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JIM: News from the News, early September, 1904

It was an optimistic time in Columbia, with expansion on the South Side and a building boom in the Tutt Addition, the original part of Tutt Street with sidewalks and the Male & Female High School just yards away. It was a time before the great baseball star from the area, an Estonian named Eros Barger was in his pre-major league days. The coming St. Louis World's Fair was in the plans of Gradyvillian Kate Walker. Matrimony was popular with Knifleyans that month. The Lindsey Wilson was, as now, providing economic impetus for the whole community. Mr. G.W. Flowers installed the latest in tonsorial parlor equipment, a "Congress Hydraulic" chair in his popular barber shop. Healthcare was no big cost issue. There was a special on optical work offered by Sam Hancock, in the Marcum Hotel, and Columbia had, in the same building, an ostepath, phone number 35. C.A. Coy brought low cost groceries to Columbia, and the woods products industry was thriving. Hickory singletrees were bringing $20/thousand. It's all below in this splendid piece by JIM
Click on headline for complete, fact filled, fascinating true story of old Columbia, KY


A number of items in the News from fivescore and ten years ago caught the rheumy eye of this old chronoscryer:

While in Columbia, Mr. Jeff John Jefferson) Epperson of Montpelier dropped a dollar in the till at the News office and related a number of stories, including the fact that he was married (to Elizabeth Morris) "on the 22nd day of December 1842 when the snow was 4 inches deep and the weather breezy." The article went on to state that Mr. Epperson, then in his early 80s, was one of but a handful of Adair Countians "who saw the great meteoric shower of 1833," and that "his recollection of that phenomena is still clear and fresh." (This refers to the incredible Leonid meteorite shower of November 1833, quite possibly the most spectacular celestial display ever observed and recorded in North America.)

Matrimony swept Knifley 110 years ago

Up Knifley way, Miss Anna B. Stapleton and Mr. Alfred Chandler were wed on August 21st, and Miss Pearl Watson and Mr. Harry Perkins were joined in the bonds on the 25th. William Parker was $325 richer from the sale of his farm, that divestment a precursor to his departure to Texas where he intended to permanently locate. Last but not least, Mrs. Eva Chelf had been quite sick for a number of days.

In Gradyville, Miss Kate Walker was planning a World's Fair visit

In Gradyville, Miss Kate Walker was laying in plans to attend the Louisiana Exposition (better know as the St. Louis World's Fair); Strong Hill was the new owner of a house in lot in town, purchased from Charles Coomer for fifty dollars; and Geo. H. Nell's residence, "one of the nicest and best buildings here," was just completed. On a less cheerful note, Mr. Nell had "lost a span of goats. Strayed or stolen."

Cy Barger of Esto pitched ball game in Liberty

The erstwhile Rev. Thomas Hadley, Esto correspondent for the News, reported that Messrs. Jo Williams of Montpelier and Eros Barger of Esto had on Friday past journeyed to Liberty, where the latter pitched ball game the following day. Young Barger is better remembered by his nickname, Cy. Rev. Hadley also noted that "Mrs. Martha Blair is very low with consumption." Mrs. Blair (nee Cundiff), then in her early 30s, was the wife of Logan Carter Blair and the mother of three children; she died just days after these words appeared in the paper. Her youngest daughter, Bettie Marie, born in early spring,1900, passed in April 2004.

Building boom in Tutt Addition raised optimism in town

The Tutt Addition, near the Male & Female High School, was on the move. W.B. Cave was making preparations to put up a two-story building, while J.C. Strange, Wade Eubank, and a Mr. Yates were "getting materials on the ground to erect neat and convenient dwellings." The News, constitutionally unable to refrain from editorializing at the hint of a dollar, continued by stating,

"No man will lose by putting his money in property in Columbia or bringing his family here to be educated...Columbia is growing rapidly and within a few fleeting years will more than double its population and business."

The Training School had 75 matriculants

Not to far removed from the Tutt Addition, classes had just started at the Training School with a full corps of teachers and some 75 matriculants, with another 25 to 50 students expected by the end of September when most of the crops were in. Opined the paper,
"This is one of the most auspicious openings for a school at this season of the year that has ever happened in this good old town. It is beyond the expectation of its most enthusiastic supports, but not in excess of the calculations of its able managers...[N]o parents need fear that their children will be permitted to squander time."
Miss Irene Dohoney and Dr. C.M. Murrell wedding announced

An upcoming wedding, that of Miss Irene Dohoney and Dr. C.M. Murrell, merited several column-inches of space. The bride-to-be was the 23-year-old daughter of J.P. Dohoney; the groom, a native of Adair County, had removed a year earlier to Iowa. After the ceremony in Columbia on the morning of September 14th, the newlyweds planned to take in the exposition at St. Louis before journeying on to Sabula, Iowa, where Dr. Murrell had built up a thriving practice. In the closing sentence of the announcement the News offered the young couple its best wishes, "trusting that this well-mated couple will live to cherish each other down to a good old age."

Sadly, that wish didn't come to fruition, as Irene died in Elida, New Mexico, sixteen days before Christmas, 1908, a victim of tuberculosis. Wrote Dr. Murrell of his beloved wife's death, "This morning at 12:45, Mrs. Murrell peacefully passed away to her heavenly home. She had been very frail for the past year, but kept up the struggle to get well until two weeks ago she lost all hope and declined rapidly."

The December 23, 1908 News stated she had developed symptoms of consumption in May, 1905, and that she and Dr. Murrell. "moved from Sabula, Iowa, where they had moved after their marriage, to Sylvia, Kansas. Their stay there was short, and in the hopes that New Mexico might prove beneficial, they came, a little over two years ago, to Elida." The article said of Irene, "[She] was of a refined and gentle nature, cheerful and patient under suffering, and had endeared herself to all by her charming personality, and her loving thoughtfulness of others."

G.W. Flowers installs "Congress Hydraulic" barber chair

On the Columbia business scene, tonsorial artist G.W. Flowers was in receipt of a new barber's chair known as the "Congress Hydraulic." The News remarked it was "possessing of all the admirable features of the latest make and cost $40.00." (The chair was manufactured by Koken Barber's Supply Company of St. Louis. The hydraulic design was patented by the firm's founder, Ernest Koken, in 1892.)

C.A. Coy brought low cost groceries to Columbia

C.A. Coy, located on the south side of the Square, offered a fresh and complete stock of groceries and promised he would "sell as cheap as any man." In addition, he would take country produce in exchange for goods. L.C. and Edwin Hurt, d.b.a. Hurt Brothers, had a fine selection of dressed lumber, "Office on south side of public square, the same old stand, phone 43."

Columbia Singletree Co. was paying good money for hickory singletrees

The Columbia Singletree Co. offered $20 per thousand for hickory singletrees, delivered to their yard in Columbia. To draw that sum, however, the singletrees had to be "free from knots, bird pecks, wind-shakes and other defects."

Sam Hancock offered optical work at one-half price

Sam Hancock, located in the Marcum Hotel, advertised optical work at one-half price for a short time only; Dr. James Menzies offered osteopathic consultations and exams at his home office (phone 35); and the Messrs. Browning (brothers J.C. & R.P.), Liverymen, offered "splendid vehicles, first class teams, and safe drivers." The entrance to the livery was on Water Street.Compiled by JIM

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