It’s Death for Bonnie and Clyde

Fans of Timeless will recognize today’s topic as the subject of last week’s episode. The young, outlawed duo of Bonnie and Clyde were famous in their day for their criminal antics—robbing banks, stealing cars, and killing those who got in their way. The lawless lovers eventually met their end in a relentless hail of bullets, ambushed by the police they’d managed to evade for four years.Bonnie and Clyde killedIn reality, neither Bonnie or Clyde was quite as rough-and-tumble as the news reels made them out to be. Clyde was an aspiring musician whose shady friends drew him into a life of crime. Bonnie was a thoughtful poet who dreamed of being an actress. She hoped Clyde would change his ways and straighten out, but instead she dove with him into the life of an outlaw. They both hated killing and released people whenever possible, but Clyde did not hesitate to shoot when cornered.

The string of police deaths they left in their wake eventually turned the public against them. Alive or dead, the people wanted to see Bonnie and Clyde taken down. In the end it was one of their gang, Henry Methvin, who brought about their end, though it’s unclear whether he meant to. He told his father, Ivan Methvin, about a rendezvous with Bonnie and Clyde, and his father passed that information on to police. Ivan then pretended to have car trouble on the highway near the meeting spot. When Bonnie and Clyde stopped to help, officers pumped approximately 150 rounds into their vehicle. The young couple had no chance of survival.
Bonnie and Clyde's friend gave up their positionNeither Bonnie nor Clyde had any disillusions about the fate that eventually awaited them. They’d survived enough close calls to know that one day they’d get caught, and it wouldn’t be pretty. One of Bonnie’s poems, written not long before that fateful day on the highway, shows just how well she understood what would soon happen. The rhyme served as the couples epitaph.
Last stanza of Bonnie's poemSadly for Bonnie, their side by side burial was the one part of that stanza that wasn’t true. Bonnie and Clyde’s mothers both objected to the idea, and their graves remain in separate cemeteries in Dallas.

Bonnie and Clyde made many appearances in newspapers over the years. Find more of their history (true and exaggerated) with a search on Newspapers.com.

Save

Save

Save

U.S. Coal Mining’s Deadliest Month: December 1907

U.S. Coal Mining's Deadliest Month: December 1907

Horrors at Pit Mouth of Darr Mine
December 1907 was the deadliest month in American coal mining, with a total of five separate mining disasters that together killed more than 700 men and boys in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Alabama, and New Mexico.

The biggest of these disasters was an explosion that decimated two connected mines in Monongah, West Virginia, on December 6. The explosion happened around 10:30 in the morning and killed at least 360 miners, though the number of dead was likely higher, as men frequently brought their sons to work in the mine off the books.

Newspapers covered the disaster as well as the tragic aftermath, as shown in an excerpt from the Greenville, Pennsylvania, Record-Argus, which reads, “Throughout the night great crowds of wailing women and children congregated about the mine entrances and the scene is heartrending, as all now know that there is not the slightest chance of their loved ones being alive.”

Images from the Darr mine disaster

Even more miners would have died if dozens of those of the Roman Catholic faith hadn’t stayed home from work to observe St. Nicholas Day. No official cause of the explosion was determined, though officials speculated gas or coal dust in the mine was likely ignited by a spark or lamp flame. It is still considered America’s worst mining disaster.

The second-deadliest of December’s coal mining disasters occurred at the Darr Mine in western Pennsylvania at 11:30 in the morning on the 19th. This explosion killed at least 239 men and boys, many of them immigrants. As was often the case in those days, the mining company was found not to be at fault, despite accusations of neglect. An inquiry determined that the explosion was most likely caused by an open-flame lamp in an area that had been cordoned off because of high levels of gas.

Map of area of Darr mine disaster (at Jacobs Creek at center)
In a twist of fate, the 19th was again St. Nicholas Day (this time for the Eastern churches, which use a different calendar), and it is estimated that possibly hundreds of miners of the Greek Catholic and Orthodox faiths survived because they chose to forego the day’s wages to instead observe the saint’s day. The Darr mine disaster was the worst in Pennsylvania history and the second worst in the United States, following the Monongah disaster.

