Way Back When

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 26, 1896

Surprise Party
A surprise party was given at the residence of Martin Reitz, of Perry township, February 15, at which all of the children and grandchildren but one were present. The old folks knew nothing of the affair until Joseph Neal drove up and halted at the door with a sled load of children. Some others arrived, and in a short time the house was full.
They brought with them an abundance of good things to eat, and a sumptuous dinner was served. After which Col. Neal, in a neat and appropriate speech, presented the aged couple each with a beautiful rocking chair. B. F. Reitz and Joseph Neal also made some happy remarks. Col. Neal and J. C. Reitz, with violin and organ, provided good music.
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A Deadly Headache Powder
John McQueen, of Coal Glenn, accompanied by his wife was in Blaine City last Thursday, attending the funeral of his wife's sister, Mrs. John Cousin, who died on Tuesday. Her death was peculiar. She was in ordinary health until Sunday, when she was taken with a violent headache. She sent out and got some headache powders. She took one and it did not seem to relieve her, when, according to directions, she took another. She then fell asleep, and never awakened.
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Some parties in this town are talking of putting up a kindling wood factory here. Kindling wood is made from the refuse scraps of wood about saw mills that were formerly burned up. They are cut into small sticks, diped into a pan of hot pitch, tied into bunches, and sold for use in the cities, where the grocery men keep them for sale. Such an enterprise would likely pay here, as the wood could be secured for a nominal price.

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Left in the Cold
Widespread consternation reigned in town on Monday. For the first time since the service was introduced the gas played out without warning, and for the space of nearly an hour their was not a gas fire in the town. As the thermometer had registered 14 degrees below zero that morning there was a frantic rush for dry goods, boxes, and anything that would make fuel quickly.
Those who had gas stoves were utterly helpless, while the few coal stoves were quickly located and surrounded. G. W. W.Nelson, who has charge of the service here, telegraphed for Superintendent Lytle, who came over from DuBois on the 10:33 train. A valve was found to be out of kilter which was readily adjusted and the flow came on again before any serious inconvenience was experienced.---Brockwayville Record