Thankfully, Halloween has for the most part shifted away from the “trick” to the “treat” over the last century. In the cartoon below, we catch a glimpse of some of the mischief that Joplin’s young men got up to one Halloween many years ago.
The Fourth of July was as popular a holiday in Joplin in the past as it is today. The same emphasis on safety with fireworks continues today, though, perhaps not so much the worry on loaded firearms. A local paper illustrated the dangers of firecrackers, be it from boys throwing them at passersby in the street for laughs to other boys using the explosives as potential tools in arguments. One such event occurred as written:
“Three negro boys were walking down Fourth street this morning with their pockets bulging with fire crackers. As they passed the Miners Bank building two young men, prominent in business circles, began to “kid” the boys about the Jeffries-Johnson fight. The negroes became “riled” and in a moment were willing to take their contemporaries on. In the meantime, one of the negroes, who gave his name as Fred Jackson, stepped behind a telephone post and lit a big fire cracker. It exploded in his hand and the boy’s cries drowned the arguments. In an instant the miniature race war ceased. The young men grabbed the negro and carried him to a drug store, where he was given medical aid. the negroes apologized for their quarrel and the white boys “Set ‘em” up for the sodas.”
Historic Joplin hopes everyone has a great Easter weekend. Below is an ad celebrating Easter from 1905 Joplin.
A Works Progress Administration (WPA) worker in the 1930s observed:
“Some peculiar Halloween customs are annually practiced in Joplin and so long have they been a custom that they are tolerated. Men, women, and children, clad in unique costumes and masked, parade up and down the main business streets until a late hour on the night of October 31. They are always good natured and well behaved, seeming just out for fun. But in the residential parts of town gangs of tough boys and girls, hoodlums, go from house to house, soaping windows, ringing door bells and carrying off or breaking whatever they can get their hands upon, including automobiles, porch furniture and anything left outside. Extra police are always employed for Halloween night, but now enough are on duty on stop the depredations of the hoodlums.”
A century ago, Joplin adopted the idea of promoting a Fourth of July that was both safe and sane. The illustration above offers a glimpse at this campaign and below, a familiar company advertising in Joplin on the Fourth. The idea of promoting a safe Fourth was supported by an article noting the harm already received by the dangerous fireworks. One case involved a boy, whose friends involved in a fight, found his hand badly burned when the firework he was getting ready to throw went off prematurely (the boys quickly made peace after this casualty). Another boy, it was reported, suffered terribly burns on the neck and hands while shooting off “fire crackers” and two men, Roy Loving was shot in the hand by a blank gun cartridge and another, Earl Van Hoose severely burned by a “cannon cracker” which went off as he was throwing it.
Needless to say, have a fun, safe, and “sane” Fourth of July!
With sons and daughters of Ireland calling Joplin home from its earliest days, it’s not surprising to know that the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day is more than a hundred years old in Joplin. The Joplin News Herald noted the events held on March 17, 1908 and claimed that the day began with a “typical Irish fog enwrapping the city,” with every flag pole decorated with the Irish flag. Thousands of green shamrocks decorated the lapels of Joplinites across the city, the paper declared.
In describing the events, the News Herald noted, “The Irishman lives everywhere, and everywhere has he well-wishers who long with him for the time when oppression and wrong in his native soil will cease to be and the Emerald Isle return to the control of the native son.” I
Beyond political discourse, the paper reported that the Irish and those who intended to celebrate the day with them, were to attend an observance at a “little old church that was the religious home of Joplin Catholics for so many years.” The program consisted of a boys’ choir singing “God Save Ireland,” the Catholic priest, Father Clinton singing “The Wearing of the Green,” and a instrumental selection from Miss Margaret Williams, Masters William and John Joseph Hennessey.
The instrumental was then followed by a recitation by a Father Lyona, another song, “Then You’ll remember Me” by Miss Anna Toohey, a selection from Mrs. E.F. Cameron, a song from Mrs. Will Moore, another instrumental, “The Irish Dance” again from Ms. Toohey, “The Irish Immigrant” by Mrs. W.F. Maher with another recitation from Father Lyona, “Kathleen Mavourneen” sung by Mrs. Kachelski; a concertino solo and song by D.M. Sayers, and concluded with the boys’ choir singing “My Country Tis of Thee.”
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Source: Joplin News Herald
As the memories of this year’s Christmas begin to fade, we’ll take one last look back at Christmas in Joplin. Below are a series of ads from Joplin papers, and if one thing is evident, the commercialization of Christmas isn’t a recent innovation. Click on the images to see larger versions.