Dick the Crow: Professional Mourner (1903)

From the Barton County Democrat, Aug. 28, 1903:

He Has His Faults, But the Town Is Fond of Him.
     Alexander Lidnum, according to an Easton (Md.) letter to the Baltimore American, is the professor of a tame crow which is in his way a unique character. Dick, as he is called, notwithstanding his mischievous escapes and thieving atrocities, is a universal favorite throughout the town, and has hosts of warm friends. One of his favorite haunts is Spring Hill cemetery, which he visits daily. Charles Seymour, the keeper of the cemetery, is one of his warmest friends, but is, nevertheless, a victim of his mischievous pranks. He has stolen from Mr. Seymour numerous rules, pencils and other articles. One one occasion he took a pipe from the pocket of his coat, and on another a gold watch from the pocket of a man’s vest, which he had removed from his person and laid on one of the graves near by. Dick is also a professional mourner. He attends every funeral that takes place in Spring Hill, and, perching himself on the edge of the open grave, remains there until the funeral service is ended, or until the grave is entirely closed, when he wanders off to look for mischief.
     Another of his favorite places of visitation is the carriage shops of James A. Spence, where ‘Dick’ Thomas and James Dillon have to watch him constantly to prevent him from confiscating their paint brushes and numerous other small articles.
     Dick always pays friendly visits to George M. Wilson’s flour mill, but as yet has relieved Mr. Wilson of nothing more valuable than a lot of bugs in his wheat, which he was glad to get rid of.
     This crow is to be seen almost every morning perched somewhere along Dover street, watching very intently the work of laying new gas mains, and seems very much interested in the work. He also visits daily the site upon which the new national bank building is being erected, and from his apparent interest in and close watchfulness of the work as he struts around from one part of the building to the other one would think he was general superintendent of the construction thereof.
     The workmen have orders from the bank officials not to molest or injure him in any way. Recently he went out to Hickory Ridge farm, two miles from town, where William Rust resides, went in the house and picked a new stiff hat to pieces for that gentleman, besides tearing down a window blind and stealing a key.
     Dick is a very sensitive bird, and if anyone does anything to hurt him he never forgets it and will have nothing to do with him or go anywhere near him. When night begins to come on Dick will leave what he is doing and make for his home before dark.”