Sunday, November 12, 2006

A Bad Way With Horses


Nov.12, 1907
Los Angeles

Half a block from his home at 1131 Westlake, John P. Shumway Jr. was badly injured when the carriage he was driving collided with the 11th Street trolley. Shumway was thrown about 20 feet, striking the pavement head-first, and the horse ran for the stable, pulling what was left of the smashed carriage, witnesses said.

Shumway was carried to his home, where his father, Dr. John P. Shumway, treated him for a concussion, bruises and cuts. A year later, the family filed a personal injury suit against the Los Angeles Railway, seeking $10,355 ($204,938.83), although The Times failed to report the outcome of the trial.

Whether Shumway was a troublesome sort before is unclear, but his problems continued. In 1909, he was arrested for passing a forged check for $25 at the Pioneer bar on North Main Street. He claimed that he was given the check for work he had performed and was freed when he promised to repay the money.

A few months later, he was fined $60 for cruelty to a horse. Witnesses said Shumway overloaded a three-horse truck in South Pasadena and “tried to drive up the hill near the ostrich farm.”

“The middle horse was a willing beast, but the others were not much good,” The Times said. “Because the middle horse was willing to work, he was beaten so hard to make him work harder that the blood ran down to his hoofs.”

The judge told him: “I only wish, young man, that you could be tied up to something impossible for you to haul and then beaten to make you haul it. It would do you good.”

And after that, the Shumways apparently disappear from the public record. I suppose you’re wondering why a man who had suffered a bad head injury was cashing a $25 ($494.78 USD 2005) check at a bar. At least I am. Was he a reckless, bad-tempered man all along, or did his personality change after the streetcar crash? Alas, we will never know. But the image of a horse being beaten so badly that blood ran down its legs is ugly indeed.

Zillow says the Shumway horse-beating HQ, built in 1894, is still standing.

Lmharnisch.com
Lmharnisch.blogspot.com

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