The Pittsburgh Press from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on May 15, 1904 · Page 46
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The Pittsburgh Press from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania · Page 46

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Issue Date:
Sunday, May 15, 1904
Page 46
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V j 1 THE G'REATE'R VA2)A7 THESS MAGAJZIJVE Th E 0&&B& o"o( ;7 " 1 1- i rtf . - IX n t : ?! 1 : 1 V A mil I 17 14 ti ta? Wf V Jt J J Jt3 m K iii ni irf tHKB b. -w x pern BY CAROLYN PRESCOTT. PI Ui-ITICS moans flotng things for I your friends. Graft means do- lns things for yourself and for your pocket." years that this man has been mixed up In this game that he calls "politics." a game of which he is so fond that he prizes It above everything else but his record of honesty Alderman Toole' loves the First ward, and loves Pittsburg and loves to talk about It. but like many fine Irishmen, he is visibly embarrassM when talking to a strange woman. T think he thmieht l was going to talk politics, and I didn't blame him. for everybody knows how a politician hates to talk on his favorite subject with a person whom he thinks does not understand it. For this reason a shadow of a frown crossed his brow, but It soon disappeared and a Jolly smile took its rlace when I had explained that I really had not come to talk about politics, but Just to have him tell me something about himself, and why his neighbors in the First ward thought so much of him. Then he told me the difference between his kind of politics and graft, which difference I have already stated. Bitting at his desk In his office at the corner of Third avenue and Wood street. Alderman Toole looks every incn the man of public affairs. There "is the same look In his face, or not exactly a look, eithtr something more like a thadow that we are all familiar with In the faces of Lincoln and McKinley and the other public men who are known to have held their word and Influence as something above price. There was the same line of decision graven deeply in the forehead and about the mouth, and the same look of determ.-nation in the deep set, steely grey-blue eyes. Stephen John Toole attained his physical strength by playing healthy, boyish games with his chums down on the Foint. a part of the old city for which lie has formed such a fondness that he his steadily refused to be driven away from there, in spite of the encroachments of railroads, warehouse" anil noisy shops. "Of course a mc with a name like yours was not borw In this country." I said to him, by way of something to start the conversation. "I was born 43 years ago in New Orleans." he said, "but my parents were both from the "Ould Sod," from County Oalway. but they emigrated to this country when they were young, and I was only a little fellow crawling about when my father and mother came from New Orleans to Pittsburg." As he told me about that trip from New Orleans to Pittsburg he bared his left wrist and showed me a cruel scar that he carries with him as a memento of that trip. He told me of the little baby creeping about on the deck of the Mtesisippi steamboat, getting into all sorts of queer places, and baby-like, hunting out all the odd corners. Only for a moment hia mother s back was turned, hut in that moment the litle baby hand became caught between two steam pipes and tho tender flesh was seared and scorched before assistance came. "There was nothing with which to dress the wound but crude oil." said he. "and in those davi crude oil was believed to be a remedy for everything. The women on the steamer did everything thev could, but I was a pretty badly burned little felloe before 1 got over it. "As soon as my parents reached Pitts-' burg. he continued, "they settled down at what was then, and what Is stlil called the Point. Then of course it was a. very different Point from what it is today. "There I grew up. among the neighbor boys, joining in their play, going sometimes to the public schools, sometimes to the parochial schools. Of course as soon as I got big enough I went to work. I got a job folding papers. The kind of work that Is done by machinery nowadays. At that time it was done laboriously by hand. "Farly In the morning I would go up town, always before daylight, and would work away ln the office until school time. Then it was off to school and back again to another newspaper office ln the evening, where I would do the same thing until nearly dark. On Saturday evening It was ..l proud little Irish lad who took his money home to his mother and placed It all in her hands. All of us used to work hard .and we got lots of comfort out of the few dollars we got each week, compared with what ten times that much money would get no. "Then Later in llf as I grew older. I got other jobs, always bringing my money home to my mother, and alwavs wishing and hoping that my twenty-first birthday would hurry un and corr.e, so that I could cast my