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Idaho Avalanche, June 20, 1885. Does news get more general than this? I think it does not. Concerning that last item: Harassing the Salvation Army was once something of a national pastime, as the outfit was well-known in its early years to be an obnoxious and fanatical cult. Local law enforcement didn’t exactly knock themselves out to protect them. In fact, the Sally Anns also got into trouble with the law a lot, owing to their obnoxious and fanatical insistence that they didn’t need a municipal license or permit to preach and demonstrate in public. The case law that grew out of their legal troubles significantly helped broaden and strengthen the 1st Amendment. Also, their street bands were a significant influence on Tom Waits.
Placer mining is a hydraulic technique for separating gold from silt and soil—works sort of like mechanized panning. Often it was what you did with a claim once the big chunks had been removed with pick and shovel, and the yield was typically much lower. The Chinese specialized in these placer-mining clean-up operations, taking over claims that had been exhausted from the perspective of white miners. But then if a given claim turned out to be not so exhausted after all, they were prone to being displaced—it even happened in kinder, gentler Canada! They were well known to be an inferior and heathen race, so local law enforcement didn’t exactly knock themselves out to protect them.

The item about Senator Ransom signifies that he’s a bon vivant or a dandified sleazebag depending on the values you bring to the story.

Beats me what the English are doing with those $25 squirrels. In pairs.


  1. I suspect those squirrels went for muffs, boot tops, hats, and other adornments for the gentler sex (when they weren’t wearing whole taxidermed birds or the breasts of snowy egrets). In my youth it was still possible to earn cash on the barrelhead for squirrel tails–check the seedy back pages of *Field and Stream* if you don’t believe me.

  2. The Chicago Reader clearly attracts a more contentious brand of commenter. I’ve only returned to say that Miss Vera Vayne, over-dressed Cockney film-actress (Berta Ruck’s In Another Girl’s Shoes,* 1916) wears “a shrubbery of grey squirrel furs” lined with heliotrope satin. It would take a lot of squirrels to make a fur coat.

    • “The Chicago Reader clearly attracts a more contentious brand of commenter.”

      Yeah, that Capone-icon’d guy, what a bore.
      I guess I’d assumed the squirrels were shipping to England live, but I reckon you’re closer to the mark here.

  3. Maybe I’m wrong, and they were all used to make repulsive little dioramas of squirrels playing poker. . .

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