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
(May 13, 1896)


A frightful looking runaway occurred here last Saturday night. It was between 8 and 9 o'clock, when the streets and alleys were crowded, that a horse belonging to Thomas Johns, of Walston, attached to a buggy, dashed up the street without a driver. It ran much of the way on the sidewalk, threatening every minute to crash through a show window. Women screamed and men stood aghast. After making a dive as though to enter the First National Bank, the horse ran across the street, collided with a buggy in which Adam Stenger and his wife were seated, overturned it and spilled the occupants out. It then rushed onto the pavement in front of the Hotel Pantall, causing a crowd of ladies to fly into the barroom for refuge, knocked Ben Record down and continued its mad flight to the upper end of town, where it was caught. Nobody was much hurt, and little real damage was done, but it caused more excitement than has been seen here since Calico Jack's bull dog went through town with a tin can tied to his tail.

A Barbarous Amusement
Considerable complaint reaches us from the good citizens of Adrian to the effect that there are a number of young men in that vicinity whose ordinary Sunday amusement is cock-fighting. The fowls are in some instances even fitted up with steel spurs, and the battles are cruel and bloody. Cock-fighting is an amusement that belongs to the Dark Ages, and should be classed in the same category with bear-bating and other barbarous amusements. By artificial selection a fighting fowl has been bred known as the game-cock, which may be said to be the direct result of man's depravity. The game fowl is full of the spirit of pugnacity, and when two of them are placed together they will fight until one of them is removed for the scenes of active life. What pleasure any man can find in watching two feathered animals lacerating each other until they become a blind and bleeding piece of feathered fury, is difficult to figure out. There are certainly more edifying amusements.