first vote, always itching to get into the game of politics. "Why," was my next question. "Well," was the answer, "because I thoue-ht I could do a lot for my friends if I ever had the chance, and because I hoped that I could do something to belter the conditions of my neighbors and the part of town ln which I lived. "But you have never made anything out of It." I suggested. "No," p.nswered he, but with a twinkle In his eye, "you can't tell how much I mieht have made out of It. If I had ben willing to take the other side of the game, the "graft" 6ide, instead of the political side." Stop and think, dear reader, what this means. Stephen John Toole holds the record of never having accepted a bribe. Steadfastly and persistently he has refused to sell out to grafters, franchise grabbers and keepers of dives or saloons. The man with no vices and no fads. Stephen John Toole neither smokes, chews, drinks, gambles nor swears. When he told me this, verifying what othevs had said of him. I thought, "What a lonesome, dull life the man must lead!" Because about all the men I know do some of these things, and many of them do them all and then some. The "Czar of the First ward" told me the reason that he did none of these things, and his reason was that he had found out that he could do very well without them. f "When I was a little fellow." he said. "I used to play and romp about with the beet of them. Swimming, climbing trees and playing the games with the other fellows, but when it came to swearing, smoking or playing hookey I left th-it for the other boys to do. partly because I had a contempt for the boys who did these things, and partly because I had promised my mother that I would not do them. So when I grew, to manhood 1 never found that I needed them. In fact. I found out that I could do a great deal better without them, and so I never did." Do you notice this tribute to Muscle and Mother? Stephen John Toole looks as though he might have been an athlete all his life. He looks as though he had played baseball ;ind raced and climbed trees (I suppose there were trees to climb, once upon a time in Plttshurgv. instead of smoking clgarets and reading dime novels. His mother had asked him not to do these things, and because It was her wlah, the boy heeded her advice. No wiser thing was ever said than that "the hand that rocks the cradle ruirs th world." Stephen John Toole has no fads. Wait, I am wrong. His one fad is baseball. An opening game does not really seem like an opening game unless Alderman Toole Is there, but of course there is a reason for this. Just as there se-ms a reason for evervthing that Alderman Toole does. Away back in the early 'I the man who is now the Czar of the First ward was then a baseball pitcher. When he toid me this I suppose I should have been wonderfully impressed, but as my early education concerning the great American game was neglected. I could only look wise and wait for him to make the next move. "Yes. I played with the Brooklyns when they were ln the American Association, before they were in the National league. I was a left-handed pitcher. It used to be the greatest pleasure I had ln life to come here and beat the Pittsburg boys In their own town." Now I could understand just how he felt about this, for I have felt the same way myself about some things, not basehall. however. This is the only fad that Stephen John Toole possesses. I have one question in my equipment that always seems to bring out a man's character, like a lawsuit, and bo I used It. Looking up at a picture of Chris Maj'e that hangs directly over his desk he said, "What would I do If I had lota of money? Well. I would do Just as that man up there did if I had lots of money. There was one of the best men that ever drew breath. Chris Magee did more for the city of Pittsburg than any man that ever lived. And if he had only lived a few years longer what he would have done for the city's advancement would have been more remarkable. I would spend my money Just as he spent it. for the newsboys and for the sick and destitute, not for lihrare and museums. I would build n hospital where anybody would be admitted, with-"ut regard to his creed or condition. I would build homes for the aged and help-leps. and would have all of my friends share my wealth wiih me. Hut, then, of course, that will never happen." That's where the big-hearted Irishman spoke. When I asked him what he would do if he were mayor of Ilttsburg. he laughed a long and hearty laugh, and it did seem queer to ubk the man a questing like that, when up to now the only political reward he has ever had. is to have been olectcd alderman of his ward, and to have served one term as city wharf master. "So you want to know what I would do if I was mayor?" and we both laughed at this he at the extravagance of the idi-a, and I well, because his laugh was catching. I guess. Well, in the first p'ce I would be mayor. That means that 1 would not let some other fellow or tsoine other class of fellows tell