Sunday, February 22, 2015

120-year-old news highlights from The Monroe Journal from Feb. 1895

The 'Nettie Quill' steamboat.
The Monroe Journal newspaper in Monroeville, Ala., under the direction of Editor and Proprietor Q. Salter, published four editions 120 years ago during the month of February 1895. Those editions were dated for Feb. 7, Feb. 14, Feb. 21 and Feb. 28 and can be found on microfilm at the Monroe County Library in Monroeville. What follows are a few news highlights from both of those editions. Enjoy.

FEB. 7, 1895

Shooting at Perdue Hill: An unfortunate shooting affray occurred at Perdue Hill, this county, on last Friday morning in which Mr. Sam Thames sustained painful injuries at the hands of Mr. I.D. Roberts. The circumstances as gathered by The Journal, are substantially as follows:
Mr. Roberts had observed on frequent occasions indications of the depredations by someone’s stock on his oat field, but despite his utmost vigilance, could never find them in the field nor in what manner they gained entrance, as the fences were in good order. On Friday morning, however, he went at an early hour to the oat field and discovered a mule quietly grazing on the oats. Concealing himself in a position favorable to his purpose, Mr. Roberts sat himself down to await developments. Shortly he observed in the imperfect light of the breaking dawn the figure of a man dimly outlined against the horizon, cautiously approaching the mule which he proceeded to bridle. Mr. Roberts raised his gun and fired with the intention of frightening the man, but the weapon being easy of trigger, in his excitement he discharged it prematurely, the entire load taking effect in Thames’ neck and shoulder. Fortunately the gun was charged with very small shot, otherwise the result must have proven fatal. The occurrence is greatly regretted, but none, perhaps, more than Mr. Roberts.
Mr. Thames’ wounds were dressed by a skillful physician, and will occasion him no inconvenience other than a few days imposition.

The writer (from Mexia) visited Blackshers mill a few days since. It is located half mile below Mr. Sam Roberts old Mill on the same stream. They have gone to work putting it up and expect to be running in a short while.

Mr. John S. Harrengton is again in harness as Sheriff of Monroe, Mr. I.B. Slaughter having engaged him to discharge the duties of that office, pressing private affairs rendering it impossible for him to give the necessary personal attention to the office. Mr. Harrengton will give to the office the same efficient personal attention that characterized his former administration.

Mr. Walter Roberts, who has been merchandising at Arlington, Wilcox County, has disposed of his business at that place and returned to Monroe to accept a position with the Blacksher Mill Co.

Capt. Thomas S. Wiggins is visiting the Capital City this week.

At the Old Stand: The Journal is pleased to learn, as are their friends everywhere, that Messrs. Roberts, Locklin & Co., who were some months ago forced to assign for the benefit of their creditors, have settled up their indebtedness and resumed business at the old stand at Perdue Hill, under favorable auspices, where they will be pleased to meet their friends and former patrons.

Bacon, pork, molasses and sweet potatoes constitute the principal currency in Monroe. From observation and inquiry, we conclude that the volume is ample for the present, at least, and always floats at par. Treasury officials (farmers) contemplate a large increase of the volume the coming season.

FEB. 14, 1895

Accident to the “Nettie Quill”: The Alabama River steamer “Nettie Quill” had a narrow escape from sinking at Cobb’s Landing, 225 miles above Mobile, on last Thursday morning.
The accident occurred about eight o’clock while the boat was making a landing, and was caused by her striking a snag concealed under the water. The presence of the snag was well known to the pilot, but as he was holding the boat in to the bank the high wind prevailing at the time drove it sideways right onto the snag with such force that a hole four feet by 20 inches was stove in her starboard side, and the water rushed into her hold with such rapidity that threatened to sink her in a few minutes.
The carpenters set to work immediately to construct bulkheads around the hold, while the passengers and freight were put ashore. After working all day and part of Thursday night, the icy waters being up to the waist of the workmen in the hold much of the time, the bulkheads were finally completed and the flow of water checked. When it was found that the boat was saved the freight was again put aboard and the boat turned back to Mobile, arriving at her wharf at six o’clock Saturday morning.
There was no consternation on board, the officers and crew acting as coolly and collected as if the occurrence had been of the most ordinary character, and to this fact, perhaps, is due the saving of the boat.
The damage was repaired in time for the Quill to make her regular trip this week.

