Society Pages: From gossip to warblings


Beth Mitchell - Contributing columnist



Do you remember the “Society Page” of the local paper? This was before the internet, the cell phone, TV, Facebook, e-mail, and other methods of electronic communication.

The articles about each of the communities appeared in the local paper and that was how we kept up on the news about our neighbors.

My husband’s grandmother was legally blind but had a magnifying glass to read the Society Page as soon as the paper was delivered. These articles from the many communities reflected family visits, births, deaths, family reunions, church news, and other information of interest.

In my previous article I had written about the robbery of Mr. John Kersey of Clinton County. In the Wilmington Journal of June 13, 1872 is an article entitled “The Robber is Arrested” — “The man Burns or Salyart who is believed to have committed the robbery at the residence of John Kersey on the 30th of May was arrested in Wabash town, Indiana. He fit the description and had a missing finger as reported earlier.

In Wilson Township “it is reported the woods are alive with locusts. The sound is deafening. We stopped by the house of John G. Coulter. Mr. Coulter’s father settled here in 1806.”

In New Antioch “the school of Mr. Robert Utter had its ‘closing day’ June 7th. Sweet music was provided by Miss Annie Adams.”

“The Temperance Association will meet in the Methodist Church on Friday evening, March 8th. There will be a Grand County Temperance Mass Meeting held at the Friends Meeting House in Wilmington on Friday and Saturday, March 8th and 9th.”

“On Friday March 1st the mercury was two degrees below zero.”

“Blue birds have made their appearance; jay birds are displaying their beautiful plumage; red birds are awakening the echoes with their mellifluous warblings, and merchants are beginning to think it would promote their interest to advertise in the Journal.”

Beth Mitchell is a longtime Clinton County History Center volunteer. She writes articles for its quarterly newsletter about a variety of past Clinton Countians and genealogy subjects.

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Beth Mitchell

Contributing columnist