British socialists establish utopia in Tennessee backwoods

Rugby Colony, Tennessee; October 6, 1880: ”We are about to open a new town here. A new center of human life, human thought, and human activities… in this strangely beautiful solitude.”

With those words, Thomas Hughes, noted British author and avowed Christian socialist, dedicated the Rugby Colony here in northeastern Tennessee, yesterday, amid great fanfare, applause, and adoration among the 200 people who are about to make this colony their utopian dream come true—their utopian home.

Since it is being populated primarily by British immigrants, it is being described by some as “the last British colony in America.”

A prerequisite for a utopia, of course, is to be located in a beautiful place. Rugby certainly meets that criterion. Looking over the development drawings, while visually looking at the terrain around it, the settlement is laid out perfectly between the picturesque gorges of clear Fork River and White Oak Creek on the gently rolling, foliage laden Cumberland Plateau.

The axeman murderer threatens to kill us all, if we don’t play jazz

New Orleans, Louisiana, March 14, 1919: The savage serial killer from “Hell,” known to us as The Axeman, who has murdered or horribly wounded 9 New Orleanians with his ax since May of 1918 and is still on the loose, has now sent a letter to this newspaper and issued a diabolical threat to everyone in our city. In the letter below, The Axeman taunts our police for their inability to track him down; he threatens to hack more of us to death; and, he fiendishly has instructed all of New Orleans to play jazz music in our homes on Tuesday night, March 18th—or else! Here are excerpts of The Axeman’s open letter, listing his address as Hell:

Mississippi State Rep. “Soggy” Sweat takes a strong stand alcohol sales?

Jackson, Mississippi, April 5, 1952: State Representative N.S. “Soggy” Sweat, 28, of Corinth delivered a somewhat powerful, hesitatingly unequivocal speech, last night, to state elected officials and their wives at a banquet in the King Edward Hotel, here, in which he sort of emphatically described his “universal approach” to our current controversial issue of selling liquor legally in Mississippi.

Lawmakers at the Capitol have been debating legalizing liquor this entire legislative session. So far, no vote and a divided legislature.

Representative Sweat called his oration to the concerned crowd “The Whiskey Speech.” After the first half of the speech, there was stone silence for a few seconds, then a tremendous round of applause from about half the audience. The second half of the speech brought the same response from the other half of the crowd. But, through it all, “Soggy’s” youthful eyes twinkled at both the silences and the applauses.

There is no way to describe “Soggy’s” unparalleled eloquence on the subject of liquor sales in Mississippi, other than to reprint his speech in its entirety. It is brief and to the point.

Revolutionary War General de Lafayette stays at humble Alabama tavern

Montgomery, Alabama, April 3, 1825: Walter and Eliza Lucas, owners of the Lucas Tavern on the Federal Road at Line Creek, got the surprise of their lives, late yesterday, when the revered Revolutionary War hero, Marquis de Lafayette of France, who is on a grand tour of America as a “Guest of this Nation,” stopped by their humble tavern 15 miles east of here “to dine and spend the night.” Lafayette is due in Montgomery within the next two days.

With Walter being away, Eliza had virtually no time to prepare for such a well-known, heroic visitor, yesterday. But, despite the short notice, reportedly, the Lucas Tavern was “done-up better than it ever had been or likely ever will be again.”

The Lafayette tour arrived at the tavern late in the afternoon. The travelers were rushed for time, totally behind schedule, and bone tired– simply too weary to travel on to Montgomery, last night.

Sears president to build schools for southern black children

Chicago, Illinois, June 10, 1917: ”It’s easier to make a million dollars than to find a good way to spend it,” says Julius Rosenwald, who is always searching for that “good way.” Rosenwald, the president of Sears & Roebuck, multi-millionaire businessman, and fervent philanthropist, announced the creation of The Rosenwald Fund, here, today, that will help build several thousand schools for black children throughout the South.

Rosenwald teamed, originally, with Booker T. Washington, the first president of the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, then with Washington’s successor, Dr. Robert Moton, to help solve the educational plight of tens of thousands of black children all across the 13 southern states.

According to Rosenwald, “The horrors that are due to race prejudice come home to the Jew more forcefully than to others of the white race, on account of the centuries of persecution that they have suffered and still suffer.”