Welcome to my new website featuring free history stories! Every month I will post a true story from
my files—covering topics such as historical true crime, politically incorrect history, amusing glimpses
into the past, ghost tales, etc. A few will be samples from my published books, but most will be BRAND
NEW and PREVIOUSLY UNPUBLISHED ANYWHERE! Some are sections omitted from my books due to
space considerations; some were unprinted because they made publishers nervous; some were written
expressly for this website.
If you like the stories, links on this site will show you how to find my published works.
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* All illustrations, unless otherwise noted, by Kyle McQueen.
* Webmaster: Darren McQueen.
All material herein copyright 2012-2015 by Keven McQueen.
* Author photo: Denise Smith.
Story for April 2015: A Billion Paupers
What to do with dead paupers? Something must be done with them. In cities of the long ago, undertaking firms would put in bids for contracts to bury the impoverished dead. The business would go to the firm that put in the lowest bid.
In June 1899, Kansas City’s Health Board received four bids to perform this necessary service. Two undertakers offered to bury the indigent for $3.75 apiece plus a charge for ambulance service. Another firm promised to bury unclaimed corpses for $4.80 each and threw in free ambulance service. But the best offer came from an undertaking firm that bid to bury each corpse for only one billionth of a cent—plus free ambulance service! The generous firm would have to bury one billion bodies to earn one penny, and then they would not break even due to the free ambulance service. And, since Kansas City buried about ten paupers a month, it would take the mortician 100 million years to earn that penny.
What the low-bidding undertaker expected to get for his trouble other than a moral victory is not clear. “It is the board’s duty to secure the service at the cheapest rate,” deadpanned Mayor Jones.
[This is a snippet from my new book! You can order it from Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/Gothic-Strange-True-Tales-South/dp/1455620157/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1423651303&sr=1-1-fkmr0&keywords=kevin+mcqueen+gothic ]