Thursday, December 4, 2014

Oddities that never made the history books

                                         Joseph F. Smith

OLD newspaper archives are full of startling historic items that apparently never made the history books.
 Here are a few more of these oddities:
-“Joseph F. Smith was to have been kidnapped” was a July 23, 1915 headline in the Standard-Examiner.
President Smith, leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the time, was in a plot exposed by federal authorities, to have been kidnapped and held for $100,000 ransom.
Authorities said this kidnapping was no idle threat and “decided upon extraordinary precautions for the safety of the Mormon Church head,” according to the story.
The same bandits had already held up 125 passengers touring Yellowstone National Park and had also kidnapped a wealthy Idaho Falls cattleman, demanding $6,000 for his return.
These blackmailing thieves had extensive plans that came to light, showing how they would take President Smith to the “impenetrable passes of the Jackson Hole County in Wyoming. The robbers felt this kidnapping would have been their biggest prize yet, though the easiest to pull off.
The robbers were eventually caught and the planned criminal plot was never known by the LDS Church until the news media released it.
-“Gov. Mabey is arrested on fishing trip; Mistake in signs leaders Ranger to take executive party into custody” was a July 17, 1922 headline in the Standard.
Utah Governor Charles R. Mabey was arrested with a party of friends while they were fishing the Duchesne River back on June 29.
The Forest Ranger did so because the river had been posted for no fishing until July 15.
According to the story, the Ranger “asked them if they could not read printed English and was informed by one o f the men n the party that the notices were mistakes, that only the headwaters of the Duchesne River and of Rock Creek were mean to be closed.”
Still, the Ranger arrested the men and forced them to accompany him to the nearest ranger station. There, “he was surprised to hear Governor Maybe call up the state game warden and ask about the notices.”
The state game warden admitted the notices were a mistake and the group was released.
However, the ranger was “complimented by the Governor for doing his duty,” the story stated.
This was NOT Governor Mabey’s only  arrest. The story stated he was arrested for speeding in Layton the previous week. He was released, as his identity was made known. The arresting officer was reportedly relieved of his duties.

                   The Great Salt Lake looking south to Antelope Island.

-“He fished the Salt Sea” was a Dec. 2, 1911 headline in the Standard. Not even April Fool’s a “Dr. Green” (no first name given) took a young man on a three-hour fishing expedition to the Great Salt Lake, and had the youngster fully expecting to catch a lot of fish.
He didn’t catch anything and even left a pole set up overnight to try and get some fish. The young man apparently left, thinking he was a bad fisherman.

 (-Originally published on-line and in print in the Ogden Standard-Examiner on Dec. 4-5, 2014 by Lynn Arave.)

-NOTE: The author, Lynn Arave, is available to speak to groups, clubs, classes or other organizations about Utah history at no charge. He can be contacted by email at:  

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