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Jacobus Notes Keep Neighbors in the Loop

One hundred and ten years ago, most folks, especially in rural areas didn’t have telephones. That wonderous invention was only 21 years old in 1897. As far as other media, Heinrich Hertz has only discovered radio waves ten years before and television was way in the future.
The way to keep up with news of your neighbors was to read the newspaper. Each small community had a stringer, and no event was too small to report, especially since those free-lance reporters were reportedly paid according to the length of their column. This practice continued well into the mid-twentieth century. I remember, when I was a child, reading in the Gazette & Daily that my parents, grandparents, and I were entertained by my aunt and uncle for Christmas dinner. (My aunt happened to be the stringer for the New Bridgeville area.)
In early December, 1897 the special correnspondent of the Gazette “Jacobus Notes” column reported that:

“Rev. Aaron Spangler will hold services here at Salem Union church tomorrow forenoon at 10 o’clock.
Henry Shearer, upon whom Drs. Gable, Small and Snyder, performed an operation for appendicitis, about three weeks ago, is convalescing.
The teachers of Springfield township, are holding an institute at this place today.
Amos P. Keener and A. P. Loucks have started up cigar factories.
William H. Ness and his son Harry have started up butchering.
William H. Geiselman and Gordon Kohler, who had been making cigars at Bare’s station, have quit working and have returned home.
Howard Leber is visiting his brother John, near this place.
Miss Lydia Ann Sheffer is spending several weeks with her friends near Hartley.
Kreidler’s school was closed several days this week, on account of the illness of the teacher.
Nathaniel Randal, of York, spent several days here in town, working for Pius S. Snyder.”
Seemingly mundane little tidbits, but some raise questions upon closer examination:
Why was it news that Rev. Spangler would hold a church service the next day, a Sunday? Maybe because it was a Union church (usually shared by German Reformed and Lutherans). Perhaps some members only attended when “their” pastor preached.
With surgery 110 years ago not being what it is today, it was probably very good news that Henry Shearer was recovering from his appendectomy three weeks before.
Why did Geiselman and Kohler quit their jobs at the cigar factory and return home? Were they young men who were needed more to help out at a family business or farm? Was the cigar business slow? Did they plan to get jobs at either the new Keener or Loucks factory?
Wouldn’t many children today be very please to stay home when the teacher was sick? I’ll bet they didn’t even have to make up the day off.
Click below for more about past news.
German newspapers in York County.
Dillsburg notes, 1928.
Wedding cake bribe.