Saturday, April 28, 2012

28 April 1899: Pink Pills for Pale People

On this day in 1899, this beautiful ad for Dr. Williams' Pink Pills for Pale People appeared in the Weekly Banner:

(click to enlarge image)

This patent medicine, manufactured by a Canadian company, was advertised in mass market newspapers in 82 countries, and was the best selling product for the owner, George T. Fulford. The Fulfords made millions from the sale of the pills after purchasing the formula in 1890 for a mere $53.01.  His family's 20,000-square foot summer home, built around the time this ad was published, is now available for events and tourists to visit in Brockville, Ontario.

Fulford's prime method of advertising was the personal testimonial. Testimonial advertising allowed the company to vary the ad content, depending upon the symptoms the particular ad claimed to cure. It was also an engaging story about using the medicine, anecdotal evidence often being seen as more reliable than scientific evidence,  a useful quirk of psychology that worked in favor of patent medicines with no scientific evidence of their worth.

In this ad, testimonial of miraculous cure is given about "Miss Cora Watrous, the sixteen-year-old daughter of Mr. I. C. Watrous, of 61 Clarion St., Bradford, Pa." The names and addresses in the testimonial were real; if one looks at the 1900 U.S. Census, you find Cora, the oldest of eight children belonging to Ira and Helen Watrous, still living at the address used in the ad. By 1900, she was 20 years old and working as a dressmaker.

The company would publish small books, such as one that interpreted dreams, interspersed with tales of cures for the many ailments the pills claimed to relieve. All advertisements emphasized that a "reliable druggist" would carry their pills, and not offer alternatives.

According to the directions for use, Pink Pills for Pale People claimed that it cured
Pale and Sallow Complexion, General Muscular Weakness, Loss of Appetite, Depression of Spirits, Lack of Ambition, Anaemia, Chlorosis or Green Sickness, Palpitation of the Heart, Shortness of Breath on slight exertion, Coldness of Hands or Feet, Swelling of Feet and Limbs, Pain in the Back, Nervous Headache, Dizziness, Loss of Memory, Feebleness of Will, Ringing in the Ears, Early Decay. All forms of Female Weakness, Leucorrhoea, Tardy or Irregular Periods, Suppression of the Menses, Hysteria, Locomotor Ataxia, Partial Paralysis, Sciatica, Rheumatism, Neuralgia, etc. 
It also cured 
Scrofula, Swelled Glands, Fever Sores, Rickets, Hip Joint Disorders, Hunchback, Acquired Deformities, Decayed Bones, Chronic Erysipelas, Consumption of the Bowels and Lungs, Loss of Vital Powers, Spermatorrhoea, Early Decay, Premature Old Age.

However, the directions also warned, "They are NOT a cure-all."

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

24 April 1861: The Troup Artillery Departs for Savannah

On this day in 1861, the city of Athens had a festive send off of their local Troup Artillery, which had been called up to assist in the protection of Savannah. Their train departed at 11 o'clock in the morning, with stops in Greensboro and Augusta. 

Once in Savannah, "the men pitched their tents in two rows of ten each, leaving a space fifty yards wide for the guard tent" in parade ground near Bull Street. They named their cannons for Athens ladies back home, Sallie (for Sallie Craig), Helen (for Helen Newton), and Olivia (for Helen's sister).  They would stay in Savannah until June 26th, when they went north to Richmond, Virginia.

In what was called "the grandest civic and military display Athens has ever witnessed," the men of the Troup Artillery were escorted to the train depot by the Oconee Cavalry, the Athens Guards, the Athens Fire Department, the Lumpkin Law School Cadets, many citizens of the city, and students from the University. A band played music at the front of the procession.

At the depot, speeches were given and prayers "to protect those who were about to leave us" were made in front of an estimated crowd of 2,000-3,000 people. According to the Southern Banner, "There was scarcely a dry eye in that vast assemblage. Many were unable to even to utter the last good-bye, and gave the last warm pressure of the hand, which spoke more eloquently the anguish within, than words could have conveyed."

The local papers in Savannah reported on their arrival, stories that were reprinted in local Athens papers, such as this one:

Though initially, the Athens papers had only a partial list of men in the Troup Artillery, a more complete report of officers and privates came from the Savannah News and reprinted the following week in the Banner:

Captain--Marcellus Stanley.
1st Lieutenant--Henry H. Carlton.
2nd Lieutenant--Alexander F. Pope.
3d Lieutenant--Edward P. Lumpkin.
Ensign--Pope Barrow.
1st Sergeant--George J. Newton.
2d Sergeant--Columbus W. Motes.
3d Sergeant--George A. Homer.
4th Sergeant--Ruel K. Pridgeon.
5th Sergeant--Baptist H. Swan.
1st Corporal--Lee Lyle.
2d Corporal--Lafayette C. Cooper.
3d Corporal--Thomas F. Baker.
4th Corporal--Wm. H. P. Jones.

