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JIM: News from October 30, 1907

Long before Billy Joe Shade Street came to teach and preach the wisdom of protecting Columbia's urban forest, an "Unknown Concerned Citizen" was advocating exactly the same things for the community, 104 years ago. There's this and divers other bits and pieces of most worthy news about our heritage gleaned so carefully by JIM, whoever he may be. ('The Unknown Concerned Citizen' of 1907' - the MO fits): Items on Paul Hughes, Elder Azbill, Rev. Betts, Congressman D.C. Edwards,

By Jim

Bits and pieces from the October 30, 1907 News: Of shade trees and sundry other items of varying importance

Fifteen-year-old Paul Hughes, recently promoted to assistant postmaster of Columbia, was handling the distribution of mail like a seasoned veteran. Added the News, "Paul is energetic and when he undertakes to do any kind of business he does it right."


The concrete sidewalks around the Square had been completed, except for a short section in front of the Columbia Hotel, and it was the understanding of the paper that the lone remaining section would soon be put down.

The previous Sunday evening, Eld. W.K. Azbill delivered an entertaining sermon, one "full of information, clearly told." Meanwhile, over near Russell County, Rev. Betts of Virginia was drawing large crowds at a meeting being held at White Oak. The attendance was extra large on Sunday morning, bolstered by several in attendance from across the county line.

Another speaker, Congressman D.C. Edwards, didn't draw quite the crowds as had the men of the cloth. On Wednesday afternoon, two weeks in advance of the election, Rep. Edwards "spoke to a small audience at the court-house." Disdainfully sniffed the News, "Many prominent Republicans were conspicuously absent."

(Despite the poor showing in Columbia, the Republicans did well across the Commonwealth. The News, published a day late in order to carry the election news, reported that the Log Cabin ticket had swept the state offices. In explaining the humiliating defeat of the crowing rooster, the paper was quick to point a finger or two: "For the cause of the defeat, there are several reasons, but the principal one was the liquor question, the distillers and retail dealers voting for the Republicans.")

A lengthy letter signed by an unnamed "Concerned Citizen" reminded Columbians that mid-November was the best time to plants shade trees and urged them to do so to beautify their properties and their town. Wrote this citizen, in part:

While Columbia has a great many fine shade trees, she is badly in need of more. So many new homes have been built in the last two or three years, and a number of the have been neglected in the way of planting out shade trees...You may build a handsome, up-to-date house, paint it nicely and in good taste, yet you must have grass and trees to complete the appearance of a home and make it comfortable and attractive.

The shade along the side walks (rather, where the walks should be), have in a majority of the town been overlooked...Think of the nice shade along C.R. Payne's and Mrs. Mary Garnett's fence; in front of the Christian Church and the Page property; Jo Nat Conover's and Dr. Taylor's; the Hancock Hotel; in front of Mrs. Eubank's and Mrs. Miller's property, and Mrs. Mag Smith's property and a few more places, and watch how they are sought on a hot summer day, when you never see any one take the other side of the street.


Meanwhile, Glenville was on the move. Messrs. Blair & Garnett's new business house was under construction, Lawrence Wilkerson was laying in plans to erect a fine residence, and two others (unnamed) had recently completed or were in the process of completing new houses.

Over in Cane Valley, the finishing touches were being put on B.M. Callison's just-erected edifice, "one of the nicest homes in our town." The correspondent also mentioned that the sharp-eared citizens of The Valley had heard the Dupont powder mill explosions in Fontanet, Ind.

(Fontanet, Ind., is a few miles removed from Terre Haute. A series of horrific explosions occurred there on Tuesday morning, October 15, 1907, the most concussive occurring at 10:15 a.m. when "the great powder magazine" -- some forty thousand kegs of powder -- went up. That explosion quite conceivably could have been heard in The Valley, 250 miles to the southeast.)

In neighboring Russell County, the jury dropped a heavy hammer on Peter Duncan, sentencing him to 21 years in the state penitentiary in Frankfort for the willful murder of David Mann, the crime having occurred in June, near Creelsboro.

(Duncan, described in the News as "quite an old man, perhaps sixty-five or sixty-eight years of age," took it upon himself to circumvent temporal justice. While being transported to Frankfort in mid-November later by the Russell County sheriff, he somehow obtained and ingested carbolic acid, dying a few minutes later. Before passing, Duncan told Sheriff Hammond he preferred death to imprisonment "at such an advanced age.")

A short front page filler piece informed readers there were 24 towns in Adair County other than Columbia, and that there were more than 100 stores in the county outside the corporate limits of Columbia.

And finally, this great Universal Truth, inconspicuously tucked away in a lower corner of the front page: "Every body will be glad when the election is over."

Compiled by JIM


This story was posted on 2011-10-30 11:53:57
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