Do you have any family who worked in the coal mines? Tell us about them! Or learn more about the mining disasters of December 1907—or of any period of American history—on Newspapers.com.

Rosa Parks Day

On this day in 1955, Rosa Parks boarded a bus and took a seat in the “colored” section, just behind the seats reserved for white passengers. When more white passengers boarded and filled up the front section of the bus, driver James F. Blake told Parks and three other black passengers to give up their seats. Parks refused.

Rosa Parks DayRosa Parks was not the first to resist the demeaning bus segregation rules; she was not even the first woman to be arrested for refusing to give up her seat. But she became the face of a movement, an icon remembered to this day for standing up against injustice by remaining seated.

Her arrest prompted the Montgomery bus boycott, a protest against the segregation laws.

Bus Dispute

Bus BoycottDuring the boycott, the black community carpooled, took cabs, or—most frequently—walked, to get to their jobs and schools. The campaign to change the laws went on for over a year, with some buses sitting idle for months with no passengers. Finally, on December 20, 1956, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled bus segregation laws unconstitutional.

Of her own part in the events, Rosa Parks said this:

Tired of giving in
Rosa Parks in the front of a bus Dec 21, 1956Find more articles like these with a search on Newspapers.com.

Save

Save

It’s Turkey Day—But Why Turkey?

Turkey drawingIt’s Thanksgiving Day in the U.S.A., and that means one thing—pumpkin pie. A nice big helping of rich, squashy pie topped with whipped cream. What’s more “Thanksgiving” than that?

Oh, and there’s turkey too.

So what’s with turkey anyway? How did the festive fowl come to be associated with holiday dining, and Thanksgiving Day in particular? Newspaper clippings from years past give varied views on the origin of this bird’s big break. The explanation that came up the most was that, hey—there were just tons of turkeys all over the place.

Turkeys were common
First thing they spotted
Turkey, Turkey, EverywhereYou couldn’t step into your backyard without nearly running into a turkey—or so the articles say. In reality, they probably weren’t as common as the stories make it seem.

Another explanation is (very briefly) offered in this 1928 ad. Turkey was just the thing for Governor Bradford:

It's what the pilgrim fathers directedWilliam Bradford was an early colonist often associated with the first Thanksgiving. His journals do mention turkeys being hunted throughout the fall of 1621, but no specific mention of Thanksgiving turkey is made by him or any other contemporary accounts.

This clipping is another brief explanation, offered by an American to a German tourist who wondered about the bird’s sudden significance on Thanksgiving Day:
Represents prosperityIt may not be the actual reason…but it rings true enough, don’t you think?

A good argument for the use of turkey as Thanksgiving’s central dish is simply that turkey wasn’t had every day; it was saved for special occasions, it took time and effort to prepare, and it was usually more pricey than your typical dinner fare.

Turkey used to be specialAnd Kim here has another great reason: turkeys are larger birds than ducks or chickens and are therefore perfect for stuffing and overindulging.
We can stuff it with stuffingYou can find Thanksgiving recipes, stories, poems and more with a search on Newspapers.com. Happy Thanksgiving!

Save

Save

Save

Save

The Sourest Soprano

If you’ve seen the recent movie starring Meryl Streep, then you’ll know the gist on famous soprano Florence Foster Jenkins. Florence Foster Jenkins

Florence Foster JenkinsFlorence Foster Jenkins was one of the most famous singers of her time, but not thanks to an abundance of talent—as you might have guessed from the bluntly honest article above. The clipping below sums it up nicely as well:

The differenceJenkins’ musical career began long before her singing. She was a talented pianist from a young age—legitimately—and even performed in the White House. An arm injury cut that future short, but Jenkins’ love of music only continued to grow. In her early forties she began regular singing performances, primarily at the Verdi Club, an organization she founded and hosted herself. The recitals were always fairly exclusive, invite-only affairs, and it wasn’t until she was 76 years old that she finally went public—in a big way.

Carnegie HallShe passed away only a month after her Carnegie Hall performance, leaving behind the mystery of whether or not she really knew the true basis of her fame. Her second husband, St. Clair Bayfield, supported her throughout her singing career with genuine adoration and tried to keep the criticisms away from the eyes of his dynamic wife.

