Another Day in the Life of Norwalk, Ohio – January 10, 1907

I noticed something interesting while perusing Norwalk’s newspapers of 110 years ago: there is scant mention of the U.S. President compared to the obsession with the office in today’s news. Teddy Roosevelt was commander-in-chief, and with the reputation he has today, I expected extensive coverage of his actions and policies. That was not the case. In the January 10 edition of The Evening Herald, I found a short article near the bottom of page 1 reporting that Ohio’s U.S. Senators suspected the President of planning a “wily trick” to appoint African-Americans to posts in the state. This apparently had something to do with the Brownsville Affair of the previous year, although I have trouble making a connection. That was about it for news of the highest office in the land.

So what were citizens reading in Norwalk one-hundred and ten years ago? Not much in the way of international news. The Evening Herald had nothing from overseas on its front page, and The Daily Reflector had one article with a big headline, “Assassinations Continue,” that dwarfed the three short paragraphs reporting that a Chief of Gendarmes had been shot and killed in Russia.

lynchingIn domestic news, both papers reported that an Iowan lynch mob of over 1,000 men had taken a man named James Cullen out of the jail where he was being held for killing his wife and stepson, dragged him to a nearby bridge and hanged him. They were kind enough to hold a prayer meeting for his soul before taking justice into their own hands, and even invited the doomed man to join them.  Mr. Cullen was sixty years old and reported to have been demented for over twenty-five years. The sheriff had offered no resistance, and was “easily overpowered.” Neither paper offered any opinion on the actions of the mob.

Back on December 28, 2016, I posted Cousins on the Frontier, about the marriage in 1855 of first cousins Arad and Calista Tuttle. While that practice, called consanguinity, was accepted on the Ohio frontier, it most definitely was not in 1907 Norwalk. As seen in The Norwalk Reflector article below, a Norwalk couple were forced to travel to Georgia to tie the knot. Even today, first cousins may not marry in Ohio, as is the case in twenty-four other states, although out-of-state marriages are recognized.

cousins

As in the Norwalk newspapers of the day before, there was no mention in the Thursday editions of the Norwalk High School Class of 1907. That would change in the Friday editions, with reports of the first high school basketball game of the new year.

 

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