Thursday, December 30, 2010

1855 - We Wish You a Happy New Year

It seems to me that New Years Day was depressing even back in 1855 - some things don't seem to change. Thoughts?

We Wish You a Happy New Year.

We know how busy you are this morning - you can't stop to take a third cup, nor to eat half a breakfast; you are in a pet about your boots - in a stew about the barber - and you, good lady, have the parlor to put in order - and to dress - we'll hold you but a moment.

A happy New Year to you! A merry day with do reaction after it - a generous, social time, and no head-ache to-morrow. And if to-day is the happiest day of your life, may scores more just like it come out to meet you from the unrolling years of long and well-spent life.

The New Year's Days are like ships that we meet at sea. Ship ahoy! What cheer?  Don't pass them in sullenness and silence. Hail them. Exchange papers; make the occasion memorable. New Year's is the bow-light of our scudding year. Do not cover it up, nor leave it behind a bulwark. Light and lash it to the stay our hang it under the bow-sprit where it will be sure to do service.

Good people - do not tempt your visitors to drink to-day. Some will, if you temp them, whose drinking will prove fatal. Scores of characters are killed on New Year's day whose ghosts go wandering about the premises of tempters on all succeeding days of the year. Do not ticket any to haunt your house.

Better not drink as you call. Is it not sufficiently inspiriting to see so many fair faces and hear the conversation of such brilliant society? Don't be fooled into the presumption that wine sharpens your wit. It only quickens your perception of it, so that words which are silly enough to others, seem brilliant to you. Wine plays the mischief with a man, and it is affirmed by those who know, that a man always gets tipsy some time before he finds it out himself. Better, then, if you drink once, go home and get to bed.

When the calls of the day intermit, take an observation - hunt up your own whereabouts. Overhaul the weeks, months, years that are coiled up behind you. Have you realized the dreams of your youth? Have you reached the port you cleared for? Are you on the course you marked out for yourself? Are you on good soundings? Do you know the route? Are you reading as you wish to be reported?

Look through old diaries for the events of your life, as newspaper men have been doing by their files lately, for events of the year, and open new ones. Will you venture upon resolutions with the memory fresh of so many broken ones? At least you will be sure that a worthy aim is before you, - then wood up with "good resolutions," and if anything can be done now towards reaching it, don't wait for to-morrow before beginning.

January 1, 1855
The New York Times
New York, New York

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

1905 - Over the Seas to Wed, And Then Back Again

British Law Forbids Widower to Wed His Wife's Sister


Mrs. Herbert Allen of London Says It Was Worth the Rough Trip - To be Here Two Days.

An Englishman wished to marry his deceased wife's sister, but that being forbidden by British law, they went to France. There they found too much red tape around the French marriage certificate. Then they decided to journey from London to New York to be married. They acted on the decision, and at high noon yesterday became man and wife at the Broadway Central Hotel. To-morrow they will go back to London, their home - after two short days in the land of the free, and one of those a holiday.

The man is Herbert Allen, who is thirty-seven. She was Miss Charlotte M. Mead, and is twenty-nine years old. They got here on the New York on Sunday night. Mr. Allen had been a widower for about two years.

When the couple failed in France they decided to risk the fiercest storms of the Atlantic to reach America, and they got a good taste of about all that they risked.

All the way over - it was an eight-day passage - Miss Mead was ill, and only once was able to eat a Christian meal, but yesterday, after she was made Mrs. Allen, she said (with a bright if rather wan smile) that "it was worth it, every bit of it." The marriage was solemnized in one of the parlors of the Broadway Central. Frederick Lack stood up with the groom; the Rev. Dr. Henry Marsh Warren, hotel chaplain, united the courageous pair, so defiant of British tradition, so fearless in the face of Winter winds and waves, and so appreciative of the advantages of America.

By all accounts it was a handsome and happy occasion. The ceremony was followed by a collation, also described as handsome and happy. Mr. and Mrs. Allen will return to England tomorrow on the steamship Oceanic, spending no more than a bank holiday and one other day in the country.

The New York Times
New York, New York
February 14, 1905

Friday, December 17, 2010

1893 - Knights Templar Christmas Toast - New York Times

This really was published in the New York Times in December of 1893! How times have changed...

Toast to the Grand Master

Knights Templars to Drink it at High Noon To-Day

One Hundred Thousand Men Send Christmas Greeting to Their Chief - The Grand Master Makes a Reply in Which He Dwells Upon the Significance of the Birth of Christ - He Offers a Toast to the "Valiant Sir Knights."

PORTLAND, Me., Dec. 24. - The following toast was prepared for Christmas by the Grand Encampment Knights Templars:

To Our Most Eminent Grand Master, Hugh McCurdy:

A hundred thousand Knights Templars send greetings, wishing him a merry Christmas, with peace, health, and happiness.

The following is the full text of the response of the Grand Master:

Headquarters of the Grand Master of Knights Templars, United States of America.

CORUNNA, Mich., Dec. 25, 1893.

To all Knights Templars. Greeting:

Returning thanks to our Father in Heaven for the privilege which He has vouchsafed to us in permitting us again to assemble on this gladsome day around our mystic triangle, and with hearts strung in sweetest harmony with the new life of this gracious day we thank you for the toast you offer us.

Christmas, the day of days, the birthday of Him whose coming gave a new meaning to the words of your Christmas greeting - peace, health, and happiness. Of each of these, and of every word dear to man's heart, His life must forever stand as the true exponent. He defined words by living them. To know His definitions and to live them, this alone is life - this alone is Templarism.

To the true Templar the incarnation is the centre and heart of all worship, obedience, and morality - words which are only the names for peace, health and happiness. For Him at Bethlehem's cradle peace, health, and happiness had their birth. There everything that was old came to an end, everything that was new had its beginning. Thus Knights Templars must ever give to Christmas Day with its song of peace and good will to men a sovereign place. Immanuel, God with us, this is the essence of peace, health and happiness -- this the magic word which opens wide the doors to the grandest possibilities of human nature. God is with us as man with a  heart human in its sympathy and brotherhood. This new presence signified new knowledge, new hopes, new powers, new laws.

To us the Christ-child was born to enable each to reach the perfection for which he was made. My fraters, is this great truth to us a doctrine, a tradition, a philosophy, or is it a life as His life was? Are we so learning this truth that our own manhood is developing into a complete self? The more like Him we become, the more ourselves are we. WE are only truly manly when we share the completeness of His character.

From a hundred thousand Knights Templars, to whom the story of the cradle, the cross, the sepulchre, and the Mount of Ascension is as familiar as dear household words, from a hundred thousand manly men comes to me again the Christmas greeting of peace, health, and happiness.

It is the life men live that gives value to their wishes and words. Is this your good wish for me? It is not you who speak, it is the manger at Bethlehem speaking of life - larger, nobler, more divine, of character kingly, of service filled with its gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. A good wish has value only as it embodies the principles wrapped in the manger. It has thus its highest value when coming form men, who in their earthly pilgrimage are guided by the star in the East, as were the wise men of the Orient, bringing their best offering to the Christ-child. A life of peace, health, and happiness is the best wish that man can offer for his brother man. Such a life is a continual Christmas greeting. Such a life it is the aim of every Knight Templar to live. That this is your aim, Sir Knights, is to me your best wish for my merry Christmas, peace, health, and happiness.

"The greatest gift a hero leaves his race is to have been a hero."

The best wish for a brother's peace, health, and happiness is man's own peaceful, healthful, happy life.

"'Tis that compels the elements and wrings a human music from the indifferent air."

The best offering that the Son of man made for man was his peaceful, happy, healthful life. His was the most peaceful, most healthful, happiest life ever lived on earth. To live such a life, Sir Knights, is to wield your swords in defense of the Christian religion. If every man who wears the Christian armor will go forth from the cradle at Bethlehem thus to plead the cause of the Christ-child, whose love steals into the heart of men as the balm of flowers into the pulses of a Summer's evening, we shall soon see the enemies of man's peace, health, and happiness to put to flight. It is only under the benign influence of such warfare that men are to beat their swords into plowshares, their spears into pruning hooks, and to learn war no more.

We live in an age in which not only well wishing, but well doing is a colossal virtue, an age in which -

"It is the heart, and not the brain, That to the highest doth attain."

like the pilgrims in Dante, who climbed up a mountain on whose sides there was a mysterious music, ever growing sweeter. And thus, as we go on through life greeting one another each Christmas Day, we learn more and more the truth that the kingdom over which the heart is king is an ever expanding kingdom - the greatest kingdom upon earth. Earth's greatest gospel is man's love for his brother man. Neither ocean nor mountain, nor lapse of time can separate man from his fellows. Let us hasten to invade this kingdom and master it. It is a goodly land. As we go up to possess it, following in the footsteps of our divine Lord from His cradle to the Mount of His Ascension, we shall as faithful pilgrims hear that angel song of peace and good will to men ever growing sweeter, until at last we reach the height of all heights, the hope of all hopes, the joy of all joys - the Supreme God, in whose empire of boundless good will to men no faithful human heart can cherish to wish of peace, health, and happiness too blessed to be true.

