Newspaper Nuggets: “Took Wrong Trunk” featuring Joseph T. Tourville

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Sunday, September 1, 1901, page 6




Well, He Opened the Trunk With an Ax, Found It Full of Lingerie and Answered an “Ad.”

It started when Grandpa Tourville decided last Wednesday to leave the home of his son, C. B. Tourville of 4719 Greer avenue, and go downtown to board.

Mr. Tourville, Sr., runs the engine of a shirt plant downtown. He understands packing a hot box better than filling a trunk.

Consequently, when he left his son’s home he grabbed the first trunk he saw sitting in the hall and sent it to the Bridge Hotel, where he was to board.

Wednesday night Mr. Tourville decided to go out in society and he bethought himself of his trunk and the white shirts within. But his key wouldn’t unlock the trunk.

Finally he called the hotel landlord to bring a hatchet. The trunk lid was pried and a great mass of white linen confronted Mr. Tourville.

He reached for a shirt and fetched forth a bisected white garment with small body and many ruffles.

“Great safety valves!” cried the old engineer.

He reached again into the linen pile and pulled out another garment.

“Holy smoke!” cried he: “if this is my shirt, the laces are misplaced.”

The mystery grew deeper and the lace pile larger with every plunge the astonished man made into the trunk. He sat down dumfounded as Bluebeard’s wife until the landlord came with an advertisement he had read in the Post-Dispatch that afternoon.

“Will the party who by mistake took our trunk of lingerie please return it,” said the advertisement. It was signed “O. B. T.”

“Humph!” Father Tourville said: “I’ve been trying to put on a lingerie all evening for a white shirt.”

He went straightway to the Post-Dispatch office and wrote this ad:

PERSONAL — O. B. T.: Can’t wear baby clothes or ladies’ underwear; call at Bridge hotel and receive the same. J. T. T.

“O. B. T.” read the advertisement and went to get the trunk Thursday.

Joseph T. Tourville was born in St. Louis, MO in 1833. He was the husband of Susan Stout. He was a Civil War private in the Missouri 2nd Cavalry Regiment. He died in 1908.

Besides being funny, this article is very informative. I always wondered what kind of “engineer” he was as this was the occupation mentioned for him in census and city directories.

The Bridge Hotel was in St. Louis, at 700 N. 3rd Street.

nuggets red sample

2 thoughts on “Newspaper Nuggets: “Took Wrong Trunk” featuring Joseph T. Tourville

  1. “Great safety valves” must become my new expression. Joseph must have had a wonderful sense of humor and a good disposition. I enjoyed this post very much.

    • Thank you Wendy! Yes, it gives you a glimpse of his personality. 🙂

      I feel the Personal Ad clerk of the newspaper had much fun about this one and he HAD to know!

Comments are closed.