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Way Back When

May 6, 2012

(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
(June 24, 1896)

A BROAD GRIN
Up in DuBois a few days ago a locomotive whistle started to blow and the engineer couldn't get it stopped. The thing wouldn't work. In fifteen minutes the entire fire department, hook and ladder companies, and about four thousand people, rushed down to the round-house inquiring where the fire was. When they discovered it was only a locomotive whistle out of gear, they all marched back grinning enormously. It was estimated by Charley Burnham that if all those grins had been concentrated into one capacious mouth, it would have reached from DuBois to Reynoldsville.

***
(July 1, 1896)
When it is considered that the SPIRIT is read by perhaps 15,000 people weekly, most of whom are in this immediate community, the merchant who does not take advantage of its columns to invite trade, get acquainted with the people, and interest them in his stock and prices, is certainly not fully alive in his business.

***
Renaissance of the Black Potato Bug
The old style black potato-bug is fashionable again this season. Some of the best potato patches in town are using them. The red variety is still preferred by some on account of its genial temperament. It does not try to get away when you want to mash it, but kneels over in an innocent sort of way which greatly facilitates its destruction. The red potato-bug rather enjoys being killed. But the black ones fly away in a provoking manner, and return promptly when the danger is past. Another point against the black bug is its unreliability. It cannot always be depended upon. It is migratory in its habits, coming in droves, and will some times leave your potatoes before it has them half eaten up. The reg bug, while perhaps less competent as a devastator, never disappoints you. He comes in the spring before your potatoes are planted and waits patiently and uncomplainingly until they are up, when he immediately begins business, and stays right with you to the end. It is his untiring energy and perseverance that counts. He is more phlegmatic and stoical than his black rival, and regarding the two styles from a stand-point of absolute merit, uninfluenced by prejudice or other unworthy considerations, we believe the red ones have all the good traits of the black ones with some points of superiority that they do not possess.

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