St. Clair shielded Florence from criticismBut did Lady Florence know the true depth of her lack of talent? Or was she playing the audience all along?

Was Jenkins Serious?Find more about Florence Foster Jenkins and her impressive career on Newspapers.com.

Save

Save

Monsieur Mangetout

When someone’s got a nickname like “Mr. Eat-all,” you can be sure he must have earned it. And Michel Lotito certainly did. Over the course of his lifetime he ate quite the interesting assortment of objects—metal objects, primarily.
Monsieur Mangetout beats own world record
Monsieur Mangetout, list of some of what he ate
Michel LotitoYes, those last two clips do say “Cessna.” Lotito consumed the small plane from 1978-1980. But he didn’t get there in one fell swoop. From his teenage years, Lotito realized he could stomach pretty much everything, in the most literal of ways. Glass, metal, rubber—anything was fair game, and Lotito claimed not to suffer any ill effects from this unusual, nearly life-long stunt diet. He passed away in 2007 from causes unrelated to his metal consumption.

Find more on Lotito and other bizarre world record holders with a search on Newspapers.com.

Save

Save

How Many Ways Can You Cook a Turkey?

Newspapers.com News, Finds and Tips

Turkey timetables
How many ways can you cook a turkey? Quite a few, judging from the number of recipes found on Newspapers.com! If you’re looking for a new way to cook your Thanksgiving turkey this year, look no further than your Newspapers.com search results to find turkey recipes from over the decades and across the country. Below is a selection of recipes to get you started, though these are just the tip of the iceberg:

And need some help with carving that turkey? Or want to know how to deep-fry your turkey safely? Or curious how long you should thaw your turkey? Newspapers.com can help you with that too:

Not only can you find recipes for how to cook your turkey on Thanksgiving, you can also find recipes for your turkey leftovers:

And these are just the turkey recipes! We haven’t even gotten into all the Thanksgiving side dish and dessert recipes you can find on Newspapers.com. So if you’re cooking Thanksgiving dinner this year, take a look at some of the many recipes and tips you can find by searching Newspapers.com!

In Prison and in Plane

Two strangers, one placeOn December 17, 1944, Bernard Cytryn made his way with his fellow prisoners to a Nazi-controlled synthetic oil refinery for another day of forced labor. In the distance a steady done could be heard, buzzing like the sound of bees. Cytryn recognized the sound—American planes—and dove for a tree as bombs dropped on the refinery.

On high alert in the nose-gunner’s seat of a plane far above sat Hjalmar Johansson. Anti-aircraft fire took out one of the plane’s wings and the men inside were forced to abandon ship. Johansson, who had never even practiced jumping from a plane, landed safely, only to be captured by Nazi soldiers.

Before they spoke at the same keynote, decades after the war, the two men never met. But they’d both been in the same place on that same day during one of the world’s most devastating wars.

Hjalmar Johansson and Bernard CytrynCytryn was sent to Auschwitz at age 16. He outlived the rest of his family, who were murdered at the camp. Cytryn recalls an experience when he realized he was in line for one of the gas chambers:
Cytryn avoids deathAfter a year in the death camp he was sent to work at the oil refinery, which is how he happened to be there when Johansson flew overhead. The American bombing mission did not result in Cytryn’s freedom that day, but it did give him a break while the fires were put out at the refinery, and that was more than he’d had in a long time. He was finally freed in April 1945 and eventually made his way over to the United States, where he met Johansson all those years later.

Hjalmar JohanssonWhen Johansson joined the U.S. Air Force at age 18 with hopes of becoming a pilot, he had no idea he would be taken prisoner by the men he fought against.

Johansson capturedHe and the other prisoners spent the winter huddled together for warmth. He kept a journal written on cigarette papers with a mechanical pencil he kept hidden in his collar. They were given foods like “grass soup” that barely kept them alive until Russian forces arrived in May 1945.

Malnourished, given vodka Johansson’s story is featured on History.com with a great video of him recounting his experiences as a gunner and prisoner of war.

Johansson and Cytryn were on two sides of the same experience, two incredible stories among many, many thousands. Find more articles on these and other war veterans in the pages of Newspapers.com, and thank you to all our wonderful veterans who have risked it all to serve our country.

