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100 years ago: front page odds & ends

Columbia was in a state of revival, with three meetings concurrently going on, simultaneously, at the same time. And, as usual, Jim notes, 'much good work' was being done, and, presumably, in other endeavors, 'good times were had by all,' as today, 100 years later, and as shall ever be.

By "Jim"

How scarce was "big" news in the March 15, 1911 News, you ask? Well, information about a corn growing contest and the participants thereof took up the better part of a front page column. (A clew, Watson, a clew!) There were, however, any number of short items of interest to the informed Adair Countian.

Jo Russell (nephew of Mr. J.O. Russell) had sold his stock of goods to Ballard & Miller, and the latter gentlemen were already in charge of the stand. A.H. Ballard was an educator, entrepreneur, and part-time electrician; Mr. Miller was his brother-in-law.

The previous Saturday, the Lindsey Wilson Training School basketball team, in front of a large home crowd, had eked out a victory over the Russell Springs Academy quintet in a high scoring barnburner, the final tally standing at 27 to 11.

In other Lindsey Wilson news, there was an announcement of a public debate to be held in the Lindsey Wilson Chapel on Saturday evening. The topic: Resolved, that United States Senators should be elected by popular vote. Arguing in the affirmative was I.W. Napier and Fred Rainwater (of Rainwater Oak fame), and in the negative, C.B. Diddle (E.A.'s brother) and Wyatt Romine. The March 22nd edition stated that the debate was held before "a very good audience" and that the judges, Prof. W..M. Wilson (of the Columbia Graded/High School), W.A. Coffey, and News editor C.S. Harris, found in favor of the affirmative "by a few points." The inquiring mind wonders if Messrs. Napier and Rainwater's and impassioned words might have played some small role that led to final ratification of the 17th amendment almost exactly two years later.

Two birth announcements graced the front page, but in the custom of the day, the names of the mother and child weren't given. The first entry informed that a daughter (Mary Catherine) had been born to the wife of Dr. C.M. Russell on March 9th. Catherine and her older sister, Frances, were the daughters of Dr. Russell and his second wife, Angeline, nee Clark. Dr. Russell's oldest daughter, Regina, was by his first wife, the former Miss Mary Nell, who had passed in 1904.

The other birth announcement was that of a son (Joe H.) born March 7th, 1911 to the wife of Cosby McBeath. While residing in Columbia, Mr. McBeath met and wooed Miss Dimple Conover, the belle of Columbia and daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J.N. Conover. Cosby and Miss Dimple were wed the latter part of May, 1910. The pianist was Mrs. C.M. (Angeline) Russell, and one of the ribbon bearers was her daughter, young Miss Frances, three and a half years old.

There were no fewer than three mentions of the revival service in progress at the Columbia Christian Church in which were extolled the virtues of Eld. John Lincoln Brant, "a most attractive pulpit orator [who] comes highly recommended as a godly man," and his son-in-law, the music director: "The chorus inspiring, many new and beautiful songs being rendered." And, of course, the ubiquitous "much good work" was being done. However, one of the articles carried this plaintive plea: "On account of the church being so crowded, at each evening service, the ladies are earnestly requested to leave their hats at home."

The Cumberland Presbyterians also drew front page mention. According to a notice from Messrs. W.H. and W.R. Johnson and J.C. Bault of the Building Committee, "The new Cumberland Presbyterian Church at Kelleyville, Adair County, Kentucky, will be ready for Presbytery, which meets there on Saturday, April 1st at 11 o'clock a.m." In this same issue, the Cane Valley newsletter said of the new church, "It is a quite nice little building, and will be a great convenience to that community." About a month later, the Russell Creek correspondent noted that "The young people of this neighborhood who attended Presbytery at Kellyville, report a nice time and a bountiful dinner."

The weather drew passing mention with the observation that the previous Sunday it has been warm enough "for men to sit around without coats" but the following day "it took an overcoat to make a person feel comfortable."

Among the advertisements, real estate was a hot item. T.G. Rasner had for rent an eight-room house on an acre lot in Columbia; Levi Dulin had a nice house and lot and a well equipped barber shop for sale in Cane Valley; and R.R. Conover wanted to sell a 20 acre tract of land that lay in the Graded School district but outside the town limits. (At that time, the city limits extended one-half mile from the square.)

Another ad informed readers that Dr. S.N. Hancock, Jeweler and Optician, was ready for business in the Page Drug Store Building; and E.A. McKinley reminded folks that he ground corn at his mill every Saturday and that he had plenty of oak and chestnut shingles for sale.

Three marriage announcements appeared on the front page, and as seemed to frequently to be the case in those days, all three of the brides were excellent young ladies, the darlings of their neighborhoods and of the best of families; the grooms all were of sterling character and generally either were energetic or prosperous young farmers. (I'm pretty sure "prosperous" meant they were paid-up subscribers to the News); and, of course, the vows were pronounced equally impressively by each of the officiating clergymen.

Columbia's art movement, greatly inspired for a number of years by Miss Tillie Trabue (who taught both at the Graded & High School and Lindsey Wilson and also gave private lessons), got a boost when Miss Sallie Baker installed in her home a china kiln and announced plans to open a studio for china decorating.

The previous Saturday night, the Graded School had held a Book Social, which, the News reported, had been well attended, and "a number of books were contributed to the library and seven or eight dollars in cash taken in."

And in closing, a sad note related to the corn growing contest mentioned above. The contest was for young farmers and farmers to be, ten to fifteen years of age. Of the fifty-some youngsters who entered the contest, at least two (and quite possibly three), perished in the first World War, the two known with certainty being Bradford Parnell and Estill Blair.

Compiled by "Jim."

This story was posted on 2011-03-13 10:19:08
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