Article Archives: Articles - Franklin County (MA) News Archive
Revised list of topics
Revised list of topics
Revised Jan. 10, 2009
Welcome to the list of topics. You can call them subject headings or tags - they offer you another method of searching the Franklin County Publication Archive site. Interested in accident victims in Athol? Click on the tag below for Accident Victims and find a list of articles dating from Jan. 1, 1870 to August , 1875. Once on the page of articles, then use your Find command to pull up all articles mentioning Athol.
The search engine is being revamped by the wonderful and highly overworked Mik Muller. Once it is completed, you will be able to search for multiple subjects or terms by simply dividing terms with a comma in the search box. Example: Jones, Deerfield, Births That should give you a nice listing of all Joneses born in Deerfield during the time period mentioned above. Another way to search it will be to choose the terms Deerfield and Births from the drop down box and add Jones to the search box. Voila!
ACCIDENT VICTIMS Here reside the fatalities, not the regular every day deaths. Industrial accidents, drownings, death by fire, train, loose circus animals, accidental shootings, and freak accidents.
ACCIDENTS Much more run of the mill stuff here, and not even fatal, at least in most cases. Many of these articles concern runaway horses, falls and narrow escapes. ADVERTISING One of my favorite sections. Classified ads are also included here. AFRICAN AMERICANS / BLACKS Everything is covered here. Articles deal with slavery, racism, lynchings, and the like, but it is noteworthy to see that many articles are not racist in content.
AMUSEMENTSis kind of a catch-all, but primarily concerns fun stuff done for amusement - picnics, parades, croquet games, tableaux, taffy pulling, sleigh rides, masquerade parties, sociables, shadow pantomimes - you get the idea.
ANIMALS / REPTILES From the barnyard to the circus, to the hunted, to cats and dogs. Horses have their own category. I regret now that I did not create a subject heading for cruelty to animals, but those articles are also included here.
ARABS Exotic stuff here. Turkey, Palestine, harems, whirling dervishes, reflecting the fascination for the Middle East and all its customs and traditions in the 1870s. ARCHAEOLOGY is a mixed bag of accidental findings - like the dinosaur footprints in the Connecticut River bed in Turners Falls, to old burial sites of Native Americans [which were treated with appalling lack of respect]. "Humbugs" like the Cardiff giant are also included here, as well as accidental finding of treasure.
ASTRONOMY Rare astronomical events, aurora borealis, miracles, meteors, solar eclipses - and the more mundane, references to the sun, moon, stars, planets, etc.
ATHOL, MA BARBER / HAIR includes not only the establishment itself, but also all references to hair, wigs, bald heads, medicine to grow hair, hair dyes, etc. BARS (DRINKING ESTABLISHMENTS) Pretty much portrayed as den of iniquities. The Gazette & Courier is very much pro temperance.
BIRDS All kinds of birds, many articles related to hunting. Hen stories abound as well, with some hens laying eggs that are 8 inches wide! [I pity the poor bird]. BIRTH CONTROL A really sad section, since birth control in this time period only relates to mothers killing their newborns, to botched illegal abortions, etc. BIRTHS Are prolific. Many names, usually only of the proud father, are repeated each year. Of course the matching obituaries contain many of these infants as well. All cases of multiple births worldwide are listed.
CHILDREN - They’re everywhere of course - families are huge, 15 children being a normal size. But the youth culture has not taken hold - one mostly hears about children having accidents or dying, or around Christmas time, or in school.
CONNECTICUT RIVER - The important one. All others are in one section entitled RIVERS.
CONSERVATION OF NATURAL RESOURCES - Hasn’t dawned on them too much, even though they are familiar with Thoreau’s work. CONTESTS Base ball games (we call ’em baseball) becoming popular. Bets and wagers always a part of our society. We’ve got walking contests, horse races, tobacco stripping contests, girls splitting hard wood slabs, which hen can lay the biggest egg, who can grow the tallest corn stalk, etc.
COURTS One of the largest sections. Look here for all criminal activity. COURTSHIP - The path of true love did not run smoothly, even in the old days. Poems and stories abound, even personal ads (very high-toned ones, of course). Murders and scandals are not uncommon, as well. CRIME - Ah crime! There’s some of everything here, some of it salacious, much of it fines for drunkenness. CRIMINALS - Not everyone who commits a crime is a criminal. I reserved this area for people like serial poisoners, bank robbers, desperados, outlaws [like Red-Handed Dick and Henry Berry Lowery].
