Monday Musings: My, How Things Have Changed (Or Not)

Excuse Enough To Swear

While researching a story for an unusual name (Purkaple), I came across an article in the Chanute Daily Tribune (19 Feb 1912).  It seems Dudley L. Purkaple of Denver was in a St. Joseph, Missouri restaurant when he spilled a hot cup of coffee in his lap.  He was arrested and hauled before a judge.  Was it illegal to spill hot coffee in one’s lap (ouch!)?

No, but it was illegal to swear.  Purkaple admitted to using bad language, “but, your honor, I could not help it.  I spilled a cup of steaming hot coffee all over my trousers and under the stress of great pain and much embarrassment I swore I begged the pardon of the restaurant man, but a policeman arrested me.”

This article is no longer available at this site.  However, it will be enhanced and published later in a future issue of Digging History Magazine, our new monthly digital publication available by individual purchase or subscription.  To see what the magazine is all about you can preview issues at our YouTube ChannelSubscriptions are affordable, safe and easy to purchase and the best deal for getting your “history fix” every month.

Leave a Comment