Tell me the tales that to me were so dear,
Long, long ago, long, long ago.
THOMAS HAYNES BAYLY: Old Song
Joseph Edward Badger, Jr., was born October 10, 1848, in Payson, Illinois. His father, Joseph E. Badger, Sr., came from a Massachusetts family of seafaring people, and his mother, Rachel Sarah Van Vorhees, from a Dutch family living in Pennsylvania. When Joseph, Jr., was a year old his parents moved to Quincy, Illinois, and in 1858 removed to Kansas, settling in Bellemont, Doniphan county, on November 10. This village was about six miles up the Missouri River from St. Joseph, and it was here that Joseph learned to swim and skate. As a boy he nearly lost his life by skating backwards and breaking through a hole in the ice, made by ice cutters. He was swept under but luckily came up beneath another hole and was rescued. Bellemont was a favorite starting point for freight outfits crossing the plains. Among the first to make the overland trip to California, after the discovery of gold there, were his father and two uncles, one of whom disappeared in that state. Joe's father originally ran a stove and hardware store in Bellemont, and the family lived upstairs. During the Pike's Peak excitement in 1859 Joe ran away from home, taking his pony, his dog, and a muzzle-loading shot gun, and joined a freight outfit going to Denver. Although only eleven years of age, he acted as hunter for the train. It is said that one day, surrounded by five Indians, and slightly wounded by two shots in the leg, he himself shot his first Indian.
Upon his return to Bellemont, some six months later, Joe went back to school part time, but he preferred hunting and camping, going away on his horse (a present from his brother-in-law, Captain Weston) for weeks at a time.
In the spring of 1864 Joe's father, now Chief Clerk in the Quartermaster's Department at Jefferson City, Missouri, and away from home most of the time, sold the Bellemont property, and the family moved to Jefferson City, where Joe was taken into the Quartermaster's office as a clerk without pay. In 1867, almost six feet tall although only 19 years of age, he was a student in Bryant's Business College in St. Joseph, Missouri, and very shortly thereafter began contributing sketches to the New York Weekly. His first long story for Beadle was Dime Novel No. 203, "The Masked Guide," published May 10, 1870; and thereafter, for a long time, he furnished them with a story every month or so. He also, about this time, established a reputation as a puzzler and puzzle solver,(1) signing his contributions "Beau K."
On May 1, 1878, he was married(2) to Miss Lotta Webb, of Frankfort, Kansas, and for a time thereafter worked in a wholesale house in St. Joseph. Later he lived in Frankfort, and when Beadle and Adams ceased buying stories, he started a cigar store and factory. After a few years, in the autumn of 1901, he moved his shop to Blue Rapids, Kansas. He ran his factory there only a few years; then his health failed after he had sustained a bad head injury from a fall which caused him to have severe headaches, and he bought an interest and later complete control of a billiard hall. The efforts of uplifters to ban billiard halls and bowling alleys from the town caused a falling off in business, and this, added to poor health, caused him to commit suicide in his pool hall in Blue Rapids by shooting himself through the heart with his double barreled shotgun,(3) January 30, 1909. He left a widow, two daughters, and one son.
Badger was one of the best of Beadle and Adams' authors and was among their last contributors, having written serials, short stories, and "libraries" for them for over twenty-five years. He once told Grissom that he never cared to write for any other publishers, although he did write some stories for the New York Ledger, Frank Leslie's Boys' and Girls' Weekly, the New York Weekly, and Saturday Night, and later published several cloth-bound books. Whitson(4) wrote of him:
Badger's writing methods were peculiar. He carefully plotted even his long Dime Libraries, chapter by chapter, before writing a word. Then he shut himself up in his house, denied himself to everyone, divided his time into "watches," wrote six hours and slept two, six hours more and slept two, six hours more and slept two, and completed a Dime Library of 80,000 words in a week; writing it ready for the printer. Then he took a rest, and perhaps went fishing or hunting, until he felt the call to write his next. He wrote his serials for the Banner Weekly in the same way. When Beadle & Adams failed(5) and the Libraries ended, he was not able to change his style. He tried. I had his picture showing him seated at his typewriter (an old-fashioned Caligraph, to which he was wedded) with a big pipe in his mouth. He said a picture without the pipe would not be natural, and he had it (the pipe) in his mouth about all the time. Failing in his attempts to write, he naturally drifted to running a tobacco shop.