Save

Save

Save

The Palm Beach Post

Content Update

Do you have ancestors from Florida? Check out the Palm Beach Post on Newspapers.com! With a Newspapers.com Basic subscription, you can see issues of the Palm Beach Post from 1916 through 1922; or, with a Publisher Extra subscription, access those early years and additional issues from 1922 to 2016.

Florida’s Palm Beach Post first began publishing in 1908 under the name Palm Beach County, but in 1916 (by this time called the Palm Beach Post) the paper made the switch from running weekly issues to being a morning daily.
As the self-proclaimed official paper of the city of West Palm Beach and Palm Beach County, the Post ran many interesting articles, editorials, and cartoons over the years, reporting on issues and events that were important to the county’s residents.

For example, in September 1928, the Palm Beach Post covered the Okeechobee hurricane, which made landfall not far from West Palm Beach. While the hurricane itself was deadly and caused much damage, also extremely threatening was the storm surge caused by Lake Okeechobee overflowing its dike, which resulted in flooding over hundreds of square miles—up to 20 feet high in some places. Altogether, the storm caused more than 4,000 deaths. A few days after the hurricane, the Post reported on a family who survived because their house had floated in the floodwaters. The wife is recorded as saying, “The wind seemed to change and I stepped off the porch and immediately disappeared in water over my head. […] Our house was afloat, it floated for more than half a mile.”

City okays circus parade, 1938

Another item of local interest ran in October 1938, when the paper followed the local upset surrounding a canceled circus parade. A circus had come to town, and there was much discussion about whether the circus would be able to parade its animals through town as part of the show. When the city decided last minute to allow the parade, excitement was high; but disappointingly for the local kids, the circus decided not to hold a parade, as it would conflict with the afternoon performance. The Post ran an editorial the following day that piled on the guilt, remarking, “Sometime the guy who gave the order to cancel the circus parade yesterday will remember a crying kid along the curb, and he’ll wonder if the money he saved was worth it.”

If you have family or ancestors from the Palm Beach area, you might find them in the Post in “personal mention” columns, news of local WWII servicemen, engagement announcements, death and burial notices, birth announcements, society and club news, court records, school honor rolls, or maybe even lists of candidates running for local office—just to name a few!

Get started searching or browsing the Palm Beach Post on Newspapers.com!

Remembering the Alamo

If you’ve been keeping up with the history-packed time travel drama Timeless, you’ll recognize the reason for today’s post. This week the show tackled the battle of the Alamo, an ill-fated last stand that took place in what was then called San Antonio de Béxar in February and March of 1836. Though small pieces of the true history were changed in the show (thanks to the meddlesome, time traveling antagonist), for us the history of the Alamo remains the same—a poignant piece of Texas’ past that inspired an army and led to the eventual end of a deadly revolution.
Important From TexasThe Alamo was a garrison of the Texian Army, though fewer than 100 men were stationed there by January 1836. By early February a few score reinforcements had arrived, along with Colonel James Bowie and the legendary Davy Crocket. Bowie and cavalry officer William Travis shared command of the men at the Alamo.

By February 23, 1500 Mexican Army soldiers had settled in around Béxar and the few hundred Texians at the Alamo who refused to surrender. A 13-day siege followed, during which Travis wrote the now-famous letter that was given hefty focus in Timeless. His letter and multiple others were only successful in gathering another 30 or so men; meanwhile, the Mexican army received another 1000 reinforcements which left them sitting pretty with a force of about 3100 men. The situation was dire, and Travis began to prepare his men to die nobly for their cause.

Bowie and Crockett slainOn March 6 the Mexican soldiers advanced on the Alamo. The battle was long and brutal. In the end, all Texian soldiers were killed, including those who surrendered, but they did not go down without a fight—approximately 600 Mexican soldiers were killed before the men at the Alamo fell. The events at the Alamo were not entirely in vain, however, as you’ll see in the article below:

Response to the fall of Bexar (San Antonio de Bexar)The army raised in reaction to the news eventually drove the Mexican army from Texas in late April, spurred on by the memory of their fallen comrades at the Alamo.

Find more about the events at the Alamo as reported in the papers with a search on Newspapers.com.

Save

Save