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
(July 29, 1896)

Western Pennsslvania Swept by Flood and Wind

One of the most furious storms within the memory of the oldest inhabitant swept over Western Pennsylvania last Monday. The greatest damage was done in Pittsburg and vicinity, where houses were unroofed, telephone and telegraph poles blown down and many people injured. The rain came down in water spouts, swelling small streams to torrents in a few moments. At Cecil, a mining village just over the Washington county line, a boarding house was swept away and eight miners were drowned.

Great damage was done to property all along the Ohio and Allegheny rivers. In Allegheny twelve people were struck by lightning and are in a critical condition. At Sugar Grove John Figus was killed by a falling tree. On Greenfield Avenue, Joseph Ashfolder was killed by a sign striking him on the head. In Sharpsburg W. Norr was killed by the falling of the roof of a house. Besides many people were injured, some of whom will die.

Slept Twenty-Four Years

The New York World of last Sunday gives a long account of the peculiar life of Abe McClelland of Graysville, twelve miles from Tyrone, who became dead to the world when Grant was President from the effects of a bullet wound in the head, and only became conscience a few days ago. He received a pension, and this paid for the service of a housekeeper who fed and nursed him during his long sleep.

The old man was very curious to know what had happened during his slumber, and when he got all the information he wanted on that point he said the world was really a pretty monotonous place, and intimated that he hadn't missed much, although there has been five Presidential elections during his little nap.

A Narrow Escape

Judge — "Prisoner, stand up. You are charged with taking a fence rail to this plaintiff and beating him over the head. You see the plight the man is in. One of his eyes is gone, his teeth are all missing, his nose looks as if it a trolley car had run over it, one ear looks as if it had been used for a door mat, three of his ribs are broken, his voice is cracked and it is feared that he has serious internal injuries. What have you to say in justification of your conduct?"

The Prisoner — "Not much, Your Honor. He was scorching, and I —"
Judge — "That will do. I'll discharge this time, but if you ever come before me again in a case of this kind and don't have a good reason for not having killed your man I'll fine you to the limit."
— Cleveland Leader