Galesburg Register-Mail from Galesburg, Illinois on September 23, 1963 · Page 3
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Galesburg Register-Mail from Galesburg, Illinois · Page 3

Galesburg, Illinois
Issue Date:
Monday, September 23, 1963
Page 3
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Movie Recalls Conger's Role in Boxer War Golesburg Register-Moil, Golesburg, (If, , Monday, Sept. 23, f963 3 The scheduling of the movie "55 Days at Peking" at the Orpheum Theatre this week has caused local history buffs to recall the role played by a Galesburg man and his wife in the famous Boxer Rebellion in China during the late summer of 1900. The uprising is the subject of the movie. Edwin H. Conger, who was born near Galesburg and was graduated from Lombard College in 1862, was American minister to China when the Boxer Rebellion broke out. His wife, also a Galesburg native and a member of the Class of 1863 at Lombard, and their daughter Laura, were with him at the time of the uprising. Held off 20,000 Conger and other members of the foreign diplomatic corps were forced to take refuge in tile British legation during the siege by the Chinese, who were trying to drive all foreigners out of the country. During the 55 days from June 20 to Aug. 14, 1900, 480 men held off about 20,000 Chinese determined to dislodge the small band from' the fortified compound. Almost half of the foreigners who were defending their families, missionaries and a group of Christian Chinese, were killed or wounded during the conflict. Those who were still alive in the British compound were finally rescued by a relief force composed of Japanese, Russian, American and British troops. Tablet Presented Conger had charge of the negotiations with the Chinese following the successful rescue by the allied troops. The Chinese Christians, who were saved along with the foreigners from the wrath of the "Boxers," presented a massive Chinese tablet, measuring more than 5 feet by 8 feet, to Conger after their rescue. Conger sent this tablet to Lombard College in March 1901, "as a souvenir of a memorable historic event in which a couple of her students' took part." After Lombard College closed its doors, the tablet was presented to Knox College in 1931. For many years, the unusual souvenir has been on display along the west wall of the lobby of the Knox Theatre. Composed of painted golden Chinese characters against a black background, the tablet is ringed by golden Chinese dragons in relief. "Reverently Presented" The Chinese inscription on the tablet bestowed upon Conger by the Chinese Christians translates as "Reverently presented to His Excellency Edwin H. Conger of the United States of America by the Chinese Christians of the American Board, American Presbyterians, American Methodist Episcopal, and London Missions of Pekin. He displays and makes TABLET REGISTERS GRATITUDE—This tablet, now on display in the Knox Theatre lobby, was presented by grateful Chinese Christians to Edwin H. Conger of Galesburg, who was U. S. Minister to China in 1900. and conducted negotiations which saved WHEN YOU'RE OUT TOSHOP MAKE A COFFEE STOP AT SCANDIA BAKERY & LUNCH Edwin H. Conger manifest his love of virtue and moral excellence." In a letter accompanying the gift to Lombard, Conger said the tablet was given to him by all the Protestant Chinese Christians "who were with us throughout the memorable siege" as an expression "of their gratitude for my feeble efforts toward their salvation during the crucial time of the Boxer Rebellion." In Civil War After graduating from Lombard, Conger enlisted in the Civil War, leaving the ranks at war's end as a captain. He attended law school and practiced law briefly in Galesburg before moving to Iowa to engage in stock farming and banking. He served in several capacities as an Iowa public official before being elected to Congress in 1884, serving three terms. He was American minister to Brazil from 1890-93 and again in 1897-98. President McKinley sent him to China in 1898. Following his service in China, Conger was named ambassador to Mexico. He died in 1907. An account of their experiences in China was later published by Mrs. Conger under the title "Letters from China." Walter Lord in his book, "The Good Years," published in 1960, devoted a chapter to the Boxer Rebellion and tells the story of the roles of Mr. and Mrs. Conger in the historical event. Knoxites Involved Several missionaries who had received their education at Knox College were also in China at the time of the Boxer Rebellion. Although college records are incomplete in relation to the epi- September BEAUTY FEATURE $ m COLD WAVE PERMANENT choose any style you desire Chaldron Cream $^50 sode, it has been determined that at least, six missionaries with Knox training were in China in 1900. These included Mrs. Louisa Judson Doolittle, an 1863 Knox graduate, who was a member of the first missionary party to enter Hunan province. She was there from 1898 to 1903, having survived the Boxer uprising in which some missionaries were beheaded. Elsie M. Garretson, an 1875 graduate, was located in Foochow and was twice condemned to death, narrowly escaping the sentence each time. Rev. Junius Judson, who devoted 45 years of service to missionary work in China, was forced to flee his post temporarily in Hangchow during the rebellion. He attended Knox from 1871-73 and was a brother of Louisa Doolittle. Knox was also represented in China by twin sisters who were graduated in 1884, Grace and Gertrude Wyckoff, missionaries in the northern part of the country from 1887 to 1915. The two sisters endured the siege of Pekin in 1900, one serving as a cook and the other as a nurse after seeking safety with the other foreigners in the capital city of China. Another woman missionary, Frances Bates Patterson, a Knox graduate in 1896, was a teacher and missionary in Tientsin from 1898 to 1903, going through the siege of Tientsin and the early stages of the Boxer uprising. Miss Patterson and another young woman conducted 200 Chinese refugees