CULTS - Oh yes, they existed back then, and were just as troublesome. Read about Adventists, proponents of Free Loveism, Millerism, the Shakers, the Christian Israelites, the Nazarites, and the Howling Dervishes [Hmm, great name for a rock band]. CURIOSITIES AND WONDERS is a great catchall section, and one of my favorites [of course]. Here you will read about human and animal abnormalities - a youth with three legs and four feet, a lizard living in a man’s stomach, a three horned and three eyed ox, a living skeleton, a four legged chicken - well, you get the idea ;-). CUTLERY AND CUTLERY TRADE - Very important to Greenfield and Turners Falls history.
DANCE - Many kinds of dancing available for the young and the old. From Balls to Belly Dancers.
DEERFIELD, MA DISASTERS- We always have them. However, they don’t have the immediacy that they do nowadays in today’s news. Read about the great Chicago fire of 1871, the great Boston fire of 1872, shipwrecks, earthquakes, floods and explosions.
DISEASES - We’ve got a million of ’em. DIVORCE - the Court makes you jump through hoops, wait years, etc., but divorces do happen.
DREAMS AND SLEEP - Sleep and sleep disorders also included here. DRUG ABUSE - From sulphuric ether, to tobacco, chloral, opium and laudanum.
EXPLORERS - A great time period for exploration. We have Dr. Livingston, Arctic explorers, and more.
EYE - Blindness, accidents, eyeglasses, sore eyes, etc.
FAIRS - held bout once a week - the favorite moneymaker of the women’s church groups. Then there’s the County Fairs, which are covered as thoroughly as possible.
FAMILY - Family reunions, loving families, insane families, incest, and more. Very useful for genealogists.
FARMERS AND FARMING - A hot topic in the 19th century. Also covers tobacco and fertilizers. FASHION - A fun section. Sunbonnets, French kid gloves, waterproof dress goods, garters, corsets, wigs, demi-trains, false insteps, shawls, plaid poplins, striped stockings, chignons, Chinese grass cloth, kilting, etc.
FIRES - There are so many, and so few ways to put them out, that it’s a wonder that any buildings survived the 19th century at all. I had to be very exclusive, and only cover those fires of local and international interest.
FISHES AND FISHING - You can get a barrel of oysters delivered right to your door, andthey are "the" Sunday breakfast.
FOOD - For the gourmet and the every day eater. This section is large and all inclusive. Includes some recipes and all restaurant ads.
FREEMASONRY - A group deserving of their own section. FRENCH - Many influences here, from the Mansard or "French" roofs, stationary, corsets, pottery, jewelry, the Franco-Prussian War, etc. FURNITURE - Wooden items, [and what wood! Black walnut, solid ash, walnut, chestnut] beds and sofas [occasionally covered with haircloth], and some interesting articles about Gardner, Mass., the "chair capital of the world".
GAMBLING - One of the oldest vices. Chinese gambling houses, dog-pits, bets, every day chance taking.
GANGS - Not the Bloods and the Crips, but the homegrown Tough End boys, roughs and rowdies, brigands and juvenile delinquents.
GARBAGE - Remember that this is pre-plastic (in most respects) and that the necessity for community trash dumps is not an issue yet. Most, or all farmers, keep an iron and glass scrap heap somewhere in the back forty - a practice which still occurs today. Some articles do concern garbage - rubbish littering the streets, a city without sewers, ash barrels, etc.
GAYS - ah, this is a tough but rewarding section, where I’ve had to "read between the lines" quite a bit. Included here are men who dressed as women, and women who dressed as men [with the understanding that, especially in women’s cases, this could have been done for economic and other reasons]. Famous figures like Oscar Wilde, Susan B. Anthony and Anna Dickinson are the meat and potatoes of this section. GEOGRAPHY - one of the more recent additions, includes topographical surveys, maps, tourist type articles, etc.
GERMANS - Nice to see this ethnic group portrayed in such a positive light. Local Germans are hard working, athletic, happy, beer drinkers who do not get drunk, like to compete in gymnastic contests, love to dance, etc.
