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JIM: News, views, reviews, & sage counsel, late December 1916

Christmas was a busy season of entertainments, just as now. And, just as now, 100 years ago the City of Columbia was being admonished for the poor condition of its sidewalks. Interspersed is a wonderful anecdote from Melvin L. White, who visited Carroll County, MO, from his home in North Carolina.
Click on headline for complete compilation by JIM


A great diversity of news, information, and opinion filled the front page of the last edition of the Adair County News to bear the date 1916.

On Wednesday night, the 21st, several hardy souls braved snow and ice to attend a Christmas recital at the Lindsey Wilson Training School. Selections included the opening number, "Joy, Joy, Joy" by Miss Frona Faulkner and Messrs. Noel Thomas and Billy Cundiff; several piano recitations, a number of well-received readings, and a pantomime by Miss Maxine Moss ("Santa's Mistake") and Miss Sallie E. Murphy ("The Holy City") "were especially attractive."

The following night, the Columbia Graded and High School students of Miss Alice Walker (Music) and Mrs. Ray Montgomery (Expression) "delightfully entertained a large audience at the Graded School Gym." Among several others displaying their talents were the Misses Mary Summers, Eva Walker, Mildred Walker, and Allene Montgomery.

Three young ladies provided the requisite number of fingers to play a piano piece, the "Diploma Waltz," written for six hands. At the time, the youngsters, Misses Carrie Grissom, Mabel Rosenbaum, and Marshall Paull had a collective age of 35 years. Miss Rosenbaum, the oldest, had recently turned thirteen; the other two were each eleven. All went on to live long and productive lives. Marshall (Todd) passed a few months before her 90th birthday; Carrie (Montgomery) very nearly reached the century mark, she living three and a half years into the new millennium; and the three among them accrued 267 years.

Adair County native Melvin L. White, writing from North Carolina, his home of many years, made mention of his recent sojourn to Carroll County, Missouri where resided three of his brothers, members of an enclave of other Adair Countians who had fled west over the years. In collectively speaking (somewhat tongue-in-cheek) of the residents of the Show Me state, he said,

"Missouri believes Missouri will first hear the trump of the Judgment Archangel, and [that] they are the saints who will judge the earth. There people there were surprised that I had seen gang-plows, disc-Harrows, wheat threshed by steam; or a farm cultivator of any description..."

Furthermore, he huffed, "I was...told not to be frightened at the sight of an automobile. I had ridden in a dozen or more Fords, Overlands and Maxwells, and managed to preserve intrepidity in the presence of a touring car."

The Rapid Transit Co. of Columbia encouraged readers to "exchange your Prest-o-light tank" with Rapid Transit and save money. (This was an aftermarket product, an acetylene tank that replaced the earlier carbide crystal tanks used to power headlamps on older automobiles. Electric lights were available on many automobiles produced by around 1913 and later.)

That December a century ago, Columbia sidewalks gave fret to the News, to-wit:

"We do not know whether or not the Municipal Board could be held responsible in case of an accident, but one thing is certain, unless the concrete walk from Mr. Sam Lewis' place of business to the corner where Mr. Bert Epperson is located, is made rougher, one is sure to occur. One man slipped and fell on this walk last Wednesday, but fortunately he was not seriously hurt. It would not take but a short time to hack it in a way to keep persons' feet from slipping from under them. If this is not done you are going to hear of a leg or an arm being broken on this walk, and then a suit for damages will follow."

In closing, the News assumed the role of a wise uncle offering sage economic counsel to a perhaps recalcitrant "nephew" who exhibited too little ambition for the uncle's liking:

"Enterprise is required to make a town grow and prosper. A united effort upon the part of our citizens and the judicious expenditure of money would make Columbia grow, and in a few years it would be a town of dimensions, and every body who make their homes here would be busy from the rising of the sun until the setting thereof.

"The towns in Kentucky to-day that are prosperous are the ones that have donated liberally to enterprises which employ labor. Thus it is and always will be, that where liberality is manifested towns thrive, but where the close fisted disposition is manifested, communities struggle for existence. Men who have money must invest it in order to protect their own interest...

"We would be glad to see Columbia start a move for the betterment, beginning early in 1917."

Merry Christmas, everyone! - Jim

This story was posted on 2016-12-24 12:47:33
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