28 May 2010

Obituary--Walter S (Pabe) Dickinson

A sad story, with typical Mrs. Robertson detail. It is so sad how often, when life seems to be going so well, suddenly there is the Black Camel, kneeling at your door to take you for that last ride. (OK, I may have been reading too many Mrs. Robertson obituaries, now I am starting to sound like her.) This is the last in the series of official Mrs. Robertson obituaries although she may still pop up from time to time.

From the 21 January 1915 Fremont Times-Indicator:

Mrs Wm. Robertson, Correspondent

Mrs Mary Weaver received the sad intelligence last Wednesday that her nephew, Walter S. (Pabe) Dickinson, Orpheum performer was killed almost instantly in Kansas City when the heavy wooden canopy on the new Muhlback hotel that was erected to protect the people from the falling ricks, crashed to the ground without warning, killing two and injuring nine people. Mr. Dickinson was caught at the south end of the structure, as he was standing in front of the new Orpheum theater talking to the manager, who escaped injury. A heavy timber struck him on the head, fracturing his skull. He died on the way to the hospital. Walter S. Dickinson was a Hesperia lad who had his own way to make in life, being left an orphan at an early age. A few years ago he made the discovery that as an actor he had some talent, that as a Rube in plays he was a perfect actor. He cultivated his talent and became great. Mr Dickinson made his first appearance in Kansas City at the Empress theater, when he played on the Sullivan Elonsidine circuit, proving such a brilliant entertainer he was billed on Orpheum time two years ago, his act being considered one of the most clever rube acts on the stage today. At his opening performance at the Orpheum theater Saturday night in the role of an ex-justice of the peace, was one of the stars of the bill. In his "seedy" make-up he provoked laughter before speaking a word. Walter Dickinson was thirty nine years old and leaves a wife and lighter daughter. He was buried beside his mother and brother near Lincoln Neb. He had many friends in Hesperia, Fremont and Newaygo who will be sorry to learn of his untimely death, in the full flush of a brilliant career. The day before Mr. Dickinson was killed, he received a telegram from New York informing him he had been chosen comedian in the Schubert's new Winter Garden play and that a signed contract was on its way to him.

I have to wonder at Mrs. Robertson's methods. Did she carry a notebook with her constantly? Was she just on a large telephone party line and collect her news more surreptitiously? Since she knew so many people from teaching, did she just keep notes on people for use later? Was she someone whose arrival others noted with rolling of eyes and groans like Hyacinth Bucket, or was she a sweet old Aunt Bea type? I really enjoyed reading these old Mrs. Robertson obituaries and will definitely keep my eyes open for more.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Linda and Sandy - Congratulations! I am paying forward the Ancestor Approved Award and have chosen Cemetery Divas as a deserving recipients. You may pick up your award at: http://bit.ly/aMnDux


    Fondly, Cindy


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