"There, above the noise and danger,
Sweet Peace sits crowned with smiles,
And one born in a manger
Commands the beauteous files."

Sir Knights, I have the honor to propose this toast, and ask you to participate:

To the Valiant Sir Knights of the Nineteenth Century, One Hundred Thousand Strong:

Noble sons of illustrious ancestors, whose knightly lives shed increasing lustre upon a glorious past and illuminate the present with the inspiring hope of a brighter future.
HUGH M'CURDY, Grand Master.

These toasts are to be drunk by Sir Knights and friends and noon to-morrow.

The New York Times
New York, New York
25 December 1893

Saturday, December 11, 2010

1910 - Germany Enjoys a "Fat" Christmas

Year of Immense Prosperity Ending, and People are Spending Lavishly.


April-Like Drizzle in Berlin and Hardly a Flake of Snow in All the Empire - Bad for Hotels.

Special Cable to THE NEW YORK TIMES.
BERLIN, Dec. 24. - Germany is celebrating a "fat" Christmas. The Fatherland has rounded out another year of very great prosperity, and the Yuletide is characterized by corresponding generosity and good cheer.

The Christmas shopping has taken place on an extraordinarily lavish scale. The great stores in the Leipzigerstrasse and Unter-den-Linden have been overrun for a fortnight with throngs of men, women, and children with well-filled purses. It has been necessary for the police to intervene on numerous occasions to regulate the traffic int he streets and on the sidewalks. Every once in a while the big department stores had to be closed to the public in order to avoid dangerous overcrowding. Merchants with depleted shelves and salespeople with weary legs and arms look back to-night on one of the most strenuous holiday seasons in years.

Like the so-called Winter Germany has been enjoying for the last six weeks, the Christmas atmospheric conditions are abnormal. A merciless drizzle, which would do credit to April, has been falling for twenty-four hours, with every prospect of a drenched Santa Claus arriving later in the night.

There is hardly a flake of snow anywhere in the empire. The hotelkeepers of the great resorts in the Thuringian and Black Forests and the mountains are heartbroken, as throngs of fashionable tourists accustomed to spend the holiday week at Winter sports have canceled their reservations.

At what ought to be sundown tonight every good German family, of high or low degree, beginning with the Kaiser, will assemble around the Christmas tree of hoary tradition, sing the old-time Teutonic Yuletide song of "Stille Nacht," and then participate in an elaborate exchange of presents, many of which, in accordance with the German custom, will be presented in response to "wish lists," exchanged weeks ago.

It is the first time that the Crown Prince, who is touring India, has ever been missing from the imperial celebration at Potsdam, but his three sturdy baby boys will be on hand. Christmas time is the one period of the year when the restless Kaiser divorces himself entirely from affairs of the state and devotes his days and evenings exclusively to his family circle.

The New York Times
New York, New York
December 25, 1910

1894 - Christmas Crazy Town

A lot of this sounds like TODAY...

A Wild Rush of Shoppers from Morning Till Night.


The Native New-York Woman In Her Glory Yesterday - Streets and the Big Stores Crowded.

This holiday-making town went Christmas crazy yesterday. Everybody was either buying or selling something. Every man or woman you met - that is, every man and woman who looked happy - was carrying a bundle or two. The people without bundles of their own were mostly unfortunates who could be made happy by earning a nickel for carrying some one else's bundle or opening a carriage door.

For all shopping purposes it was Christmas Eve. The stores and streets were thronged with shoppers from morning till night. People who from force of necessity have left their Christmas buying until Monday will find pillaged counters and weary clerks.

The native New-York woman was in her glory yesterday. Her supremacy over her suburban sisters as a skillful pilot among multitudinous bargain counters and in the astute management of salesmen who can discover a troublesome customer at sight was obvious even to the most inexperienced man who followed at her heels. It is no use trying to temporize with the dry-goods salesman, or saleswoman, either, at Christmas time. They are masters of the situation, and they know it. It is only the thoroughgoing New-York shopped who can handle them. The motto of the experienced Christmas shopper is: "Get what you want, and get it quickly."

The weather was superb for people to be out of doors - and, judging from the condition of the streets, nobody had remained indoors. It was just cold enough to give people who had furs a chance to display them without appearing ostentatious, and not too cold for a woman without furs to appear at her best advantaged in a stunning tailor-made gown. It was just cold enough to compel the ladies to step along briskly and tinge their cheeks with the bloom of health.

As a matter of course, everybody turned into Broadway, especially in the afternoon. Put the average Saturday afternoon Broadway dress parade under the largest triple lens ever made, and you may form some idea of the way it looked yesterday. It was impossible to stop to speak to anybody. People who did not turn into the shops had to keep moving, and it was no easy matter to get in or out of the shops. But Broadway merely acted as a feeder for the general shopping district bounded by Ninth Street and Thirty-third Street. Sixth Avenue was as crowded as Broadway, while Twenty-third and Fourteenth Streets were simply jammed.

If anybody ever doubted that New-York women read the right papers to find out where to go for bargains, the shopping crowd of yesterday would have settled it. The throngs in Altman's, Stern's, Simpson' Crawford & Simpson's, O'Neill's, Lichtenstein's, Dainiell & Son's, and Hilton, Hughes & Co.'s were simply tremendous. Customers tumbled over one another to buy goods. Wagonload after wagonload of holiday purchases was sent off to the uptown districts. It was very late last night before all of them were delivered. It was almost impossible to get in or out of Vantine's. Judging from the way customers elbowed one another in Gunther's and Shayne's a great many people will go to church with new furs Christmas morning.

It would be interesting to know how much money passed over the counters in this city yesterday. When the bread-winning end of the family went home to dinner he was coaxed into accepting a half-hour's delay with good nature, and if he gave way easily under this pressure he was perhaps gently persuaded into putting out a little more money. It was no difficult matter to hide the bundles away over Sunday so that prowling little ones cannot get at them and tear the Santa Claus tradition into tatters.

The markets and stores where good things to eat and drink were disposed of did a thriving trade yesterday. It seemed as though everything was in the market if people only had the money to pay for it. The street "fakir" was in his element. He simply captured the town. He was uptown, downtown, and cross town, and it seemed as though he never before had such a variety of articles to sell. Take him at his word and you could purchase a gold watch and chain for ten cnets, and a real sable boa, with a head on it and glass eyes sticking out as natural as life, for a quarter. The innumerable jimcracks that seem to be invented simply to give the street "fakir" a chance are wonderful.

It was a fad a few years ago for society girls to keep a penny cabinet - that is, a cabinet containing all the articles it was possible to buy for a penny. If it were possible for a man in Brooklyn to have purchased a sample of every article the "fakirs" disposed of in this town yesterday for a nickel he would have to get a ferryboat to get them across the river. And everything seemed to sell. The weather was mild enough to induce one man to bring a load of canaries in wooden cages into Twenty-third Street and sell them at a dollar apiece. In a few hours his stock was gone.

The shoppers deserted the Broadway section in the evening, and the crowds massed in the avenues on the east and west sides where the working people live. There was a great sight to see in the streets in these districts last night. People there bargain and sell with all the keenness and eagerness that characterize their neighbors from the brownstone district. Most of them have to make a little money go a great way.

The shop windows on the east and west sides have their individualities. Some  of them would look very queer to Broadway shoppers. Americans who go abroad think it is a great thing to be taken to Petticoat Lane in London, or to the open markets of Paris on a Sunday morning. Right here in this city they may find a Saturday night scene equally interesting and unique. It is the open-air market in Ninth Avenue, above Twenty-eighth Street. Everything fit to sell is moved out of doors under the flare of naphtha lamps, and a multitude of people who bargain in nearly all languages under the sun are there to buy.

The New York Times
New York, New York
December 23, 1894

1897 - Too Much Joy Was Fatal

While Preparing a Christmas Tree for Her Children Mrs. Rice Fell Dead


Father Had Saved His Earnings for Six Months to Give His Children the First Tree They Had Ever Had.