Samuel T. Aaron,
George B. Atkisson,
Joseph A. Blackman,
Thomas A. Barrow,
George P. Bennett, Richard G. Bearden,
John M. Bostick,
James M. Brown,
Benjamin Culp,
Robert Childers,
Bartholomew R. Cain,
Hedges C. Conger,
Hinton C. Dillard,
James F. Dillard,
Robert F. Dorsey,
Albert S. Dorsey,
John C. Davours,
William H. Dicken,
John W. Edwards,
E. T. England,
Lorenzo D. Furgusson,
John O'Farrell,
Robert Flournoy,
Joseph Gerdine,
John J. Griffith,
Wm. Hemphill,
John H. Hughes,
James M. A. Johnson,
Charles M. Lumpkin,
Frank Lumpkin,
Absalom E. Lee,
Howard L. Mullins,
Edward M. Maxey,
David McDonald,
John J. McConnell,
Wm. P. Meeler,
Isaac S. Moore,
Robert Moore,
H. D. C. F. D. Muller,
John F. Murray,
Almon L. Nance,
Joseph A. Moore,
Edward Pittman,
Augustus C. Patman,
John A. Parks,
John Patrick,
Edwin W. Porter,
Anderson W. Reese,
Edgar Richardson,
James Pledger,
James T. Sansom,
Thomas H. Shaw,
Joseph C. Strickland,
Benjamin Pope Taylor,
Obediah Vincent,
Isaac Vincent,
John O. Waddell,
Henry F. Winn,
George C. Williams,
T. D. Williams. 

The unit was part of the 2nd Regiment, Georgia Volunteer Infantry, and joined Cobb's Legion in December, 1861. Among the battles they participated in were Antietam (17 September 1862), Fredericksburg (16 December 1862), Chancellorsville (1-3 May 1863), and Gettysburg (1-3 July 1863). They disbanded after the end of the war, in April, 1865, having lost 47 men.

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Thursday, April 19, 2012

19 April 1912: Legislating Lifeboats "might save many others"

On this day in 1912, as Congress began its official inquiry into the Titanic disaster, the Athens Banner editorial staff came out in favor of lifeboat legislation:

(click to enlarge image)

Senator William Alden Smith of Michigan began to subpoena White Star Line executives and surviving crew members the day the Carpathia docked in New York with the survivors of the disaster. He would spend six weeks on the investigation, and regulations involving lifeboats, ship construction, ice monitoring, and the Radio Act of 1912 were the result. Similar regulations were passed by Great Britain, and later other nations around the world.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

17 April 1976: Boy Scouts Host Open House at Franklin Hotel

On this day in 1976, Boy Scout Troop 76 hosted an open house at the old Franklin Hotel on Broad Street. The building had been left empty since 1972 when the Athens Hardware Company, formerly the Childs-Nickerson Hardware Company, moved from the site after 107 years at the same location.

The Franklin Hotel was built in 1845 by William L. Mitchell*, a trustee of the University of Georgia who purchased the property from UGA in 1843. On the first floor were retail businesses while the upper levels, which were built later, were used as hotel space. For many years, one of the stores in the Franklin Hotel served as the local post office. In 1974, it was named to the National Register of Historic Places.

Two members of Troop 76, David Griffin, who was looking for an Eagle project, and Greg Curtis, who was looking for a Life project decided to team up to clean up the mess left behind in the building. At the time of the Open House, the Franklin Hotel was for sale by the Athens-Clarke Heritage Foundation, which had bought and stabilized the structure through fundraising from citizens and a grant from the National Park Service. There were no plans in place to renovate or restore the space, but the work of the Scouts had peaked the interest of residents. The Scouts felt the Open House would be an opportunity to tell people about the Franklin Hotel's significance to Athens, as well as show some of the old items found inside.

In 1977, the Franklin Hotel was sold to Hugh Fowler, then later to a business property company. The space was restored as office spaces, and won recognition for the work by the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation. Today, businesses such as general contractors and advertisers occupy the building, as well as SunO Desserts.

* CORRECTION: The William Letcher Mitchell who owned the Franklin Hotel was the less illustrious cousin of the William Letcher Mitchell who was a University of Georgia trustee. The two led very different lives, but are often confused in histories of the University and city of Athens. The blog apologizes for the mistake, as it is aware this confusion is often an issue, yet succumbed to the common error anyway.

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Saturday, April 14, 2012

14 April 1911: New Bakery Opens in the Morton Building

On this day in 1911, Sidney J. Thompson opened Thompson's Bakery at 280-282 Hull Street, in the Morton Building. The Athens Banner even announced the opening and the day's specials:

Most African-American businesses did not receive front page notice in the Athens Banner when they opened, but Sidney Thompson was married to Dr. Blanche Thompson, a stockholder of the E. D. Harris Drug Company, and practicing physician who treated both black and white patients, according to the Athens Daily Herald's Business Supplement from 13 August 1914. She was the first African-American doctor in Athens to perform a surgery, and established her own sanitarium for tuberculosis treatment.

