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The day book. (Chicago, Ill.) 1911-1917, December 09, 1913, Image 12

Image and text provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL

Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045487/1913-12-09/ed-1/seq-12/

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prefers his home to the caes and his
own babies to the squad of babes
usually found in the entourage of a
champion.
One of the best known and most
popular figures in Cleveland, 0., is
natty Johnny Kilbane, champion
featherweight boxer.
Many men and women who see the
little curly-haired wizard of the pad
ded gloves at the wheel of one of
his big touring cars can recall a com
ical sight of a few years ago, when
Johnny Kilbane was an A. D. T. boy.
Then a spindle-legged tad of 12,
Johnny used to plod along on a rick
ety old bicycle, pushing the pedals
only when they reached their highest
point, for the reason that he could
reach them at no other time.
For Johnny Kilbane, now enjoying
the wealth that has come to him
since he chmbed to the championship
over the head of Abe Attell, was as
poor as Job's turkey in the das when
he was hustling messages about the
streets of Ohio's first city.
Johnny's mother died "when.he was
a little fellow, and his father lost his
sight while employed in a foundry.
The boy lived with his grandmother,
over "under the' hill," a section of
Cleveland's west side, inhabited
chiefly by folk who came to the new
world from the land of the shamrock
and shadow.
When Kilbane had to get out and
hustle to help drive back the wolf,
his first employment was as messen
ger. His business instinct, develop
ing early, he purchased an old bicycle
for $3, when he saw boys who owned
wheels making more money than
those who had to hustle their mes
sages on foot.
Graduating as a messenger boy,
Johnny went to work as press feeder
in a job printing office, .and it was
there he almost lost the hand that
made him featherweight champion.
One morning, while feeding the
press, his right hand the same hand
that knocked out Joe Rivers and out-
punched jAtll was caught between
the rollers. Only the prompt action
of a fellow feeder, who stopped Kil
bane's press, saved Johnny's hand
from being crushed.
Kilbane's next job was as a dock
hand. The foreman of a crew, em
ployed near Kilbane's home, looked
over the slender .little chap and
growled that he didn't need children
for men's work but Johnny blarney
ed him into putting him to work, and
it was while juggling crates and bar
rels that the boy built up the phy
sique which has since carried him
through many a hard-fought battle.
Leaving the wharf gang, Kilbane
went to work as switchman, working
steadily until a lull in business result
ed in a lay-off and led to his career
as a boxer.
Jimmy Dunn, a boxer, was training
outside of the city for a match with
Phil Brock. Dunn spent one night
alone in his camp, -and then telephon
ed a frjend in the city to send some
one to camp-with him.
The friend turned away from the
telephone and the first boy he saw
was Kilbane, to whom he put the
proposition of going out to Dunn's
camp. Kilbane accepted, and there
opened the career in which he has
been .so successful.
( To Be Continued Tomorrow.)
o o -
WILFULLY IGNORANT
A native of Boston was showing a
British visitor the sights of the city.
As they were driving past Bunker
Hill monument, not wishing to make
any pointed referencee to the old
feud, the Boston gentleman merely
indicated the monument with his
monument with his thumb and said,
"Bunker Hill." The Englishman look
ed at the hill intently. "Who was
Mr. Bunker, and what did he do to
the hill?" he asked. "You don't un
derstand," said the Bostonian. "This
is where Warren fell." The English
man looked at the top of the tower
ing shaft. "Killed him, of course?"
he said inquiringly.

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