"Mamma, the clock has stopped between 12 and 1 o'clock. Something is going to happen sure between now and New Year's," said little Frieda Rice to her mother on Christmas morning, just as Mrs. Rice was hanging a few holiday treasures on a small Christmas tree. Barely ten minutes later the mother was breathing her last and her twelve-year-old daughter stood over her, horror-stricken and trembling with fright, too bewildered to make any outcry and too much shocked for tears.

The woman was the wife of John Rice, a shoemaker at 608 East Sixteenth Street. In the cheerless home which she left so suddenly her husband and four little children were vainly struggling yesterday to get some cheer out of the holiday that had been reft [sic] of all its joy by the calamity.

The family occupy the ground floor of the dingy tenement house. Times had been hard in that district for several years, and only during the last six months had John Rice been able to patch and mend enough shoes to allow him to lay by a little store for the celebration of the Yuletide.

A Tree Promised.

This year, however, their parents had promised them that they should have a nice tree, with all the apples, nuts, and raisins they could eat. They would also have some nice playthings to show their friends. For a week they had been eagerly anticipating the joy that was to come and on Christmas Eve Mrs. Rice had put the three youngest to bed, keeping up only Frieda to help her decorate the tree with all the good things.

The husband closed his little shop about midnight. Then he went back into the little dining room and offered his services. The tree had cost him 50 cents, a bit sum according to his method of calculation, and it should be fitted up accordingly. But his wife would not have it. Her own hands should arrange the pretty things with which she was to surprise the children. She was overjoyed at the opportunity afforded her. It had been a long time since she could give them anything more than their absolute need, and she wanted all the pleasure of bestowing for herself.

"You have worked hard enough all day, John," she said. "You just go to bed and I'll fix these things myself. I feel so happy - so joyful. I haven't felt that way in years. I hope the children will like what we have bought them. Poor dears, they've never had a Christmas before, and if we have to live on oatmeal and potatoes for the next week, I mean to give them a good one this year."

John's eyes nearly overflowed. He, too, was happy. He would not mar the pleasure of his wife, and he meekly retired with a parting injunction to his wife not to exert herself too much, as she was in poor health. He was just crossing the threshold into the next room, a little stuff, dark bedroom, when little Frieda, looking up, saw the pendulum of the old-fashioned German clock on the wall quite still, the hands pointing to 12:30.

The German Tradition.

She had heard the old German tradition that when the clock stops between 12 and 1 on Christmas morning, something fearful is going to happen, and with a blanched face she looked up again to make sure that she was not mistaken. Then she called her mother's attention to it.

The mother looked up. "Yes," she said, "my dear, there is something going to happen to you or to me between now and New Year's. I hope it won't be anything very bad."

She was fastening a little tinsel ball on the Christmas tree. She was a heavy woman, and her back was resting against a sideboard. Suddenly she gasped. "Oh! I feel so bad!" she moaned, "but don't tell papa. He'll be scared, and he has worked so hard. Let him sleep."

Frieda was herself scared, though, and did call papa. He at once ran out, and was just in time to catch his wife as she reeled sideways toward the floor - dead. For a moment father and daughter looked at each other. Then the unfortunate man burst into sobs loud enough to wake the other children. They all ran out and threw themselves on their mother's body.

Rice ran out and called the nearest physician. "This is a case for the Coroner," said the doctor. "I can't do anything for her. The poor woman has died of heart failure. She was too happy, I suppose." The physician knew the past history of the grief-stricken family.

The New York Times
New York, New York
December 26, 1897

Friday, December 3, 2010

1876 Christmas

The postoffice will be opened on Christmas day from 9 to 10 a.m. and 12 to 1 p.m.

...Many of our villagers were busily engaged in removing the snow and ice from their sidewalks this morning.

...The snow fell all Friday afternoon and until late in the evening. The quantity is sufficient to make good sleighing, and every owner of a pair of runners and a piece of horse flesh is improving the file sleighing.

...Evergreens are in good demand for decoration purposes.

...If you want to make your wife a nice Christmas present go to Nearpass & Brother and buy one of the Singer Sewing Machines.

...Christmas makes a skip of one day this year. Last year it came on Saturday, but this being leap year, it gently glides over Sunday and occurs on Monday.

...Isn't it about time you commenced to draft the resolutions you will put in force in the forenoon of New Year's day and throw to the winds in the afternoon?

...The display of Holiday goods in most of our business places is very attractive just now. In the night-time the illuminated show-windows present a fine appearance.

...This is the weather when a fellow can go out walking with a girl, and pass an ice-cream saloon without having to take hints or be thought too mean for anything because he did not enter.

...To-day the Christmas shopping culminates. Santa Claus will lay in his last supplies, and prepare for his journey over the house tops and down the chimneys. We hope he has not forgotten anybody, no matter how poor and insignificant.

...If you have not already "set out" your Christmas tree in the back parlor and decorated the branches with the ingenious toy and tempting parcel, you have no time to waste. Gladden the hearts of the little ones, and their smile and good cheer will amply compensate you for the small outlay.

The Evening Gazette
Port Jervis, New York
Saturday, December 23, 1876

1894 - "Santa Claus will now have the right of way for two weeks or more."


In a little more than two weeks the Christian world will celebrate the greatest of all church festivals. Even those who give no thought to the calendar know that, because for some time past, they have been confronted upon every side with the evidences of the coming events. Extraordinary efforts are being made by the Baltimore merchants to meet the holiday trade, and the displays in the shop windows are the richest and rarest of all the year.

Holiday goods are to be seen on all sides in bewildering profusion. The styles in children's toys do not seem to vary much, except that they share in the process of evolution which them ores serious phases of life are undergoing. As education is gradually changing for mere theoretical, abstract learning to practical, concrete knowledge, so the playthings intended to amuse happy childhood are mostly imitations of utilitarian ideas. There is no end of wagons, building blocks, steam engines and miniature railroads with trains drawn by real locomotives. Extreme youth is beginning to wrestle with some intricate problems, and must emerge into maturer years with more accurate ideas about life.

A glace at those articles intended to beautify homes shows a steady advance in American art. Those hideous things which not so very long ago elicited smiles from strangers have disappeared almost entirely. Nearly all of what one sees now is really very attractive.

Of the volume of trade, however, that which can truthfully be said is not greatly encouraging. Comparisons with prosperous years show a falling off. The shopping streets, though full of life and bustle, are hardly as crowded as before the business depression came on. This is apparent even to a careless observer. Still, this cannot yet be taken as an infallible barometer. Occasionally the Christmas trade has a way of swelling out very suddenly, and making up in one week what had been lost during a prolonged season of dullness.

It is hoped that when the final returns are in both sellers and buyers will have ample reason to feel joyous over the results of holiday trade.

The Morning Herald
Baltimore, Maryland
December 8, 1894

Santa Claus - 1897

Santa Claus
From the Philadelphia Press

A society has been formed to demolish the Santa Claus myth. It ought to be christened "The Society to Rob Childhood of Its Chief Delight."

The New York Times
New York, New York
November 22, 1897

1867 - Who Is Santa Claus?

Who is Santa Claus? To the little ones this would seem a very foolish question indeed, - as if everybody did not know who Santa Claus is! And, most certainly, you had better not put it to that experienced and downright young philosopher of eleven last June, who has, somehow or other, left the pure faith of childhood, and now laughs like an infidel - a mere VOLTAIRE - a perfect Mephistopheles - when the thing is mentioned, and cries out, "Ah! I know who Santa Claus is! There he is!" - pointing an irreverent finger in the direction of the oldest person in the room - one never hitherto suspected of coming down the chimney on a cold Winter's night in December, wearing a long beard and bringing lots of things for children on his back or under his arm.

Turning away, then, from this "enfant terrible" who plumes himself on not being "such a baby now," we would offer the query to the "grown-ups" - as the little doll's-dressmaker calls them - who know that every question of folk-lore is of curious importance, since there is hardly anything of that sort, however childish, in the world, which is not derived from ideas or customs of remote antiquity. "Santa Claus" is an interesting archaism - carrying the mind agreeably backward to those times which have always such a charm for the critical investigations or poetic reveries of men. This cheerful Christmas legend was quite a new thing to most of us a few years ago - to those, at least, who got their ideas of such things from the literature of our own language. Santa Claus has come, - as everybody is aware, from Germany to the New World; and the curiosity of this matter is that in thus coming over the sea, he underwent a certain remarkable kind of transformation - a sort of sea-change. He was once honored in Deutchland or Germany, (for both these names have exactly the same meaning in the Celtic,) as a child, a fact which none of the German critics or philologers [sic] have condescended to notice, at least in any distinguishable way.

