Liquor, guns, feudin’ families and influenza


A weekly look back at news items through the years

By David Wright - dwright@timesgazette.com



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 1875, a correspondent for The Highland Weekly News reported wet spring weather led to dangerous mud on the roads in Paint Township and elsewhere in the county. “I do not think I ever saw the mud roads worse than now,” the writer noted. “So bad indeed that traveling is dangerous, for only a few days ago a good strong horse got fast in the half-frozen mud, and was only got out with great difficulty.”

C.S. Bell advertised a new ventilating stove that produced “uniform temperature in all parts of the room.” Bell was also a Republican candidate for the school board at the time.

Seybert & Co. Druggists of Hillsboro advertised a compound syrup of tar, horehound and wild cherry, which it claimed was the cure for “all afflictions of the throat, lungs and vocal organs.”

Vegetine, prepared by H.R. Stevens of Boston, Mass., was advertised as a blood purifier that “invigorates the whole system.”

A lengthy obituary told the story of Rees Griffith, an immigrant from Wales who settled in Hillsboro as a young man in the mid-19th century. He died of kidney disease.

This week in 1932, a photo on the front page of the The Hillsboro News-Herald showed a local man posing with the Hatfield family, famous for its feud with the McCoy family in West Virginia. The family toted rifles and pistols while W.E. Borden of Mowrystown struck a jaunty pose nearby. The paper reported the photo had been taken 15 years prior to publication. Borden had reportedly been in West Virginia representing the Kibler & Kay Lumber Company, and “boarded with a sister of Hatfield.”

Thieves reportedly broke into the home of Congressman James G. Polk near Highland and made off with one rug and some china. The burglars moved a piano to get to the rug.

Five people died of influenza in one week during an outbreak of the illness. Half the inmates in the county jail were reported sick as well.

The paper published an editorial saying that while possessing or trafficking liquor was illegal at the time, upcoming elections would likely be decided by candidates’ public opinions on prohibition rather than other policy issues.

This week in 1964, The Hillsboro Press-Gazette reported a wintry blast caused a rash of traffic accidents and a traffic jam of several hundred cars on U.S. 62 north of Hillsboro.

The paper published an editorial wondering, “Will the tax cut help the economy?” The editorial referenced an $11.5-billion tax cut that had recently been approved. “To sum up, the prospects for a vigorous economic impetus are good,” it concluded, “and inflation can probably be kept from getting out of hand.”

Albers grocery advertised Swift Premium fully cooked smoked ham for 33 cents per pound. Fresh yams were 39 cents for three pounds.

The reported per capita expenditure for liquor in Highland County in 1963 was $24.81. Per capita consumption was 8.72 pints.

Attendance at Sunday services in Mt. Olive was 94. Total collection was $15.44.

Nearly 600 youngsters participated in an Easter egg hunt sponsored by the Hillsboro Lions Club.

Safe-Way Enterprises of Leesburg advertised termite control for any home for $99.

This week in 1995, The Hillsboro Press-Gazette reported firefighters were overwhelmed by a massive tire fire on U.S. 62 between Hillsboro and New Market. The cloud of smoke could be seen for at least 30 miles.

A missing three-year-old child was found safe after a 45-minute search by the Hillsboro Police Department and Highland County Sheriff’s Office. The youngster was found under its parents’ bed.

Milk was $1.79 per gallon at Kroger in Hillsboro. Bananas were 29 cents per pound, ground beef was 88 cents per pound and boneless round steak was $1.49 per pound.

A Hillsboro man was cited for failing to set his parking brake after his car rolled straight into his house, causing light damage. There were no injuries.

A hearing was set to be held in Washington, D.C. on a congressional effort to repeal a ban on assault weapons proposed by the Clinton administration and supported by the 103rd Congress.

An ad for Arby’s read, “Different is good: Join us before and after church.”

In sports, the Hillsboro Lady Indians beat New Richmond 9-3 in softball. The Indians baseball team tied 9-9 with New Richmond before the game was stopped due to darkness.

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

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A weekly look back at news items through the years

By David Wright

dwright@timesgazette.com