Clipped From Hamilton Evening Journal

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 - H l attended interest u ThlM Day and Generation...
H l attended interest u ThlM Day and Generation How our Honorable and Celebrated Fellow Towiumaii Obtained HU xicknauie U Quite lutereit- Ing-Politii-n Wa> Not at Hie Bottom of it, Although Mr. Beckett Wm Coiinldera- bleof a Politician-An Argument About Water Led up to the Kveifti -Mr. Beckett pitched a Belligerent Opponent Into the Hydraulic and Col. John A. Cockerlll Completed the Work—Done so Smootbly That "OUy" Suggested Itftelf, and It has Been 1 hat Ever Since. ON. WILLIAM BECKETT has a celebrated nickname; it is "Oily.Bill." How he got it is a matter of local history that in this later day is quite interesting. The young men of today, who hear their granthers talk of "Oily Bill Beckett," at once imagine that it was on account of Mr, Beckett's aptness in politics that he came to be known by such a very suggestive title. Not so. The history of Mr. Beckett's nickname runs differently. Jim Imlay and Charley Miller used to be partners, once upon a time, and ran a mill along the hydraulic race where Bender Bros.' shop is now located. Mr. Beckett was connected in some manner with the hydraulic company and Imlay and Milkr rented water of the company. One day Miller, as the result of an examination, came to the conclusion that he wasn't getting a square deal in the matter of water power and he accordingly complained to Mr. Beckett. Mr. Beckett couldn't see it that way and tried:to convince Miller he was mistaken. Miller, however, though*, he knew his business and was confident that he was in the right. Well, the matter was m atatu ipm for some little time until one day the little difference of opinion waxed great until it became a big difference of opinion and it was evident to the friends of both parties that before long up SO.MBTHIXG WOULD nltOI'. true enough, something did for of anybody. of & last participate lodge 3. was L. Five acted take Installation given occasion John be J. the ualn p. The And drop. But now to branch off in another direction. On one never to be forgotten morning Mr. Beckett was crossing the bridge over the hydraulic on his way down town. Data is wanting that the honorable gentleman was engaged in thinking how best to foil the political ntentions ot such wicked demcc- a-.s as Job Owens and Sam Davidson and that .rowd, but it is dollars to dimes that he was. Miller was in the mill, and when he saw Mr. Beckett pass.it angered him, and he made for Mr. Beckett; quietly at first like unto an antelope which, tempted by the signal of the hunter, makes its way slowly. Later on, however, Miller made for Mr. Beckett like a bull after a red scarf. He stopped Beckett and commenced the old argument about water. Mr. Beckett was cool. Miller was not. Mr. Beckett can smile now as he signs the deed of sale for one of his lots in Workman's addition as he did then. It was an easy-going—my-dear-friend-I-assure-you- that-you-are-mistaken sort of.a smile,but its sweetness was wasted. To make a long story short Miller doubled up his fist and struck Beckett. To make that long story still shorter, Beckett rallied from the assault, caught hold of Miller where his }rsi:ns HI.-NG LOOSE and pitched him headlong into the hy- raulic. Miller was uninjured beyond a good wetting. He was satisfied; he hollowed "uuff," and never bothered Mr. Beckett afterward. Now just at the time of this fight, Col. John A. Cockerill, now America's greatest journalist, was editing the old Butler County DEMOCRAT, in this city, and he at once saw what splendid material there was in the scrap for a newspaper article. Both Beckett and Miller were prominent republicans and an account of the affair would be sure to please the democrats. So John wrote, and wrote, and wrote, and immortalized himself then and there. When some mutual friends of the belligerents asked John to keep it out of his paper,he sai4 "Gentlemen I wouldn't keep it out for *5,000," and he just kept on writing. That celebrated flght was reported in detail and not a thing was overlooked or omitted. Papers sold like hot cake?, so great was the demand. Cockerill alluded to Mr. Beckett as "Oily Bill" and to Mr. Miller as "Gouger Charley." In prize ring parlance such titles were correct. For instance we now have *The St. Joe Kid,' 'and the "Belfast Spider." and such names by which we designate our fighters. For the decidedly smooth manner in which Mr. Beckett handled Miller John alluded to him as "Oily" and the name has never left him. Col. Cockerill has not forgotten his Hamilton hcme and the incidents surrounding his story here, and he tells the above story as one of the bright spots of his gymnastic career in this city, and the fact that no influence, even in his early career, was able to suppress a genuine news Item. In telling this story Col. Cockerill laughs heartily as he recalls the efforts and infinence brought to bear nlf ut on him to "not to heir ol it."

Clipped from
  1. Hamilton Evening Journal,
  2. 13 Feb 1892, Sat,
  3. Page 4

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