Individual Author Record
Name: Dave BakkePen Name: None Genre: Fiction Born: N/A Sites:
Illinois ConnectionBakke lives in Springfield, Illinois and has written for Springfield, Illinois newspapers - The State-Journal Register and The Catholic Times.
Biographical and Professional InformationDave Bakke is a columnist and senior writer at the State Journal-Register in Springfield, Illinois. He was editor of the Catholic Times, the official newspaper of the Springfield diocese, from 1992 to 1998. With Dale Hamm, he is the author of The Last of the Market Hunters, available from Southern Illinois University Press.
- The Last of the Market Hunters, Southern Illinois University Press, 1996 - co-written with Dale Hamm
- God Knows His Name, The True Story of John Doe, Southern Illinois University Press, 2000
Titles At Your Library
The Last of the Market Hunters
ISBN: 0809320762 Southern Illinois University Press. 1996
Duck hunting has changed greatly since the days of unlimited duck kills, as the limit of fifty ducks a day established in 1902 has fallen to the present three. A legitimate hunter now, Dale Hamm learned the art of market hunting— taking waterfowl out of season and selling them to restaurants— from his father during the l920s. During the l930s and l940s, he kept his family alive by market hunting. At the peak of his career, Hamm poached every private hunting club along the Illinois River from Havana to Beardstown.
After market hunting died out, Hamm became a legendary and almost respected— albeit controversial— character on the Illinois backwaters. He was eventually invited to hunt on the same clubs from which he had once been chased at the point of a shotgun. He hunted with judges, sheriffs, and the head of undercover operations for the Illinois Department of Conservation, all of whom knew of his reputation. He passed on to these hunting partners a lifetime of outdoor knowledge gained from slogging through mud, falling through ice, hunting ducks at three o’ clock in the morning, dodging game wardens, and running the world’ s only floating tavern.
"I always said if anyone ever cut open one of us Hamms, all they’ d find was duck or fish," Hamm once said of his family. Now in his eighties, Hamm still carries a pellet from a shotgun in his chin to remind him of a shotgun blast that ricocheted off the water and into his face. Bakke notes that it is appropriate that a man who spent his life with a shotgun in his hands should carry a bit of buckshot wherever he goes.
Everyone who ever met Dale Hamm has a story about him. His own story is that of a one-of-a-kind character who, in his later years, used his considerable outdoor savvy to conserve the natural resources he once savaged. "His time and kind are gone," Bakke notes, "and there will never be another like him."
This book will be of interest to anyone who has ever been hunting— or who enjoys reading about colorful people and times that exist no more.
God Knows His Name: The True Story of John Doe No. 24
ISBN: 0809323273 Southern Illinois University Press. 2000
Police found John Doe No. 24 in the early morning hours of October 11, 1945, in Jacksonville, Illinois. Unable to communicate, the deaf and mute teenager was labeled “ feeble minded” and sentenced by a judge to the nightmarish jumble of the Lincoln State School and Colony in Jacksonville. He remained in the Illinois mental health care system for over thirty years and died at the Sharon Oaks Nursing Home in Peoria on November 28, 1993.
Deaf, mute, and later blind, the young black man survived institutionalized hell: beatings, hunger, overcrowding, and the dehumanizing treatment that characterized state institutions through the 1950s. In spite of his environment, he made friends, took on responsibilities, and developed a sense of humor. People who knew him found him remarkable.
Award-winning journalist Dave Bakke reconstructs the life of John Doe No. 24 through research into a half-century of the state mental health system, personal interviews with people who knew him at various points during his life, and sixteen black-and-white illustrations. After reading a story about John Doe in the New York Times, acclaimed singer-songwriter Mary Chapin Carpenter wrote and recorded “ John Doe No. 24” and purchased a headstone for his unmarked grave. She contributes a foreword to this book.
As death approached for the man known only as John Doe No. 24, his one-time nurse Donna Romine reflected sadly on his mystery. “ Ah, well,” she said, “ God knows his name.”