The "Main Street Gang," in front of the Farmers Hotel, ca. 1900 (left to right): Jack Dobell, Rose Thiessen, Lillian Thiessen, Myrtle Thiessen, John Thiessen, Howard Dobell, Bill Thiessen, Craven Barnhouse, Gus Schneider. None of these children died as a result of jump-rope related overexertion. Museum on Main collection
“COMMON HOUSEHOLD ITEM CAN KILL YOU,” that mainstay of the local news broadcast, has been around for a lot longer than you might think:
Pleasanton Times, 26 May 1898
DANGER LURKS IN ROPE JUMPING
The Sport Almost Causes the Death of Theresa Bernal
SKIPPED FOR NEARLY 100 TIMES
Prof. Donohue Has Repeatedly Warned the Children of the Danger
Theresa, the little daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Oscar Bernal, is seriously ill at her home as a result of jumping rope at the school house last Friday noon. For a time her life was despaired of, but medical skill has triumphed and she is now considered past the danger point.
Jumping rope has been the prevailing game at the school house among the young ladies, and many of them became unusually expert in the pastime. Miss Theresa was one of the leaders. She had frequently skipped over the rope for more than 100 times without stopping. Friday, she undertook to break her record. She had reached 60 jumps when a feeling of faintness came over her and she had to desist. Later she complained of a pain in the region of her heart and lungs.
It was not severe enough to keep her from her studies that afternoon. [But] when she reached her home [she became] rapidly worse and was taken with severe hemorrhages of the lungs. Medical aid was summoned and the little sufferer given relief. The physician states that the trouble was brought on by overexertion, and that the rope jumping was alone responsible.
Speaking of the case Professor Donohue, principal of the school, said:
"We know that rope jumping is a very dangerous pastime, but acting on the theory that forbidden fruit is always the sweetest, we have not prohibited it at the school, knowing that if we did the children would probably jump to excess at home. We have repeatedly warned them of the danger and now we will use Miss Bernal's case as an object lesson to emphasize the importance of the warning.
"It is not so very long ago that a little girl at Irvington had a similar experience, only she was less fortunate. Her heart was affected and death ensued."