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All Around Adair County, mid-September, 1914

News from downtown Columbia was "skase, mighty skase" a century ago this mid-September, 2014, but a cornucopia of newsletters filled the interior pages of the News. - JIM


In Columbia, the biggest news was that the Messrs. Willis and Murrell had about completed the courthouse auditorium renovations. While the News applauded the effort, it also cited other improvements more pressing, specifically, that the roof (likely the original) was in dire need of replacement, noting that during a recent heavy rain, "water came through to the floor, in barrels." It was also suggested that "the old plastering should be knocked off and replaced with metal ceiling." Ever mindful of a dollar, the paper noted, "The court-house cost this county about $33,000 and it should be protected."

Local ministers prayers for war created emotional distress for Dr. Jones

Otherwise, the emotional distress of Dr. J.T. Jones--dentist, poet, humorist, frequent visitor of the healing waters of the Sand Lick Sulphur Spring, and wry observer of the human condition--constituted the biggest news in town. The good doctor, a resident of the Stanford Pike, came to town early on the morning of Thursday, September 10th, a deeply conflicted man. President Woodrow Wilson had set October 4th as a day of national prayer for peace, but Dr. Jones' favorite preacher, the Rev. E.L. Powell of Louisville, "was praying for the war to continue, leaving [Dr. Jones] in a quandary--he did not know whether to pray or not to pray."

[A quite unauthorized editorial aside from your humble scribe: The restorative powers of the Sand Lick Spring's sulphurous waters were known far and wide. Without a doubt, the prophet Elisha would have directed Naaman the leper there instead of the River Jordan, had not the latter been so conveniently located for the need at hand.]

Meanwhile, out in the county...

One of Rugby's best young men, Mr. John Rose, had lit out for Illinois a few days earlier. In the same community, T.J. Rossen had sold two hogs for $19.50, Jim Fletcher had bought of Silas Cain a cow and calf for $70.00, and everyone in attendance at the Friday night bean hulling at W.J. Bean's reported having a nice time.

In the Pellyton country, Mr. W.G. Ellis was the new part-owner of the firm of Pelley & Ellis, he having bought a half interest in the enterprise from Mr. D.O. Pelley. The correspondent solemnly stated that both gentlemen "are the highest type and good business men and no doubt will enjoy a large trade." In another enterprise, this one with an eye on eternity, the Rev. W.H. Lemmon, ably assisted by a Rev. Gilpin of Breckinridge County, had just finished a protracted meeting "in which 18 or 20 professions were made and the church greatly revived." Jasper Doss had removed his sawmill to near Pellyton on Barnett's Creek and was ready to "do custom sawing and run a grist mill." Also, Pellyton natives Cleo and Mattie Pelley, brother and sister, had returned to the L.W.T.S. for the fall term of classes.

It took two letters to tell it all the Dirigo news. One reported the spelling bee at Independence schoolhouse was largely attended; that Elrod & Co. had up and moved their stave mill operation from near Dirigo to Columbia; and Mr. Darrell Strange, a teacher in the Greenbriar district not far removed from Dirigo and who was "one of our best young men," had "opened a moonlight school last week with good attendance." And too, Mose Wooten, had fired up his cane mill, and the community scribe humorously predicted, "if sorghum will do it, he means to sweeten this neighborhood."

The second Dirigo letter reported roads in that section were receiving much needed attention, and the correspondent wryly observed, "we can hope that before the campaign is over, every road in this section will be in good shape." Rev. Joe Stotts had been leading a 10-day meeting at Price's Creek; Melvin Pettie (Petty) had bought, for one hundred dollars, a one-seventh interest in the farm inherited by Rollin Stapp; and several of the younger set recently had attended an apple "pealing" at the home of G.A. Murphy, near Chance.

Ozark boasted four new water wells, one each at the residences of James Combest, Olie McKinley, and Willie Reynolds, and a fourth at the new Clear Spring school. Adda McKinley was afflicted with erysipelas on her foot and Mrs. T.J. Bryant with general erysipelas.

From Nell came word that Tom Combs was suffering mightily in the jaw region, the pain caused by his teeth. Clayton Bell, still suffering from slow fever, wasn't recovering very fast; Leonard Walker had an awfully sore hand, cause unstated; and Jeff Rose wasn't improving much from an unnamed ailment. On a brighter note, "Miss Blanche Walker is getting along very well with her school at this place."

Mr. Wilmore, the Gradyville stringer for the News, peppered his letter with spicy bits: J.A. Diddle in Greensburg looking after the lumber business.....Mr. S.A. Taylor sick, "his condition is considered very serious".....Gradyville farmers planting larger-than-usual crops of rye and winter wheat....Mr. Strong Hill and wife attending the State Fair.....kudos to Frank Dulin for growing the best and biggest crop of watermelons in the Gradyville section.....and "The night school that is being taught by our efficient teacher, Miss Garnett, for the benefit of those who can not read and write, is very well attended and much interest is being manifested by these unfortunate people, and we take it that much good will prevail in the way of promoting them."

Over in Pickett, J.H. Rodgers had sold two calves to a Mr. Sparks for $20.00 each. Enoch Pickett was back home from Illinois, having departed the Auld Sod for the latter just a few weeks earlier, and Mr. Alex Estes had sold his shop tools with the view of locating elsewhere. The Rev. Christie had filled his last appointment at Pickett's Chapel before Annual Conference, and the singing held the previous Friday at the aforementioned house of the Lord was "very good."

And lots of news from neighboring shire of Russell

In the report from Adair's neighboring shire of Russell in the village yclept Jamestown, baseball ruled the inkwell. In recent days, the Jamestown team had traveled to Cumberland County and soundly defeated the Burkesville nine. On another day, playing on their home diamond, Jamestown boys turned up the heat on the team from the Snow community of Clinton County and melted the visitors on both ends of a double-header.

In other sports (of a sort, anyway), Jimtown's best spellers had traveled to Concord for a base ball spelling match. However, "A misunderstanding arose and could not be smoothed over, and both sides quit." Quipped the correspondent, "Too much discord and not enough Concord."

Several merchants around Jamestown's square were putting down concrete walks in front of their establishments, and at last report, Luther and Silas, the Messrs. Kean, "were plowing the waters of the blue Pacific, bound for the Philippine islands."

An ad from Farmers Woolen Mills, E.L. Reese, Mgr. (Shipping Point, Greasy Creek, Landing) stated (in part), "I am trying to represent the old fashioned goods like our mothers used to make, in the manufacture of Blankets, Flannels, Lincy, Jeans, Yarnes, Etc." ("Lincy" probably referred to linsey-woolsey, "a coarse twill or plain-woven fabric woven with a linen warp and a woollen weft," according to Wikipedia. Mr. Reese's second wife, to whom he was married in 1905, was the former Miss Maggie Kemp of the Gradyville section.)

Compiled by JIM

This story was posted on 2014-09-14 08:58:50
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