A Friday the 13th in October…1916

101 years ago today, in 1916, Friday the 13th also fell in the month of October.

The evening issue of the Davenport Democrat and Leader listed several unlucky ocurrences of the day under the following heading on page 6:

For one, the resignation of Victor L. Littig as coach of the Davenport Athletic Club football team over a disagreement with players “brought sorrow to his many friends and club associates.” According to a separate article in the same day’s paper, Littig felt members of the team were too anxious to be taught “shift formations and trick plays” while the coach preferred to “give the men a thorough course of football principles, keeping them to the simple style…”(p. 19).

Sadness over another sport led local Army recruiter Sergeant James Hutcheson to lose  “…money and hope because of the world’s baseball series.” He must have bet on the Brooklyn Robins, beaten 1-4 by the Boston Red Sox in the final game the day before. The World Series is also on the minds of area Cubs fans this Friday, October 13th!

The Democrat also reported transportation troubles: “Two traveling men missed trains and were compelled to postpone engagements in other cities,”and rain forced gubernatorial candidate Edwin T. Meredith and his entourage to ride the train to campaign stops rather than “make the jaunt by automobile.”

Automobiles were the cause of misfortunes on any day in Davenport, the same day’s paper said elsewhere (p. 4):

Politicians other than Meredith did not fare well that day, either. Workmen at the Bettendorf [railroad car] shops had been waiting for Republican speaker John H. Shirley to address them on the issue of the 8-hour workday. However, he was late, and congressional candidate M.F. Cronin, who was traveling through Bettendorf by train, assumed the crowd had gathered to hear a Democrat’s thoughts on the topic. He began to speak to the increasingly enthusiastic group of workers. Once Shirley finally appeared, Cronin stepped down, but the audience did not like what Shirley had to say and shouted for Cronin to continue instead! (p. 6)

Among other bad news in the Friday the 13th, 1916 paper was the opening announcement of this advertisement:

And the death of “one of the oldest residents of the city,” Mrs. Fredericka Kletty, at age 91:

Only Mr. Rice seemed to have had good luck that day:

Fortunately for everyone else, the following day promised this in Davenport:

We’ll have to wait until November 4th of this year for National Candy Day. In the meantime, the Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center wishes you the very best of luck this Friday the 13th of October, 2017!

(posted by Katie)

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