Posts Tagged ‘1904’

Robert Burns: Auld Lang Syne

December 29, 2009

For the Ohio Repository



Dear BURNS, till earth itself decline,
And nature fades away,
The mystic powers of auld lang syne,
Thy genius shall portray;
Thy genius shall portray, my dear,
Thy genius shall portray,

The mystic, &c.

Oh, yes! each feeling, magic line,
Shall swell the grateful soul,
And while we sing of auld lang syne,
We’ll grasp the friendly bowl;

We’ll grasp, &c.

We’ll drink, the friend, not cool by time,
We’ll drink the friend of soul,
We’ll drink to thee, to auld lang syne,
We’ll drain the social bowl;

We’ll drain &c.

Oh, could I reach thy friendly hand,
And could’st thou but reach mine;
We’d take a cordial, social glass,
For auld lang syne;

For auld lang syne, &c.

But fare thee well, if thou art blest,
Thy friends need not repine;
But sometimes give a kindly thought,
To auld lang syne;

To auld lang syne, &c.

Ohio Repository (Canton, Ohio) Apr 1, 1825

Has another public idol fallen? Was Burns a plagiarist are the important questions that are agitating the literary world. Burns has ever been regarded as one of the most original poets but according to Henley & Henderson’s newly published volume, out of 509 of his songs, 158 were appropriated or derived from other and older ballads. Spare forbids me to give many examples, but take the popular “Old Lang Syne.” Burns’ version reads:

“Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And ne’er be brought to mind;
Should auld acquaintance be forgot
And the days of auld lang syne.
Chorus —
For auld lang syne, my dear,
Auld lang syne,
We’ll tak’ a cup of kindness yet
For the days of auld lang syne.”

An old English ballad extant many years anterior to Burns’ birth reads as follows:

Should old acquaintance be forgot
And never thought upon
The Flames of Love extinguished
And freely passed and gone;
Is thy kind Heart now grown so cold
In that Boving Breast of thine,
That thou can’st never once reflect
On old lang syne.
Chorus —
On old lang syne,
On old lang syne,
On old lang syne,
That thou can’st never once reflect
On old lang syne.

In the Scotch vernacular “auld” means “old,” and “lang” means “long.” There are many other so glaring resemblance in verse and sentiment that while we must admit that Burns’ version is an improvement on the old song we cannot resist the impression that his supposed original songs are simply parodies of old ballads he heard or read in his native land.

San Antonio Light (San Antonio, Texas) Feb 6, 1898

Interesting discussion of the song in:

Title:    Annual Burns chronicle and club directory, Issues 13-16
Authors:    Robert Burns, Burns Federation
Publisher:    D. Brown, 1904
Original from:    Harvard University

“Auld Lang Syne” starts on page 89. (Google Book link)

Baker-Howard Feud

July 20, 2009
Boys and men stand around George Baker's dead mule in front of Oneida Baptist Institute. The mule was killed when two men on opposite sides of the Baker-Howard feud clashed and opened fire. Charlie Roberts intended to shoot George Baker, but missed and shot George's mule instead. Bystanders are dressed for Commencement Day at the Oneida Institute in 1915.

Boys and men stand around George Baker's dead mule in front of Oneida Baptist Institute. The mule was killed when two men on opposite sides of the Baker-Howard feud clashed and opened fire. Charlie Roberts intended to shoot George Baker, but missed and shot George's mule instead. Bystanders are dressed for Commencement Day at the Oneida Institute in 1915.

Image from University of Louisville Digital Collections. *If the photograph date is correct, this must have been a different George Baker, maybe his son or some other relative.


Barboursville, Ky., April 13. Five more murders resulted from the Baker-Howard feud. On Saturday George Baker was shot and killed by members of the Howard faction while on his way to town. On Sunday Al Baker and his brother went to Howard’s home, called the old man out and shot him to death, and then killed his wife and two children.

Portsmouth Herald (Portsmouth, New Hampshire) Apr 13, 1898


Howard-Baker Feud Reopened.

BARBOURVILLE, Ky., June 4. — The Howard-Baker feud broke out again Thursday night, when Tom Baker shot and instantly killed Beverly White, a member of the Howard faction. They met on the highway several miles north of Manchester.

Naugatuck Daily News (Naugatuck, Connecticut) Jun 4, 1898



PINEVILLE, Ky., June 4. — (By Associated Press) — Six men have been killed in the past ten days in the Howard-Baker feud. Judge Brown will not be allowed to hold court on Monday, and has sent to the governor for troops. The governor has none to send, and the civil authorities are powerless.

The Massillon Independent (Massillon, Ohio) Jun 6, 1898


A Collision Is Feared Before Troops Can Come Upon the Scene.

