Whiskey stills, fairs, thieves and scarecrows


As The Times-Gazette celebrates its 200th anniversary, we’ll take a look back each Saturday at some of the important, interesting or even odd events as they were reported during the same week throughout the years, along with interesting advertising features from back in the day.

This week in 1870, the local pages in the Highland Weekly News began with an apology. “The editor begs the indulgence of his readers for all shortcomings in the present issue,” it read. “He has been suffering for the past week from a most painful catarrh on the right hand, which has almost entirely disabled him from writing or attending to any other business.”

The Highland Female Institute was set to hold commencement exercises, featuring the school’s music class and readings of various essays. Tickets were 25 cents each.

“If you want business, advertise in the news,” read one ad. “If you want help, advertise in the news. If you want a house, advertise in the news… If you have any want, advertise in the news.”

The county fairs in Highland and Clinton county were set to be held on the same days, leading the newspaper to wonder in a brief, “As many people will desire to attend both, can not some change be made?”

Two men were struck by lightning in Chillicothe.

The newspaper warned readers to be on the lookout for two criminals reported to be in the area. One would set up a jewelry repair shop, then “go missing” with customers’ treasures. The other would sell perfumes door to door, but reportedly kept several vials of chloroform in his case, and would subdue the resident with it before ransacking their home.

Colgate & Co.’s aromatic vegetable soap, “for the delicate skin of ladies and children,” was available at local druggists.

One million acres of land were available in Iowa for $3 per acre.

This week in 1924, the Hillsboro News-Herald reported three barrels of mash and an illegal whiskey still was found near Samantha by two state prohibition officers. The owner was fined $800 and taken to jail.

Twelve operations were conducted at the Hillsboro Hospital, and all the patients were getting along nicely. Several surgeries relieved abdominal problems, and six were for tonsil removal.

A tin box containing 206 old coins – one dating back to 1642 – was found buried under a building at Elmville.

Robinson’s Garage was robbed by a “sneak thief,” who took $10 or $20 from the cash drawer.

From the opinion page: “The Old Batchelor says that most people feel in regard to their home towns like they do with their families: that it is all right for them to knock and criticize it but it makes them mad when anyone else does it.”

“Delicious noonday dinner” was available for only 35 cents at the Midget Lunch Room.

An early refrigerator model was available at Murphy Benham Hardware Company.

The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad advertised round trips to Washington, D.C. for $72.70.

This week in 1950, the Hillsboro Press-Gazette reported a severe storm caused damage around the county, although utility crews said the damage was mild compared to an ice storm earlier in the year.

Bob Weyrich, a Hillsboro resident, invented “a diabolical device calculated to drive to distraction anything with wings that dares encroach on the sacred confines of the heavily laden cherry tree that grows in his back yard,” – an electric scarecrow made from a record player motor, a light plug, a thin pipe and some wire. According to the article, the contraption would move in circles, making cloth on its arms move back and forth, “thus scaring away the cherry-hungry birds.” Critics claimed they had seen birds sitting on the cross pieces, twirling around with cherries in their mouths.

Arguments grew heated during clemency hearings for a man scheduled to die by electric chair at an Ohio penitentiary.

One hundred and two cars were found to be defective during a one-lane traffic safety checkpoint in Hillsboro.

An air show was to be held at the Hillsboro Airport on a Sunday. The show featured aerobatic and formation flying, as well as passenger rides.

Green beans were seven and a half cents at Schaefer’s Supermarkets. Clorox was 17 cents, peas were 19 cents and Beechnut peanut butter was 33 cents.

This week one year ago, The Times-Gazette reported that the Highland County commissioners discussed possible budget cuts due to a projected loss of about $800,000 in sales tax revenue due to a new federal law.

The Times-Gazette inducted Tom Purtell, Ed Ayres, Andy Richmond and the 1928 Marshall High School state championship basketball team into the newspaper’s Highland County Athletic Hall of Fame.

Emergency agencies from around the county participated in a mock disaster in Greenfield, following protocols for a simulated chemical spill on South Washington Street.

The annual Relay for Life was set to be held at the Highland County Fairgrounds.

The Greenfield Exempted Village School District moved forward with plans to purchase a new bus garage.

A truck caught fire in uptown Hillsboro, and the flames were quickly doused by local firefighters.

Reach David Wright at 937-402-2570, or on Twitter @DavidWrighter.

A look back at news items over the years

By David Wright

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