Reflections: Col. Jack Short a man of three names

By Evelyn Long - Contributing Columnist

I’m not sure how many readers have heard the name Col. Jack Short or even the Killdeer Knob. These names are related to the late J. W. Blakely, who first wrote news in 1927 for the Morrow County Independent under the community name of Killdeer Knob, but he had a pseudonym of Col. Jack Short.

In that edition — in which he writes in his column Theron Willamson of Wittenberg College, Springfield, was a Thanksgiving guest of his parents out of town; Mrs. Clifford, residing on the Vaughan farm, is ill with rheumatism and Cranston Whited has left the Penlan vicinity and has employment east of Cardington.

Then he switches gears: “Zip Zip buzz goes the telephone ‘Hello is this Col Jack Short?’ ‘Yes what can I do for you and who are you?’” ‘I am Sam Honeyfunkel and want advice. I will graduate from the Sleepy Cat High School this spring and have not decided in what vocations to embark, can you help?’ ‘My dear boy, I would hestiate to do so, but will suggest you take up medicine, make surgery a specialty, get an ambulance and build an office by the Friends Church south of Mount Gilead.”

In 1938 through 1941 he had a regular column in the Independent titled Beggar Louse Hill and offered such tidbits as “About three weeks ago we received a notice that we may plant 10 acres of corn this year, and what do you think; we had 15 acres plowed, and almost ready to plant. Did we cooperate? You bet and now we have 15 acres of corn just coming up and looking fine. It costs so much to administer this project, we gladly donate our bonus to the poorly paid and over worked administration!”

Or, “We saw a man last week planting corn with an overcoat on,” “The farmers near the Quaker church were losing many chickens and other poultry a few days ago, on investigation a den of young foxes was located on the Owen Holt farm which explained the cause of the disappearing poultry.

“A council of war was held but arriving on the battlefield, it was found that the enemy had retreated to parts unknown. Grant Mason, our old time friend, was calling on friends near here Sunday, Grant now reads the news in the Independent under the glow of the electric light.”

In a column July 10, 1941: Just saw Tom Catt, chief of police of Tacktown. He is looking for Maranda Blank, who sold her three ganders and departed for parts unknown. He was anxious to locate Maranda because infection has developed in Felix’s lip and his case is very critical. He is now in the Penlan Hospital. The officer tells me should Felix ‘croak,’ Maranda will be arrested on a charge of second-degree murder, manslaughter.”

More next week on Beggar Louse Hill columns and the colonel.

Briefs from past years

August 1941: Raymond Halt, 21, of rural Cardington, was accepted as a member of the United States Army Band in Washington DC; a little worn half dollar coin, minted in 1827, was used to pay for a can of tobacco at Smiley’s Market in Cardington.

August, 1971: Melvin Maceyko, Billy B. May and Paul Richeson all filed for election as mayor of Cardington this tall. Paul Wells, 1965 Cardington High School graduate, was promoted to Lieutenant Commander in the United States Navy Supply Corps.

August, 1981: A Xenia man, Robert Seiter, presented a check for $4,800 from the people of Xenia to the Cardington Rotary Club for disaster relief Seiter’s grandfather was a one-time Cardington physician. Xenia had also experienced a devastating tornado a few years earlier.

By Evelyn Long

Contributing Columnist