MIDDLESBORO, Ky., June 10. — The news from the Howard-Baker feud in Clay county is startling. Howard’s party, 50 strong, has taken possession of the town of Manchester. The Baker following, consisting of 40 well armed men, have rendezvoused three miles from the town. Judge Brown is wholly unable to proceed with holding court. Although he expects troops sent by Governor Bradley it is feared the two parties will come into collision before the troops can arrive.

Eau Claire Leader (Eau Claire, Wisconsin) Jun 11, 1898


Trouble in Kentucky.
(By Associated Press.)

MIDDLESBORO, (Ky.), June 10. — The news from the Howard-Baker feud in Clay county is startling. Howard’s party, fifty strong, has taken possession of the town of Manchester. The Baker following, consisting of forty well-armed men, have rendezvoused three miles from town. Judge Brown is wholly unable to proceed with holding court. Although he expects troops sent by Governor Bradley, it is feared the two parties will come into collision before the troops arrive.

A company of State troops arrived at Rowland, Clay county, to-day and left in vehicles for Manchester, the site of the Baker-Howard feud, where Judge Brown is attempting to hold court. Judge Brown is with the troops and has warned the Whites and Howards, who are holding the town, that if a demonstration is made against the troops serious trouble will follow. The Bakers, who are surrounding the town, broke into a warehouse and secured six barrels of whiskey last night and a messenger from the scene this morning says they are all drunk and will attempt to follow the troops into the place. The State troops are new volunteers and are green, having only received their uniforms and guns a week ago.

The Weekly Gazette And Stockman (Reno, Nevada) Jun 16, 1898


Principal in Kentucky Feud Is Shot from Ambush.

Thomas Baker, principal in the famous Howard-Baker feud, was shot from ambush and killed near his home at Winchester, Ky. Baker was alleged to have said there were four men in Clay County he was going to kill, after which he was willing to be hanged. Baker has a great number of friends, and the bloody war between his faction on one side and the Howards and Whites on the other is expected to result in other murders.

Carroll Sentinel (Carroll, Iowa) Jun 1, 1899


Troops to End a Feud.

Chicago, June 1. — A special to The Tribune from Frankfort Ky., says: One hundred troops will be sent to Manchester, Clay county, to aid the civil authorities in capturing and bringing to trial the leaders in the Baker-Howard feud that has been carried on with bitterness for several years, resulting in the killing of nine or ten men. Two of the Baker faction are now in jail, and when the troops attempt to arrest the guilty Howards more bloodshed is expected.

The Evening Democrat (Warren, Pennsylvania) Jun 1, 1899


Life in Kentucky.

Lexington, Ky., — June 3. — The Lexington battalion of the first regiment left this morning for Manchester, where the participants of the Baker-Howard feud will be tried. The troops are sent to prevent a possible outbreak during the trial.

All member of the battalion are dead shots. A gatling gun was also taken along. It is feared an attempt to ambush the troops will be made.

Daily Iowa State Press (Iowa City, Iowa) Jun 3, 1899

Tom Baker

Tom Baker

Image from Feuds of Clay Co., Ky on rootsweb. They authors provide a good amount of information that is worth reading.

Thomas Baker Killed.

Louisville, Ky., June 12. — The Howards and Whites have kept their word, and Thomas Baker, the recognized leader of the Baker faction in the Baker-Howard feud, is a dead man. He was shot through the body and instantly killed a moment after he had obtained a change of venue in his trial on the charge of killing one of the Howards. The killing was done in the Court House yard, with a battalion of militia all around at the time. The rifle shot was fired from a window in the house of Sheriff Beverly P. White, directly across the street from the Court House. White is one of the Howard faction.

Portsmouth Herald (Portsmouth, New Hampshire) Jun 13, 1899

Manchester Courthouse - Clay County, Kentucky

Manchester Courthouse - Clay County, Kentucky

May Be More Bloodshed.

Manchester, Ky., June 13. — Sheriff White has been arrested and charged with the murder of Tom Baker, who was the leader of the Baker faction in the Baker-Howard feud. The sheriff is under the same military guard that was sent here in a vain endeavor to protect Baker’s life, but Col. Williams has taken every precaution to see that his new prisoner, if found guilty, shall pay the penalty without the premature fate of his alleged victim. Nevertheless, blood for blood is the cry of Baker’s relatives, and those who know them say they are sure to get it.

Portsmouth Herald (Portsmouth, New Hampshire) Jun 14, 1899


Hidden Assassin at Manchester, Ky., Kills Tom Baker, Leader of a Famous Faction.

Manchester, Ky., June 12. — Tom Baker, the recognized leader of his faction, was shot and killed in the courthouse yard Saturday evening. The shooting was done after Special Judge A. King Cook had granted the Bakers a change of venue and the prisoners were to have been taken to Barbourville, bail having been refused. Manchester is wild with excitement. The Bakers and Howards have scores of friends in the country and there is no telling now where the trouble will end.

