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Way Back When

January 16, 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
(January 29, 1896)
No Joke After All
Some time last May, Ben Carter, Thos. Edmunson,and Geo. Smith, all neighbors of Harmony, were in town for the day. Carter and Edmonsun were in a wagon, and Smith, who is stable boss at Adrian, rode a mule. They all stayed a little late at night and when Carter and Edmunson were ready to depart for home they thought it would be a good joke on Smith to haul his saddle home in their wagon and make him ride his shy and elusive mule home bareback. This they did, and laughed gleefully over Smith’s dilemma.

Smith went searching for his lost equipage next day, but neither Carter nor Edmunson seemed to have any knowledge of its whereabouts. Smith wanted to go out riding that day and Edmunson willingly loaned him his saddle for the journey.

That night the missing saddle was placed in a conspicuous place near Smith’s barn, where he found it next morning. Here is where the joke ended for Smith and Edmunson and the winter of their discontentment commenced. There subsequently arose some slight difference between Edmnunson and Carter, and Edmunson informed Smith of the facts concerning the disappearance of the saddle.

Smith went before ‘Squire Lowry and had a warrant issued for Carter’s arrest, and on Tuesday evening he was given a hearing. Here the joke began to assume a more serious aspect than Carter had anticipated, for he was bound over to the next quarter sessions in the sum of $300.

•••
(Note: The information below appeared in the Feb. 5 issue of The Spirit. Note the changed spelling of Mr. Edmondson’s name. — T.A.F.)

The report printed in last week’s Spirit concerning the taking of a saddle from the back of a mule belonging to George Smith, was, as we have subsequently learned, somewhat one-sided. Our reporter understood that it was all in sport, and that Carter and Edmondson had played a practical joke on Smith.

But the fact seems to be that Mr. Edmondson, who is not addicted to practical jokes, knew nothing about the saddle until Carter threw it into his wagon. Mr. Edmondson was in no way responsible for the taking of the saddle, and was innocent even of any initiation to play a joke on Mr. Smith.

•••
(February 5, 1896)

Dogs are cunning animals. Only last week one of the canine species opened a cupboard and with a knife cut a nice piece of pork steak from a large piece of that kind of meat, and not satisfied with that appropriated a good square meal of spare ribs which had at one time been intimately associated with the pork steak above mentioned. The question that is now agitating the public mind is, did the dog have a knife of his own or did he borrow one with which to do the slice act.

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