|Tolleston Indiana at the Turn of the 20th Century|
Site of cockfighting, bare knuckle boxing, and dogfighting
mad (n) = anger, fury (the yellow mad of Indiana)
fistic = of or related to boxing
knowledge-box = skull, head
bunch of fives = closed fist
caravansary = an inn with a courtyard to accommodate traveling caravans in eastern Europe
"a wumpus, a wow, and a wiot" refers to a joke from that era and means "a rumpus, a row, and a riot"
A Mob of Roughs Oragnize a Dog Fight at Tolleston for $250 a Side
How the Canines Were Put in Training for the Brutal Encounter.
Scenes and Incidents on the Bloody Battleground
--------The past week has been a marked one in the history of the State of Indiana. Events of absorbing interest have crowded upon one another with a rapidity that bewildered the staid and solemn rustics of the Hoosier State. The yellow mad of Indiana has been drenched with gore. Along her green and luxuriant turf have been stretched the manly forms of fistic professionals, whose knowledge-boxes came in collusion with a bunch of fives, disturbing the center of gravity, and studding the firmament with stars. The voice of the expiring rooster has been lifted in the upper halls of her proudest caravansaries, and in such numbers has that biped expired that every household in Indiana is rioting on rooster soup, and spring chickens are a glut in the markets of Indianapolis. And last, but most terrible of all
TWO CHICAGO BULL TERRIERShave been making a "wumpus, a wow, and a wiot" in one of her most peaceful villages to the discomfiture of all her law-abiding tax-payers, but to the infinite delight of a large number of little Hoosiers who watched the combat from afar instead of staying at home and conning their Sunday-school lessons, as the good little girls and boys of Illinois would have done.
This last event occurred yesterday at Tolleston, a few miles over the State line on the Pittsburg Road. The citizens of Indiana who are most interested in this recherche affair are given, in these columns, an opportunity of learning the full particulars just one week before they will appear in the papers of their own State.
THE MATCH WAS MADEjust a month ago yesterday. Mr. A Dinning was the proud possessor of a white terrier. Mr. Jonathan Hardtnutt (and if reports are correct, the gentleman does not belie his name) rejoiced in the ownership of a white and yellow ditto. Mr. Dinning's dog has been wont to play havoc among the rats of Bridgeport and the Hardtnutt canine has kept the rodents of the North Side well thinned out. Each gentleman was justly proud of his pup and felt perfectly confident that his own particular "dorg" could
SHAKE THE BARKout of any other canine that ever lived. This difference of opinion naturally led to warm dispute and it was finally arranged to settle the question of canine superiority on the bloody sands of Indiana; and the great contest was to take place on Saturday, April 11. So the dogs were put in training. Mr. Dinning's dog was put on spare diet to reduce him in flesh and bring him down to fighting weight. He was also hardened in muscle by being made to run his speediest for long distances. Mr. Hardtnutt pursued a different method with his dog. A wagon wheel was placed in the horizontal position, and covered with canvas; on this Rover was placed, and a rope, attached at one end to a post, encircled Rover's neck with the other end. A few inches beyond Rover's nose was tied a cat, alive and bristling. In his eager but unavailing attempts to cultivate an intimacy with that cat, Rover would travel the periphery of the wagon wheel, on a dead run, for hours at a time. The exercise was all that could be wished, and this plan was much less trouble to the trainers, as Rover needed no urging to make him do his "speedy utmost" to reach the coveted goal.
The month passed by and both dogs were in splendid condition, and abundantly able to make fiddle-strings of ordinary curs in a very short time
TO THE FIELD OF BATTLEYesterday morning a crowd of about fifty persons and two dogs boarded the express train and hied for the classic battle-ground of Tolleston, Ind. Rover and Tip were both fettered to their masters with a small bit of bed-cord, a wise precaution, as they occupied the same car, and smiled significantly at each other all the way.
The crowd, though small, was select. It comprised representative bridge-porters and delegates of the People's party from the North Division. It wasn't quite as "toney," more of the "unwashed" along; and fewer "brace men" and "cappers;" more flannel shirts and fewer paste diamonds and "loud" neckties. The most of the party were railway shovelers, and stock-tenders, and beer-slingers and other people in humble life; just the kind of folks that are most likely to see and appreciate the good points in a first-class dog fight.
