Time Capsule Thursday: This Momentous Week, April 1865

Unsurprisingly, newspapers published this week in 1865 contained details about the recent surrender of General Robert E. Lee to General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox.  The northern newspaper reports were understandably jubilant, while the southern news reports were just as understandably gloomy and subdued.  For instance, on April 11 the Charlotte Democrat, just two days following the surrender expressed both defiance and fear for the future: We fear that the occurrences of the last few weeks will have the effect of uncovering the greater portion of North Carolina and leaving the people of our States at the mercy of their enemies.  But it is not worth while to grieve and mourn about what cannot be helped.  Our cause is a righteous one, and if God wills it we shall triumph notwithstanding present adversities and the discouraging circumstances which surround us.  But if we fail in our struggle for liberty, let us fail like men who have done nothing but our duty. The paper went on to decry “Yankee treatment of ministers of the gospel” in their state.  Bishop Atkinson of Wadesboro, North Carolina had been “robbed of [his] watch, two horses, some clothes, coffee, and a little corn and wheat which [he] had at a mill, and burnt [his] wife’s piano and some other furniture.”  Perhaps some of General Sherman’s “bummers” had visited the reverend (see this week’s Tombstone Tuesday article for more on the “bummers”). The citizenry of Waterloo, Iowa was in a celebratory mood, “drunk with joy” according to the April 14 issue of the Cedar Falls Gazette.  Upon hearing that Jeff Davis and Lee had been...

Time Capsule Thursday: The “Weighty Issues” of April 2, 1915

What was happening one hundred years ago – what was making headlines?  War was raging in Europe and it would be two years to the day before Woodrow Wilson would stand before a joint session of Congress and ask for a declaration of war against Germany. This day in 1915 the Germans were stopped at Argonne, France was pounding German aviation camps, the Russian Cavalry defeated the German Cavalry in northern Poland, three more boats were sunk by German submarines in the North Sea and President Wilson was trying to keep the United States neutral.  Weighty issues indeed. What was on the minds of readers of the San Bernardino News?  There were more than a few “weighty” issues to discuss that day: Fifteen Ounces Is Baby’s Weight – The population of Lynn, Massachusetts had increased in weight by fifteen ounces after the birth of a baby girl born to Mr. and Mrs. Frank B. Mower.  Doctors declared that the tiniest baby ever born in Lynn had “more than an even chance to live.” (Page 1) Turning the page, contrast that with these two “weight-related” stories on page two: Infant Weighs 22 Pounds at Birth – A 22-pound baby girl was born to Mrs. Mary Slavonder, or Sylvander (spelled both says in one-paragraph story) in East St. Louis, Illinois.  The baby was 26-1/2 inches long, perfectly formed and the largest of all the children she had birthed.  Her other four children had all weighed over fifteen pounds at birth.  The story noted that the Missus herself weighed 240 pounds. Woman Fills Hack As Chief Mourner – Mrs. Claude Barker of...