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JIM: Thanksgiving in Adair County, 1914

Thanksgiving day news was sparse in the News, concern about the war in Europe was uppermind, but business houses did close at noon on Thanksgiving for sermon. Then, as now, sports were a priority, with the report of a run-and-gun up at Columbia High School, where a team from Monticello defeated Our Boys by 7 points. And there were no complaints about unfair officiating. The referee was from Monticello, the umpire of this place. And the News could admit of no criticism
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A century ago, Thanksgiving Day came on the heels of a bitter cold snap and passed off quietly in Adair County, with neither parade nor Big Box Store shopping madness to disturb the general tranquility. No doubt, many farmers and their families expressed gratitude for a good crop year, and certainly, many a mother and young wife breathed an extra prayer of relief that the war in Europe had not (yet) cast a shadow across the Atlantic to touch her son or husband.

The News edition dated the 25th devoted exactly six front page lines to the holiday, stating tersely in total
"Thanksgiving services at the Presbyterian Church, the sermon to be preached by Eld. Z.T. Williams. All the business houses in town will observe the custom of closing from eleven o'clock in the forenoon to 1 p.m."
Most likely, there were a number of such services across the county. The Rugby correspondent reported that "a well-known preacher" would take the pulpit at Mt. Pleasant church Thanksgiving morn, "and in the afternoon the exercises will be conducted by the Rowetown school." Other schools were invited to participate as well, and everyone was invited to attend. The following week, the Roy community newsletter commented that the Thanksgiving entertainment at the Conover schoolhouse was "largely attended" and graced by no less a personage than school superintendent Tobias Huffaker.

That long ago Thursday evening, the Columbia High basketball team entertained the netters from Monticello in the school's spacious 200-seat gymnasium. With the score tied at the end of the first half, the Wayne County quintet pulled away in the second and at the final buzzer claimed the plum, 24 to 17. Of the officiating, the News stated that "Mr. W.L. Tate, of Monticello, was the referee, and Mr. Edgar Reed, of this place, umpire, their decisions being of such fairness as to admit of no criticism."

- Compiled by JIM

This story was posted on 2014-11-27 09:25:58
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