficient to send the balloon to a great height and its descent is very slow.

The boys of the east end of town all consider that they own an interest in the balloon as they are generally tghe ones to furnish  and gasoline. However, Herman Price, or as he is better known to the boys of this part of town, “High Price,” is the sole owner and inventor of this balloon. He has made several balloons, but all manage to get destroyed before many weeks old as the paper can be easily torn and a little leak in a balloon of this size is disastrous. So one after another has he made until now he is an expert in the business. The balloons have gradually increased in size and his friends predict he will make one soon large enough to sen dup some animal aeronaut.


A Free Trip to the World’s Fair

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The Fort Dodge Messenger: March 5, 1904

A Free Trip to the World’s Fair

Boston Store Makes Magnificent Offer to Public of Fort Dodge

Give Away Five Railway Tickets

Inaugurates Voting Contest, Winners to Have Free Trip to St. Louis

There is a good trip and a good time in store for five customers of the Boston Store during the coming summer. In this evening’s issue is a notice in the Boston Store advertisement, that the management will give first class railway round trip tickets from Fort Dodge to St. Louis, to the five persons having the largest number of votes. The voting starts Monday and tickets or votes will be given with each fifty cent purchase. A Messenger representative in conversation with Mr. Charon was informed that there would be no restrictions of any kind placed  upon those who vote, except that none of the clerks in the store will be a candidate. A large receptacle will be placed in a conspicuous place in the store where the votes may be deposited. These will be counted once a week and an annauncement (sic) made of the count and the votes for each candidate that have been deposited. The tickets will be awarded some time during the month of July. Just what date has not been decided upon, but will be announced later. It is the intention to procure the tickets over one or more of the roads running into Fort Dodge.

This is the most liberal premium t hat has been offered to the buying public in the nature of railroad fare for some time. There have been trip tickets given away in former years, but no one concern has ever offered to give five away at o ne time. There is every reason to believe that the interest in the voting will spring into popular favor from the start and that there will be a spirited contest. A trip to the World’s Fair will be something to look forward to with great anticipation. Five persons would make an ideal number to go together in a party.


Sprinkles Gold Dust on Floor

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The Fort Dodge Messenger: Dec. 1, 1903

Sprinkles Gold Dust on Floor

Joaquin Miller, the Poet, Tells of a Dance Given in the Klondike

The Floor Becomes Slippery

Miners Sprinkle Gold Dust on it to Keep the Women From Falling.

At one of his lectures just after his return from the Klondike Joaquin Miller told the following story: “One night I was invited to a dance in a miner’s cabin and while Bill Dalton scraped away on his fiddle we just hoed it down. But eh miners tramped in and out so much between dances that before midnight the ladies declared the floor was so slippery they couldn’t dance another step unless something was done. Then something was done that never was possible in mining days in California. Each miner gallantly opened his buckskin powder pouch and sprinkled gold dust on the floor! And this was repeated throughout the night. And in the morning, ladies and gentlemen, those miners never troubles themselves about sweeping up that gold dust. They just hitched up their dog sleds and rode away.

At this point of Miller’s narrative there was a slight agitation in the audience, an ominous sign of incredulity, but Miller was equal to it. With a wave of his hand toward one of the boxes, he said, “And my old friend up there in the box, Captain John Healy, will substantiate what I say.”

It was a master stroke of the poet, for the house burst into applause and greatly embarrassed the modest millionaire mining and railroad promoter of Alaska, who unsuspectingly had accepted Miller’s invitation to attend the lecture in the afternoon.

(Editor’s note: There is nothing in the article that indicates origin. I doubt that this lecture occurred in Fort Dodge. But it is an interesting story, nonetheless.)