Balladeer’s Blog continues its examination of the many facets of Fool Killer lore. FOR PART ONE, INCLUDING THE HISTORICAL CONTEXT IN THE 1850s, CLICK HERE
PART FORTY-NINE: Some of the Fool Killer’s targets in the September of 1911 issue of James Larkin Pearson’s Fool-Killer publication:
*** Standard Oil. The Fool Killer in various incarnations fought the Standard Oil monopoly more than anyone outside of Ida Tarbell. The Fool Killer was already predicting the way Standard Oil would continue trying to subvert anti-trust laws through shell corporations.
*** Henry Clay Beattie, Jr, a wealthy Virginian who shot his wife Louise to death during a car ride then tried to blame it on a highway bandit. The truth came out and Beattie eventually confessed after a media circus of a trial. The Fool Killer also targeted the media circus surrounding the trial.
*** A gang of wild partyers in Hagerstown, MD who caused a nationwide scandal with their dancing and drinking blowout in a cemetery.
*** Samuel Gompers, whom the Fool Killer accused of starting to sell out to big-money and management over his former allies in labor.
*** Clergymen who put on pious airs but snobbishly ignored the poor.
*** The recently-divorced John Jacob Astor IV, for the scandal over that divorce AND the public uproar over the forty-seven year old Astor marrying 19 year old Madeleine Force after just having gotten engaged one month earlier. Pearson and his version of the Fool Killer were always entertained by the marital shenanigans of the filthy rich. (Astor and Madeleine were on the Titanic in 1912 and John Jacob died after getting his young bride to a lifeboat.)
*** The big money being made by a Philadelphia company which was manufacturing thousands of miniature Buddha statues to be sold in Korea.
*** Democrat James K Vardaman of Mississippi, a former Governor who was making it known he wanted to be a Senator. The Fool Killer especially criticized the extravagant wagons and carriages that Vardaman and his people rode around the state. (Vardaman, as a Democrat, was a REAL White Supremacist and was famous for the quote “If it is necessary, every negro in the state will be lynched; it will be done to maintain white supremacy.” No ambiguity in that ugly statement.)
*** Nat Goodwin, the silent film comedian, who was still publicly complaining about his ill-fated marriage and divorce from actress Maxine Elliott.
*** Harvard’s Charles W Elliot, who said women should have at least 2 babies. The Fool Killer felt Charles should supply all the food and clothing for the children he expected those women to have.
*** Reverend Benjamin Fay Mills, whom the Fool Killer suspected was more devoted to money than to his calling.
As I always say, it’s fascinating to read this old publication and its odd mix of viewpoints – even the ones you disagree with.
I WILL EXAMINE MORE FOOL KILLER LORE SOON. KEEP CHECKING BACK FOR UPDATES.
FOR MY LOOK AT JOE MAGARAC, THE STEEL MILL VERSION OF JOHN HENRY AND PAUL BUNYAN, CLICK HERE
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