I got to reading the neighborhood news reports in The Chariton Democrat of Dec. 18, 1896, while looking for something else last week and was intrigued by the snapshot of a week in the life of rural Lucas County these brief columns offered.
Back in the day, many Lucas County townships and neighborhoods had correspondents who jotted down a few news items involving their neighbors every week or so, then mailed their reports into Chariton. As a rule, they were paid by the column inch --- the more news the more money. But space often was a premium, so there was no guarantee that everything submitted would be printed.
Here are a few of the neighborhood items from that issue. There were many others, of course, but I've not reprinted the accounts of who visited whom --- unless the visiting proved to be especially exciting. The advertisement also is from The Democrat of Dec. 18 --- as Christmas neared.
AMITY: Will Owens is baling straw this week; farmers have begun to plow since the frost has gone out of the ground.
The Hazel Dell school will close Dec. 23rd; some of our young Amityites are attending the academy at Chariton.
Some of the young folks were over at Samuel Neptune's Friday night tripping the fantastic toe.
Chas. Lott will saw wood over near Lucas for Dr. Kirby this week. He has forty acres to saw up into stove wood.
There was an insurance agent for a Des Moines company around in these parts last week trying to swindle some of our good people. Insurance agents and fruit tree agents ought not be allowed to come inside the front gate.
When coming into Chariton Saturday James Ruby came near having a smashup. He had a mule tied behind his wagon and when nearing the southwest corner of the square it became frightened at some dogs and started to run sideways of the wagon, upsetting it, but Mr. Ruby did not overturn with the wagon but sat firm on the seat and managed the span of mules he had hitched to it and also succeeded in holding the front part of the wagon down. In a short time things were put in place again and James went on his way rejoicing that nothing worse had happened.
Don't forget that we have a Christmas tree at the chapel Christmas eve.
CEDAR: Henry Allen Jr.'s house is nearing completion.
R.B. Hemphill is under the doctor's care. We did not learn the nature of the disease.
The Methodists are holding a series of meetings at Germany. They will last for several days. Come one, come all.
Rev. Kephart filled his appointment at the Bethel church last Sabbath and will preach there again in two weeks from that time.
LINCOLN: The farmers in this locality are through husking corn.
Noah Moore and wife attended the corn husking at Newt Badger's last Monday.
Volley Watts and Lof Marsh are doing some trapping this winter.
Tillman McKinley is learning to be a professional cook since his sister was married a short time ago.
Leonard Baxter of Chariton is teaching the winter term of school at Highland. He has 34 enrolled. This is the largest school in the township.
DERBY: H.A. Younker has just completed a new barn for D.A. McMains. It stands 36x80 feet on the foundation.
Rev. Ormond of Chariton is assisting in the protracted meeting here this week. Will remain until next Sunday morning.
There is to be a literary society at Goshen on each Friday night this winter and all are invited to attend and make these meetings entertaining as well as instructive.
Billy Lazear, M.T. Grimes and Seaman Lewis arrived here last Wednesday morning with six car loads of sheep. They also brought with them five burros, three goats and a deer.
Frank Garland borrowed Billy Wyatt's horse last Sunday night to drive to see his best girl; he brought the horse back, but kept the halter. Billy says the next time Frank borrows a horse from him he will furnish his own halter.
Last Sunday some eight or nine boys whose ages range from 10 to 13 or 14 years secured a shotgun and went hunting rabbits. The result was the shooting of 11 rabbits and three boys. The gun "wasn't loaded," of course, after the rabbits were shot, but it went off just the same and one boy had his lower jaw mangled, another a part of his ear shot away, and still another severely wounded in one of is temples. A gun is a great thing in the hands of a lot of boys.
SWEDE HOLLOW: Mr. Grove Taylor sawed wood on Wednesday of this week.
On last Thursday morning about six o'clock Mr. Deed's house caught fire. There was quite a lively time for a while, but the fire was soon put out.
RUSSELL: A revival meeting is now in progress at the Baptist church conducted by Evangelist Chas. S. Dean, the pastor's brother. The attendance is increasing, and the interest is deepening from night to night. On Friday evening of this week the sin of intemperance and the effort now being made to establish the saloon in our county will be denounced. In this denunciation these respected gentlemen will be joined by all who love the cause of temperance and righteousness.
LIBERTY: Cyrus Prevo is hauling cord wood to Chariton.
The C.B.&Q. are putting a new roof on their bridge over the Whitebreast on the north branch.
Work on Larimer's new double corn crib is progressing finely. It will soon be ready to receive corn.
Several of Wm. Cottingham's neighbors helped him shingle his barn Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.
Len Riebel, our postmaster, is moving into the Whitney building this week with both post office and harness shop.
There was organized at Oakley some time ago a literary society, at least there was an effort made in that direction, but according to the information we have received it has not altogether been a success.
NORTHWEST CEDAR: Prof. Goltry visited Dickerville school last week.
Somebody must be getting ready to celebrate Christmas on a grand scale, judging from the number of turkeys that are reported as coming up missing.
Not only do Lucas county farmers have to go to Marion county to mill, but some of them go there to get their winter supply of potatoes as well. Several went to the regions about Pella after them, thereby getting them much cheaper than nearer home.