A Look at Yesteryear

Post by Doris McCraw/Angela Raines

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It has been a busy week. Two blogs posted on Sunday, one my regular and one a guest spot. You can read them at: http://bit.ly/1QPHT9O and http://bit.ly/1T7G0Zj  So for a change of pace for myself, I decided to share a bit of the fun stuff I find when I’m in the newspaper archives hunting those pieces of information to complete my stories. So for your fun and ‘education’ I share those little tidbits from yesteryear.

From the Out West newspaper, the first newspaper in Colorado Springs, the April 6, 1872 Telegraphic Briegs include:

The Ways and Means Committee have voted to fix the tax on whiskey at 65 cents per gallon, and a tax of 25 cents on tobacco.

At the request of the American Government the Spanish Government will probably pardon and release Dr. Howad.

Texan Rangers are determined to retaliate on the cattle thieves from Mexico and the Rio Grande.

Prince and Princess of Wales will return to England in June.

From the Fairplay Flume of February 21, 1884 in the Flumings Section we learn:

Leadville is agitated over the disappearance of one of its most attrative society belles.

Manitou, it is said, is doing more building in proportion to its size than any city or town elsewhere in the state

The Silverton and Ophir nail carrier has not been heard from since a week ago Monday. It is safe to predict the melting snow will show his fate next summer

From the January 11, 1873 Gazette Telegraph, the newpaper that replaced Out West we find:

More tree planting is shortly to be done in Town. Buy the way, what has become of those croakers who were so busy last Spring telling everybody that the trees wouldn’t grow?

Mr. I.W. Hill, of the firm of Field & Hill, has been up from Pueblo for two or three days of this week, and favored us with a pleasant call.

There must have been a “Sociable” in Town the other evening, judgin fom the large demand for five-cent pieces. Cannot some smaller coin be brought into circulation for the benefit of those who attend such gatherings?

And a final piece from the Cedar Falls, Iowa, Cedar Falls Gazette on September 19, 1903:

The street in front of the store of Mayor Popp was the scene of a pugilistic encounter Thursday that was quite interesting to the few spectators during the one round that it lasted. A famer and a traveleing man got into an argument over the merits of some farm implement and some hard blows were exchanged before the august mayor separated the combatants. Hudson Record

So there you have it. Tidbits from the pages of yesterday. Who knows, one of them may spark another idea or be a scene in an upcoming book. Whichever it is, these little gems add the bit of authenticity to our stories. I know I love using them. Until next time, here’s to a the stories we tell.

Angela Raines is the pen name for Doris McCraw. Originally from the mid-west, Doris now calls the Rocky Mountains her home. Doris is a writer, historian, actor,and teacher. An avid reader Doris loves to spend time in history archives looking for the small, unknown pieces of history. Many times these pieces end up in her stories or poems.  Like her author page to stay on top of her work.  http://amzn.to/1I0YoeL also make sure to check out her haiku and photographs at http://fivesevenfivepage.blogspot.com.

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28 thoughts on “A Look at Yesteryear

  1. I loved the last one! Pugilistic encounter makes it sound so dignified when it was just an argument that degenerated into a fist fight. We think stuff like that is a modern phenomenon, but it really isn’t, is it?


  2. Thank you. I loved those little tidbits. When I’m researching I have about 6 windows open to things I want to read more about. A bit of it ends up in my novels, but there is so much more that I want to read about, but is too much for one novel. I love old newspapers. Cher’ley


  3. Aren’t old newspapers precious? Small town ones are the best – straying a bit from the news and adding a personal touch. I liked the bit about the shortage of large coins due to a sociable. I love your “crawling” through the archives, Doris. Thanks for sharing!