The Commissioners Court convened is regular quarterly session on Monday, his Honor the judge and the full board in attendance. A new public road leading from Tekoa intersecting Perdue Hill and Repton road was established.

The weather during the past week has been the coldest and most disagreeable for many years. On last Thursday, the temperature dropped to 10 degrees above zero, the lowest point within the memory of the oldest citizens. Rain, snow and ice is reported everywhere.

Public Improvements: The improvements on the courthouse have been completed with exception of a few finishing touches which the disagreeable weather has delayed. New seating accommodations have been provided in the courtroom, fashioned after the opera house style; the offices have been tastefully painted and trimmed and many other improvements made. The commissioners, after a thorough inspection, express themselves as being well pleased with the work. Altogether the building and its appointments are a credit to the county and speaks well for the progressive ideas of the Board of Commissioners. When the taxpayers come to realize the many advantages that will result from these improvements their censure will be turned into praise.”

The Journal is gratified to note that the citizens of Monroeville have at last awakened to the necessity of taking action to preserve better order in our town. The various kinds of disorder which have existed for some months past, making the nights hideous, are a positive disgrace to a civilized community and in some respects would put to shame the border towns of the wild west. These disturbances have been borne very patiently by our citizens, but forbearance has ceased to be virtue and forces will now be put in operation that it is hoped will improve the moral atmosphere.

FEB. 21, 1895

Monroeville was snowbound for several days last week, all communication with the outside world by mail and otherwise being cut off by the snow.

The snow last week afforded rare sport to the boys and battles of the balls were waged with vigor.

The largest mail ever handled by Monroeville post office was received on last Monday – the accumulated matter of four or five days – delivery to local patrons and dispatch over the various star routes radiating from this place. Postmaster Ricou proved himself equal to the occasion, however, and accomplished the task with great facility.

The Journal is indebted to Mr. C.M. Simmons for a delightful sleigh ride during the last week’s snow. Enjoyment of this character is rarely experienced in this latitude.

Important to Famers: Capt. W.B. Kemp, President for Monroe County of the American Cotton Growers Protective Association, requests The Journal to announce that a meeting will be held in Monroeville on Sat., March 2, 1895 for the purpose of organizing a County Association to the end that the active cooperation of the farmers may be secured in the movement to restrict the acreage and production of cotton in 1895.

FEB. 28, 1895

A little colored girl was shot and killed by her brother near Perdue Hill last week. The two children were playing with an old gun which went off with the above result.

A serious accident occurred on the Louisville and Nashville railroad three miles south of Greenville on last Saturday morning, caused by the spreading of the rails. The engine, express and baggage cars and several passengers coaches were precipitated down an embankment severely shaking up the occupants. One man was killed and a number painfully injured. A large number of Mardi Gras excursionists were on board and it is remarkable that so few casualties resulted.

The low price of logs and timber has compelled the mills to shut down  (at Nero), throwing a large number of men out of employment.

From Buena Vista: I (J.H. Riffe) accepted a call in December to serve the Baptist Church at Buena Vista one-fourth of my time for the year 1895, but being absent from the state during January, I began my work there as pastor the fourth Saturday and Sunday in February. I verily believe that this is a good church and is composed of some excellent good people; but they seem to have been somewhat indifferent and inactive for quite a while having been without a pastor about a year.

Mr. John B. Williams of Finchburg was in to see us on Wednesday. He says the oats were pretty well all killed in his section, and farmers are plowing up and planting again. The cotton acreage, he thinks, will be materially reduced.

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