Reflections: Segments from an old newspaper

By Evelyn Long - Contributing Columnist

I have noted before that I love reading old newspapers. The content and construction of words were different and stories were much longer. There seemed to be no need for brevity

I found an interesting piece in the Morrow County Independent dated almost 100 years ago, April 1, 1920, in which the editor was annoyed by a story published in a Columbus newspaper, The Ohio State Journal.

The front page story stated three county newspapers in Ohio had been forced to close the previous week because of illness and physical misfortune of the owners, one being in Bellaire, one in Cardington and one in Marion.

Then follows two long paragraphs in which the writer laments the fact these communities will no longer have access to news and concludes by saying “It is a tragedy, small perhaps, but tragedy nevertheless, when it ceases to be.”

The article concludes “The Cardington Independent, edited for fifty years by J. M. Hoffa, has suspended publication. Ill health of the editor and increased publishing costs forced the action, Hoffa announced today.”

The only trouble, as the Independent Editor points out, is that the Journal had the wrong Morrow County paper closing. It was not the Independent but the Morrow County Republican at Mount Gilead that was ceasing publication.

“The above item in the Journal was inspired no doubt by an item appearing in the Columbus Citizen of March 23 sent out by some hustling Marion reporter who got the Independent mixed with the Morrow County Republican in Mt Gilead,” commented the Independent editor who chastised the Columbus paper saying, “The Ohio State Journal in its issue of last Friday, writes much as an insurance official would talk, come to adjust a fire loss in a printing office.

“That the Independent is made part beneficiary of this sympathy and consolation gives me the excuse to print it and to deny that physical misfortune and illness have some to us and that we have suspended publication. The Journal should be sure of its facts before it writes its homily.”

The editor concludes the piece by assuring readers that the paper will continue to be published with the help of subscribers and advertising patrons.

Then again, this piece, also from 100 years ago sounds somewhat familiar:

“The first day of spring was observed in Cardington by an exhibition of fighting. It was not like the first day of May and the call of the postman for the consequences happened right away. There were blows and counters and bruises and possibly bloodshed. This first encounter on a spring day is ill-omened for the season foreboding strong radishes and onions. About the participants, they are old enough to know better. We are not anxious to be personal about the matter but they should remember, “if you want to fight, join the army.”

PS: See, I don’t understand the language used then! It was different!

80 years ago: A test of the new Cardington Fire Siren revealed that it was heard more than four miles distant from the town.

70 years ago: William A. Wood of near Cardington was named to the honor roll of the Ohio State Universities’ College of Engineering. Village officials signed an agreement where by the Cardington Fire department would answer fire alarms in the newly incorporated village of Fulton.

50 years ago: Two Cardington area men, Harold Coder and Gerald Mooney, were inducted into the military and sent to Fort Bragg, North Carolina for basic training. Realtor Adah Fricke advertised a three-bedroom home in Cardington for $17,800.

By Evelyn Long

Contributing Columnist

Reach us at [email protected]

Reach us at [email protected]