GLASS - a particular favorite of mine, since I dig for, and collect old glass embossed bottles. Bottles, window glass, demi-johns, looking glasses, etc. As time allows, I will scan in some of my "dug" antique bottles for your viewing pleasure. GOVERNMENT - usually Presidents, Congress, and taxes, new states and territories. Many other government related articles will be found under POLITICS.
GYPSIES - always a few passing through, telling fortunes, trading horses, stealing chickens, and kidnapping local children.
HAMPSHIRE & HAMPDEN COUNTIES (MA) A catch all section for all those towns not privileged to be in Franklin County, and yet covered fairly thoroughly here. So look for articles on Amherst, Northampton, and the Massachusetts Agricultural College (the earlier name of the University of Massachusetts).
HANDICAPPED - the blind, the deaf, the lame, the insane - all find a home here. Cork legs, poor houses and alms-houses, deformed infants, hunchbacks, etc. HAWLEY (MA)
HERITAGE ACTIVITIES - will come into their own a little later. For now, centennial celebrations are included here.
HISPANICS - another catchall heading. Latin American activities, as well as Spanish Peninsular items. This subject heading will probably be combined with LATIN AMERICA eventually.
HISTORY - well, it’s all history to us, right? But included here are items which were of historic interest to the inhabitants of the 1870’s - the early days of Greenfield, Deerfield, and Montague; the founding of historical organizations, like the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, and genealogical family histories.
HOLIDAYS - not much different from today’s celebrations. Of course the 4th of July was a maelstrom of fireworks and severed limbs, and Christmas advertising did not occur untilthe two issues before Dec. 25th. Sabbath Schools all had their holiday celebrations, complete with Christmas trees and a song fest, and Valentine’s Day had already started its decline into ignorant and joke cards. Washington’s birthday, All Fool’s Day, May Day, Thanksgiving, New Year’s Day, and Memorial Day are all represented. No sign of Halloween yet. HOOSAC TUNNEL (MA) is rapidly nearing completion. Read about the 19th century version of the "Big Dig". HORSES - I find this section absolutely fascinating. The vital importance of horses for all transportation needs is clearly shown, especially during the "Horse Disease"(Epizootic) of 1872. You either rassled up an oxen or goat, or you walked - in those places not accessible by train, of course.
HOTELS - There’s not that many of them, but they know how to do it up in style, and are a vital part of the town’s culture. This is the era when enormous resort hotels are springing up, and the concept of vacations are taking hold in the middle and upper classes. HOUSEHOLDS is a broad subject; I mainly went by the rule of thumb of what occurred inside a dwelling. Houses were the domain of women, and so items made specifically for women, like sewing machines, find a home here. Hints on cookery and thrift, as well as kitchen appliances also find a home here ;-). Ah yes, the world of washing, ironing, canning, and child rearing.
HUNGARIANS - Why the Hungarians, you say? Well, this is one of those personal interest type headings, since I am half Hungarian.
ICE - a big business, back in the days of pre-refrigeration. Ice was "harvested" from local lakes, and kept cool in warehouses, to be sold in blocks throughout the warm months. Also included here are frozen over rivers and ponds, ice skating, and ice used for drinks and preserving food.
To search for a particular subject term, click on the highlighted link containing that term at the bottom of the article. For example, if you are seeking more articles about animals, click on the highlighted link which says Animals/Reptiles/Amphibians.
Gazette & Courier - Monday, September 20, 1875
Conway - A birth "mark" on a child's face of this town was successfully removed without a physician's aid, by simply pricking it repeatedly, letting out the blood that had gathered and centered in that part. It was nearly as large as a silver dollar. Sufficient time has not elapsed to prove the cure sure and permanent.
Gazette & Courier - Monday, September 6, 1875
Conway - One of our family men experienced both a father’s and a mother’s solicitude the other day, losing his 3 children for the time being. He went away recently, and left his motherless ones alone. Coming home at night he found the house deserted. Search was made at all the neighbors without success. Returning about midnight, wearied and anxious and not a trace. Going to the barn, the boys were all found upon the hay mow fast asleep. Feeling lonely and it being warm, they had taken a blanket, spread it upon the soft new hay, and found sweet repose. Their father will know where to look next time.