It has not been ascertained who fired the shot that killed Baker, but the consensus of opinion seems to be that it was fired from the house of Sheriff Beverly White, directly opposite the courthouse.

When the court adjourned Saturday afternoon Judge Cook had rendered his decision and there was no indication of trouble. The crowd was orderly and there was no visible excitement. At 5:30 o’clock the correspondent mounted his horse and set out for London. When about a hundred yards down the road from the courthouse the crack of a rifle was heard and a thin cloud of smoke hovered in the air behind the house of Sheriff White and the courthouse.

There was a sudden quiet. The lull was of short duration. A cry went up that Tom Baker was killed. It was true. Tom Baker lay dead flat on his back in front of the guardhouse tent. There was no need of sounding the assembly.

Instinctively the soldiers loomed up with fixed bayonets and charged across the street and surrounded the White residence. At the same time the gatling gun was hurried out and brought to bear on the place.

Meanwhile the wildest confusion prevailed. A rush was made for the courthouse, but the soldiers were already out and fearing a volley, the crowd hurriedly pushed down the hill again.

Up to the time the correspondent left Manchester no arrests had been made. It will be a difficult matter to ascertain who fired the shot, and the belief that it was aimed from the White residence is itself conjecture, though the position of the smoke seemed tell-tale evidence.

London Depot, Ky., June 12. — The Howards and their allies, the Whites, are in possession of the ground at Manchester in the Baker-Howard feud and few Bakers or Baker sympathizers are left to molest them. After Tom Baker, the head of the Baker faction, met his tragic death Saturday at the hands of an assassin whose deed stands alone the coldest-blooded in the history of Kentucky feudal wars, the state militia, under Col. Williams, with Wiley, Jim Dee and Al Baker, shorn of their arms, left over the mountain road for Barbourville, where there the charges of murdering Burch Storrs and Wilson Howard will be tried on a change of venue granted by Judge Cook.

Baker, when shot, was in his tent and within 75 feet of the assassin who fired from the porch of Sheriff Beverly White’s house, diagonally across the street. Baker told his wife that he was tired and would stand up for fresh air, and when he did so a bullet pierced his breast. Col. Williams sounded the assembly and the battalion of militia charged White’s house. They found the gates locked and the doors barred, but the boys in blue broke the locks and bars and found inside nothing save a stock of Winchester rifles.

Upon examination one of these guns was found to contain a freshly exploded cartridge, and it is this which sent the leaden missile through the heart of the fearless feud leader.

The people of this place and along the road to Manchester are wild with excitement. Sympathy for the Bakers is expressed on every side. The troops are powerless under Kentucky law to protect or execute the simplest duty, being subject to the orders of the county sheriff, who in this case is not in sympathy with their purpose. John G. White, of Winchester, Ky., a brother of Sheriff Beverly White, with two guards passed through here Sunday, going to the scene. It is stated that special Judge A. King Cook will order a special grand jury and attempt to indict the slayers of Tom Baker, but the fact that Judge Cook is not the regularly elected judge may delay this matter.

Barbourville, Ky., June 12. — Since the change of venue was granted at Manchester, Clay county, Saturday for the Baker murder trials to be held here in the Knox county courts, this city has been in a state of excitement. It will be impossible in this place, which has a population of between 2,000 and 3,000 inhabitants, with good officers, for such a tragedy to occur as that at the village of Manchester Saturday under the shadow of the court, when Tom Baker, the principal defendant, was shot dead while a prisoner of the court. As Tom Baker had killed William White, a brother of Sheriff Beverly White, of Clay county, and as the crowd saw the rifle fired from a window in the sheriff’s office at the time Baker fell dead into the arms of his wife it is thought that there may be another trial soon for a change of venue to this place.

Stevens Point Journal, The (Stevens Point, Wisconsin) Jun 17, 1899


Another Victim of the Feud

London, Ky., June 16. — News was brought here late Thursday night to the effect James Howard, a member of the celebrated Baker-Howard feud, was shot from ambush and killed near Manchester Thursday evening. Howard belonged to the White and Howard’s faction of the Baker-Howard feud and has been suspected of having fired the shot last week that killed Tom Baker while under guard in the courthouse yard.

Stevens Point Journal, The (Stevens Point, Wisconsin) Jun 24, 1899

Column of Courthouse at Manchester. Holes and chips off are result of a feud fight in which 5 were killed and a number wounded.

Column of Courthouse at Manchester. Holes and chips off are result of a feud fight in which 5 were killed and a number wounded.

White Disperses Deputies.

Manchester, Ky., June 26. Sheriff B.P. White, Jr., is much disturbed over the turn of affairs in the Baker-Howard feud, because of the killing of Tom Baker while a prisoner in charge of the State troops and the determination of Gov. Bradley to call an extra session of the Legislature which will probably abolish the county of Clay. White had retained twenty-six men as deputy sheriffs, who usually did the fighting. These deputies have now been dispersed, it being the aim of the officials to quiet the town as much as possible until the danger is past.

