Days Gone By

Compiled by Penny Doyle
of the Aledo Times Record
Days Gone By

1922 - 100 years ago

* Harpooner pleads guilty to assault and draws a fine

John Becker, who harpooned Estelle Beverlin with a pitchfork July 22 pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and battery in the county court last week and was fine $35 and costs.

The affair occurred at threshing time near New Boston. Beverlin was driving a team in the field and Becker was loading. Beverlin provoked Becker by driving too close to the shocks and he complained of it. Beverlin not only continued, but abused Becker. The latter warned him if he repeated a particularly offensive phrase he would pitchfork him. Beverly repeated it. Thereupon Becker threw his pitchfork javelin fashion at his annoyer, the tines striking him in the breast but not piercing deeply.

After it was over Becker was repentant and regretted his action.

* Live racing pigeon making itself at home on Close Farm

A racing pigeon with one leg banded, arrived the last week of July on the farm of D.E. Close, two miles west of Hamlet, and is making itself quite at home. Whether it is one of the pigeons in the Carbondale, Kansas-Kenosha, Wis., flight, of which Tom Marshall wrote about in last week’s Times Record, is not clear. Its markings are “I.F. 21D-3118.”

The pigeon is semi-friendly and Mr. Close had no difficulty in catching it to get its markings. A peculiarity with this pigeon is that it does not associate with the domestic pigeons on the Close farm. It holds itself aloof from them, a sort of aristocrat, as it were.

* W.B. Peterson to speak for farm picnic

W.B. Peterson of Chicago, director of the Illinois Farm Supply company, has been secured as speaker at the annual Mercer County Farm Bureau picnic, according to a statement today by E.M. Edwards, farm adviser, who is making the program arrangements.

Also booked for a big part in the program is Arkie, the Arkansas Woodchopper of WLS radio fame, along with the popular Barn dance trio, the Hayloft girls. The picnic is all day Thursday, Aug. 21, at the Mercer County fairgrounds, Aledo.

All will appear at the grandstand program which will follow the noon luncheon period. Other attractions on the program include various competitive contests for men and women, capped with the traditional tug o’ war between the east and west sides on the county.

* It’s not owl right as bird pests remain

Everything seems to be ‘owl’ right with the starlings that are continuing to ruin the use of Central park and the court house lawn in Aledo, for little effect of the mock owls placed there a month ago by the Aledo Kiwanis club can be noticed. The birds were placed to capitalize upon a fear the starlings have for owls, said fear allegedly causing the pests to have a sudden desire to be elsewhere.

Apparently, the owls are not visible to enough of the starlings at one time, and it is too much to expect the pests to be afraid of something they can’t see.

However, entirely different results are reported from the one owl purchased at the same time by James A. Allen and placed about two feet from the vines that cover the north wall of his residence on South College avenue. Here the owl is hanging about 16 feet in the air and slightly away from the wall.

As the birds swept in to settle for the night in the vines, one look was enough and off they went.

The fault in the park seems to be that the trees do too good a job of covering up the owls, while at Allen’s, the bird comprises a visible welcoming party, but not a welcome that the birds seem to care for.

Some residents were today mentioning the possibility of a supervised shooting period to drive the birds away, but nothing had been done officially in this regard. 

1972 - 50 years ago

* Three hobbies fill time of young New Windsor girl

Training dogs and horses and collecting bird feathers are all hobbies of a very energetic little 10 year old girl, Coylie Nichols, New Windsor. She is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Michael Nichols.

Collie trains dogs in obedience and has won trophies and ribbons when showing “lady” who belongs to her brother, Curtis. She owns and Irish Terrier called Donnybrook’s Molly McGee, which she is training and will show this spring. She attends classes once a week at the Illowa Dog Obedience Club in the Quad Cities and on Sept. 3 she will be a ring stewardess and show her dog at the Illowa Dog Obedience club Dog Show at Bettendorf, Iowa. She has shown dogs in many of the area dog shows.

Her pony, a blue roan shetland mare named “Royal April” has been shown six times since July and won her three seconds and a third. Next spring she will be able to compete in pleasure classes.

What started out as a simple 4-H project, the study of birds, for Coylie has grown into a giant collection of bird feathers from all over the world. She has had correspondence with such famous people as Gov. Ronald Reagan of California; S. Dillon Ripley author and secretary of the Smithsonian Institute; William Conway of the New York Zoological Society; and from Marlin Perkins of the St. Louis Zoological Gardens. In response to her request, these people all sent her feathers from their state or zoo.

When she began collecting feathers she decided to write to anyone in newspapers, magazines, and books on birds. The National Geographic magazine proved most helpful in getting names and addresses. It wasn’t long before mail began coming in from such exciting places as Scotland, England, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand and even the Midway Island.

At present she has 145 different species of bird feathers of a king penguin of Antarctica to the big ones of a turkey vulture and the ostrich. She believes her most valuable feather is the one from Dr. A.B. Orwell, New Zealand, discoverer of the once-believed extinct Notornis. In the letter she received from him rewrote that the one feather which he was unique inasmuch as it is one of five which he removed from the first bird they caught. No others were found.

Dr. Orbell followed stories and legends and tracked reports of the birds into the mountains. After 30 years he discovered tracks, finally sighting one on Nov. 22, 1948. The bird was netted and photos taken before it was released. Five feathers were removed, each placed on a card and signed and dated and given to Dr. Orbell.

Another favorite feather of Coylie’s is the one she received from William Conway, famous writer and curator of birds at the New York Zoological Society.

It is a feather from the James’ Flamingo. This bird seemed to drop from sight after 1909, and it wasn’t until a Chilean expedition went to search for them in 1957 that it became known that some were alive and well at an incredible red lake called Laguna Colorada in a relatively unknown area of the high Andes in Bolivia. The altitude there is 14,800 feet. Conway was a member of a group that came back with 20 of the James’ Flamingos. Mr. Conway wrote that they were very friendly, not like other flamingos.

Collie would like to someday watch the sporting events at the Air Force Academy in Colorado. Cadet Tom Engleson sent her some feathers from Academy mascots. He sent some white feathers from an Arctic Gyrfalcon, and a red tipped feather from a prairie hawk. 

Collie has found her hobby of birds to be a most fascinating one and a very educational one. She plans to enter her feathers with the Hobby exhibits at the New Windsor Fair.

When a little 10-year-old girl has so many interests and hobbies it is hard to decide what she wants to  do when she grows up, but Coylie loves animals and people so she thinks she would like to be a veterinarian or a nurse, then she would be working in the area of her interests.