Gazette & Courier - Monday, August 16, 1875
An imitator of Jesse Pomeroy
The Boston Post says that much excitement was created in Newton, Mass. last week in consequence of the development regarding a youth named Archibald Jackson, who was examined before trial justice B.B. Johnson on the 3rd. Jackson, who is about 18 years of age and respectably connected, inveigled into a field a child named William Mullen. With Jackson was a boy named John Dwyer, 9 years younger, who was intimidated by his older companion to join him, not knowing for what purpose he was wanted.
When Jackson succeeded in getting the Mullen child into the field, he deliberately stripped him naked and then administered to him a severe whipping, after which he taunted the little fellow on his helpless condition. While thus engaged, Jackson saw approaching a girl about 11 years of age, whereupon he tied the limbs of the Mullen boy, and then called the girl to him. At first she appeared reluctant but was induced to draw near to Jackson, who seized and led her to the prostrate form of his little victim, compelling her to gaze upon the boy in his nude state.
He then released the girl who fled at once. Then he untied young Mullen, who dressed rapidly and was about to depart, when Jackson again approached him with the evident intention of renewing his atrocities. Young Mullen, however, was dressed by this time, and in such a desperate frame of mind, that when he saw his tormentor approaching, he drew out his pocket knife and threatened to stab Johnson.
The latter thereupon picked up an ax halve he had carried, dealt the lad a very severe blow upon one hand, compelling him to drop the weapon and flee for his life. He succeeded in reaching his home without further injury, and then gave information which led to the arrest of Jackson.
Gazette & Courier - Monday, August 2, 1875
News of the week
A man named Baker, a Providence painter about 40 years old, was arrested at Oak Bluffs, Martha's Vineyard a few days ago, for attempting to outrage several little girls, daughters of summer residents, but as the parents did not wish to give publicity to the matter, he was allowed to go on condition of leaving the State.
June 23, a little son of William F. Tower of Monroe, aged about 17 months, died through the effects of taking what is called "elixir of opium" which is nothing more nor less than Laudanum, and which was given by the mother, in 15 or 20 drop doses once an hour, by the advice of an old Florida woman, who said it would cause the worms which were supposed to be in the child’s stomach, to have a good sleep, in an hour or so give a good dose of senna and the worms would be expelled from the child, and all would be right; but the child went to sleep never to awake, and the worms have not made their appearance yet.
The bereaved parents have the sympathy of all the neighbors, and no blame whatever is laid to them, as they were entirely ignorant of the poisonous effects of the drug they were giving. After the mother saw that her child was breathing with quick inspirations and rattling in the throat, she took it in her arms and carried it one third of a mile to the nearest neighbor for assistance, but it was too late. The last dose had been given about 11 o’clock on Wed. A.M., and about half past 2, some 3 hours after she arrived at the neighbor’s house, and everything was done by them to empty the stomach of the child, such as tickling the throat and giving emetics, etc. but to no effect.
The child never moved a muscle from half past 3 till it died, which was about 11 at night, living some 12 hours after the last dose It is a sad thing to see the child cut down in health as it were, and at an age when all the cares of the parents and affections of its brother and sister were at its very height of enjoyment. The little fellow was at play in the morning as ever and at 11 at night was a corpse. This should be a sufficient warning to every one, how they use poisons or take the advice of old women and Indian doctors, who run wild in the woods and get a great skill in medicine without the trouble of study.
Gazette & Courier - Monday, June 21, 1875
Babies - welcome and unwelcome
The possessor of a thoroughly modern baby is to be pitied, and so is the child. We mean that unwelcome human atom which arrives in the family of the ultra fashionable lady, who believes that to be a mother at all, a woman must surely stand on the wrong side of fate. It cries, and what reason has it to do anything else? Then there is the baby of the wretched, overworked woman whose motherly instincts are strong and sweet, but whose many cares and duties are all pleading for attention at once, while the child wails for the tender touch of affectionate care, and its pathetic cry tells her that it possesses a dim, unreasoning, but still a certain conviction, that it is not wanted in the household. A dog knows when it is not invited to stay, and a baby is as conscious of a lack of cordial welcome, no matter how dearly it is beloved, after it has once been folded in its mother's arms, and its early life shows the blight...