Santa Claus was one of the oldest ideas of the Celtic West in Pagan times, as he was of the Pagan East before. In Christian times he was still regarded with religious reverence, sitting, as he has sat for ages in Egypt and elsewhere, in the arms of his mother. Santa Claus was, in fact, the Child Jesus in the middle ages; and throughout that period the festive creed of Germany and all Celtic Europe was that he visited all family dwellings of good Christians on the eve of his anniversary, and brought with him gifts and blessings for the children. This beautiful tradition is still to be found lingering in Germany, though Santa Claus does not seem to be specially connected with it by name. The truth of this original belief is plainly enough indicated by the word "Claus," which in the Gothic or Ancient German, means "Child" and "Son." Santa Clause formerly meant the Holy Child.

It is not very difficult to see how the change of men's religious beliefs three or four hundred years ago changed the character of the legend. Those who had put away Catholic sentiment in religion, and wished to have their own of a more dignified sort, thought it too rude and simple a thing to make that Holy Child bring knick-knacks and sweetmeats to the children down the chimney, and so, by degrees, altered the old idea, making it genial, secular fancy in the person of a benevolent and jolly old man, such as the Germans and others have welcomed for many generations, and we in this country have generally recognized of late years. He is such a cheery and felicitous old fancy, that nobody would ever have thought of challenging him in any respect, but for the great mistake so long ago committed, of sending him about the world with that tell-tale Claus pinned on his back, as it were. He really should, himself, have remembered, with the rest of his recollections, that his name is interpreted in Schilter or Buxhorn, (we forget which,) and should have chosen another.

This statement, supported, as it is, by the old Christian traditions clinging round the present season of the year, will commend itself, perhaps, to the critics of old customs and old language. But "the rest of mankind" "don't see it," and, in reply to the Gothic lexicon, exclaim, in the words of Giles Scroggin's ghost, "that's no rule!" Santa Claus will still be the old man with the beard and the frosty face - "frosty, but kindly." And, indeed, very properly. The popular instinct - that is, in these, our modern times - was right in setting that image of the Child aside. It belong to a far profounder sentiment than that of the mere household game, pastime and festivity, and was inevitably displaced by a generation in whom the simple old beliefs and reverence of departed ages lived no longer. After all, it was lucky that Santa Claus was turned so very opportunely into an old man. The other idea could never have come down to such a matter-of-fact age as this; and our Christmas would have wanted the happiest genius of its festivity - the Santa Claus of the German vaterland.

The New York Times
New York, New York
December 25, 1867

Sunday, November 28, 2010

1949 - Santa Claus Gives Kids Extra Thrill

Real Plane Crash

GRAND MARAIS, Minn., Dec 17 - (AP) - The kids of this Lake Superior community got an extra thrill today when Santa Claus came to town by airplane. Old St. Nick cracked up.

About 500 persons, most of them children, cheered from the sidewalks of Main St as Santa's plane came in for a perfect landing right down the middle of the thorofare.

As the light two-seater plane taxied to complete the landing, it suddenly ground looped and crashed into the entrance of the town's movie theatre.

Santa - Harold Nelson of Grand Marais - stepped from the badly damaged plane unhurt. But the kids were more interested in the wreckage.

The Lima News
Lima, OH
18 Dec 1949

1910 - Governor Ablaze as Santa.

Bystanders’ Promptness Saves Dickerson, of Nevada, at Christmas Tree.
Special to The Washington Post.

Reno, Nev. Dec. 27. - Had it not been for prompt action by bystanders, the governor of Nevada would have been one of the victims of the Christmas tree. As it was Gov. Dickerson, in the temporary role of Santa Claus, at Carson City, on Saturday night, was slightly burned.

The governor, at the executive mansion, was robed in the conventional Santa Claus suit, with furs and robe, flowing whiskers, and cotton batting “snow,” and was distributing presents to his children and those of the neighbors. As he leaned over the tree to get a present, a small taper ignited the cotton on his cap and instantly there was a kindling of flame.

Those nearby snatched off the burning cloth and extinguished the flames before much damage was done. The governor is now waiting for his eyebrows and eyelashes to grow, and his face and ears are pretty sore, and the children have some doubt as to the authenticity of Santa Claus.

The Washington Post
Washington, DC
28 December 1910

1900 - A Man Out Shopping

To the Editor of The New York Times:

For the first time in many years I have had imposed upon me the responsibility of Christmas shopping, and which I regret to say has proved to be anything but complimentary to the women of this city. A more brazen, impudent, uncouth, ill-bred, and indecent specimen of womanhood has never before been on public exhibition, than those I came in contact with at ----'s. In walking from one department to another, I was pushed, shoved, and knocked about like a rubber ball, being nearly thrown upon the floor on one occasion and trampled upon. At the elevator I tried Chesterfieldian mannerisms by waiting until three elevators had filled, and then on trying to get on to the fourth, the rush act was tried, and when I stood my ground I was assailed by a storm of uncomplimentary epithets. At one department one of these impudent vixens actually snatched a piece of goods out of my hands, and then proceeded to knock me away from the counter by punches in the ribs with her elbow under full swing from a pair of big shoulders.

At No. 2 there was simply a mob of women pulling, hauling, and crowding, affording just the kind of opportunity sought by thieves and pickpockets. My watch was touched twice in going half way through the ground floor. On the ---- Street entrance the mod was even worse, making pedestrianism impossible. The only policeman in sight was one on the avenue at the crossing helping to swell the mob. Pickpockets and thieves had their own way. It occurred to me as well as to many others, whose expressions were public, that if the Captain of the police of this precinct was in the recent shake-up it would be well for the Chief to make another shake and get rid of him.

At No. 3, the crowd was largely from the country, consequently it was more orderly and decent, but at No. 4 it was similar to that at ----'s, besides some of the clerks showed more impudence than a grass-fed mule.

This experience, however, is well worth the expense and discomfort attending it, for it fairly demonstrated that a man has no rights which a woman respects in a department store, and therefore hereafter he cannot be expect to make Christmas presents. The only unfortunate coincidence in connection with it is that it has established a fact that the women of this city, for brazen effrontery, selfishness, and bad manners, are simply matchless and without a peer in any other of the cities of the world.

It would be well for the Committee of Fifteen, after reforming the slums, to extend their philanthropic movement to the higher classes and reform some of these women until they understand the common amenities due to the public, and especially in department stores.


The New York Times
New York, New York
December 22, 1900

1904 - About Christmas Shopping.

The stores will be crowded from now until Christmas and shoppers should train themselves to be patient. Before going out to shop look carefully over the columns of the MAIL and locate the places where you want to do your buying. This will save you time and money. Then if you find the clerks to be busy be patient in your waiting. Of course you will be in a hurry to complete your Christmas shopping, but remember that others are in the same frame of mind. Don't rush the clerks to fast. They have a great deal to do. In this way, you will be best served, though you may be a little delayed. Christmas shopping is growing year by year and the misfortune is that too many put it off until the last day. Be patient.

The Nevada Daily Mail
Nevada, Mo.
December 19, 1904

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Yes, this is an actual newspaper article from 1860 - unbelievable!

"A fortnight since, there was a very remarkable scene in a creek close by the sea at Duxbury, Mass., between Plymouth and Marshfield. A small sail boat in coming up the creek from the ocean came upon a drove of porpoises. Other boats joined the first and drove the sea-monsters up the creek into water so shallow, that they could not easily make their escape. Some of the party in the boats began to shoot at the porpoises. Others with guns from the shore immediately joined them, and soon there was a general slaughter with guns and knives. The battle raged some time, when the entire drove, 75 porpoises, old and young were killed. The largest porpoise weighed 800 pounds."

Date: September 07, 1860
Location: Connecticut
Paper: New London Daily Chronicle

Sunday, November 21, 2010


 A Woman Returns to Life While on a Dissecting Table.

SPRINGFIELD, Mass., Dec 10. - A strange story has come from Egremont, among the Berkshire hills, near the New-York line. The town and the surrounding villages are in great excitement.  The story runs that Estelle Newman, about 30 years old, died in Egremont in 1878, and, after the funeral service in the little Methodist church was buried in the town cemetery and forgotten. The sensation comes from the dying testimony of H. Worth Wright, in Connecticut, who is said to have confessed to his brother that he, being a student in the Albany Medical College, was present at the funeral with other students, lay in wait near the cemetery till the burial was over and the graveyard was deserted, and then helped disinter the body and carry it in a sack to the medical college. They at once went to work on it in the dissecting room. While on the table the body showed signs of life, and was resuscitated by the students. Finding the woman alive on their hands the authorities of the college had her taken to an insane asylum in Schoharie County, N. Y. This is the last that Wright is said to have known of her whereabouts. The Newman woman's grave will probably be opened to see what the story amounts to.

