GAR Blimey

confessionNovember 24, 1927
Long Beach

Frank E. Foster once stared down the blazing Enfields and Richmonds of Johnny Reb, Bragg’s cannons and Forrest’s cavalry, but it took some punk kid from Long Beach to put him down for good. 

That punk kid is Richard Robert Haver, 16, whose penchant for driving other people’s cars landed him in Chino, where police interviewed him today about a spate of Long Beach robberies last September.  Sure, during one robbery he pushed an old man.  Haver hasn’t been told that the old man died.  

“I saw him coming, although it was dark,” Haver told Detective Sergeants Smith and Alyes.  “At first I tried to avoid him by slinking back against the wall, hoping the man wouldn’t see me.  But he grabbed me by the coat with both hands.”  (Apparently the 85 y.o. Foster figured the whippersnapper wouldn’t be reconstructed.)  “I kept pushing him into the screen porch where he slept.  The door was open as I rushed for it and I pushed the man out of the way.  He tripped on the steps and fell outdoors onto the sidewalk.  Then I ran toward the front of the house and headed for the ocean.  I’m sorry I pushed him so hard, now that I know he is an old man.”  Haver’ll be sorrier once the authorities inform him that, on top of being popped for the eight homes he ransacked while the occupants slept (earning him the sobriquet "The Pants Burglar", in that he stole away with trousers in the night and emptied their pockets), he’s a murderer.

(Haver was sent to the State Reform School to remain until he turned 21, at which point the courts would again pass upon his case; the papers make no mention of that event or its outcome.)

quails!In further news of the Boys in Blue, another Damn’d Yankee, this one in Spokane, has problems of another variety.  “I’m living on borrowed time,” said Enoch A. Sears, 84, “far past my allotted three score and ten, and I only want peace and quiet.”  He has filed for divorce from his wife of one year, and has departed his home, leaving it to his wife, 59, and her mother, 79.  Enoch simply stated he was “too old to become accustomed to living with a mother-in-law.”

The Old Men in Blue

Dec. 30, 1907
Los Angeles

James Sullivan, 64, was a prisoner of the Confederates held at Belle Isle, Libby and Andersonville, where he and war correspondent Albert D. Richardson escaped by tunneling for three months with a spoon.

Henry Russell, formerly of the 4th Cavalry, was held at Andersonville and Benjamin L. Gorsuch of the 1st Maryland Infantry was captured and sent to Belle Isle. James Sherwood was with the 10th New Jersey. John Ryan, 77, was with 7th New York Heavy Artillery.

And then there

Edward M. Robbins — Man of Mystery, Suicide of Curiosity

Los Angeles
April 30, 1907
Sixtysomething Edward M. Robbins was a Civil War vet and long-time resident of his little house at 2728 Council Street.  No one ever entered the threshold of his hermit home; he never spoke to his neighbors nor made sign of recognition when he passed them on the street.  He was a quiet and at all times inoffensive man, save for those occasional spells when he would go on a colossal drunk. Then he would be seen through the uncurtained windows strumming an old guitar for a time, until he broke into mad fits of rage, pacing and singing at the top of his voice.
Given his hermit-like ways, it was no wonder that Robbins’s ten-day disappearance went unnoticed.  But then passersby observed the multitude of flies on the windows…
Police broke in to find Robbins on a bed he’d covered in wrapping paper. Bowie knife, razor and pair of scissors were all nearby, all besmeared with blood, as Robbins had used them all on his wrists and ankles.  But what led to his self-destruction was a “queerly fashioned double barreled pistol of ancient make” that Robbins still gripped tight in his decomposing hand, one barrel having been discharged to form a gaping hole in his neck.
Perhaps Robbins suffered from the mania associated with the  “flashing back” of memory common to veterans of the War of Northern Agression.