Portsmouth Herald (Portsmouth, New Hampshire) Jun 27, 1899


A Cincinnati paper comments on a remarkable coincident in the famous Baker-Howard feud in Kentucky. On June 2 1859, 40 years ago, Gov. Owsley ordered out the state troops to quell the feud between the Baker and Howard factions. ON June 2, of this year, Gov. Bradley ordered out the state troops for the same purpose. Forty years is long enough for any family row, and it is hoped that the end is in sight.

Stevens Point Journal, The (Stevens Point, Wisconsin) Jul 8, 1899


The Watterson idea of ending the Baker-Howard feud by letting the opposing families exterminate each other, is precisely the idea that some folks have of ending a street car strike. The public, however, has rights that both contestants are bound to inspect.

Portsmouth Herald (Portsmouth, New Hampshire) Jul 25, 1899


The Feud in Clay County Settled.

Frankfort, Ky., July 28. State Inspector and Examiner C.W. Lester, Gov. Bradley’s special agent sent to Clay county to make an investigation of the Howard-Baker feud, has returned and filed his report with the Governor. He states that the feud is at an end and says that the presence of troops is not necessary. Neither does he recommend an extra session.

Portsmouth Herald (Portsmouth, New Hampshire) Jul 29, 1899


No Trial.

London, Ky., Feb. 8. — Owing to the absence of witnesses for the defense, the trial of James Howard for the murder of George Baker two years ago, or of the results of the Baker-Howard feud of Clay county, did not begin.

Newark Daily Advocate (Newark, Ohio) Feb 8, 1900

William Goebel (Image from the Atlantic Constitution article)

These are the headlines from the full front page coverage in the  Jan 31, 1900 edition of the Atlantic Constitution:


Climax of a Dark, Well Laid Plot Stirs Kentucky to Its Very Center.


Senator Goebel Was on His Way to Senate Chamber in Company with Colonel Jack Chinn. Taylor Expresses His Regrets.

“They have got me this time,” said Mr. Goebel. “I guess they have killed me.”



The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) Jan 31, 1900



Convicted at Frankfort of the Murder of William Goebel.


Howard and His Friends De—– Witnesses Who, It is Charged, Were in Goebel Conspiracy and Who Gave Evidence to Save Themselves.

Frankfort, Ky., Sept. 27. — James B. Howard, who has been on trial for the past ten days charged with being a principal in the assassination of William Goebel, was found guilty yesterday, the jury fixing his punishment at death.

The fact that the jury had deliberated all of Tuesday afternoon without reaching a verdict led to the belief that it was hopelessly divided, and this fact made the verdict shocking to Howard and those who hoped for his ultimate acquittal.

Howard did not lose his composure when the verdict calling for the extreme penalty of the law was read in the crowded court room. He glanced at his attorneys and smiled, but said nothing. After the jury had been discharged Howard was taken back to the jail, and here for the first time he betrayed emotion. He called for a pen and paper and wrote a ling letter to his wife, during which tears coursed down his cheeks. He was joined later by his attorneys, who spent a good part of the day in conference with him in regard to the motion for a new trial, which will be filed today, and other matters in connection with the case.

W.H. Culton, who is under indictment as an accessory to the Goebel murder and who gave damaging evidence against both Howard and Caleb Powers, was released on bail yesterday afternoon and his case was continued until the January term. His bond was fixed at $10,000, and his brother-in-law, E.E. Hogg, of Owsley county, and J.F. Halcombe and John Johnson, of Jackson county, became his sureties.

Howard and his friends are very bitter in their denunciation of witnesses, who, it is charged, were in the conspiracy to murder Goebel, and who have since been manufacturing testimony against others in order to obtain immunity for themselves.

Howard was represented by ex-Congressman W.C. Owens, of Georgetown, and Carl Little of Manchester. The prosecution was represented by Acting Commonwealth Attorney Williams, T.C. Campbell, of Cincinnati, and H.E. Golden of Barboursville.

“Jim” Howard as he is commonly known in the mountains, is a strikingly handsome man, 44 years of age, and would be one of the last to be pointed out by a stranger as the man on trial. He had the record, however, of being the leader of the Howard-White faction in the Baker-Howard feud in Clay county, in which numerous lives were taken.

He had killed George Baker, and was suspected of the assassination of Tom Baker, who was killed after the same fashion as the Goebel murder, and Howard’s friends believe that these facts had very much to do with the making of the verdict sentencing him to the gallows.

The trial of Henry E. Youtsey, of Newport, will be called next at Georgetown next Monday.

The Tyrone Daily Herald (Tyrone, PA) Sep 27, 1900


Two Dead and Four Wounded.