The New York Times
New York, New York
December 11, 1884

Friday, November 19, 2010

1900 - Rhode Island Turkey for the President

A Rhode Island Bird Picked Out for Thanksgiving at the White House

PROVIDENCE, R. I. The Westerly turkey king has picked out the turkey which it is expected will grace President McKinley's table at the White House on Thanksgiving Day. The turkey is a magnificent-looking gobbler and is now strutting around showing its pride in its 35 pounds of superiority. The bird was selected after a careful inspection of every flock in the neighborhood of Westerly and North Stonington.

The fame of the town of Westerly rests upon the fact that for years and years it has furnished the turkeys for the Thanksgiving Day dinners of the Presidents of the United States. The late Senator Anthony, of Rhode Island, first established the custom of sending a Rhode Island turkey to the President for Thanksgiving consumption, and he kept up the practice until his death. Then Nathan F. Dixon, a close friend of Senator Anthony, took up the work, and after his death the dealer through whom the turkeys had been ordered continued the custom in his own name.

Some handsome and toothsome birds have gone from Westerly to the White House, but tradition holds no record to equal the 38-pounder sent by Senator Anthony to President Grant. A picture of this bird is still preserved.

Dealers say that the supply of Rhode Island turkeys, which are declared to be the finest in the world, will be limited this year. The shipment will be about the same as last year, but ten years ago three times the present number were regularly marketed. The outlook for the Rhode Island turkey industry is said to be very dark and growing worse each year. Dealers cannot account for it all. In the spring the hatch is good, and the farmer and farmer's wife build castles in the air with the money that is coming in the fall. But castles crumble away as summer advances and the young turkeys die off, victims of cold, damp weather, skunks and other ills to which tender turkeys are heir.

The Reading Eagle
Reading, PA
Nov. 21, 1900

For more stories about Westerly and the ancestors who lived there, visit Westerly, Washington, Rhode Island

1907 - Thanksgiving - Don't Depend Entirely on God

Don't Depend Entirely on God.

A Colorado boy was visiting a cousin in New England about Thanksgiving time and observed the elaborate preparations being made for Thanksgiving. They had Thanksgiving in Colorado, but not on so grand a scale, and he inquired of his New England cousin the object of it all.

"Why, we thank God for the blessings of our crops."

"But you don't ask God for your crops, do you?" asked the Colorado boy.

"Yes, of course we do. Don't you?"

"No; we don't depend entirely on God for our crops. We irrigate."

The St. Petersburg, Fla. Independent
Dec. 21, 1907

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving! 1888 - Norwich, CT style!

 NO END OF FUN. How the Norwich, Conn.,  Boys Celebrate Thanksgiving.  
They Go About the Town Gathering Barrels, and Then After the Turkey is Eaten What a Thanksgiving Bonfire They Have.

ROAST turkey and fixin's!


Take a run around New England and ask all the boys you meet what they think of it. Whisper Thanksgiving in their ear and hear them howl. When you come to Norwich - that quaint Connecticut town - what will the boys tell you there!

"Roast turkey and fixin's," you will say, and the boys will look at you and grin. Then you go up to them softly and whisper Thanksgiving - and then:


That's what it is. Barrels. Turkey first and barrels afterward.

As early as the first day of October the Norwich boy begins to make plans for Thanksgiving day, and his first and central fancy turns to barrels. From that time on to the festival no man's barrel is safe in Norwich.

An evil spirit seems to possess it. If a boy passes it in the soberest style in the world, if he so much as casts one coquetting sidelong glance that way, instantly the barrel begins to dance and rattle, and if no one is watching and the youngster rubs up against it, it gives a sudden hop, topples over on its side and scurries away. Of course the boy has to follow it to kick it straight when it gets askew on its rumbling course and to keep it from prancing against pedestrians; and it invariably happens that the boy has to drive it into its lair before it will submit to government. There is little use of attempting to control a barrel after it has contracted the Thanksgiving fever, and the owner looks forward resignedly to its inevitable desertion from him. It looks very singular to a stranger coming into this town at this season of the year to see barrels rolling off in every direction, and the staid citizens skipping nimbly and good humoredly out of the way of the procession. He cannot account for the phenomenon.

Perhaps he is curious enough to try and find out. But the Norwich boy is up to snuff.

"Say, sonny," the stranger asks, "what's up! Where are you going with all these barrels?"

And the boy replies, innocently:
"Nothin's up, mister. The barrel don't b'long to nobody or nothin'. Found it loose up the street and run it in. Say, there, Jimmy, give her a lift. Let her go, Gallagher!"

And with a whoop the whole company are off, kicking the whirling things swiftly into the darkness of a side street.

These youngsters are systematic.

The work of collecting the booty is marked from the opening of the campaign to its finish by thorough discipline and organization and a hearty respect for the rights of each squad. First, all the boys in town array themselves into about a dozen independent brigades, and each force is duly empowered to look after the barrels in its own precinct, and an unwritten law that is at least 200 years old forbids the bands to trespass on territory not assigned to them. The largest squads are thus placed: One at Bean Hill, the ancestral home of President Cleveland, whose grandfather was a barrel burner; one at Norwich Town, two at the Falls, two at the West Side, one at Jail Hill, in the center of the city, one at Laurel Hill, one at Greenville, and the rest are scattered about in the suburbs. Each band has a hiding place for its collection, called the "Home Base," and to each it is assigned the hill on which the stacks are to be burned. The preliminary arrangements completed, the boys go to work with a will to get their barrels together.

Suppose they had to do this. How they would growl.

The custom of burning bonfires on Thanksgiving night is peculiar to this town, and its origin is lost in the obscurity of early colonial tradition. It was old when Benedict Arnold was a boy, and into the sport he entered with characteristic impetuosity and willfulness. It is mentioned in the first chronicles of Norwich; and Miss Culkins, a local historian, describes a fiery encounter between Benedict and a solemn constable who undertook to rob him of his barrel, in which Arnold stripped off his coat and dared the big man to fight. Many attempts have been made by local antiquarians to trace the custom to its source, but vainly; the only plausible explanation essays to connect it with a practice that prevailed in the hill towns of the Massachusetts colony of burning brush fires early in November to celebrate the miscarriage of the Guy Fawkes gunpowder plot. It was suspected that as Thanksgiving was appointed at that period at about Nov. 5 the custom attached itself to Thanksgiving, after its original intent was lost, and that it was imported into this town by the first settlers a little after the middle of the Seventeenth century.

But the Massachusetts rite differs importantly from the Norwich spirit in that brush was burned instead of barrel stacks. There is nothing unique about brush bonfires, which were common among the ancient Britons and Scots, but a barrel fire is an elaborate and startling creation, a product of the juvenile genius of ancient Norwich.

Boys, think of it. Think of hunting, hunting for days together, for barrels. Think of the work, and it takes work. But then, it's great fun, you say.

So it is.

To make a lofty and successful barrel bonfire demands native tact, talent and constructive abilities. The first thing to do is to get the pole about which the barrels are to be strung like giant beads, and this usually is cut and peeled a few days before the forthcoming ceremony. A slim, straight hickory, free from knots, and not less than fifty or sixty feet high is selected in the forest, and, after it has been trimmed and denuded of its bark, it is trailed into town at the heels of a dozen sturdy boys. On Thanksgiving day morning it is drawn to the apex of the hill on which it is to do duty, whereon scores of citizens have gathered to lend a hand in erecting the staff or furnish the necessary advisory remarks to the workers.

The barrels are quickly hung about the pole, and then comes the hard and delicate task of lifting it into the dug hole which has already been prepared for it. With long ropes and steadying guys, a hundred eager hands to help, the great hollow stack goes slowly up, the barrels creaking and rumbling loosely about its staff, and the pole is left swaying threateningly at the toiling pigmies at its base. At last it reaches the balancing point, slips easily into the cavity with a heavy muffled "kerplump," and the worst of the struggle is over. The loose earth about the rim of the hole is shoveled in and tamped solidly down, and the boys and spectators walk off six rods and inspect the structure. Next cans of kerosene are emptied over the bottom barrels; shavings, saturated with oil, are piled inside; a few parting pats and shakes bring refractory barrels into position, and make the funnel straight and symmetrical, and then everything is ready for the evening fun.

And what fun! The boys can hardly wait in patience for the coming of dusk. But it comes at just the right time.

