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100 Years Ago: smallpox, smackdowns, scores, and other news

All sorts of news dotted the pages of the January 26, 1916 edition of the News.

By Jim

A lengthy piece attributed to J. Knox Hall, an outsider offering wholesome advice to the good folk of Adair County, occupied a full column and then some of the front page. Mr. Knox, bless his heart, heartily endorsed Mom, apple pie, and the American way, not to mention women's clubs, despite those organizations being eschewed by some. Mr. Hall, who fearlessly used several long sentences when but few words would have sufficed to a surplusage, took a lengthy paragraph to say what Ben Franklin succinctly stated as two brief axioms: "Early to bed and early to rise..." and "Pound-wise and penny foolish."

Page & Taylor, the recently dissolved drug store partnership on the Square, appealed to its customers to pay what was owed to the defunct firm. Meanwhile, O.C. Hamilton, "a very exemplary one man, one who will be attentive to business," had purchased a half-interest in the business and started working there the previous week.

An ad from Gill & Waggener, that establishment located "in the Sinclair old stand," took an entire page to tell readers their going out of business sale had been extended for another 10 days but that February 5th absolutely, positively would be the last day.

Mrs. Lula Lawhorn's husband had misplaced himself on January 13th and hadn't been seen since; interest grew in the revival in progress at the Columbia United Brethren Church, at which there already had been eight or ten additions; and Albin Murray offered "Regular 20c Coffee 17c; 15c coffee 12-1/2c."

Meanwhile, sports-minded folks had basketball games a-plenty over the weekend. The ladies of Lindsey had whupped up on an unnamed quintet, "one of the strongest teams of the State," by an unknown margin. On Saturday night, January 21st, the Columbia High boys, in another home game, roughed up Shepherdsville High 41 to 10. However, the Shepherdsville players probably felt as if they had won a tremendous victory after the drubbing administered the evening before by the lads of the Lindsey-Wilson. That game perhaps holds the dubious distinction of the most lop-sided sporting event ever held in old Adair County. Shepherdsville scored but three points in the entire game while the Lindseyites scored at will for a final tally of 104 for the game. The full name of only one Training School player, Jim Lewis, the ball handler, appeared in the article, but likely, at least three of the others, identified only by surname in the article, were Russell Countians, to-wit: [Joe] Calhoun, [Wally] Cook, and H. [B.] Popplewell. The other three team members mentioned were Reece, Powers, and Wesley.

A brief front page article noted that "one or two men" who had been guests of the county's Graybar Hotel for some time had come down with a mild form of smallpox and that the county Health Officer, Dr. S.P. Miller, "took the precaution to have the inmates of the jail, including the jailor [C.G. Jeffries] and his family, quarantined." Apparently a number of people took exception to Dr. Miller's action, whereupon that worthy gentleman took off the gloves of gentility, put on a set of virtual brass knucks, and came out swinging in a lengthy treatise published on an inside page. Among other things, he pointed out in no uncertain language that the cases had been diagnosed as smallpox by no fewer than four physicians: himself, Dr. Claypool, Dr. C.M. Russell, and Dr. O.P. Miller (Dr. S.P.'s nephew).

Wrote the fired up health officer at this point,

"[Y]et there are people in Columbia who claim they do not believe that it is smallpox, and are criticizing and censuring the board of health and health officer for quarantining and trying to stop the spread of this terrible disease."

Dr. Miller then continued with a white-hot blast of truth:

"There are people who are so ignorant that they will stand up and contend that after the best physicians in the land have given their honest opinion that they are wrong, and actually are opposed to the health officer, who is trying to protect their health...To those who talk and believe that way I have no remedy, and nothing more to say except, it is folly to be wise when ignorance is bliss."

Folks lucky enough to have a spare dime could attend one of the "quality productions" from Paramount Pictures -- "Always a high class program with enough clean Comedy on the bill to make you laugh" -- at the Parlor Circle in the west corner of the Square. Upcoming presentations included:

Thursday, January 27th: "The Rose of the Ranch," billed as "A western drama" photoplay, released in 1910 and starring Bessie Barriscale.

Friday, January 28th: Charlie Chaplin Comic Capers (this the name of a syndicated comic strip starring the Little Tramp which had debuted in March 1915.)

Saturday, January 29th: "The Bargain," "with scenes laid in the Grand Canyon of Arizona" and released in 1914, had future superstar William S. Hart in his first leading role with Clara Williams cast opposite.

The News also reported that the Columbia and Stanford Road, which until bad weather had been under (re)construction under the Good Roads Act of 1915, would be fourteen feet -- "three wagon loads" -- wide and two feet deep from Columbia to the creek, and nine feet wide from the creek to the county line, when completed. The paper farther stated that "the rock, ready for the crusher at the quarry has cost the county about 48-1/2 cents per perch." The paper, ever the proponent of better roads, then took a jab at those who had screamed "the cost, the cost!" as their rallying cry in their fight against progress: "This cost falls far below the suspicions of some who seemed to fear that the quarrying was costing entirely too much."

This story was posted on 2016-01-24 10:49:55
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