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Life & Events > News from the Turn of the Century

News from the Turn of the Century

I grew up in a small Colorado town of about 800 people. My relatives settled there around 1892 or so, moving from Ballston Spa in upstate New York.

Yesterday I searched Colorado's Historical Newspapers online collection for mention of my family members in order to get an idea of what their lives were like. Back in those days every little place had community news columns in the local papers where it was the job of the town busybody to gather the information for the paper. In those days, it was newsworthy when a couple of guys went to the next town on business, and news that a wife visited her sister and mother for a couple of days, but is now back home. I just now realized I'm going to have to look somewhere else to find out the first names of the wives because it's always "Mrs. T.C. Bunyan" and "Mrs. W.C. Bunyan."

In one article I saw where Mrs. TC and my grandmother who was a young child at that time, went back to upstate New York to visit cousins with the last name of Chalmers. They must have liked those cousins because that name was used for my dad's middle name, and I have a second cousin also out here in Colorado who has it for a first name.

No, not the story about the Jilted Lover, it right below there with the yellow highlight.

I found out my great-grandmother had lovely roses, and one of my great-uncles sang at weddings and public concerts. At one event my great-aunt sang these songs: "My First Music Lesson" and "The Darkie's Prayer."

I saw one early 1900s news item from Texas in the local Colorado paper where two brothers "white men" were arrested for the murder of a 17 year old girl that 3 black men had been lynched for by a crowd of 500. Police followed tracks from the scene of the murder to the brothers' home. Initially they had arrested the black men, and the lynch mob pulled them out of the jail to kill them. There must have been some sense of outrage because it made the national news. There was a KKK group in our area, but THAT wasn't going to be talked about in the local papers. There was a settlement in the next county called Dearfield, an 'African-American Agricultural colony.'

According to the marker, in case you can't read it, they had great plans, but the town fell victim to the Dust Bowl and never recovered. The monument was donated by Anadarko Oil Company in 2010.

posted on May 29, 2017 11:41 AM ()


Looks like thing were quite similar to now in the "good old days". And people think we live in a more dangerous time.
comment by jjoohhnn on May 30, 2017 7:01 AM ()
Written news didn't travel as fast back then, but even the little mining camp newspapers picked up little stories from all over the globe to fill their pages because so many of their citizens were from all over the globe.
reply by troutbend on May 31, 2017 1:26 PM ()
That's a treasure trove of family history. I never thought to look for old newspapers for my area that far back. On Amazon I found some free magazines from the 1890s, and loved that.
comment by drmaus on May 29, 2017 7:53 PM ()
Google books (or something like that) digitized a bunch of old magazines, and that's where I found the 1916 Popular Mechanics article that my great uncle wrote about the water wheel power generator he built here at what's now my house. We have an original copy of the magazine, but it's too fragile to scan or show to people, so I am pleased to have a digital version that I can print out.
reply by troutbend on May 29, 2017 8:29 PM ()
I don't have early history in this country. Jay did. A whole slew of Stantons going back to Indian days and Jay said he had some Iroquois blood. There is no researching my Greek ancestry since records were poorly kept in Mom and Dad's day. When I asked my mom when her birthday was, she said the year before her brothers came back from the war and she was referring to the Greek-Tukish war. So much for that.
comment by tealstar on May 29, 2017 2:24 PM ()
There's charm in having a fluid sense of family history - sometimes all the precision and detail gets old.
reply by troutbend on May 29, 2017 8:31 PM ()
Ah yes, I remember those days--no such thing as 'fake' or 'alternative' news--and we have a Deerfield (we Southerners knew how to spell in South Florida-!)
Today a wife getting shot by a jilted lover wouldn't even make the paper.
I love reading these old papers and stories--a different world back then.
comment by greatmartin on May 29, 2017 1:57 PM ()
Colorado has it's own town named Deerfield, and it's still there, east of Denver - not the same as Dearfield.
reply by troutbend on May 29, 2017 8:32 PM ()

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