It comes after the turkey is eaten. You know it's turkey first and barrels afterward. Poor fun it would be to watch a bonfire on an empty stomach. But think of stuffing yourself so full of turkey (it's allowable on Thanksgiving) till you almost feel as if you could gobble, and then going out and watching a nice big blaze on the hill. It usually comes about an hour and a half after dinner, when the lamps have hardly been lighted in the houses, the quiet, dusty street have barely grown gray in the obliterating twilight, and the four solemn faces of the big illuminated city hall clock glow like four dim moons through the tree tops. With a jubilant rush and yell the bands are off like the wind to the hilltops. Having reached the grabs each band forms in military array about its stack, the leader silently and with an air of conscious self importance advances to the bottom of the pile; he scratches a match on his trousers and applies the tiny torch tot he shavings, and ---

Gracious! Did you ever seen anything like it?

Instantly there is a flash as the oiled kindlings catch the flame; a great volume of dense black smoke belches up; then a magnificent gush of fire that reddens the whole hillside and the faces of the excited company wells up the tall column, and the conflagration is off. The combustion is furious, and the pillar of roaring flames, sparks and whirling smoke is a miniature cyclone on fire. The barrels writhe and twist, the staves gape asunder, and the bursting hoops leap out from the pile, as they come down, scatter sparks and glowing cinders on every side. The conflagration is too rapid to last long, and it is hardly two minutes after the match has been applied before the splendid pyre sinks from its soaring height a mass of shattered black embers, and the lurid brightness of the hillside gives place instantly to the impenetrable darkness. Barrel burning, though it is short lived, is the undiluted essence of intoxicating sport.

The Norwich girls have a similar though tamer kind of sport with which to taper off the day's pleasures. As fashion forbids them to roll barrels and burn stacks, they collect spools instead, which they string on wires, arranging them in fanciful designs, squares, circles, pyramids and names, saturate the creations with oil or turpentine, and meet at the house of the leader of the band and burn them. Some of the devices are very ingenious or beautiful, and they make a brilliant though unpretentious bonfire.

It's great, isn't it!

Painesville Telegraph
Painesville, Lake County, Ohio
Nov 29, 1888

For more stories about Norwich and the ancestors who lived there, visit Norwich, New London, Connecticut

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The First Canadian Novelist

Mr. J. M. Le Moine, the Canadian litterateur, says that "The History of Emily Montague," published in London by Dodsley, in 1769, was the earliest novel written in Canada, and Sillery, Quebec, where it was written, can therefore claim to be the cradle of Canadian literature. Frances Brooke (nee Frances Moore), authoress, was the wife of the Rev. John Brooke, military chaplain at Quebec. The heroine - the accomplished Emily Montague - discourses so eloquently on the charms of Canadian scenery and social amusements at Quebec, that several English families, it is said, sought in consequence a home on the shores of the St. Lawrence.

Of this first Canadian novelist our contemporary recalls an anecdote. The evening before she left England with her husband for Canada, she gave a farewell party. Miss Hannah More, Miss Seward, Mr. Keate, Dr. Johnson and Mr. Boswell were among the visitors. As Dr. Johnson was obliged to take his leave early, he rose, and, wishing her health and happiness, went seemingly away. In a few minutes a servant came to acquaint Mrs. Brooke that a gentleman in the parlor wished to speak with her. She accordingly went down stairs, and who should it be but Dr. Johnson! "Madame," said the Doctor, "I sent for you down stairs that I might kiss you, which I did not choose do do before so much company." - Canadian Gazette

Date: January 26, 1896
Location: Massachusetts
Paper: Worcester Daily Spy

For more stories about Sillery and the ancestors who lived there, visit Sillery, Quebec, Canada

1882 - Creative, but definitely NOT fun

A lumberman broke his leg in the Wisconsin woods, and desired to go to his home at Sorel, Canada, where he could receive good treatment. But Sorel was a thousand miles away, and he had only a few dollars. In this dilemma he resolved to travel cheaply as freight. He made a box six feet long, two feet wide and sixteen inches high, marked it "this side up with care," and had himself nailed up and shipped. Some wide cracks gave him air, and he took a long a supply of food and water. He got along very well, though not without discomforts, until he arrived in Montreal, where the box was set up on end, and the inmate left standing on his head. He had been three days on the journey, which the railroad officials enabled him to complete as a regular passenger.

Date: February 09, 1882
Location: Ohio
Paper: Plain Dealer

For more stories about Sorel and the ancestors who lived there, visit Sorel, Quebec, Canada

1858 - A very stupid game

Fatal Freak of a Boy 

In Middlesex, New York, on Wednesday afternoon, John R. Francisco, aged about fifteen years, went into a shed attached to his father's barn and suspended himself by the neck with a rope. He told some little children who were with him to run into the house as he was going to hang himself, and from this it is supposed that he did not intend to really commit suicide, but expected some one would come and release him. The father was nearly frantic with grief on finding his son dead.

Date: May 12, 1858
Location: Virginia
Paper: Alexandria Gazette

For more stories about Middlesex and the ancestors who lived there, visit Middlesex, New York

1870 - An absolutely awful way to die

Death by Falling into a Kettle of Boiling Fat

BOSTON, Oct. 11.- In Somerville, last evening, H. C. LINCOLN, of the firm of LINCOLN & CHAMBERLAIN, lard manufacturers, fell into a large kettle of boiling fat. He was immediately taken out and lived one hour.

The New York Times, New York, NY
12 Oct 1870

For more stories about Somerville and the ancestors who lived there, visit Somerville, Middlesex, Massachusetts

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

1869 - How Embarrassing is This?

A young man lately went in bathing at Lotbiniere, province of Quebec, placing his clothes upon what he supposed was a stone. It turned out toe be a seal basking in the sun, which was thus disturbed, and made for the water, with the young man's clothing.

Date: August 26, 1869
Location: New Hampshire
Paper: New Hampshire Sentinel

For more stories about Lotbiniere and the ancestors who lived there, visit Lotbinière, Québec, Canada

1892 - Germans not welcome

The Canadian town of Longueuil, it is announced has decided to prohibit any one speaking German from landing there, and keeps a fire-engine on duty to play hot water on any such intruder.

Date: October 06, 1892
Location: Louisiana
Paper: Times-Picayune

For more stories about Longueuil and the ancestors who lived there, visit Longueuil, Québec, Canada

1826 - You know you are having a REALLY bad day when...

From the Montreal Courant, of Sept. 2.
We are informed that one day last week, a Canadian man at L'Assomption, was mowing hay near the river side, when he saw a very large fish near the water's edge; he made a blow at it with his scythe (which was just whetted) and raised it above his head; it appears the handle turned, and coming in contact with his person, it severed his head from his body.

Date: September 08, 1826
Location: New York
Paper: Commercial Advertiser

For more stories about L'Assomption and the ancestors who lived there, visit L'Assomption, Québec, Canada

1902 - Find those old family bibles!

A  Massachusetts Man's Big Luck.

Gate Tender on Railroad to Get a Large Slice.

The Times Special Service.
WORCESTER, Mass., Saturday, June 7. - Family records expected daily from the parish priest at Lanoraie in Quebec are expected to establish the claim of Joseph A. Demars, a gate tender of the Boston & Albany Railroad to a share of the $8,000,000 which has been in possession of the city authorities of Cleveland, O., since 1864.

Mr. and Mrs. Demars, in case they are able to prove their claim, will have to share the fortune with the families of Mrs. Loiuse Caisse, Alfred Caisee, Henry Caisse and three sisters, and Mrs. Frank Belville.

Fiction never furnishes a stranger romance than that of the Caisse millions and the efforts of the Caisse family to prove their kinship to the mysterious real estate man who died in Cleveland nearly forty years ago.

Men and women have grown old in hope of eventually becoming wealthy, families have increased and multiplied until now, should the fortune be divided, a liberal estimate would give those having claims only about $300,000 each.

Family Came from Canada.

The family comes from Canada. So did Leonard Caisse, the multi-millionaire of Cleveland. After his death heirs were advertised for, and over 200 put in claims, but were unable to establish them.

Further proofs of the family of this millionaire have come to light which has caused the Cleveland authorities to issue another call for heirs to the millions to appear and put in their claims.

A dispatch from Middletown, N. Y., gives details of the death of owneres of real estate which constitutes the property. Pierre Bourdon, a real estate man of 1122A de Mountigny street and Joseph Prud'homme, a carpenter of 265 Plessis Street, Montreal, were grandsons of the brother of Leonard Caisse, who died at Sarah Scorskending, Huron County, Ohio, leaving to his sons, Absolon and Leonard, his fortune, which he made by speculating in Cleveland real estate when the city was young.

Proofs in an Old Bible

These two sons of the Canadian millionaire died intestate and without direct heirs, the last in 1880. Many have Americanized the name from Caisse to Case, and it was despaired of ever locating the rightful heirs until J. E. Durham of Huron County, Ohio, discovered the proofs.

