Aug. 8, 1900: Blame it on the watermelon

  • Blog Post by: Ben Welter
  • August 24, 2013 - 5:03 PM
One day a year, copy editors still working at newspapers in 2013 should be allowed to write headlines like this. And reporters should be allowed to write sentences like the last one in this Minneapolis Tribune report.


Peter Jurlizel Rushes Through the Street With His Intestines Exposed.
Claimed He Was Cutting a Watermelon, and the Knife Slipped.
Peter Jurlizel, a resident of “Polander Patch,” on the West Side, St. Paul, is at the City hospital, suffering from a severe cut in the abdomen. His condition is considered critical.
His wife is locked up in a cell in the Central police station, charged with assault. However, the police are somewhat at a loss to know whether or not an assault was really committed, and are holding Mrs. Jurlizel merely on suspicion.
At about 10:30 o’clock last night Jurlizel rushed into a drug store at Fairfield and Robert streets. The man was holding onto his stomach, which had been badly gashed, so badly, in fact, that his intestines were protruding through the wound. How he managed to walk is a mystery.
In answer to the druggist’s startled inquiries, he stated that his wound was the result of an accident. He claimed to have been cutting a watermelon, when the knife suddenly slipped, and cut his abdomen open. It was a fearful gash that he exposed.
The city ambulance was called, and he was at once removed to the City hospital. There he said his wife had cut him. This statement was sufficient to cause the arrest of the woman and one of three small children. The wife refuses to talk much about the matter, but says that it was an accident.
The doctors say that Jurlizel’s chances for living are about even.
Robert Street on St. Paul's West Side in about 1900. The details are hard to make out at this resolution, but I can see three beer signs, a team of horses, a two-car trolley and some kind of parade or march on the right side of the street. Can anyone guess what might have been going on here? (Image courtesy of

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