Wednesday, March 2, 2011

2 March 1882: A Page in the Life of Athens

On this day, and many others, the
Southern Watchman devoted the most of their third page of the newspaper to bits of news that either did not merit or had not been pursued as full news stories. 

Each column would often begin with short, one-sentence pieces that seemed more like small talk than news, then expand to editorial opinions, sarcastic quips about conditions or people in town, and, at times, corrections to stories previously run in the newspaper.

The first column of the page was called "Personal Mention," and devoted to what would later be published in other local papers as "Society Notes" or "News of Interest to the Ladies," and consisted of mostly gossip and the various travels and health situations of locals:

Holman thinks he has the swinney.
Prof. White has the prettiest team in the city.
Major Miller Lumpkin reached Athens this week and is sick.
Hon. H. H. Carlton has returned from a trip to Atlanta.
Joe Hodgson has a six months boy that weighs 25 pounds.
Mrs. Crawford Long has one of the handsomest homes in Athens.
A highly aesthete whisky-poker club has been organized in Athens.
Miss Emma Mell will assist Mrs. Crawford with her school.
Ed Potter can look in a chicken's mouth and tell its age to a day. 
A Hancock avenue belle will be the next victim to Cupid, so Madam Rumor says.
Miss America Carlton has returned from a pleasant visit to friends in Oglethorpe.
Policeman Arnold, the boys say, arrested a little contraband for appearing on the street with her shoes unbuttoned.
Frank Rhodes says he is thinking seriously of joining the church. When Frank reforms the devil will go into bankruptcy.
Tom Hampton gets excited every time a pretty girl enters his store and has been known to tie up a gallon of molasses in a paper sack and put a dollars' worth of sugar in a jug.
Policeman Pierson's mustach [sic} looks like some fellow had just "hollered" boo! and woke it up; while Ben Culp reminds us of a man who suffers with hereditary nightmare.

The second column was "A Bird's-Eye View of the City," and covered more general topics:

Mule trade lively.
Flower garden work progresseth slowly.
Athens needs about 1,000,000 pounds of paint.
The twittering of the blue bird is heard in the land.
A number of new buildings are contracted for in Cobbham.
Our Jewish friends have a large and flourishing Sabbath-school.
The Athens Foundry has four new apprentices. This is a fine business.
Brooklyn, a large colored village near the city, speaks of incorporating.
A number of our citizens have contracted for windmills, to pump water.
We have engaged the services of a first-class society editor, young ladies.
Col. Huggins says with $10,000 he will build a street railroad in Athens.
Mr. Gleason died at the house of his sister, and not in jail, as reported to us.
The students from the Agricultural College ought to pay frequent visits to Mr. Meeker's farm.
Manager Jones has lost money on the Opera House this season, which is a reflection on Athens.
An Athens gentleman is working on some Northern capitalists to get them to build another factory in or near our city.
What policeman was it that the other night listened for two hours to water dripping on a tin roof, under the impression that he had found a burglar?

The next three columns were short items that each had a short headline: 

Our police force have been for several days working up a highly interesting and sensational case, but they want it suppressed until the affair ripens.
This work was completed last week and is pronounced one of the best in the county. Its cost is about $3,900. King, the builder, has a contract to build another bridge in Fulton county.
The roads leading to Athens are badly cut up, and it is almost impossible for wagons to travel them. Farmers are getting short of supplies and unless the weather breaks starvation will stare some sections in the face.
There was called a meeting of Council Monday evening to take some action in regard to the Oconee Cemetery; but owing to the absence of the Mayor no official action was taken. Council will doubtless take charge of this cemetery, and elect a regular keeper.
We are happy to announce that Mrs. Julius Cohen, who has been very low for some time, is somewhat better at last accounts.
It seems like the very floodgates of heaven have been raised this winter. There has been almost continuous rainfall since Christmas, with very few clear days. It is injurious to business and ruinous to our farmers, who have no opportunity to break or prepare their lands.
We never knew money matters so tight. The bad roads have quarantined our trade, and even some of our best men find it hard to collect enough to meet their monthly bills. There seems now, however, to be a break in the weather, and if it will only stay clear for a few days our streets will be filled with wagons and the blockade raised.
In connection with his first-class bar Mr. R. H. Lampkin has opened a fine restaurant and has also nice beds for his patrons. This is the best equipped bar in the city, and only the purest liquors sold. The old Gibson rye and Maxey's corn specialties. His rooms have just been newly furnished, and the public will be well cared for. Now don't forget the place. The only ten-pin alley in the city.
There is no disguising the fact that there is great want and destitution in our midst. Not only many blacks, but even some whites, are actually suffering for the necessaries of life. Owing to the wretched weather they could not get work, and both their money and credit are gone. A gentleman remarked to us the other day that he had a load of wood thrown off at his door, and in less than an hour had seventeen applications to cut it up. And yet hundreds of negroes leave the farms to seek employment in the city.
On Monday last an unbroken schedule went into effect, extending over the Northeastern Railroad to Clarkesville. There is no change of cars between Athens and that point. This shows that the R. & D. intends to act in good faith toward our city and our people are joyous.

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