He was demolishing an old barn on a newly acquired piece of property when he discovered in ruins and old Bible. The fly leaves of this book contained the genealogy of the millionaire's family in complete detail and in his handwriting.

From the details it was learned that a brother had lived in Lanoraie, a small town between Montreal and Quebec. The brother was a farmer, Antoine Caisse and was the heir to the property after the two sons died. He evidently never knew of the fortune left by his brother, and later by his nephews.

It is through their relationship with this Antoine Caisse that Prud'homme and Bourdon of Montreal expected to get the money, as they are the grandchildren of Antoine Caisse on the meternal [sic] side.

Mayor is Asked to Act.

These Montreal men have applied to the Mayor, asking him to inform the Mayor of Cleveland of their relationship to Antoine Caisse, and to assist them in getting the $8,000,000.

"This old Lanoraie farmer, Antoine Caisse," said Mr. Demars, "was my wife's father's uncle. I knew him well, as I was born in Lanoraie. My wife and all her people, with the exception of one brother, Camille, were born in this little town, too. There has been much talk over this property.

"We felt for years that we were the real descendants of the Canadian millionaire, but had nothing to prove it with more than the family name. About eighteen or twenty years ago the matter came up, but we could do nothing, and when I read this story I knew in a minute the necessary proofs had been found.

"This Antoine Caisse is the very link in the family which gives us the proof. We believed all the time that he should have had the money, but he could not establish a relationship, or did not try, and when my wife's people tried, they could not do it.

"The finding of the genealogy written by the millionaire furnishes just the proof we wanted."

Date: June 07, 1902
Location: Washington
Paper: Seattle Daily Times

20 Rivers Named "Black"

The Province of Quebec has nine "Black" Rivers in the counties of Abitibi, L'Islet, Drummond, Joliette, Charlevois, Portneuf, Bellechasse, Pontiac and in the Saquenay region. There are five Black Rivers in the Maritime Provinces, four in Ontario and one each in Manitoba and British Columbia.

Date: December 18, 1941
Location: Ohio
Paper: Plain Dealer

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Parents of 23 Have Ten Children!

New York Tribune.
Race suicide is not fashionable in Batiscan, a small town in the Province of Quebec. Edouard Jolicoeur, of Batiscan reached Montreal a few days ago with his wife and 10 children. The number is fairly large, but the fact that they are five pairs or twins and the parents are only 23 years old is stranger still.

Date: November 24, 1910
Location: Oregon
Paper: Oregonian

For more stories about Batiscan and the ancestors who lived there, visit Batiscan, Québec, Canada

Saturday, November 6, 2010

1828 - Nicely done, Mom...

"Who but a mother can conceive the depth of a mother's love? We learn from the Providence Journal, that a woman of Smithfield Rhode-Island, went to the well to draw water, with a young child in her arms, and while in the act, from some cause, the child slipped or sprung from her, and plunged into the well, which was about 30 feet deep. The mother immediately seized the well pole with which she descended a part of the distance, and then jumped down to the relief of her child, which was raised from the water and held in that position until the cries of the mother brought Mr. Joshua Arnold to her relief. Both the mother and child were taken from the well, without having received material injury." 

Date: October 15, 1828 
Location: Connecticut 
Paper: Middlesex Gazette

For more stories about Smithfield and the ancestors who lived there, visit Smithfield, Providence, Rhode Island

1848 - It Doesn't Pay To NOT Bet

"A man in Providence, Rhode Island, bet five dollars that he could eat a large basket of peaches in one hour. He was successful, having dispatched one hundred and fifty-two good sized peaches in fifty-two minutes." "Another man eat a basket full without betting and died in consequence - of the eating, and not the bet." 

Date: September 13, 1848 
Location: Massachusetts 
Paper: National Aegis

For more stories about Providence and the ancestors who lived there, visit Providence, Providence, Rhode Island

1881 - A Victory for the Yankees?

"At the Westerly quarries, Rhode Island, a single stone 150 feet long, ten feet wide and eight feet thick, weighing more than 1,000 tons, has been loosened from the ledge. This is a bigger stone that the monarchs of Egypt ever produced. The Yankees are ahead." 

Date: July 21, 1881 
Location: Indiana 
Paper: Indianapolis Sentinel

For more stories about Westerly and the ancestors who lived there, visit Westerly, Washington, Rhode Island

1873 Manilla Paper Convention

"At the convention of manufacturers of thin manilla paper, held at Brattleboro, Vermont, a nice little swindle was talked over and condemned. It originated in a discussion upon the practice of putting up paper with a less number than twenty-four sheets to the quire. It was found that quite a large amount of paper was ordered by the dealers at twenty and even sixteen sheets to the quire, and that the consequence was many bought and sold it supposing that they were getting a lawful ream of 480 sheets. It was voted 'to decline all future orders for short counts.'" 

Date: April 02, 1873 
Location: Indiana 
Paper: Indianapolis Sentinel

For more stories about Brattleboro and the ancestors who lived there, visit Brattleboro, Windham, Vermont

Politics? 1842

 "The inmates of the Insane Asylum at Brattleboro, Vermont, have commenced the publication of a weekly newspaper, called the Asylum Journal. - They have got out a 'crazy man's ticket' - the candidates selected, are from each of the great political parties. The Journal says, 'if we can unite the crazy ones of both parties we shall elect our candidates.'" 

Date: December 08, 1842 
Location: New York 
Paper: Jamestown Journal

For more stories about Brattleboro and the ancestors who lived there, visit Brattleboro, Windham, Vermont

Friday, November 5, 2010

1878 - Cause for Celebration?

"When a farmer in Hamilton county, New York, found that his wife had eloped with a tin-peddler, he went over and hired a band, bought a new suit of clothes and gave a dance which cost him sixty dollars. He said it was a good deal cheaper than burying her."

Date: May 16, 1878
Location: New Hampshire
Paper: New Hampshire Sentinel

Thursday, November 4, 2010

1871 ad

"A Brattleboro, Vermont, husband who had posted his wife took it all back. 'Having advertised my wife last week while under the influence of intoxicating drink and advice of others, I hereby give notice that said advertisement was without just cause or provocation, and is hereby retracted.'"

Date: August 04, 1871
Location: Ohio
Paper: Cincinnati Daily Enquirer

For more stories about Brattleboro and the ancestors who lived there, visit Brattleboro, Windham, Vermont

Where is Ethan Allen? - 1858

"There has been considerable excitement in Burlington, Vermont, for a few days past, on the subject of the removal of the remains of Gen. Ethan Allen. The ceremonies of laying the corner-stone of the monument ordered by the State have been deferred, and the authorities of the town and the committee of the monument have made thorough search, to the depth of six or eight feet, in all parts of the family lot not known to be occupied by the remains of other members of the family, where his monument stood, without finding the slightest indication of human remains."

Date: May 20, 1858
Location: Virginia
Paper: Alexandria Gazette

For more stories about Burlington and the ancestors who lived there, visit Burlington, Chittenden, Vermont

That had to hurt... - 1819

Middlebury, Vermont, Aug. 4.

"On Monday the 25th ult. about 2 o'clock, P. M. the house of Mr. john Hunt, in Shoreham, was struck by lightning, and the chimney and the upper part of the house considerably injured. The flash struck a young lady, who was in the upper part of the house, and ran down to her feet; and in its course, melted a string of gold beads which she had around her neck, burst her stockings and shoe, and set the lining of her shoe on fire. She was taken up perfectly senseless, in which situation she remained about ten hours, before she recovered. A Mrs. Cook, who was on a visit at the house, and who was standing near the door, with an infant in her arms, and another small child by her side, who was also knocked down, but was not materially injured - the children escaped unhurt."

Date: August 14, 1819
Location: Pennsylvania
Paper: Berks and Schuylkill Journal

For more stories about Middlebury and the ancestors who lived there, visit Middlebury, Addison, Vermont

1870 - A Kentucky Story

"Kentuckians have some queer notions of how great States are developed and made rich. The cities of Louisville, in that State, and Cincinnati, which is in the neighboring State of Ohio, indulge in a brisk rivalry for the lion's share of the South-Western trade. A very commendable rivalry, we say, and one which we would naturally suppose all rural Kentucky would be glad to encourage. But not so. Louisville has a railroad to the South-West which from the hour of its completion has never been able to carry all the freight offered it. A double track or another road is imperatively demanded; and as Louisville showed no disposition to build the double track, Cincinnati asked the Kentucky Legislature to let her build another road. But the Louisvillians (if we may so term, them meaning no offense) seem to think less of developing their own greatness than of retarding that of their rival, and so opposed in Legislature the bill for the Cincinnati road. And rural Kentucky actually voted against it! We can image no greater display of obtuseness than this instance affords in any of our country cousins. Cincinnati, not content with this refusal, has asked Congress to incorporate the road, and Kentucky (we trust) is to be improved and made rich against her own wishes."