Gazette & Courier - Monday, June 7, 1875
News about home: Greenfield items
Another woman on Sat. left her baby in its carriage on the sidewalk while she stepped into a store to do her shopping. The wheels ran down the inclined plane and dumped the infant into the dirt under a horse's feet; but the mother came out, picked up the child, brushed off the soil and fertilizers, put it back into the carriage, blocked the wheels with a dry goods bundle, and left it to shirk for itself once more.
Gazette & Courier - Monday, June 7, 1875
News of the week
John L. White of Boston is under arrest for outraging the person of Emma G. Escabel, the 10 year old daughter of his washerwoman, the girl having yielded to him through the influence of a promised visit to Barnum's hippodrome and a new silk dress.
There is to be a resurrection of our cheese factory, Milton M. Mowry is to be the cheese maker, and he has proved himself one of the best at that. How often have I been chagrined at being asked "Why do not you Leyden farmers run your cheese factory?"...Now the advantage of the cheese factory aside from relieving our women of the hard toil of skimming and scalding and salting and spanking [OK, here's a segue. They spank the cheese! This reminds me of playing Farmer in the Dell when I was a kid. After the stanza "The rat takes the cheese" and before "The cheese stands alone", we had a stanza saying "We all pound the cheese", and all the kids pummeled the poor cheese a bit. However I see that this is traditionally not the case - I find only a very few references to "pound the cheese" on the Web. There's a few "beat the cheese" floating around. Wikipedia gives the French version of "le fromage est battu", which means "the cheese is beaten". Go figure!], and many other wearing and annoying things which none but overworked women can appreciate, it takes our milk right into its hospitable embrace just as the hot weather comes on (making good butter making more difficult), enabling the dairymen and dairywomen too, to enjoy a sort of holiday while their principal business keeps right steadily along with undiminished profit, entirely independent of the low prices invariably ruling the butter market at this season and the following 3 months...Anyone who contributes milk can have the whole of his portion in cheese...We have facilities for working 5000 pounds of milk daily, so you need not be afraid of filling us up at once. Caseine.
Gazette & Courier - Monday, May 31, 1875
A little boy being smartly switched by his solemn parent for his obstinacy, upon being asked what he should do if he was a grown up man and had such a boy, promptly replied that he would take a stick to him.
They don't have much compassion on people who kill their illegitimate children in London, it seems. A woman who put her bastard child out of the way recently was sentenced to death in spite of a recommendation to mercy by the jury.
Mrs. Levina Gibbs of Wareham, returning to her babe, which she had left for a short time the other day, saw two rats jump from the cradle, and found the flesh of the left shoulder and arm badly lacerated. A little longer, and the rats would have killed the child.
Gazette & Courier - Monday, May 24, 1875
News of the week
Alonzo Jackson and Albert Smith, with their wives and 2 children each, went sailing on the river at Zanesville, Ohio Sun. aft. The men were drunk and couldn't manage the boat, consequently it was swept over a dam, and the two women, with a Jackson and a Smith child, were drowned.
Gazette & Courier - Monday, May 10, 1875
A negro near Memphis recently tried to murder his wife
A negro near Memphis recently tried to murder his wife. His two little children witnessed the affair, and to screen himself from justice he murdered or procured an accomplice to murder his little ones, 6 and 3 years of age. The villain is at large.
Gazette & Courier - Monday, April 5, 1875
Hampshire County items
Somebody left a mulatto baby about 4 months old in a Northampton farmer's sleigh on Mon. night, and after it was taken to the Poor Farm it was found the little foundling had been heavily drugged. It finally recovered after being unconscious 48 hours.
Gazette & Courier - Monday, March 29, 1875
Inhuman treatment of a child
A case of cruelty to a girl 5 years old by her step-father, John Trent, of Danville, Ill., so atrocious as to be almost incredible, is now under investigation. The child's head was found to be almost bald, its hair having been plucked out by Trent in his rage; its body was covered with black and blue spots caused by blows from the hand of this monster; the bottoms of its feet were almost of solid blisters, caused by being bent back and slapped with a flat board.
/ Its eyes were red and inflamed from tobacco juice having been squirted into them; and the skin on its wrists was torn be being jerked and swung from side to side and around in a circle. Trent would keep the girl dancing up and down for hours at a time for his own amusement, and if the child would cease, he would apply the strap; and this kind of cruelty would continue till the child could dance no longer and would sink down overcome by exhaustion.
