1880s had sense of witticismPublished 5:21pm Thursday, August 9, 2012
Last week, we took a nostalgic stroll around the uptown area of Edwardsburg during the 1880s. This week, some excerpts from the Edwardsburg Argus of Jan. 26, 1882, just 130 years ago.
The owner and publisher of the Argus was M. Milton Edminston. He started the paper in 1874 and the newspapers were numbered by volume (for the year published since its beginning) and copy number (from the beginning).
The museum has a copy of the volume No. 4, No. 16, and Dr. John Sweetland was the publisher.
Here are two excerpts from that paper:
“The eightieth anniversary of the birth of Hiram Rogers was celebrated by a family reunion at this residence, Jan. 16th, 1882. All of the surviving children were present, as well as quite a number of grandchildren, except his daughter Martha was not there but wrote the following filial letter:
“My Dear Father-
Four-fifths of a century is numbered with the eternity past, and today our father is an octogenarian. Eighty years with their sunshine and shadow, their checkered scenes of joy and sorrow are recorded, and we are met today to do homage to this past; with grateful hearts to pray that our father’s loving, unselfish life may rest upon us, his children.
Reverently and with bowed heads would we say with one of old, bless me too, O my father.
Dear father, we come today with joy in our hearts and rejoicing that you have been spared to us so long; and when the record shall have become complete, the life work done, it seems to us your children, that no life will found which shall present purer motives and fewer mistakes than that of our father. Neither is our hearts saddened today by the thought of our broken home circle: for have not most of our dear ones already crossed the flood? Are not they, even low, safe in the heavenly home?
Some of them journeyed long with you on the way; others but a few short months and years, when the death angel came, and they await us on the “other side”. We who remain are all with you today; some of us in person, others in spirit; yet we are all there and while our words are few our hearts are full of thankfulness that we are permitted to celebrate this day, and most earnestly we pray the Father who has guided you thus far, to be with you even unto the journey’s end, and to make your last days the happiest and the best.
“Quite a number of presents were presented to our venerable neighbor and a very good time was had.”
Sounds to me more like a eulogy than a birthday wish.
And this was in the Adamsville News:
“Revs King and Fowler who have been holding meetings here for this past four weeks, have announced a recess until Thursday night, not on account of the lack of wood for there is some wood left; and by the way, the woodpile has been partially reconstructed quite recently. The Argus man say regenerate the people first and then reconstruct the woodpile. I am of the opinion that when the mercury is crawling down around zero, as it was last Sunday, that the regeneration of business would be pretty much of a failure unless we had wood to warm up the house beforehand. I don’t care to be called the ‘venerable maiden’ either. Do you ask why? No matter, the reason is obvious enough to anyone who understands human nature.
“A reunion of the Second Michigan Cavalry had been called to Charlotte, February 3.”
And in state news:
“Charles Smith’s cigar store in Port Huron, was robbed of $200 worth of cigars, Thursday night. As the robbery was committed within about 300 feet of the police headquarters, it is believed that the thieves intended to go there and steal a policemen but made a mistake in the house.”
As you can tell, the populace in the 1880s was not only verbose, but they also had a sense of witticism.
Tags: Jo-Ann Boepple