Under the name "A. H. Post,"(6) Badger wrote his own adventures as a boy, interspersing a bit of fiction with considerable truth. The pen name, he told Whitson,(7) was just "A Hitching Post." Actually it was the name of one of his boyhood friends,(8) Andrew H. Post, who, with Badger and Al Harris, used to go hunting and fishing together. Post later became a blacksmith and Harris ran a grist mill. The "A. H. Post" story, however, was written by Badger.
Badger also wrote for Beadle under the pseudonyms "Harry Hazard" and "Ralph Roy," and for Street & Smith under the by-line "The author of 'Gentleman Joe'."(9) There is one story, "The Marked Miner," by Badger, which appeared under the name "Harry Hazelton" in No. 180 of the octavo edition of the Boy's Library. It had previously been published as by "Harry Hazard" in No. 39, Starr's American Novels. With this exception, stories published by Beadle under "Hazelton's" name,(10) were printed in 1866, while the first of Badger's stories did not appear until 1870, when he was 23 years old. It is quite apparent, therefore, that the name "Hazelton" was never intended to be attached to a Badger story, but was so printed owing to carelessness on the part of compositor or editor, and caused by the similarity of the first part of the two names. The reprints of the "Marked Miner," incorrectly published as by "Hazelton," are therefore listed below under Badger's name, together with the original story under the name of "Harry Hazard."
Dime Novels. Nos. 203, 210, 213, 218, 222, 227, 230, 238, 241, 243, 247, 250, 254, 261, 264, 270, 273, 276, 279, 283, 288, 292, 296, 301, 306, 311, 316, 321, 331, 172, 382, 408, 422, 425, 430, 432, 436, 439, 454, 480, 492, 620, 627
Saturday Journal. Nos. 167, 211, 255, 278, 296, 306, 335, 345, 391, 414, 448, 499, 521, 539, 546, 590
Beadle's Weekly. Nos, 16, 58, 82.
Banner Weekly. Nos. 202, 240, 270, 302, 318, 365, 389, 449, 461, 479, 503, 515, 533, 594, 606, 621, 633, 645, 658, 671, 683, 697, 711, 744
Pocket Novels. Nos. 59, 63, 98, 101, 106, 108, 116, 119, 125, 128, 130, 140, 143, 145, 183, 184, 185, 198, 224, 250
Twenty Cent Novels. Nos. 18, 29, 31
Dime Library. Nos. 28, 30, 40, 45, 47, 50, 64, 67, 71, 88, 105, 119, 127, 141, 154, 165, 170, 180, 197, 201, 233, 241, 249, 257, 283, 286, 292, 302, 317, 324, 331, 339, 345, 351, 355, 360, 367, 372, 379, 387, 395, 403, 409, 416, 426, 433, 438, 443, 450, 458, 466, 474, 488, 495, 504, 514, 527, 535, 541, 547, 555, 564, 576, 588, 597, 617, 627, 636, 645, 651, 661, 668, 675, 683, 693, 705, 712, 720, 744, 754, 763, 771, 780, 789, 796, 809, 815, 824, 837, 848, 855, 862, 870, 884, 898, 907, 918, 925, 928, 934, 937, 945, 947, 952, 957, 961, 966, 974, 981, 985, 993 ,997, 1002, 1005, 12020, 1074, 1037, 1040, 1047, 1043, 1044, 1058, 1077, 1084, 1090, 1094
Half-Dime Library. Nos. 2, 48, 65, 179, 136, 144, 151, 160, 168, 184, 203, 211, 370, 379, 335, 355, 449, 625, 677, 688, 698, 708, 718, 723, 729, 739, 748, 1121, 1136, 1164
Young New Yorker. Nos. 1, 10, 22
Boy's Library (quarto). Nos. 4, 25, 51, 62, 77, 102, 119
