Sunday, June 26, 2011

“Newspaper Notes”


c. 2011 Rod Ice
All rights reserved
(6-11)



A few years ago, I was able to purchase a partial copy of the Geauga Republican newspaper through eBay. Dated 1919, this local artifact offered a unique glimpse into yonder days. In particular, an article contained therein about the prohibition of beverage alcohol was fascinating to read.

Recently, while researching newspaper history from our area, I wondered if such a stroke of luck might occur again.

A quick tour of ‘The World’s Online Marketplace’ yielded no tantalizing stash of county journals. But a couple of results appeared from our neighbor to the east, as the Civil War was approaching:

ASHTABULA SENTINEL – May 4, 1864

Included was an article reprinted from the Deseret News, March 11th edition:

“Idaho News via Salt Lake City. The vigilance committee in Idaho has stopped the depredations of twenty-eight highwaymen and murderer(s) organized under the flash name of ‘Road Agents’ and the country now breathe freely and travel is secure. It adds: A large number of miners, who have wintered in this city have, with the first indications of returning Spring, set their faces again in that direction, and, from all we hear there will be a large stream of emigrants thitherward this Spring and Summer , from Nevada, Colorado, and from ‘all parts of the earth.’ A large amount of gold from those mines has been transported through this city Eastward, for the purchase of goods, and no doubt, Idaho, before many months are over, will have a large population of the whole human family, and enough to feed and clothe them, without calling upon their neighbors.”

ASHTABULA SENTINEL – November 16, 1864

Included was an article about the national election:

“We are at last through the Presidential Campaign of 1864; and we have won a glorious victory. The manner of receiving election returns makes it impossible to give the precise result even now. But this we know certainly, that Mr. Lincoln is re-elected by such a vote as will silence the copperheads so effectually, that their ‘rebellious brethren’ will scarcely look to them for any further help. Of the 234 electoral votes, it is pretty certain that McClellan has got – three in Delaware, seven in N. Jersey, and eleven in Kentucky, making 21 of these votes, with no prospect of any more. The States of West Virginia, Oregon, California and Nevada, giving sixteen votes, have not been returned; but it is not expected that he will get any votes in either of these. The final result will most likely show 213 for Lincoln and 21 for McClellan! After all the bluster and bragging of supporters of ‘Little Mac’ this is rather a stunner, which we hope will convince them that they are not exactly ‘the people’ of the country.”

Still eager to read a bit of yellowed newsprint from Geauga, I visited a website called ‘Newspaper Abstracts.’ Contained there was the text of an obituary for a local native who had fought in the war:

THE GEAUGA REPUBLICAN – April 8, 1896

“George Metcalf, for many years a leading and honored citizen of Council Bluffs, who died March 24, 1896, was born at Chardon, O., in 1842. He was one of ten children, seven boys and three girls, all of whom received a liberal education. Two of the boys, Henry and George, entered the army at the first call of President Lincoln for troops. George enlisted in the Seventh Ohio Volunteer Infantry and Henry in the Twenty-second Indiana. Both were gallant regiments, as shown by their large lists of killed and wounded. The Seventh Ohio, with one exception, sustained the heaviest loss of any regiment sent into the war by that State. Its ranks included men of culture and good social position. The regiment organized early in April, 1861, for the three months’ service, and entered the three years’ service almost to a man when the second call for troops was made. The total enrollment of the regiment was 1,365 men and officers, of which number 682 were killed, or died of wounds. George Metcalf veteraned, and, on the expiration of the term of enlistment of his regiment, was transferred to the Fifth Ohio Infantry, from which regiment he received his final discharge. He was in more than a score of battles, notably Cedar Mountain, Antietam, Chancellorsville and Gettysburg. Mr. Metcalf was at Atlanta, and from there went with Sherman to the sea. He was a brave and patriotic soldier. Henry Metcalf came to this city in 1867, Thomas Metcalf in 1868, and George in 1869. They engaged in business under the name of Metcalf Brothers, which firm still exists. At the organization of Henry Osborn Post of the G.A.R., Mr. Metcalf was elected commander, which position he held until the post was consolidated with that of Abe Lincoln post. In 1880 he married Miss Helen Rue, who, with their four children, John, James, Margaret and Mildred, survive. He will long be remembered in this community as a true citizen and a generous friend. His life was one of unselfish devotion to his country and his home. His first and last thought were ever of wife and children, and to them is left a rich legacy, indeed, of tender remembrance of the solicitude and affection ever manifested by this most devoted husband and loving father.”

After reading these excerpts, I concluded again that journalism is a profession with lasting rewards. Though body and mind may pass away, our words carry on - for future generations to share.

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