Unlike other African-American businesses at the time, Thompson's Bakery would advertise daily specials, such as 5-cent sweet cream biscuits, in the pages of the Athens Banner, alongside ads for white businesses such as Erwin & Company Real Estate, fire pails from Hardeman & Phinizy, and paint offerings from Bondurant Hardware Company.  For many years, the Thompson's Bakery was included in the Banner's lists of factories when boasting of Athens' manufacturing prowess.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Last Spring Heritage Room Genealogy Class at the Athens Council on Aging

On this day, we'd like you to know that the Heritage Room's final spring class at the Athens Community Council on Aging will be on 
Wednesday, April 18th, 2012, from 1:00pm to 2:30pm in the Harris Room on Hoyt Street. The title of the class is Tracking Our Ancestors' Footsteps: More Mobile Than We Think.

If you missed earlier classes, don't worry! Each class is independent, so if you are set on the basics, but want to know more about immigration records or using maps and DNA in your research, just sign up now for the April 18th class.  The class is free to members of the ACCA's Center for Active Living. Though free for members of CAL, pre-registration is required.

In our final spring installment, we'll describe the basics of immigration, naturalization, and migration, and learn to use geographic tools with our research. We will also see how to integrate GoogleEarth, GoogleMaps, and newspapers as we track our ancestors from their home countries and within their new one. Types of DNA testing and why to use it will also be covered. 

For more information about the classes, please call us at the library, (706) 613-3650, extension 356; to register, please call the Athens Council on Aging at (706) 549-4850 or consult their online program catalog, Senior Center Scene.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

7 April 1900: Mad Dog on Lumpkin Street

On this day in 1900, news of a mad dog attack was published on the front page of the Athens Banner:

The earliest descriptions of rabies come from the 23rd century B.C.E., and the word itself comes from the Sanskrit word "rabhas," which means "to do violence." Though Louis Pasteur and Emile Roux developed the first human vaccine for rabies exposure in France in 1885, at the turn of the century in the United States, more than 100 people died annually after being exposed to the disease. 

In 1900, domestic animals did not receive much in the way of veterinary care, and even humans did not receive many vaccinations. Before 1960, 90% of rabies cases came from exposure from domestic animals, such as dogs; by 2010, only 8% of cases could be traced to domestic animals, while the other 92% were found in raccoons, coyotes, bats, skunks, and foxes. Where you live determines which animal is most likely to carry the disease in your environment: along the eastern seaboard, raccoons are the primary carriers, while in the midwest, the primary carriers are skunks.

In the incident described above, the child, William Whitehead, was likely rescued by Mary Jones, the 25-year-old laundress who lived at 740 Field Street, near the Earl Whitehead household at 720 Field Street. The "hand" who chased down and killed the rabid dog was likely Mary's husband, 30-year-old Sam Jones, who is listed on the 1900 U.S. Census as a day laborer. The two had been married for five years at the time, though do not seem to have wed in Clarke County.

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Sunday, April 1, 2012

1 April 1940: Census Workers Start Work in Athens

On this day 72 years ago, Enumerators hired by the U.S. Census Bureau started going door-to-door across Athens and Clarke County and the rest of the nation, asking questions of the city's residents such as:

  • Number of hours worked the previous week
  • If workplace was "Emergency Employment," such as the WPA, CCC, etc.
  • Income in the previous year
  • Value of home
  • Highest grade of school completed

For those born abroad, Enumerators were told to "give country in which birthplace was located on January 1, 1937." Therefore, someone who was born in Prague or Vienna would give their birth nation as Czechoslovakia or Austria, rather than Germany, which had occupied both nations in 1938. Enumerators were also instructed to distinguish between French and English Canada, and Northern Ireland and the Irish Free State. 

Because it has been 72 years since the 1940 Census was taken, at 9am on Monday, April 2nd, 2012, the National Archives will be releasing for free the digitized images of the 1940 Census. Due to privacy laws, the Census could not begin to be indexed before this date, but those who know where someone lived in 1940 have a couple of ways to shorten their search for the right Enumeration District they need.

The easiest way is using Steve Morse's Unified 1940 Census ED Finder. By entering address information, or the 1930 Enumeration District, the corresponding 1940 Enumeration District or Districts can be found.  

You can also find the reference map used by the U.S. Census Bureau to create Enumeration Districts by using Steve Morse's Viewing 1940 Enumeration District Maps in One Step utility. These maps have most street names, prominent structures such as schools and factories, lines indicating wards or districts within a city or county, and the Enumeration District for each area. 

So even if all you know is Aunt Katie "lived near the old Check Factory," you can still narrow down which ED is the place to begin your search. The National Archives estimates it will take at least six months to index the 1940 Census, so name searches should be available by the end of 2012.  

Next Saturday, 7 April 2012, the National Archives Southeast in Morrow, Georgia, will host a free workshop on the 1940 Census from 10am to noon. Registration is required, so call (770) 968-2100 or email to reserve your seat or get more information.

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