Boy's Library (octavo). Nos. 8, 12, 14, 31, 47, 67, 84, 112, 126, 142, 146, 157, 155, 178, 204, 266, 281, 297
Pocket Library. Nos. 73, 32, 49, 97, 706, 732, 739, 743, 154, 179, 186, 210, 273, 292, 308, 384, 390, 410, 440, 446, 453, 459, 473, 490
Under the pen name "Harry Hazard" were published:
Starr's American Novels. Nos. 36, 39, 44, 50, 54, 60,
62, 68, 71 ,80, 92, 98, 107, 118, 124, 130
Dime Novels. Nos. 333, 349, 357, 589, 590, 597, 619
Pocket Novels. Nos. 38, 43, 54, 66, 71, 77, 79, 88, 109, 120, 163, 252, 268
Half-Dime Library. Nos. 323, 329, 342
Boy's Library (octavo). Nos. 141, 160, 179, 195, 230, 247, 253, 262
Pocket Library. Nos. 305, 327, 452, 470
Under the pen name "A. H. Post" were published:
Boy's Library (quarto). Nos. 7, 29
Boy's Library (octavo). Nos. 9, 79
Pocket Library. No. 434
Under the pen name "Ralph Roy" the following novel was published:
Starr's American Novels. No. 125
By inadvertence, two titles were printed under the name "Harry Hazeltine" which were actually reprints of a novel by Badger, under the pen name "Harry Hazard." They are therefore given here among the rest of Badger's novels.
Boy's Library (octavo). No. 180
Pocket Library. No. 469
SPECIMEN OF JOSEPH E. BADGER JR.'S STYLE
"Round the Camp Fire; or, Snow-bound at 'Freeze-Out' Camp," Beadle's Boy's Library (quarto edition) No. 25, Chapter V, pp. 5-6.
"I hev knowed men that would ruther lie than to eat when they was hungry, but I never tuck no stock in sech onnat'ral critters. It's a p'izen bad practice, an' I'm sorry to see that some o' you boys is kinder got a leanin' that-a-way—'specially when you come back from a hunt whar you hain't had overly good luck.
"Ef you'd only take a fri'ndly warnin' an' pattern by me, you'd be better off, an' I'd be spared many a sleepless night which I lay awake all the time a-grievin' over the awful bounders which you told, to 'splain why you didn't kill what you'd orter done."
"We were talking about wolves," hastily interposed one of the party . . . evidently fancying that the veteran's discourse was taking a turn too personal to be interesting to all parties. "Did you ever know of a human being whom a mad wolf bit?"
"They's mighty few things I hain't see'd or beared tell of in my time. But of them all, I don't know of a more curiouser sarcumstance than what happened after old Hark Triplett was bit by a mad wolf which he had ondertook to p'izen.
"That was a long time ago, when I was a right smart chunk of a boy, livin' 'long o' my uncle down in old Mizzouri, at a little town called Bitter Crick. 'Twas a little place, as I said afore, but jest the liveliest town in seventeen States, 'cordin' to its size. The stage run through it every week, an' we hed a malishy comp'ny, an' a brass band, an' a spellin' school, an' a tavern, an' more dogs! Why it wasn't nothin' out o' the common to see as many as seventeen dog-fights all a-goin' to oncet!
"A mighty lively htde town, but old Hark Triplett bu'stit it wide open when he ondertook to p'izen a old he wolf that'd stolen a couple o' his sheep—clean bu'sted it up, an' now I don't reckon thar's a single stick or stone o' the hull city left!
