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From our archives: Author salutes ‘well-behaved boys’

What we thought: 125 years ago

Published: Monday, May 5, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT
Caption
Harriet Beecher Stowe 1811-1896 The author of "Uncle Tom's Cabin" was honored by the students of Union school, north of Sterling, who planted a tree in her honor on Arbor Day, 1889, according to the Gazette's May 3, 1889, issue.

Note to readers – Sauk Valley Media reprints editorials and articles from the past as a regular Monday feature. The following items appeared in the Gazette on May 3, 1889.

Book chronicles Rock canoe trip

Our readers will enjoy a new book of travels lately added to the Public Library. “Historical Waterways” is the record of 600 miles canoeing down the Rock, Fox and Wisconsin rivers.

In the summer of 1887, Mr. R.G. Thwaites, secretary of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, accompanied by his wife, started from the third lake at Madison and paddled down the Rock River to its mouth, near Rock Island, a distance of 287 miles.

In the first part of their voyage, our travelers were compelled to dodge under barbwire fences stretched across the stream, and coming further down the river, their progress was interfered with by mill dams, which forced them to disembark and carry their canoe around.

But these annoyances were soon forgotten, as they floated along the picturesque banks of the loveliest river of the west. At Oregon, the scenery is sublime and rivals that of the famous Hudson.

Mr. Thwaites pays our town [Sterling], and its well-behaved boys, this pleasant compliment:

“This city, reached at 3:50 p.m., is a busy place of ten thousand inhabitants engaged in miscellaneous manufactures. Our portage was over the south and dry end of the dam.

“We were helped by three or four bright, intelligent boys, who were themselves carrying over a punt preparatory to a fishing expedition below.

“Amid the hundreds of boys whom we met at our various portages, these well-bred Sterling boys were the only ones who even offered their assistance.”

Arbor Day

Arbor Day was duly observed at Union school, north of this city. The merry children, with their teacher, spent the day in raking the yard, making flower beds, and planting flowers and trees in memory of Washington, Webster, Lincoln, Cleveland, Columbus, Mrs. H. Beecher Stowe and many other noted persons.

Several trees were planted by patrons of the district. Mr. T.Y. Shannon planted one in honor of President Harrison; Mr. B. Fulps one for Vice President Morton, and another for Joe Fifer was planted by F.D. Shannon.

Worthy centennial

Mr. Thomas Wooley, acting chief of the fire department, has given instruction that the fire bell be run from 8:30 to 9 o’clock to-morrow morning, also that the fire alarm whistles blow for 10 minutes previous to 9 o’clock, from 8:50 to 9. He requests that all other bells ring and all other whistles blow at the times mentioned.

The centennial of the nation’s birth [anniversary of George Washington taking the first presidential oath of office] only occurs once in 100 years; let it be celebrated properly.

Poor farm report

The following is the report of the County Poor Farm and Asylum for the month of April, furnished by Geo. E. Ely, superintendent:

Number inmates on April 1, 45; received during month, 4; discharged, 3; runaway, 1; remaining 45.

May 1, of those remaining, 19 are insane, 5 weak-minded, 3 cripples, 5 subject to fits, 7 incapacitated by age, being between 80 and 90, 7 are lazy, and the remainder incompetent; 20 are males and 25 females.

Fast horseman

Will Brown takes the cake for fast driving and for trading horses; first he had one that was so slow that he couldn’t get the girls to go with him.

Now he has got one, and after he gets it started, he can’t stop to get his girl unless she lives four or five miles from where he first hitched up, as it won’t stop running short of that distance.

The other day, a streak was seen going through Penrose, and after taking the second look, we noticed that it was Mr. Brown riding behind a Texas pony, which was running as fast as it could, and that was going like the wind, or at the rate of about 2:20.

Narrow escape

Mr. J.F. Long, while driving on the highway near David Butler’s in Montmorency on Friday afternoon, had a narrow escape from serious accident.

The sudden upstart of a bird on the side of the road frightened the horse, which plunged to the opposite side. The breaking of a bolt and bar on the road cart caused the front part of the bed to drop to the ground, throwing the driver under the heels of the horse and dragging him at flying speed for some distance before he could extricate himself.

Fortunately, the cart sustained the most serious injury. Messrs. Butler and Wakeman played the part of the good Samaritan in the drama, towards Mr. Long; took him in, brushed off the dust and rubbish, bathed his wounds and bruises, and sent him on his way again rejoicing.

Fresh reporter

A fresh reporter walked into a cigar store in this city this morning, and was accosted by the proprietor with “They’re laying for you.”

The reporter, supposing he had given offense to someone, in a scared voice asked, “Who?”

The reply was, “The chickens.”

The scribbler was attacked by a fainting spell, but was still green enough, when the wicked proprietor made a remark in the midst of a conversation, “They don’t speak any more,” to ask “Who?”

The answer, “The dead,” caused the youth to shrink to the size of a mouse and disappear.

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