Lexington, Ky., Sept. 6. — One of the bloodiest encounters in the history of Kentucky feuds took place on Saxtons creek, in Clay county, and as a result two men are dead and four dangerously wounded. The fight occurred between the Griffin and Philpott factions, the former being allies of the Howards while the Philpotts were identified with the Baker faction in the famous Howard-Baker feud of three years ago.

The Newark Advocate (Newark, Ohio) Sep 6, 1904

scales of justice

Life Imprisonment for the Murder of William Goebel.

(Bulletine Press Association.)

Frankfort, Ky., Feb. 2. — James Howard, convicted of the murder of William Goebel, arrived at the Frankfort penitentiary today to spend the rest of his life there, unless some unexpected turn of fortune liberates him. He is one of the most interesting characters that ever crossed the threshold of the penitentiary and his arrival caused considerable stir among the people of this city in general and the prison officials in particular. After spending nearly six years in jail, standing three trials and fighting his case through the supreme court, Howard was defeated in his struggle for liberty and the supreme court confirmed the judgement of the Kentucky courts. Howard never lost his nerve for a single moment. He was as cheerful on his way to the penitentiary and upon his arrival as he was on the first day of his arrest and said he was confident that he would eventually be vindicated and liberated.

In many ways Howard is the most picturesque figure of the Goebel murder cases. The commonwealth represented him as the typical mountain feud fighter and dead shot who went to Frankfort to kill Goebel in return for a pardon for having killed George Baker in a feud. Personally Howard does not fill the idea of such a person at all. He would never have been taken for a desperate man from the mountains. He is handsome and of distinguished appearance, of fine physique and unusually graceful, with easy manners. He looks like a man of fine intellect and a student. Indeed, he has been a student for five years, as during his imprisonment he has devoted his time to perfecting himself in the law.

Howard was born in Clay county forty years ago. His father was a school teacher. Howard lived in the mountains all his life and early became an expert shot, like all Kentucky mountaineers. He was first a deputy sheriff of Clay county, then school teacher, lawyer, general storekeeper in the government revenue service and finally assessor of Clay county, which he held when he became involved in the Goebel trouble.

Howard is a victim of a Kentucky feud, whatever were the circumstances of the killing of Goebel. He was in Frankfort the day Goebel was shot, trying to procure a pardon for killing George Baker from W.S. Taylor, then governor of Kentucky. The prosecution maintained that he was to get the pardon for killing Goebel. Howard has maintained that in this seeming connection he was a victim of circumstances. The Baker-Howard feud broke out in 1897. The Bakers one day ambushed Jim Howard’s father and two brothers, killing the brothers and desperately wounding the father.

Jim Howard, as soon as he heard of it, mounted his horse and rode to the scene. He claims the Bakers tried to ambush him and that he escaped by using his horse as a shield. In the encounter he shot George Baker to death.

Howard was indicted for the murder of Goebel in April, 1900. He was then in Clay county, where he might have remained indefinitely, as the mountaineers are Republicans and would have afforded him protection against an army. But in the month of May Howard went to Frankfort and surrendered. His first trial resulted in a sentence of death, his second of life imprisonment, both being reversed. The third verdict was life imprisonment and was sustained by the supreme court.

The Daily Northwestern (Oshkosh, Wisconsin) Feb 2, 1906


This site has newspaper article images covering a variety of items, including this feud and others.

Here is some additional information about the William Goebel assassination and his rival, Governor Taylor.

“Common Scolds” Have Their Days in Court

March 3, 2009


This first account is about some Native American school children who evidently got  tired of their “Yankee” school teacher’s scolding:

THE natural law which writers on jurisprudence recognize seems to be a good deal like old English law in some respects. The penalty of ducking for intolerable scolds, enacted by statute in England, is a part of the natural code among the young savages of America. In Dakota some of the Indian children attend school; the teacher being of the usual Yankee school marm standard; but a more than average hand to scold. For a time the Indian pupils submitted tolerably well to the discipline of the schoolroom, but recently an outbreak came all at once. The Indian pupils made, one afternoon, a dash at the teacher, carried her out of doors to the creek, and there actually ducked her in the water with her head downward! Of course this was rather below the English method, where a ducking stool was used, and the victim went down feet foremost, but it was the best plan that suggested itself to the untutored minds of “the young barbarians all at play.”

Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) Feb 27, 1875


In regards to the law:

Counseller Ruddiman has in charge a bill mentioned before — but a propos in this connection, resurrecting a relic of the past in the shape of a whipping post for wife beaters and it is expected that Statesman Law, to be even with his colleague, will shortly rehabilitate the ducking stool as a protection for hen pecked husband.

Indiana Weekly Messenger (Indiana, Pennsylvania) Mar 16, 1881


THE Philadelphia Press is clamoring for a revival of the old law which punished “common scolds” by public ducking. It says there is increasing frequency of “common scold” cases in the Pennsylvania courts, and suggest that a “gentle dip or two in the Delaware” would be more effective than a “temporary sojourn in the house of correction.”

Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) Jul 1, 1882


This “lady” (I use the word loosely) sounds like quite a character:

South Chester Items.

A case was tried at 7 o’clock last evening before Justice Fields. A warrant was placed in the hands of Constable Elliott, on the oath of Margaret Slack, for the arrest of Margaret Reynolds, charging her with malicious mischief in throwing stones at her windows, appearing on the street in a nude condition, and being a common scold. The evidence was corroborated by several of the neighbors. The justice bound her over in the sum of  $200 bail for her appearance at the next court. She could not get bail. Constable Elliott had a serious time in getting her to the lockup. He had to drag her part of the way. She was determined that she would not go to the lockup, but the officer finally succeeded in getting her there.

Chester Times (Chester, Pennsylvania) Aug 19, 1882

Com. vs. Margaret Reynolds. — Assault and battery, common scold, open lewdness, malicious mischief, drunkenness; in fact charged with almost every crime at the tail end of the catalogue of criminal offenses, next engaged the court. Mrs. Slack was the prosecutor. Mr. Slack was her chief witness, and all lived next door to each other. Poor Margaret claimed a good character, told a tale of wondrous good works and got off, never to come back again.

Chester Times (Chester, Pennsylvania) Sep 21, 1882


More on the law…and a warning!

THE law on the statute books of Philadelphia providing for the punishment of women who are common scolds has been revived and a number of scolding women have been arrested and released on giving bond to keep the peace. The penalty for this offense is ducking and the ducking-stool will have to be resorted to should anyone be convicted. As this law applies with equal force to all parts of the State, some of our Indiana people should cut the item out and paste it on the looking glass.

Indiana Weekly Messenger (Indiana, Pennsylvania) Aug 7, 1889


Now, this one is particularly funny:


A Judicial Lecture to a Common Scold.

NEW YORK, Feb. 10. — Elizabeth Schultz, the old German woman who made such a nuisance of herself that she fell into the hands of Jersey justice and was convicted of the crime of being a common scold, was before Judge Hudspeth of Jersey City to-day for sentence.

“Madame,” said Judge Hudspeth, as she stood up to receive her sentence, “you occupy a unique position before this court, having had the inestimable distinction of being the second person convicted here of being a common scold. There was a time in the history of this state when such serious and reprehensible offenses as yours were punished by means of a ducking pond. But in this advanced age and more enlightened civilization the laws have been altered, so that it is in the power of the court to inflict a more humane punishment. Madame, apparently you have no control of your tongue at all. You are a nuisance. You have driven people out of the locality in which you live. You have disturbed the peace and comfort of your neighbors. You have made of yourself an unmitigated nuisance. Your offense against the peace of this commonwealth is a very grave one. You must keep quiet and silent. You must understand this. You must keep your tongue silent. The court has considered your case, and has given due weight to the appeals that have been made in your behalf. The sentence of the court is that you pay a fine of $10 and the costs of the prosecution.”

During this speech Mrs. Schultz had remained absolutely silent. When it was finished her lawyer led her to the clerk of the court and she paid the fines and costs, amounting in all to $76. Then she left the courtroom and trudged silently home. It should be added that Mrs. Schultz knows no English, and hence did not understand a word the judge said.

Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) Feb 15, 1893


A Common Scold.

POTTSDOWN, Pa., April 17. — Chief Burgess Evans committed Hannah Fry, a single woman, to prison, charged by Councilman March with being a common scold.

Bismarck Daily Tribune (Bismarck, North Dakota) Apr 18, 1893

NOTE: At least two others were tried, Mrs.Hannah Underwood of Hopewood, acquitted in1890, and prior to her, Hannah Young, from Washington Twp., convicted, but found to be insane, so she was confined to an asylum, per an article in The Courier (Connellsville, Pennsylvania) dated June 13, 1890.

Might want to think twice before naming a daughter,  Hannah.


Philadelphia North American:

Ellen Getz, who was sentenced to three months in the county prison yesterday, should have lived in the old Puritan days. Mrs. Getz’s offense was that of being a common scold and of using language that would put the proverbial swearing trooper to blush. Such cases are rare now, in those days, however, common scolds were numerous, and sometimes they were publicly ducked at the town pump; in rare cases publicly whipped; but usually they were bound and gagged and stood on the main street for several hours, bearing on their breasts a placard labeled: “Common Scold.” Mrs. Getz escaped all this, and she was lucky. Let her reflect accordingly. It is hard enough to hear a man swear; but a woman! Let us hope that Mrs. Getz, and all like her, will take Judge Gordon’s advice and put a bridle on their tongues for the future.

Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) Jul 18, 1895


FINALLY! A male scold gets his:

The shoe never appeared so ostentatiously on the other foot as it did the other day in a New York police court when a former subject of the kaiser was arraigned as a common scold and proven guilty on the testimony of the women of the neighborhood, whom he was always trying to drive inside from their doorsteps. He had even turned the hose on them when they stepped out for fresh air after ten o’clock. The court held him in $400 bonds for the future good behavior of his mouth, much to the delight of the neighbors.