to safety through the streets of Tientsin during a raging battle. Miss Garretson and the Wyckoff sisters were from Galesburg. Louisa Judson Doolittle and her brother Rev. Judson both came from Pontiac, Mich. Miss Patterson was from Chicago. Apply Material Arounxl Public Square Street Work started this morning on resurfacing the street around Public Square with bituminous concrete binder. Eschel R. Johnson, acting director of public works, said the project will be completed in about four weeks. Traffic will be slowed during the period, but plans do not call for closing the street, he reported. Today's work consisted mainly of patching broken pavement and replacing missing bricks. Gunther Construction Co. was the low bidder for the project and was awarded a $28,369 contract last week. The city had previously appropriated $31,000 for resurfacing the street around Public Square and another $4,000 if the council decided to chop off the corners, which, it was claimed, would have facilitated traffic. The council decided against rounding corners, but approved the resurfacing plan, which will be financed by motor fuel tax funds. READ THE CLASSIFIEDSI Personal Problems? Let Penny" Help. Write to "Penny" Care of Register-Mail "Penny" Appears Every Tuesday and Friday beleaguered group during Boxer Rebellion. Conger later presented the tablet to his alma mater, Lombard College, and the memento was subsequently transferred (o Knox. Judge Rejects Move to Force Issuance of Liquor License Decision on whether Mayor Robert P. Cabeen, as City of Galesburg liquor commissioner, should be compelled to issue retail liquor licenses to the DcLuxe Cafe and Depot Drug Sundry, Inc., both headed by Pete Spilios, now rests with the Illinois Liquor Control Commission. A move to obtain a Knox County Circuit Court writ of mandamus to force the mayor to issue the licenses was stymied in a ruling made today by Judge Gale A. Mathers. Mandamus is a legal move to enforce performance of an official duty. In a ruling, copies of which attorneys in the case received this morning, the judge granted the motion by attorneys for the commissioner to throw out the writ of mandamus petition filed by counsel for Spilios. Judge Mathers cited three reasons for his decision. First was that Spilios has not exhausted his administrative remedy, that is, through the state commission. Secondly, the judge said, a liquor license is generally considered by Illinois courts to be a privilege rather than a property right; if it is a privilege, applicants are not entitled to either a notice or hearing on reissuance as Spilios contended. In the third reason, the judge found that Spilios is entitled to some kind of a hearing before the Illinois Liquor Control Commission to determine whether the action taken by the mayor was abuse of the commissioner's discretion. Appealed in May An appeal to the state commission, it was related in the ruling, was filed May 27, with the request that the commission hold the appeal in abeyance until the court could determine the plain- 1 tiff's rights. The commission has scheduled a hearing in Springfield Sept. 30 on the appeal. Should the commission rule against him, Spilios then may seek an administrative review in circuit court. Such an action was taken in a previous case after the commission upheld the local commissioner's revocation of the two licenses. Judge Burton A. Roeth, presiding judge here at that time, ruled against the commission and in favor of Spilios in this action. On the basis of this ruling, Spilios continued liquor sales at the DeLuxe, but the mayor withheld issuance of a license. The license had expired at the time of the revocation action. The petition for mandamus was filed May 13, and a week later the mayor's motion was filed. On May 27, Spilios filed the appeal with the state commission and it is on this appeal that the Sept. 30 hearing has been set. Charges Mayor Arbitrary Spilios in the mandamus action contended that the local liquor commissioner's action was arbitrary and unreasonable, that no notice of hearing was given the plaintiff prior to the refusal, and that the notification by letter from Cabeen was not an appeal­ able order, and that the action taken was contrary to the state statutes. In his motion for dismissal of the writ petition, the mayor asserted that Spilios had not exhausted his administrative reme dies. Arguments were heard by Judge Mathers June 3. Corporation Counsel Dale F. Ruedig Jr. and City Atty. John Hanlon repre sented the mayor in the proceed' ings. Operates Without Permit With the exception of brief interruptions, during which be was ordered by authorities to discontinue liquor sales, Spilios has been operating his liquor business at the DeLuxe without a license under statutory provisions which permit a licensee to continue his business pending final outcome of appeals. The city has issued no license to him for the years starting May 1, 1961, 1962 and 1963, as litigation continued. The Depot Drug Sundry, Inc., has been inoperative for a considerable period of time. READ THE CLASSIFIEDS! TICKET Information The Black Hills PASSION PLAY Sept. 29 & 30 Call or Write Galesburg Register-Mail 140 S. Prairie 342-5161 W-9-11-63 SERVICE This includes: # Cleaning # Oiling Adjusting % Regulating ALL WORK GUARANTEED FOR 1 YEAR Chronograph* — Automatics — Special Purpose Movements end Very Busty Movements Excepted. FRANK JEWELERS 241 East Main Street Galesburg, If I. Ad Must Be Presented vita Watch. DESERT ROSE APPLE fraoiciscdJi eetf*theniudtf*e FRUIT STAR BURST TULIP TIMB SEPTEMBER 23-OCTOBER 5 TWO WEEKS ONLY OPEN \ STOCK Every pattern of famous Franciscan Earthenware in our stock included in this tremendous sale. Start your Franciscan service now at big savings! 16 piece starter set... $ 300 OFF I I I I 4 DINNERS ' 4 DESSERTS 4 CUPS 4 SAUCERS DESERT ROSE, and all other.decorated. $16.95 • SIERRA SAND. $14.95 • SNOW CREST. $11.95 OVEN SAFE/COLOR FAST 319 E. MAIN Phone 343-9154 (Next to Kline's)

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