The church spires of Tolleston were finally sighted, and the crowd debarked. A little to the right of the railway track they spied a spot of ground that was evidently designed for dog battles. Here they
STAKED OUT A RING,and put everything in readiness for the exhibition. The canines were then weighed, to ascertain if they pulled down the scales at the required fighting weight - thirty-eight pounds. Rover fell short just half a pound and as no means could be devised for increasing his weight excepting to stuff his stomach - bad policy, in view of the hard work he had before him - Rover's weight was declared to be the correct thing. Tip hadn't exercised on the wagon wheel which accounts for the fact that he was found to be a pound and a half overweight. Before the fight could be commenced, Tip's avoirdupois had to be reduced. The unfortunate canine was taken into the residence of a german beer vender, and there, on the best bed of the saloon-keeper, the process of thinning Tip commenced. He was wrapped up in sheets and covered in bed quilts, and rolled and squeezed and kneaded and sat upon for a full hour, until a pound and a half of sweat had been extracted from his carcass, and then he dutifully pulled down the scales at thirty-eight pounds only, as he ought to have done in the first place.
The Teutonic materfamilias, early in the stage of the labor over Tip, objected strenuously to the unhallowed use to which her couch and spotless linen were being devoted; but her objections were silenced by a promise of recompense, and the work of reducing Tip went on to completion.
While the dog was recovering breath and self-possession the crowd dined on black bread and Limberger at a Dutch grocery, and at 12:48 the two combatants were
LED INTO THE RINGEach owner handled his own dog. The honor of refereeing the match was conferred on Owen McClosky. Mr. Jones acted as judge for Dinning and Mr. Larson served Hardtnutt in that capacity. The noses of the animals were snubbed together for a few minutes, to make the canines feel sufficiently insulted, and then Messrs. Hardtnutt and Dinning, loosing the bed-cords, "let go the dogs of war." Rover fastened affectionately on Tip's left ear, and Tip gripped Rover firmly by the neck, and both "hung on like grim death." Then they let go for fresh grips, and fastened to each other wherever they happened to catch hold, and waltzed around the ring, and rolled over in the dirt, and all with such astounding rapidity, that the eager lookers-on couldn't tell which dog was which, and were at a loss to know which animal to bet on. Messrs. Dinning and Hardtnut, as handlers, were supposed to stand in the rear of their respective canines and encourage them by clapping their hands and urging them on. So the battle waged, and the
DOGS FED ON EACH OTHERfor an hour without any rest between bites. The crowd declared that it was a rum old dog fight, and well worth visiting Indiana to see. Mr. Hardtnutt's dog had the best of the battle from the start, and it was evident that he could bite harder and last longer than his antagonist. For exactly
AN HOUR AND TWO MINUTESthe fight waged without a pause, and then both canines let go by mutual consent, when their handnuts too them to their corners, sponged them off, treated them to whiskey, and gave them a few minutes' rest. Tip looked decidedly the worse for wear. His ears were ragged, his sleek coat was in tatters, and his peepers were nearly closed. In fact, he was as nearly eaten up as a dog could be and live, and he no longer held his tail defiantly erect as he did before the fight, and particularly before the sweating process. But Rover wasn't half whipped yet, and could evidently stand chewing a while longer.
SECOND ROUNDThe dogs were set at it again, but had fought only four minutes when Tip turned his back to the enemy and ingloriously fled. He would fight no longer, Mr. Dinning to the contrary, notwithstanding. And so the referee declared the battle ended, and decided that Rover was the best bull terrier in Chicago.
It may be well to remark, incidentally, that the fight was for a stake of $250 a side. As soon as the contest was ended Mr. Hardnut demanded the
MONEY FROM THE STAKE-HOLDERbut that worthy advised him to "hold himself," for eh wouldn't get the money until he reached Chicago again, for said stakeholder "was not such a —— fool as to take any money with him when he visited Indiana."
Tip was then allowed to lie down in a wood box and rest himself, and Rover was regaled with beefsteak and mashed potatoes.
A SIDE SHOWA very pleasing part of the afternoon's entertainment was yet to come. The Tribune reporter, while nosing around for a free lunch, discovered a peg-top, and amused the crowd for a whole hour by dexterously spinning it on the bottom of a stew-pan.
The "byes" returned on the evening train, declaring with great unanimity that between two dogs and one Tribune reporter they had a rare day's sport.
Daily Inter Ocean April 04, 1874