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WAY BACK WHEN

February 20, 2011

(The Spirit is pleased to share with our readers vignettes of life in the 19th century as originally reported in past issues of the newspapers. These reproduced stories include their original headlines and spelling.)

Local Intelligence (February 5, 1896)
BOLD ROBBERY
The Store and Postoffice at Oliveburg Ransacked by a Gang of Thieves

One of the most daring robberies known in the history of southern Jefferson County occurred at Oliveburg last Thursday night, at which time thieves entered W.J. Morrison’s general store and completely ransacked it. A window was pried open, which made an entrance for the first thief, who unbolted the back door and admitted others. 

They seemed to fully understand the location of the place and went about their work skillfully. They ate up a large lot of canned fruit and helped themselves generally to all the edibles at hand. Three sacks of clover seed were emptied on the floor, and the sacks filled with goods from the shelves. 

A number of pairs of pants, eighteen pairs of shoes, eighteen pairs of rubbers, hats, handkerchiefs, underwear, canned goods, jewelry, $50.00 worth of postage stamps, a small amount of change from the drawer, and enough other articles, including what stuff they ate, was carried away or destroyed to make an aggregate loss of about $400.

When Mr. Morrison discovered what had been done, he and his neighbors made a diligent search for a clue to the direction in which his goods had gone. The gang evidently broke up and went in various ways, as evidences were found along several different roads leading from his store. 

In tramping over the clover seed with muddy boots the seeds stuck fast, and were found in chunks of mud where the thieves had crossed fences. Beyond this Mr. Morrison has no clues and is at a loss to know why his property is being continually taken from him without his consent. It is only a little more than a year since he had his store robbed and burned, causing him a heavy loss. 

Sanitary Whiskers (January 29, 1896)
Medical journals are now discussing the practice of doctors wearing beards, and instances are quoted of physicians having carried disease germs abroad, lodged in the nooks and crannies of their flowing whiskers. One journal advocates not necessarily a total abolition of the beard, but its restrictions to modest and sanitary limits. 

The matter which generally causes young doctors the greatest anxiety is the raising of beards to give them an imposing and dignified appearance. They would not object, if they could, to grow whiskers as long as those of a Populist legislator, and if those whiskers would only come out a gray color, they would be more than satisfied. 

But if beards are no longer to be worn by the profession, much trouble will be spared them. All doctors will look alike, and there will be an end put to all invidious distinctions. — Philadelphia Inquirer.

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