me what I should do. Not that 1 have any criticism to make of any of Pittsburg's mayors, past or present. I would do everything in my power to make Pittsburg one of the handsomest cities In the country. I would try to get rid of this smoke nuisance. I would commence by cutting down the hump. That is the main thing that Pittsburg needs. That hump must come down. This Is the only-way that the congestion can ever be taken from the business part of the city. "With the hump removed there Is no reason why Pittsburg's business should not go on out towards the Last Knd, and build tip that part of town. No one thing would do more for the advancement of the city than this." "It would co&t a lot of money." I hazarded. "Of course it would cost a lot of money but it would pay for itself a hundred times over." "There is no reason." -he continued looking out Info busy Wood street through' the window, "why Pittsburg should not be as great and as beautiful a city as Philadelphia, which to my mind is one of the handsomest cities in the country " Of course I had to ask him about his schooling, air the biography writers do that. Stephen John Toole believes that the Pittsburg public school system is lh best in the world. "All tho education I ever received J got rlirlit here in I'lttsburg." said lie. "and I have found It good enough so far. In my mind the I'lMslmrg schools cannot be bent, can be equalled by none ln the country. They tench brys and girls how the worlds work is done, and it is work that has made Pittsburg and AnerWa. Vie have the world's greatest workshop here, you know." Yes, I know, and I know that although Stephen John Toole may think that Philadelphia is prettier than Pittsburg, lie likes Pittsburg the best-as all of us do. Pittsburg mak. s thing and ui compllshes things. Philadelphia well, it ! jo.t Philadelphia. Chicago has a motto, "I will " if Piftsborg ever stops making things to keep Chicago and the rt of the cities going, and does one of th'se ornamental motto stunts, the Pittsburg motto will be "I do." That Is the H. .1. Toole side. "ro Rome-thing." That Is why he has seemed to have the votes of the First ward In his hands for so many years. They trnt him. His ward, the Point, has been girdled by railroads tmd more are coming but In all the municipal legislation there hat been no trace of double dealing by H J Toole. P.ailroads have never been able to buy him. For years battles for franchises, street end steam railways have raged over the Point, and S. J. Toole has com out of BlI of them with clean hands and a clean reputation. He has had countless opportunities to sell out to the railroad, traction, tas and other franchise interests, but he hasn't. The dive keepers and ottvr children of evil have tried to use him, but his hand has been always against them. We all know of men, well educated, popular, resrected; who have uccurnled to theg temptations of municipal politics, and have lost their reputations. The temptations are strong and the tempters generally seem to get most of the politicians they go after. But not Stephen J. Toole. In those 17 words Stephen John Toole, police magistrate and alderman, the political St. Anthony of the J-lrst ward, told me of his political creed, and pave me the kevnote of what First warders Bay is the cleanest character la municipal politics In ilttsbur today. I went down to his office to Interview him one day. In fact. I went twice, for the first time he was out of the city, down at Ilarrisburc attending the Democratic convention. The second time I was more lucky, for I found him. but I don"t think I would have been lucky this time If It had not rained so hard that the ball game was postponed. They told me It would be hard to rind him If there was a batl game on. To beKin with, as I sat In his offlce and talked with him, I smelt neither cigar, ripe nor whisky. The floor was innocent of the litter that 1 have found In the offices of the other politicians that I have Interviewed from time to time. The man before nie was clear-eved and muscular. The bold, vigorous swing of his body showed a man who had allowed nature full freedom in building up a frame. Ills eyes were clear and sparkling. Jtis face bore the ruggtxt stamp of the Irishman, for Stephen John Toole Is proud of his Irish parentage. Foth the man and his office breathe an atmosphere of business-like cleanliness. If It Is true that a dog can tell a mean man by instinct. I do not see why It should not also be true that a human being may be able to tell a mean man, which also means a dishonest man. by looktnir at him. and by talking to him. Of course we all know that a dishonest man most frequently succeeds by deceiving people In these respects, but there is that In the looks of Stephen John Toole that gives one the Impression that he Is neither mean rter dishonest. That Is the Impression that has pervaded the minds of the voters of the First district of the First ward for the many V (

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