Date: April 22, 1870
Location: New York
Paper: New York Herald-Tribune

1880 - Suffrage Protection

Chicago, Ill., March 12, 1880

Judge Blodgett rendered an interesting decision to-day in the nature of advice to the United States Commissioner upon an election point.

At the recent municipal election at Elgin, Ill., about seventy voters employed in the mild condensing works were notified by their superintendent to vote the no-license ticket. The license nominee thereupon applied to Commissioner Hoyne for a writ of arrest, who, being in doubt, referred the matter to Judge Blodgett, who to-day advised him that the United States Court, in a similar case, had held that the fifteenth amendment and Revised Statute 5, 507 contemplate the protection in the right of suffrage only of former slaves, and that free or white men do not come within the legal safeguards. The writ for arrest will therefore not issue.

New York Herald
New York, New York

March 13, 1880

1893 - Yellow Jack

Its Appearance at Pensacola, Fla., Officially Reported

PENSACOLA, Fla., Aug. 9. - The Escambia county board of health issued the following official paper: 'The board of health regrets to announce that two deaths have occurred in this city, that of Rev. F. C. Waite and Ellen Wood, both pronounced yellow fever. The houses have been isolated, the bedding and all clothing destroyed and all necessary precautions taken to prevent spreading of the fever.'

This created almost a panic and at least 1500 people left the city by tonight's trains.

Idaho Statesman

August 10, 1893

1856 - A Fowl Story

The New York Clipper contains an account, from a correspondent in Watertown, Conn., of a fight between a hawk and a hen. - The hawk seized one of the hen's chicks and made off with it, upon which the parent hen immediately took flight after the thief, which she overtook about 100 feet from terra firma, and gave him such a drubbing that he was glad to let fall the chick and escape with his life.

Charleston Mercury
Charleston, South Carolina
July 16, 1856

1862 - Avoiding the Civil War Draft

A man named Hoag, belonging to Sherman, Conn.,  purposely cut his hand with a scythe, to avoid being drafted. The wound bled profusely, and he shortly afterwards died.

San Francisco Bulletin
San Francisco, California
September 15, 1862

Stopping Time - 1875

A man in Shelton, Conn., bought a watch at an auction sale. He put it in his pantaloons pocket. When he got home he laid his pantaloons on the floor, and in the night his wife thought she heard a mouse in the room. She got up and reached for it, at last tracing it to the pantaloons, and with a stick pounded the watch all to pieces.

Lowell Daily Citizen and News
Lowell, Massachusetts

April 06, 1875

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

1912 - Acid in Holy Water Fatal

"Woman Found in Confessional Box at Meriden (Conn.) With Fatal Draught Near."

"Meriden, Conn., July 22. - The body of Miss Cora Dessureau, 30 years old, daughter of Joseph A. Dessureau, was found by the caretaker in a confessional box at St. Joseph's church. There was a glass near her containing what is supposed to have been a mixture of carbolic acid and holy water, and her lips were badly burned. The medical examiner said death was self inflicted, but the family could give no reason for the suicide except that the young woman had appeared melancholy lately."

Date: July 22, 1912
Location: Illinois
Paper: Belleville News Democrat

1910 - Pullet in Manchester, Conn, Has Record of Laying on 37 Consecutive Days

"Hartford, Conn., Dec. 1 - With all previous Connecticut records smashed beyond recognition, the famous industrious pullet of Wesley Hollister, of Manchester, is still on the track. The indications point to many another lap before the game little hen quits its custom of depositing in the nest one egg a day, witch it has left for its proud owner for the last thirty-seven days."

"With eggs selling at a minimum for the strictly fresh variety of sixty cents a dozen, this hen is earning about $1.50 each month for her owner. However, Hollister has put the thirty seven eggs in cold storage to substantiate his statements with reference to the pride of his hennery."

Pullet in Manchester, Conn, Has Record of Laying on 37 Consecutive Days
Date: December 03, 1910
Location: Georgia
Paper: Columbus Daily Enquirer

1922 - Acid Test

"Hamden, Conn. - Literal application of the 'acid test' was made by burglars who ransacked the house of J. A. Gilles while the family was absent. The burglars carried acid with which to test the quality of the family plate and after discarding such silverware as did not measure up to the standards, took tableware valued at $3,000. Fur coats and seal skin garments were taken at face value."

Date: July 22, 1922
Location: South Dakota
Paper: Aberdeen American

1858 - Justice?

Justice must move very slowly in Guilford, Conn. Some six weeks ago, a girl was charged with stealing a diamond pin worth $100, and was committed to await her trial for the theft. The pin, which had not been stolen, but only lost, was found within ten days after the charge was made, and yet, it is stated, the girl still remains in jail.

Lowell Daily Citizen and News
Lowell, Massachusetts
September 07, 1858

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Strange Genealogy - 1802

[From the Mirror, an English Magazine.]

"All the persons named in the following strange Genealogy, were living at Faversham, Kent (E.) it is said, Feb. 10, 1760. Old Harwood had two daughters by his first wife, of which the eldest was married to John Cashick, ths son, and the youngest to John Cashick, the father. This Cashick, the father, had a daughter by his first wife, whom old Harwood married, and by her had a son; therefore Cashick's second wife could say as follows:

My father is my son, and I'm my mother's mother;
My sister is my daughter, and I'm grandmother to my brother."

Date: March 01, 1802
Location: Massachusetts
Paper: Salem Gazette

Recipe for a Cold - 1815

[From the European Magazine of July, 1790.]

The late Dr. James Malone's recipe for a Cold, which he most strenuously recommended.

"Take a large tea-cup full of linseed, two penny worth of stick liquorice, and a quarter of a pound of sun raisins - put these into two quarts of soft water - let it simmer over the fire till it is reduced to one. Then add it to a quarter of a pound of brown sugar candy, pounded, a table spoon full of old rum, and a table spoon full of good vinegar or lemon juice."

"Note. - The rum and vinegar or lemon juice, are best to be added only to that quantity you are going immediately to take, for if it is put into the whole it is apt to grow flat."

"Drink a half pint going to bed, and take a little when the cough is troublesome. - This medicine generally cures the worst of colds in two or three days; and if taken in time, may be said to be almost an infallible remedy. It is a most sovereign and balsamic cordial for the lungs, without the opening qualities which endanger fresh colds in going out. It has been known to cure colds that have been almost settled in consumptions, in less than three weeks."

Date: December 16, 1815
Location: New York
Paper: Albany Advertiser

Monday, November 1, 2010

American Girl is Queen - 1910

"New York, Aug. 18 - 'If Venus de Milo should appear on earth today, she couldn't hold a candle to our American girls!'"

"So exclaimed George Clinton Batcheller, corset maker, after studying professionally and innocently, the forms of foreign women in his annual tour."

"'The American girl is tall, and yet not too tall; slender, and yet well-developed. She has beautifully sloping shoulders and a long waist. She has hips, though she is trying to conceal them at present. She has beautifully long, exquisitely modeled arms. Her feet are slender, if not tiny.'"

"'Her features are regular and clear cut. She has a round, yet strong chin. Her profile is exquisite.'"

"'American women have more style than French women, because the American woman will adopt the prevailing mode to suit her individuality.'"

"'Our girls with black hair and blue eyes, or red hair and brown eyes, form a welcome change from the invariable blonde which one sees in Germany, or the invariable brunet which one sees in France. But the individuality of American women is more than that. It is the expression of individual thought and feeling. Of course this is due to the fact that women here are much freer than abroad, and in general so much better educated. They have a chance to develop personalities, instead of merely reflecting traditions. This in itself makes them more beautiful, just as an original painting is always greater art than the most inspired copy. The excellent general athletic training received by most of our young women has developed their bodies to the present stage of perfection.'"

"He says the French woman is thin, shortwaisted, hooked nose, artificially colored."

"The German woman is too heavy and masculine, too little at the waist and too big above and below it."

"The English woman is too high - and square-shouldered, and stoops as if she were afraid of her height; her face strong rather than beautiful."

"The Italian girl is apt to be over-developed."

"There is not a goddess-type among the small meagre girls of modern Greece."

"The girls of Austria-Hungary are really the most attractive he saw in Europe, but they are somewhat too small."

"The American girl is queen of them all."

Date: August 18, 1910
Location: Michigan
Paper: Saginaw News