Originally posted 2016-11-09 12:29:50. Republished by Blog Post Promoter
Following Donald Trump’s election to the U.S. Presidency, it may be useful to look into the past to see what may happen. There you will find Joe Barker, the man I have called Pittsburgh’s Trump. ( A spoiler: It doesn’t end well for him.)
Let’s revisit the post written last year:
Some say Donald Trump is one of a kind. That may be, but he is not the first of his kind.
We had one here in Pittsburgh in the mid 1800s.
His name was Joe Barker. It was an appropriate name. He did a lot of barking.
It got him elected mayor, and it often landed him in jail.
In fact, he was stewing behind bars when voters amused themselves by writing in his name on the ballot. To the shock of political insiders, he was elected to the city’s highest office.
Let’s set the scene. It was 1849. Pittsburgh had a population of 36,000, many of them Irish. Stylish, bearded young men wore black stovepipe hats when they went clubbing, which was often and late.
On the street, or more often on a bridge that crossed the canal that ran through the city, these men frequently encountered Joe Barker. Like them, he was dressed in a black cape and donned a stovepipe hat. Unlike them, and other men of his era, he was clean shaven.
Out of his mouth came sermons on the ills of society. James Owens, a contractor who built many of the structures in the city at that time, included Barker in his memoirs.
“. . . Some said he was crazy, others said he was only a crank who wanted to make a living on the credulous people, and his main point was to escape hard work,” Owens wrote.
“Joe’s chief hobby was his hatred for the Catholics. Wherever he could draw a crowd he would harangue the people on his favorite topic. “ But, he had others.
Barker argued that people born in this country were better and due more consideration than those born outside of it. A large percentage of people in Pittsburgh were born overseas. That included Barker’s parents and his wife. Barker also preached that Pittsburgh police were corrupt stooges. He often was collared by them.
“When the boys of the town would see Joe . . .coming along Liberty Avenue they would follow, shouting and cheering, and soon Joe would reach the court house or cathedral, and mounting the steps would make a speech,” Owens recalled.
“Joe became more and more of a general nuisance, until finally the Catholics had him arrested for speaking from the cathedral steps. The judge sent him to jail for 30 days. When he got out, he was more reckless than ever, and also more noisy, so he was again arrested . . ..”
You may recall that when Donald Trump was told his Iowa poll numbers were falling, he called Iowa voters stupid. Barker would have approved.
When he was found guilty of blocking streets and using “indecent, lewd, and immoral language calculated to deprave the morals of the community,” Barker turned to the jury and the judge. He told them to go to Hell. (I can see Trump supporters laughing with approval.)
Judge Benjamin Patton then told Barker where to go. And, for how long.
He sentenced Barker to the County Prison for one year. He fined him $250. After that, it all became a big farce.