"When Hark found out that it was a wolf that was makin' so free with his sheep, he 'lowed he'd putt a stop to the fun, an' takin' a chunk o' the mutton that the wolf had left, he scorched it over a fire, then tied it onto the eend of a trail-rope, mounted his mule an' sot off draggin' the bait ahind him, crossin' back an' forth atween his place an' the hills, so's to make sure the wolf, in comin' out after its supper that night, would cross the trail an' toiler it up ontel he found the bait.
"When tired o' this work, Hark got down an' wettin' the bait, sprinkled some strychnine over it, then went back home fer to git sleep enough so he could wake up airly enough to find the dead wolf afore anybody else, or they might try to cheat him out o' the pelt an' the bounty which the State offered fer wolf-scalps.
"He was up an' out afore day, but it chainced that the wolf hed overslept hisself, not findin' the bait ontel jest afore Hark come along.
"The pi'zen was just beginnin' to work, an' no sooner did Hark stick his nose through the bushes than the wolf up an' jumped onto the old man, takin' a piece o' meat clean out o' his shoulder.
"The old man was so s'prised an' skeered that he tumbled over an' over, yellin' like mad, an' afore he could think to use his gun, the wolf was gone, runnin' like the devil was at its tail, right down through the town.
"In course the dogs turned out, an' tackled the wolf an' made sech a fuss an' 'fernal rumpus that everybody in town turned out, most of 'em b'lievin' that the world was comin' to a eend. An' ef it wasn't, that skrimmage was fated to be the eend o' Bitter Crick, anyway!
"The wolf was mad, in course, fer p'izen al'ays makes 'em that-a-way, an' though a thousan' dogs, more or less, was piled onto him, he fit like a four-legged devil, an' bit or clawed 'most every pup in the hull kit an' boodle!
"Old Triplett come up, jest a-snortin', but he was too late to save even the skelp o' his wolf, which didn't sweeten his temper any, as you kin guess.
"It all come out how he'd p'izened the wolf, but that didn't skeer nobody then, fer they none on 'em knowed how the p'izen worked on critters; but they found out afore the week was over, fer old Triplett went stark ravin' mad from that wolf-bite!
"The fust anybody knowed was when his oldest gal come runnin' in one mornin' airly, sayin' her dad hed ett his old woman an' all the rest o' the young-'uns up, then made a break fer tall timber, runnin' on all fours an' a-growlin' an' a-snappin' an' a-kerryin' on fer all the world like a wolf, in nothin' but his shirt-flaps!
'"Course we all turned out to hunt him up, but even then nobody didn't think what was the matter, raaly, layin' it all onto the jim-jams, fer the old man soaked up whisky like a sponge, an' his credit was good fer a bar'l at any time.
"Even when we trailed him to a hole 'mongst the rocks, an' pulled him out by the heels, an' he pitched into us all, tooth an' toe-nails, frothin' at his mouth an' growlin' like a wolf, we didn't raaly think what was the matter, an' handled him as easy as we could, though every time he socked his teeth in, they held on ontel the mouthful o' cloth or flesh, or whatever it was, tore clean out. An' I reckon thar was nigh a dozen of the crowd that he drawed blood from afore we could master him.
"Even then, when he was tied hand an' foot, he fit so desprit that we couldn't tote him home, an' so sent fer a ox-sled that was the nighest thing in the haulin' line.
"But we hadn't much more'n got started fer town, when the old man bu'sted out in a new place, a-yowlin', snarlin', snappin', and yellin' so that the oxen was frightened so bad that they set up a cavortin' that eended only when they bu'sted thar yoke, an' then went off through the bresh, tail-on-eend, as though a million hornets was after 'em!
"Somebody went fer a waggin then, but afore it come the old man hed chawed a great holler in the nigh runner o' that sled, actin' so turribly ferocious that nobody dar' try to putt a gag into his mouth.
