Incidental History

Researching some articles on Cape Cod history, I came across the following incidental news items in old issues of the Barnstable Patriot newspaper, presented here in no particular order, without rhyme or reason, and without explanation.

Oh, incidentally, my commentary is provided in bold type.


{Musical accompaniment: Incidental music from Bizet's L'Arlésienne.}


From the June 24, 1873 issue: 

"Attention is being directed to investment of money in large three-masted schooners of from 1,000 to 1,200 tons capacity. Attention is also being directed to Obadiah, the village idiot, who is presently standing on a bench in the center of town completely starkers!"


From July 7, 1874:

"Many a man is rich without money. Thousands of men with nothing in their pockets are rich. A man born with a sound constitution, a good stomach, a good heart, good limbs, and a pretty good head-piece, is rich. Good bones are better than gold; tough muscles better than silver; and nerves that flash fire and carry energy to every function are better than houses or land. A good health plan with a $15 co-pay doesn't hurt either."


September 23, 1873:

"Civil war has broken out in Morocco between the son and brother of the deceased Sultan, and the trade of the country is paralyzed. It is believed hostilities between the two men began over who was to pay the funeral charges."


September 30, 1873:

"The stable connected with Shattuck's Hotel, Orleans, was destroyed by fire Sunday night. Loss about $1,500. The cause of the fire is under investigation, although it is believed that one of the horses in the barn, a nag named Nellie, plugged too many kitchen appliances into one electrical outlet."


December 23, 1873:

"Mr. H-'s farm produces beets and turnips weighing fifteen pounds each, and Mr. T-'s farm produces cabbages weighing forty pounds each. And the farm of Mr. McS- recently produced a chicken with two heads -- one head called Abbott and the other called Costello -- that performs the 'Who's on First?' comedy routine every hour on the hour, with a special matinee performance on Sunday afternoons!"


November 25, 1873:

"The death of the Honorable Mr. H- is announced. In a statement issued by the late Mr. H-, he said, 'My sudden and untimely death took me totally by surprise, although I had a funny feeling something was wrong with me when I hadn't moved for three days.' He went on to say, 'Now that I'm dead, I'll have more time to catch up on my reading. Who knows, perhaps I'll take up painting, or sculpting, or perhaps even gardening. In any case, I'm very excited to have passed on and am looking forward to being among the recently deceased.' "


October 7, 1873:

"A man was boasting that he had been married twenty years, and had never given his wife a cross word. His wife, on the other hand, swears like a sailor at sea!"


October 7, 1873:

"The Emperor of Brazil stands six feet four inches in his boots. He stands six foot five inches in his wife's red pumps."


And, finally, this bit of incidental news from September 30, 1873:

"The schooner Hannah D of Harwich, from Bangor for Salem, loaded with wood, ran ashore on the North-east point of Squirrel Island, Maine. All crewmen survived the shipwreck, and were landed safely at the island in a lifeboat -- where they were then swiftly devoured by a pack of large, ravenous gray rodents."


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