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100 years ago Adair Co. News changed its obituary policy

The local paper started charging for obituaries - five cents per printed line.
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By JIM

The front page of the June 3, 1914 Adair County News carried one article that perhaps should have been bordered in black - the announcement the paper would no longer publish obituaries free of charge Stated this stark write-up, in part,

"Obituaries are of interest only to the family and near relatives of the deceased, and we can not afford to give space free for such character of reading. Hereafter we will accept obituaries at 5 cents per printed line."


The piece went to explain that seven words in cursive equaled one line of type, then brought down the hammer:
"Writers can count and the amount of cash it will require for an obituary. The writer...will be charged with the amount, hence he or she had better collect before forwarding the manuscript."
In bit of unintended irony, there appeared just two columns removed from this parsimonious proclamation a rhymed tribute to a young man who had gone to the other shore two weeks earlier. This composition ran no fewer than forty-two lines of type, a value of two dollars and a dime had it been charged out under the new rules. It was a death poem of such a high-tone quality it no doubt would have brought sighs of pure (Gothic) joy from Miss Emmeline Grangerford (and perhaps would have planted the seed of grievous envy in her young heart - a heart stilled too soon, never more to beat, alas!)

A single stanza of the poem, penned by "Z.T.G.," will be sufficient unto the day:
"Sad are our hearts that we will see you no more,
Vainly we would seek by our tendering of tears
Your spirit's return from that far distant shore,
Where happy it is resting through eternity's years."
- JIM

Jim appended a note suggesting the poet, "Z.T.G." was most probably the initials of a physician of the day, from "the upper end of the county."


This story was posted on 2014-05-31 15:09:19
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