/ Frequently during the coldest weather of this winter, she has been locked in a cold room, with scarce enough clothing to cover its nakedness, and forced to remain thus for half a day at a time. The child's mother, who is a feeble, weakly woman in her examination before the justice showed great fear of her husband at times, her whole body being in a tremor.
Gazette & Courier - Monday, March 22, 1875
A little hero
Freddie Tenny of Alleghany, Pa. is a little fellow, only 10 years of age, whose parents recently left him at home to stay all night with his younger brother while they paid a visit. During the night Freddie was awakened by the smell of something burning. It happened that the house was on fire, having caught from some coals...Catching up his little brother he placed him outside the house, then got water and put out the flames, and after all danger was removed, replaced the child in bed, retired himself, and slept till morning, when he called in the neighbors to tell them what happened. He had been charged to care for the house and for his brother, and he had done so.
Gazette & Courier - Monday, March 22, 1875
Almost a tragedy
I'd kept myself at home all day / For on the dusty town / The sun, with dazzling, fiery ray / Had poured discomfort down / When night, with cold, refreshing shade / Overcame the sultry heat / No longer in the house I stayed / But quickly sought the street / I turned my steps, as oft before / Down to the river's side / I love to walk along the shore / And watch the flowing tide / A woman passed me and I thought / That as she hurried by / A faint peculiar sound I caught / A baby's smothered cry / The woman's face was thin and pale / In rags her form was clothed / Her whole demeanor told a tale / Of one despised and loathed / To reach the water, which was near / Her purpose seemed intent / Perhaps, thought I, with sudden fear / She's on some mischief bent / I heard, as if with terror wild / The infant shrilly scream / Oh heavens! I cried, she's brought the child / to drown it in the stream / I hastened on with all my might / But ere I reached the place / She held low down the luckless wight / And washed its dirty face. P.M.R., Rowe.
Gazette & Courier - Monday, February 22, 1875
The Lyme Conn. tragedy
The Lyme Conn. tragedy - Barbarous conduct of a father - The Hartford Times gives the following particulars of the sad affair which occurred at Lyme a few days since, brief mention of which has been made by telegraph. The full particulars of the tragedy in Lyme were not given in our Saturday paper, as they had not come to light at the time. Mr. Daniels, the father of the family, whose house was burned down on Thurs. night, is very poor, and most of the time under the influence of liquor. He and his wife were away at the time of the fire, and he has not once been heard from. The house, as was stated, caught fire from the explosion of a kerosene lamp, and the seven children had a very narrow escape from being burned to death. None of the residents of the village were aware of the fire until 7 o’clock the next morning, when Mr. William E. Coult, the nearest neighbor who lived a quarter of a mile away, found one of the Daniel boys, about 8 years of age, lying half frozen on the steps of his house. He learned from the boy that the Daniels house had been burned. Mr. Coult started for help [very very blurred]...the other 6 children huddled together...near the house. One...was entirely naked, and frozen stiff and dead. Another was badly frozen and has since died. The ages of the children range from 1 to 17 years. The most horrible part of the story yet remains to be told. It seems that Daniels, who is a wood cutter, returned from his work a week ago last Sat. night and found that during his absence the family had suffered for the necessities of life, and had been compelled to ask Mr. Coult and other neighbors for food. He made the most severe [?] against them...even if they starved. Fear from [?] was what compelled the freezing children to take refuge in the bushes instead of entering Mr. Coult’s house. The father had even punished the children for taking food from his neighbors, anbd thus when they were cast from their house, while it was burning, and in danger of freezing, they did not dare ask for help. When found, the [?] daughter of 13 years of age, was frozen and [?]. Her chemise, her only garment, had been torn off by the younger children to keep themselves warm. All that remained of the garment on her person was the nape and part of this, with portions of the [?]...remained on the ice when the body was removed. The boy found on Mr. Coult’s [?] had remained there from half past 2 o’clock until 7 o’clock in the morning, with no clothing on except his shirt and pants. Another horrible part remains to be told. A daughter of Daniels, 17 years old, was one of the party saved, and with her was found, clasped to her breast, her baby, 12 months old. The father of the babe, it is asserted by the town [?] of Lyme, is her own father! Daniels has left for parts unknown. His poor children are kindly cared for by humane persons in Lyme, while the authorities are trying to locate his whereabouts.