“Who ever heard,” exclaimed his irate lawyer, “of a man being a common scold?”

“I did, just now,” his honor replied, “and unless he furnished $400 bail he will take a ride in the wagon outside.”

The Nebraska State Journal (Lincoln, Nebraska) Aug 11, 1898


This may have been the first conviction for Fayette County, but Pennsylvania seems to be the most likely state to be charged with being a “common scold.” In fact, the law still may be on the books today, although I haven’t checked. I found an article from 1961 of a woman being charged with the crime. She seemed rather amused by  the whole thing.

For the first time in the history of Fayette county, Pa., a person has been convicted of being a common scold, a verdict having been rendered in the case of Mrs. Carrie Eicher, of near Brownsville. Adam H. Zeigler, a neighbor, made the complaint. Children started the trouble.

New Castle News (New Castle, Pennsylvania) Sep 16, 1904

Carrie Eicher, who resides near Brownsville, Pa., in the vicinity of Uniontown, Pa., recently convicted on the charge of being a “common scold,” when she appeared for sentence was allowed to go on the payment of the costs, $35.21. Her attorney explained that she had moved away to Grindstone, and that she could no longer create a disturbance in the place where complaint was made against her.

New Castle News (New Castle, Pennsylvania) Sep 28, 1904

For more on Scolds, see my post, “Common Scolds and Ducking Stools.”

Becoming Difficult to Catch a Qualified American Forbear

January 31, 2009
Coat of Arms

Coat of Arms

Becoming Difficult Now to Catch a Qualified American Forbear.

Maurice Francis Egan, in August Smart Set

The ancestral trusts — I speak, of course, respectfully of the Sons and Daughters of the Revolution and the Colonial Dames, &c — have so cornered the market that it is difficult to catch a forbear of the required American antiquity. So hard is it now to secure a forefather who lived through the glorious days of seventy-six that there are some who even cast envious and covetous eyes at Benedict Arnold — which accounts for the great rehabilitation of that interesting person. Benedict Arnold, by judicious manipulation, may be converted in time into a sufficiently good “collateral” — for “collaterals” are the very life of our societies devoted to the worship of ancestors. Without the “collateral” arrangement, many honest citizens would be compelled to gnash their teeth in outer social darkness.

But, after all, there is a way out. The assimilation of the Philippines has opened new avenues for those unfortunates who have asquired no commercial position here, to purchase trolley lines in those happy islands. They offer space for congested speculation. Has it occurred to nobody that the societies of the South American Revolution give numerous chances for the enterprising? In almost any South American country you can get up a revolution for a song, and the ingenious mind can easily secure the prestige of one of their risings, and a button more gorgeous than anything yet dreamed of in the conclaves of our own patriotic assemblies.

It is to be regretted that the English do not value our pedigrees as they ought. They assume to think that everybody is delighted to be equal to everybody else here, just because the influence of Rousseau got into the Declaration and made it give that impression. The English have given so little thought to their own ancestors — who have come naturally — that they do not appreciate what wear and tear are forced on us by the acquiring of even one distinguished person for the beginning of a line. Besides, a coat of arms is becoming absolutely necessary to every American. The indignity of going into dinner behind heraldic bearings is felt by us, while an Englishman is quite satisfied to go in behind those that possess them without desiring them himself.

Washington Post, The (Washington, D.C.) Jul 19, 1904

Patrick Kerwin: The State’s Oldest Voter

January 9, 2009

A Seward Man, Aged 107, Cast His Vote For Parker Yesterday.


The oldest voter in the United States yesterday was probably the venerable Patrick Kerwin, of Seward. His is over 107 years old, and has been voting the Democratic ticket since 1825.

His first ballot as a citizen of this country was cast for Andrew Jackson when John Quincy Adams was the finally successful candidate after the election had been thrown into the House of Representatives. From that day to this he has voted at every presidential election, and whenever possible at the State elections in the State of which he was a resident at the time. Mr. Kerwin is a most enthusiastic partisan and walks from his home on the farm into the village, one mile every day for his paper. In appearance he is a man about seventy and has the best of health. His intellect is as bright today as at any period of his life, and his reading is wide and in many directions remarkable.

Mr. Kerwin was born in Ireland March 9, 1797 [there is a crease in the paper right over the date, the 9th might be incorrect] and the old parish records of the little church in the county of Waterford tell of the christening at the home of John and Mary Kerwin on a day nearly 108 years ago. His first home in this country was in Massachusetts, where for six years he worked in the granite quarries. In 1820 he engaged with others in the fishing business and went to New Foundland. Thereafter this trip was made annually for fifteen years.

