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Necktie Issue Stirs San Francisco's Butchertown in 1899


Well-Known Member
Oct 1, 2004
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From a post today at sfist.com

Haberdashery Issue Stirs Butchertown

Whether William Beckman and Thomas O'Leary quarreled over a love affair or over collars and neckties is a mooted question.

Beckman is a butcher employed in one of the many abattoirs of South San Francisco. A few months ago he married the former Mrs. O'Leary, and when O'Leary, after a three years absence, returned to town two weeks ago and found that his divorced wife had become Mrs. Beckman, there was trouble in Butchertown. It all resulted in the arrest of O'Leary on a charge of making threats against life, and the case came up yesterday in Police Judge Conlan's Court.

Beckman told of a long knife with which O'Leary threatened to perform an autopsy on (him). There was also a dispute, Beckman said, as to whether the wearing of collars and neckties was proper form in Butchertown.

Charles Butcher, a butcher, who gave his home as Butchertown, was the next witness. He had heard no threats against Beckman's life, but he remembered an incident of last Saturday, when O'Leary visited the slaughter-house where Beckman is employed and invited him to step outside. Butcher had also heard some talk of collars and neckties.

O'Leary took the stand and was asked if he had any longings for his divorced wife.

"You bet not", he replied.

As to the trouble, he said, it was all about collars and neckties. O'Leary does not wear those evidences of effete civilization. According to his story, Beckman had said to his acquaintances: "I don't like the style of O'Leary and I'm going to make him a present of a collar and a necktie." When O'Leary heard this, he went to Beckman and threatened to break the Beckman jaw if it was used in the utterance of further comments reflecting on the O'Leary disregard for things esthetic.

The former husband of Mrs. O'Leary admitted that he had trouble with her at Sixth and Howard streets about a week ago.

"Didn't she break an umbrella over your head?" asked Attorney Arthur Mack.

"No, she didn't." answered O'Leary, "but she hit me once; just slapped me on the wrist."

O'Leary denied having any desire to slay Beckman. All he wanted was the privilege of wearing soft shirts without neckties. Following this declaration he was instructed as to his constitutional rights and the case was dismissed.

San Francisco Chronicle -- November 24, 1899


Stylish Dinosaur
Spamminator Moderator
Mar 13, 2006
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Are they, like, Cruiser's and JLibourel's granpappies?

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