    1. I just love trolling through the archives. They are so fun. I consider Sundays may researcy work day. You’ll find me in the archives having so much fun. Doris


  4. Thanks for sharing these nuggets from history, Doris! I can certainly see you and Neva incorporating some of these incidents into your historical romance stories! As they said during the Pony Express days, “Ride safe!” 🙂


    1. Thank you Gayle. It is just fun to find these ‘gems’ and share them. Otherwise they just collect dust. This way others can make use of them also. Doris


  5. Love those tidbits also. My only problem is, while researching for an article, getting sidetracked by these types of tidbits. However they do lend authenticity to “the way it was” while doing research. I also love the different language, indicating a large vocabulary that readers had then. Loved the story about the spring showing what happened to the mail carrier. They took the story one step further than current newspapers might.


    1. Neva, I also responded to the mail carrier story. Their use of the language is just so much a part of that time. I, like you can get drawn down the ‘tidbit’ rabbit hole very easy. Still, it is so much fun. Here’s to history and the pieces that keep us going as writers. Doris


    1. Stephen, I think research may be my ‘drug’. I do find the older the better. But it makes sense, since that is what write. Here’s to research, no matter what time period. Good luck on the conference. Doris


  6. Wonderful tidbits. We have a restaurant near us that prints their menus on newsprint and the front and back pages always contain old stories of the area. So fun to see how different life was 80-100 years ago. They’re part of a small chain and the stories I see are always local. I assume they must do the same for all their locations.
    Have fun researching.


    1. Kate, you are probably right about the chain. It is fun to read those old stories. Thank you for the encouragement. Hope all continues to go well with you. Doris


  7. Poor mail carrier! And I’m wondering what the 5 cent pieces were used for? Entry to the venue? A cup of coffee? A gambling stake? Home made cake? My imaginings are endless. Very enjoyable, Doris.


    1. Nancy, I wondered the same thing. Why did the two men really fight? And the language, priceless. I think these little pieces can do so much for a writer in their few words. It’s always a toss up, back to the archieves of the writing. Thanks Doris

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I am curious about the Leadville’s missing society belle. Was she ever found? Eloped with a secret lover or discovered after the snows melted. Could be fun to follow up. All sorts of wonderful tidbits.


    1. Travis, I’ve not found out what happened to the lady in Leadville yet, but the mail carrier did show up frozen. As you can tell, I do love these little pieces of history. If I find out what happened I’ll let you know. Doris


  9. Oh, you KNOW how much I love stuff like this! We’re soul sisters for sure, because if I had my druthers, I’d pitch my tent at the archives. LOL. You pulled some great bits, Doris. And thanks.


    1. You are welcome Jacquie. There are so many stories. The folks at the archives know me by name and even bring out things the general public don’t get to see. It’s a great live. I tell folks I work on weekends in the winter, doing research.
      You are welcome. If you ever want to read a fun ‘gossip’ (not that they would admit it) read the old Fairplay, Colorado ‘Flume’. They are a treasure trove of stuff. Doris


  10. Research always turns up interesting bits that can be great launching points for other stories. I love researching and often get sidetracked too easily. And I too wonder about the missing society belle! Fun post, Doris!


    1. Thank you Sarah. It is fun, isn’t it? But, like you, I can get lost down that rabbit hole very easily. Glad you enjoyed and I’ll have to keep looking for that society belle. Doris


  11. I wonder if that in 50 years or so, some of my feature stories in the Duplin Times will end up in some form or other in a novel? Of course, I won’t be around to know. Some of the features I did at a Central Ohio newspaper in the 1970s are more than 40 years old now. Perhaps someone researching a murder mystery with a setting in Fairfield or Perry counties used stuff they found in some of my features. I do know I’ve seen posts on Facebook about the blizzard of 1978 when friends have mentioned one of my stories written at the time.


    1. Mike, I imagine they will end up in stories that don’t take place in and around Central Ohio. That is the joy of these pieces, some translate to most any place. It is cool when something we’ve written ends up being quoted. Here’s to the perpetual stories of history. Doris


    1. S J, You never know what you will find. Somethings they wrote about boggles the mind and the things they ignored, well….Thanks for stopping by. Doris


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