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  • Writer's pictureRochelle Gridley

Hopping a Freight

This blog started as a new addition to the Founders' Grove History website and then seemed to outgrow the boundaries of that site so that the two seemed incompatible. I am reposting all posts to this blog so that a history of the blog will continue seamlessly.

One hundred years ago today, four men from Bloomington went on a railway adventure that ended in the magistrate's court.

Hopping a freight was a common way of getting a free (and sometimes dangerous) ride back in the day of railway transportation. Jack London took part in a famous cross country freight hopping protest in the 1890's and wrote a book about his experience.

At the time of this incident, minor criminal infractions were tried by the Police Magistrate. Rolla Jones was a police magistrate who lived in Founders' Grove in the 30's and 40's.

But why g​o to Minonk?

In 1914 Bloomington had become a "dry" town, outlawing the sale of liquor and closing all the saloons or taverns in the city. This was the result of the Women's Suffrage Amendment to the Illinois constitution. Illinois is a "local option" state, meaning that localities can decide whether they will be "dry" or "wet." Once women in Illinois had the vote, they turned out for local elections on the question and cities all over Illinois became dry practically over night. Women's suffrage was blamed for the loss of the freedom to drink and the constitutionality of women's suffrage was attacked by liquor lovers everywhere.

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