Sunday, June 19, 2016

James McCormick: Super-Vagabond, Eloise Alumnus

The Chelsea Tribune, September 25, 1917
My introduction to James McCormick, super-vagabond, came via a simple search for Eloise on the Chelsea Historical Newspaper site. Which is a free database and has provided me with many adverts for my Velvet Peanut Butter Jar blog. Anyway, the term super-vagabond piqued my interest and led me to research Mr. McCormick further.

"Old Jim" as he was known in Chelsea and the surrounding vicinity was quite the character. The elderly "cripple" was known to be unruly, foul-mouthed and a public nuisance that had fits of distemper. Hence, his frequent visits to the various poorhouses from Wayne to Jackson County.

The Chelsea Standard, July 24, 1913
 In 1909 he ran away from the Jackson County House to watch a circus parade:

The Chelsea Standard, June 24, 1909
As was ritual the Chelsea papers regularly announced his arrival in town.

The Chelsea Standard, July 24, 1913
No announcement was forthcoming in the spring of 1920. He arrived in town unceremoniously in April and slipped away into the cracks and crevices of town that he frequented. One such crack was a swamp on the outskirts of town on property owned by the Prendercast family. Old Jim had apparently tried to traverse the area while it was still semi-frozen over. It was a fatal mistake and the well-known tramp met his end as auspiciously as he had lived. It just took a bit longer for the town folk to learn of his latest and last folly.

The Chelsea Tribune, May 18, 1920

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