"He kept up sech a screechin' that the bosses wouldn't stan' when they did come, so we tuck them out, an' pitchin' the old man inside, hauled the waggin home ourselves.
"When we got thar, his mouth was full o' splinters which he chawed out o' the waggin-bed, but we throwed a thick blanket over his head, an' so manidged to git him into the house, tyin' him tight down to the bed afore we tuck the blanket off.
"But it all wasn't no use. He died that same day sufrerin' the most awfulest torments, an' from the way things went with him, some in town begun to think that thar was somethin' wuss the matter with him that only the jim-jams, though the idee was so turrible that nobody didn't dast speak right out.
"The truth come out soon enough—too soon fer them as hed bin bitten or scratched by old Triplett—fer the dogs that the wolf hed chawed begun all goin' mad together.
"The word spread like the small-pox, an' everybody as hed guns turned out an' tuck to killin every dog, big an little, old an young, he or she, that they could find.
"It was like the Fo'th of July or a pitched battle the way them old guns 'sploded!
'"Lection day wasn't nowhar 'longside them times in old Bitter Creek.
"Everybody that hedn't been hurt in ketchin' old Triplett got together, an' threatenin' to shoot down anybody that dared to raise a finger ag'inst it, tuck pris'ners all that hed bin marked by the old man durin' that skrimmage, an' tied 'em hand an' foot down to thar beds, to wait an' see ef thar was any signs o' thar goin' †mad like the old man hed done.
"When this was done, an' all the dogs killed, an' all the cows an' bosses an' hogs an' sech-like dumb animules, was fast tied or penned up, then the rest of us began to breathe more free like, thinkin' every danger was guarded ag'inst.
"An' so it would 'a' bin ef old Hark hed bin bit by a mad-dog, 'stead of a wolf what hed bin p'izened, but as it was, the fun was only commencin', nur it didn't stop ontel the hull town of Bitter Crick was swept away, an' the hull kentry 'round about fer miles an' miles was made a desert waste, whar green things never growed ag'in'.
'"Twas the very next day that a mighty cur'ous sight was see'd.
"An old ox-sled come a-r'arin' an' a-t'arin' down the middle o' town, wavin' its tongue from side to side, like it was the live tail to a powerful big sarpint, fastened onto the wrong eend! Nur they wasn't no oxen nur nothin' hitched onto it fer to make it go! 'Peared like the durned fool thing hed gone plum crazy an' sot out on a 'pendent rampage!
"It'd wheel and turn around an' chase people wharever it could see anybody, an' bang up ag'inst the doors when they run in an' shet 'em, jest as though it was a livin' thing.
"Everybody was scar't most to death, thinkin' thar must be witches to work in it, an' nobody knowed what it all meant ontel we hearn the rattle o' waggin-wheels, 'an saw the same waggin that old Triplett hed bin hauled home in, come jest a-boomin' 'round the corner, swingin' its tongue like the sled did; an' then we knowed what was up.
"Both the ox-sled an' the waggin hed gone mad 'cause old Triplet! hed bit 'em!
"We looked on out o' the upper winders, or from the house-tops, or in the trees, wharever we'd run to git out o' the way o' that p'izen sled, an' from thar we see'd a monstrous queer sight—ef we didn't, then I wouldn't say so!
'"Peared like them two old go-carts hed eyes fer to see with, sense they run straight at each other, r'arin' up on eend an' slashin' thar tongues together like mad, makin' more noise then a harrycane an' thunder-storm b'iled down into one!
"In natur, the sled was the clumsiest, but its tongue was the heaviest an' strongest, an' bimeby it broke the waggin tongue short off. But the old go-cart was gritty, an' didn't give up so easy, but would putt on a bulge an' run clean over the sled, givin' it a nasty kick as it passed, with each wheel, while the sled would h'ist its hind-end an' make the waggin bed rattle at every thump, then whirl around an' slosh its tongue ag'in the wheels as p'izen nasty as you please.
