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November 1916: Elections, inducements, and elixirs

You may be suffering today from "that dull, listless, oppressed feeling due to impurities in your system, sluggish liver, [and] clogged intestines" 100 years ago, there was a cure for it, over the counter, no Rx needed, JIM has discovered in this fascinating digest of the news in Adair and nearby back then.

By JIM

Mid-November 1916 found Democrats in general and the Adair County News in particular still giddy with relief over President Wilson's razor thin re-election. (Had the Republican effort to turn then true-blue Kentucky to red succeeded, Wilson's opponent, Charles Hughes, would have lost the popular vote but carried the Electoral College by three, 267 - 264.) In heavily Republican Adair, Wilson won seven of 15 precincts, South Columbia was a virtual tie (98-100 Hughes), and the Republican candidate won the county by fewer than 200 votes of the over 3,500 cast.


(The correspondent from Owensby in neighboring Russell County, prognosticating with the same confident level of accuracy as most pollsters in a more recent election, boldly predicted that "the old Elephant and Moose will be running side by side at break neck speed, while the old donkey will be snorting and panting in an effort to keep in sight.")

Otherwise, the ebb and flow of life continued undisturbed, and the exchange of goods, services, livestock, and dollars continued unabated. The real estate firm of Tutt & Reed offered for sale several choice properties, including a nine-room, two story home on a nice lot, "situated on one of the best residence streets in Columbia, near the square, [with] barn and out buildings."

Albin Murray assured readers he would give customers "Quality, Style, Comfort and the Right Prices" on his stock of mens' and boys' hats and clothing and "everything for ladies, misses, and children in dress goods, underwear, cloaks, headwear, novelties and notions."

Woodson Lewis, a long time News advertiser and major "big box" retailer of Greensburg, offered the Chevrolet Baby Grand five passenger touring car or the Chevy Alfo roadster for $490, F.O.B. Detroit. (Folks wishing to dispose of a vehicle had a potential buyer in Myers & Sons, who wanted to purchase two or three used Ford machines.)

E.W. Wethington of the Adair Spoke Co. wanted to buy hickory and white oak spokes; the Lindsey-Wilson Training School offered to buy Irish potatoes for $1.00 cash on the bushel, but Columbia businessman Casey Jones upped the ante to a buck-twenty on the bushel; and W.A. Coffey wanted to sell an open fronted Franklin stove.

Russell & Co. offered "100 pairs of ladies button and lace kid slippers, assorted sizes, stylish shapes," normally $2.50 to $3.50, at two dollars a pair; and L.W. Bennett, Eugene Grasham, and Clint Smith had just combined forces to "compose a team of stock buyers" who would be in Columbia on a weekly basis to purchase livestock.

Those tired of enjoying poor health had a tempting array of nostrums, snake oils, and catholicons from which to choose. Com-Cel-Sar promised (among other things) to relieve rheumatism, catarrh, and "any disease of the stomach, liver or kidneys" and to keep one's blood pure. (This was a product first sold by Charlie White Moon, born Charles Bunce, and after his death in 1912, by his wife and others.) Those suffering from sore throat, tight chest or stuffed up head were urged to try Dr. Bell's Pine-Tar-Honey with "all the benefits of the healing aroma from a pine forest."

Dr. King's New Life Pills offered relief from "that dull, listless, oppressed feeling due to impurities in your system, sluggish liver, [and] clogged intestines" and serendipitously would tone one's system and clear up one's "muddy, pimply complexion."

Of course, there was Cardui, the world-famous woman's vegetable tonic; the old standby Sloan's Liniment; and Chamberlain's Pills for dyspepsia. Tanlac, formulated for most everything from rheumatism to razor burn, was available in Adair County only at Page & Hamilton, Columbia; J.P. Miller & Sons, Crocus; and C.H. Jarvis', Coburg. (The October 15, 2014 online edition of the Dayton Daily News, Dayton, Ohio, noted that "On May 11, 1917 Fred Wick's testimonial appeared in a Tanlac ad in the Holyke Daily Transcript newspaper. In it Wick states that he no longer suffered from stomach problems and had in fact gained ten pounds. In the same issue, under the bold heading of 'Funerals', appeared the notice that 'the funeral of Fred Wick was held this morning.'")


This story was posted on 2016-11-13 12:29:56
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