Saturday, February 18, 2012

Literaries at the Schoolhouse

In the No Remorse blog earlier in February, a mention was made of "literaries" at the schoolhouse.  Louis Goochey was was trying to explain how he believed vigilantes were preying on him:

On one occasion a neighbor came to the dugout and asked [Goochey] if he was going to the literary that evening. [Goochey] said that he had heard of no literary being held. The neighbor stated that, indeed, one was being held at the schoolhouse. So [Goochey] saddled up a horse. Then he took his youngest son, “Gus”, up behind him and had [his other son] jump up behind the neighbor. They rode for some distance, when suddenly the neighbor let out an extremely shrill whistle. Shortly thereafter they came to a place where the schoolhouse would have been in view. The neighbor then said he guessed he had been wrong - there were no lights at the schoolhouse, therefore there was no literary. They turned and went home.

In going back through old research I found another reference to literaries.  It was in the first newspaper article published the Turpin shooting.  It was in reference to another incicent -- but it's evidence that there were literaries held and they took place at the school house. This incident probably had Goochey quite spooked and perhaps influenced how he reacted to his horses going astray. Here is a transcript of that article:

Accidents, Murder and Street Fight Make Up a Day of Sensations.
An Old Man Kicked to Death and Two Farmers Fatally Quarrel Over Horses.
Attorney and Ex-Treasurer Have a Prolonged Street Fight and Thumbs Where Chewed in Truly Scientific Style.
Newport, Neb. May 11. – Rock county has had a series of accidents and shooting affrays that will, if not soon stopped, throw it in the front ranks of notoriety.   The saddest accident occurred last Monday night at the residence of James Wimer, and old gentlemen, who lives about seven miles north of this place, near a postoffice called Kirkwood.  Wimer, who is an old man of some 75 years, was spending the evening alone, as his son and two grandsons were attending a literary at the school house.  On their return they found the old gentleman lying on the bed with his forehead crushed in and a deep gash across just above the eyes.  As he was unconscious when found the supposition was at first that he had been struck by the hand of an assassin, but on going to the stable near by his hat was found near the foot of a vicious horse, and on looking closer blood was found at intervals all the way to the house, where by close investigation the conclusion was arrived at that he went to the barn for some cause and while stooping down was kicked, and, if the conclusion is correct, he came to the house, undressed himself and went to bed and became unconscious afterward.   But he never even for an instant regained his right mind, nothing is known.  He died Thursday afternoon at 3 o’clock.  The body will be taken to Iowa for interment tomorrow. 
A shooting affray occurred today twelve miles north of town near the Niobrara river.  A farmer named Lewis Goochey had some horses stray away during the night and on going to hunt them he found them in a pasture belonging to another man named Newton Turpin an old resident of the river flats.  Upon finding his horses grazing in the pasture he quietly drove them out of the open gate, but before he got started home Turpin called out to him something that he (Goochey) could not understand, as the wind was blowing furiously at the time, but when the man with the horses did not do as he was bid Turpin raised his gun and fired. 
Turpin’s gun was hardy raised before Goochey pulled his own and fired, the shot taking effect in Turpin’s stomach.   Goochey came to town this afternoon and gave himself up to the justice of the peace.  Both men have large families.  Turpin is not dead yet. 
Rock county’s seat of government had a row yesterday.  J. J. Lickens, ex-treasurer, and A H. Tingle, county attorney, came to blows on the streets of Bassett and fought a round that lasted something like two hours.  Lickens chawed Tingle’s thumbs into a jelley.

This news article is interesting in that the 3 stories shine some light on 1893 life on the prairie; and they show us that the news has not really changed all that much.  

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