"But it was these under-kicks that won the battle fer the sled. I reckon they turned the waggin sick to its stummick; anyhow, the waggin purty soon turned tail an' run fer it, the old sled follerin' after, hot-foot, nur they didn't neither on 'em stop ontel they was clean out o' sight, an' riz the hill south o' town, an' pitched over it onto the rocks at the foot into the crick."
"And that ended the matter, I suppose?" asked Pretty Poll, sober as a deacon in meeting.
"So we all thought, but thar was whar we was badly fooled.
"We all run to the hill, an' saw that both sled an' waggin hed bin smashed into kindlin' wood, but true as I'm tellin' of ye, gentlemen, each one o' them bits o' wood was up an' a-fightin' each other like all possessed! An' not only that, but they was a-lammin' away at the trees an' stones, an' so chuck-full o' pizen was they that whatever they tetched went crazy-mad right off, the trees takin' to thrashin' each other like a harrycane was playin' through thar limbs, an' the rocks a-bumpin' each other ontel they cracked, an' even then the pieces went on a-fightin'! I tell you gentlemen, it was jest turrible fer to see an' hear!
"We knowed it was no use a-fightin' ag'inst sech luck, an' so we jest ketched up what critters we could, packin' onto them the most vallible things as lay handy, then lit out o' thar fer dear life never haltin' ontel we put the Mizzouri ahind us, fer we knowed them mad things'd never try to cross runnin' water."
"How did it turn out? What became of the people you left behind, tied to their beds?" asked Woodcock Andy.
"I never went back thar ag'in, but them as did, said they reckoned some o' them mad sticks must 'a' 'tacted the houses, or mebbe them as the ox-sled bumped ag'inst jest afore it tackled the waggin, went mad too an' shook around so lively that they scattered the fire what we left in the stoves an' fire-places, an' that spread an' spread ontel everythin' in an' around the town was burnt up. In course the trees that went mad, died, an' so was easy to burn.
"Anyhow, the hull place was made like a salt desert, an' never nothin' growed thar any more, all 'long of old dad Triplett ondertakin' to p'izen that wolf."
"Another short excerpt is given under Dime Library, no. 514, in Vol. I."
† Correction made as per Volume 3.
|1||Victory's fireside Visitor, III, October, 1876, and V, November, 1878. His nom de plume is also found in the puzzle department of Ballou's Monthly Magazine and of Our Boys and Girls and in The Golden Days Puzzlers' Directory, Philadelphia, 1886.|
|2||St. Joseph (Mo.) Gazette-Chronicle, May 2, 1878.|
|3||The Frankfort Daily Index, February 1, 1909.|
|4||In litteris, John H. Whitson to Ralph Adimari, July 11, 1932.|
|5||As a matter of fact, Beadle and Adams did not fail although the business dwindled in the later years or the firm.|
|6||A. H. Post, "The History of a 'Border Boy.' Brief Scenes from the Life of Joseph E. Badger, Jr.," No. 9, Boy's Library, octavo edition.|
Joseph E. Badger, Jr., "Round the Camp Fire; or, Snow-Bound at Freeze-Out Camp. A Tale of Roving Joe and his 'Hunter Pards'," No. 31, Boy's Library, octavo edition, p. 3. See also Boy's Library (quarto edition),
A. H. Post, "The Fortune-Hunter; or, Roving Joe as Miner, Cowboy, Trapper and Hunter," No. 19, Boy's Library, octavo edition, p. 29.
Also letters from Mrs. W. H. Thomas (Ray Badger) to me, July 20 and August 20, 1942.
|9||Personal communication from Mrs. W. H. Thomas.|
|10||Harry Hazelton had a short article in the Waverley Magazine, XI, November 3, 1855, when Badger was seven years old. There is no question, therefore, that Badger did not use the name "Harry Hazelton" as a pseudonym.|