Friday, February 5, 2021
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Teenagers aggravate their parents in many ways, but a 16-year-old Haynesville, Louisiana youth went above and beyond in driving his to hysterics, and later, apoplexy.
One evening in early 1922, Marlin Mathis failed to return home. The news accounts do not explain if he ran away, lost himself in the wilds of Corney Bayou, or simply hid himself away to avoid punishment for some misdeed. At any rate, after a few days his parents concluded tragedy had struck the teenager. His father, a Haynesville contractor, and his mother agonized over their missing son.
A few days after Marlin’s disappearance, his parents saw news reports from Amarillo, Texas about a youth about the same age who had been killed in a railroad accident. Details are vague, but the young man was probably “trainhopping,” jumping on or off of a moving freight train, a common practice of transients and runaways moving across the country.
Fearing the worst, they telegraphed for details. A description of the body matched the missing son. The parents were told one of the last statements the boy made was that his father was a contractor.
Mr. and Mrs. Mathis left at once on the train, sure they were going to bring the body of their son home.
The hours creeped by as the train rumbled across the wide Texas expanse, adding to their anguish. Once in Amarillo, they viewed the body and identified it as their son by “a slight twist to the left in the nose and a mole on the left breast.”
The body was prepared for shipment to Haynesville and just before the parents were to leave for the train, they received a message that Marlin was at home, “very much alive and in his usual good health.”
Certainly the Mathis family was relieved, but grief likely turned to anger at the distress and embarrassment young Marlin had created. The ignominy of the matter was furthered when the Associated Press picked up the story, distributing it to hundreds of newspapers across America. The story of the “dead” boy returning home appeared in papers in scores of small towns and large cities.
We can only speculate on Marlin’s fate when Daddy Mathis returned home from Texas.
Friday, July 24, 2020
Saturday, December 28, 2019
The Ludlow Massacre arose from a 1914 confrontation between striking coal miners and their families and the Colorado National Guard and Colorado Fuel and Iron Company guards. The Colorado National Guard machine-gunned and set fire to tents where the striking miners and their families lived. Five miners, two wives, and twelve children died, most of them by suffocation while hiding in a cellar under a burning tent. The miners fought back, and more than 75 people were killed in the course of the war, roughly as many on the mine owners’ side as strikers. The Ludlow Massacre is considered the deadliest labor struggle in American history.
A union has preserved the site with a memorial marker and information panels. The cellar still exists.
Here are some of my photos from the massacre site and the nearby coal field.
|Ludlow was located where the eastern Colorado plains give way to the mountains.|
|Interpretive signage at the Ludlow Massacre site.|
|Steps leading down into the cellar.|
|View up from the cellar.|
|Coke ovens at Ludlow used to burn impurities out of the coal.|
|Coal tailings from one of the Ludlow mines.|
|The Hastings Mine was one of the Ludlow-area mines. Twelve miners were killed at the Hastings mine in 1912 from an explosion of gas due to a defective lamp. 121 men died in an explosion at the mine in 1917.|
Thursday, June 21, 2018
|Recently freed slaves meet with the Freedmen's Bureau|
Tuesday, June 19, 2018
|A typical stagecoach|
Monday, November 13, 2017
I watched the 2016 film "The Founder," a portrayal of Ray Kroc of the McDonald's Corporation as part of a class assignment. Part of my assignment was to determine if the movie presents Kroc as a "villain." Is it even possible for Hollywood to make a film about a conservative Republican businessman and not make him look like a villain? Probably not. I read several reviews after watching the movie and several critics noted the film served as an indictment of President Trump-type capitalists.
Kroc was definitely a capitalist. He took an idea--some would say stole--and made millions. The movie is compelling, especially since we all know McDonald's--"billions and billions served." The first 30 minutes is spent building a sympathetic picture of the McDonald brothers who started the first restaurant. This serves to contrast the greed and ruthlessness of Ray Kroc as the movie progresses.
Sunday, October 22, 2017
|Slaves picking cotton.|
Monday, March 13, 2017
One of those is Dave Taylor, an elementary school teacher in Maryland. who has become an expert on the assassination. He publishes an excellent blog on the Lincoln assassination called Boothie Barn. A recent post on the blog includes a video of Dave giving a dramatic reenactment as the assassin John Wilkes Booth. It's worth a look: https://boothiebarn.com/2017/03/04/an-evening-with-john-wilkes-booth/#comment-33209