In 1848 he moved to Johnstown and was employed as a contractor by the Pennsylvania Railroad. In 1864 he emigrated to Nevada, making the long trip across the plains in a wagon. In 1888 he returned to Seward, where his wife, to whom he was married in 1852, soon afterward died. He then went to make his home with Patrick Moore, where he has since resided.

Indiana County Gazette (PA) 09 Nov 1904

Incidentally, I would imagine Mr. Kerwin may not have been too happy with the outcome of the 1904 election. Here are some of the headlines:

Republicans Will Have a Majority of More Than a Hundred  in the Next Congress


Every Doubtful State Rallies to Their Support and Completely Swamps the Hopes of the Democracy.


States Bordering the Solid South and Which Were Depended Upon By the Democrats to Carry the Day For Parker, Come into the Rough Rider’s Camp.


Those were the good ol’ days.



Patrick Kerwin, of Seward Passes Away After Record-Breaking Career.


Despite Infirmities, However, His Mind Was Clear Until the End.

Patrick Kerwin, who would have been 111 years old on March 17, and who claimed to be the oldest resident of Pennsylvania, died Saturday morning at 8:45 o’clock at the home of Mr. and Mrs. James Bowker, with whom he had been living for a number of years. Mr. Kerwin had been confined to his bed for nine months and only last week seemed to have recovered from the last of several sinking spells which he suffered during December. The aged man was very bright Saturday morning and partook of light refreshments only a short time before he suddenly dropped over dead.

Patrick Kerwin has been a resident of Seward for many years and was well known throughout the surrounding country on account of his advanced age. His mind was very clear, and until the past years he could accurately recall all of the main events that had occurred in his lifetime. Kerwin was born in Ireland, where record of his birth is found in the parish church. He came to Newfoundland at the age of twenty and followed the fishing trade for fifteen years. He then moved to Ohio, and later to New York, where he was engaged in railroading for several years. Kerwin came to Pennsylvania when the Pennsylvania Railroad was built through Johnstown. Shorty after his arrival, he was married to Mrs. Rebecca Campbell, widow of James Campbell, a railroad contractor, and located on a farm along the old Canal just below Johnstown. At the time of the Flood, Kerwin and his wife removed to Seward, where Mrs. Kerwin died about two years later.

As far as can be learned Kerwin had no relatives. Two stepsons, who had provided for him, survive. They are M.R. Campbell, of Tennessee, and James of Nevada. The funeral was held Monday morning at 10 o’clock with services in the Seward Catholic church. Interment followed in the New Florence Catholic cemetery.

Indiana County Gazette (PA) 08 Jan 1908

After a little searching, I think I found Mr. Kerwin in the 1900 census. He year of birth is way off, but being he is in a Moore household and there is a James Bowker also in the household, it is more than likely him. His immigration year doesn’t match up either. Possible reason for this: someone else gave the information to the census taker.

Name:  Paddy Curwin
Home in 1900: St Clair, Westmoreland, Pennsylvania
Age: 88
Birth Date: Mar 1812
Birthplace: Ireland
Race: White
Ethnicity: American
Immigration Year: 1832
Relationship to head-of-house:    Boarder
Father’s Birthplace: Ireland
Marital Status: Widowed
Residence : New Florence Borough, Westmoreland, Pennsylvania
Household Members:
Name     Age
Harry Moore     24
Elizabeth Moore 47
Mary A Moore     31
Paddy Curwin     88
James Bawker     44

Here is a possible match for Patrick and Rebecca, but if it is them, his age is off once again, and so is the timeline in the above accounts of his life. I didn’t find anyone in 1880, Nevada that could have been them. Johnstown was in Cambria County.

Name:  Patrick Curwine
Home in 1880: Taylor, Cambria, Pennsylvania
Age: 70
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1810
Birthplace: Ireland
Relation to Head of Household:  Self (Head)
Spouse’s Name:     Rebecca W.
Father’s birthplace: Ire.
Mother’s birthplace: Ire.
Occupation: Farmer
Marital Status: Married
Race:     White
Gender: Male
Household Members:
Name     Age
Patrick Curwine 70
Rebecca W. Curwine 71

I did a little more searching, trying to find either of them in other census years, but no luck so far.

Johnstown Flood 1889

Johnstown Flood 1889

Here is a short account of the Johnstown flood from Wikipedia:

The Johnstown Flood disaster (or Great Flood of 1889 as it became known locally) occurred on May 31, 1889. It was the result of the failure of the South Fork Dam situated 14 miles (23 km) upstream of the town of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, USA, made worse by several days of extremely heavy rainfall. The dam’s failure unleashed a torrent of 20 million tons of water (18.1 million cubic meters/ 4.8 billion U.S. gallons). The flood killed over 2,200 people and caused US$17 million of damage. It was the first major disaster relief effort handled by the new American Red Cross, led by Clara Barton. Support for victims came from all over the United States and 18 foreign countries.