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February 26, 2021

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Forgotten Bluffton: Newspaper "locals"

They shared everything and bared nothing

“Locals” is a lost written art form. Bluffton has had its share of locals (short neighborhood news items), published for years in the Bluffton News.

Here’s how it worked: Imagine no internet (nor Facebook or every other conceivable social media), television, radio or even telephones.

We’ve now backed into the end of an earlier Bluffton century. Here we find Bluffton’s favorite source of information as its weekly newspaper. Local were a significant part of the paper, as you will soon discover.

Each rural neighborhood had its own correspondent. This person collected information of the goings on in the neighborhood and provided the details each week to the News office.

In this writer’s experience, locals were still published on a very limited basis even as late at the 1970s in the Bluffton News.

To give you a taste of what we miss today with locals, here’s a sampling of news taken from the Aug. 23,1899, Tri County Weekly, published in Bluffton. At one time Bluffton had three weeklies: The Tri County, The Times and The News.

From Riley Valley: D.P. Shumaker broke his stone crusher which delayed him several days last week.

From Marsh Run: The Henry Rickley well No 3 (oil well) came in last Thursday with a wild flowing of the greasy fluid continuing for some time. After much trouble, the drillers continued their work until shooter McCoy shot it Monday afternoon, which made a famous showing, and was immediately put to pumping. It’s another wildcat of this excellent territory.

The ice cream social held at Alex Steiner’s last Saturday evening was a howling success. During the evening a crowd of young people assembled to the number of about one hundred and partook of the “icy” with a relish. At a late hour they departed, having passed an evening well spent. Bluffton, Pleasant Hill and the German Settlement were represented.

Mt. Cory: Mrs. Olivers Powell returned from Findlay Sunday. She had a surgical operation performed, removing a large tumor.

Beaverdam: Mother Ward fell over a wire fence last week and hurt her face seriously. She is slowly recovering from her fall.

The sermon Sunday by the Chinaman was very interesting. He is a graduate of the O.N.U. and also of the Pekin university.

West End: I. Fullerton sold his heavy team for two hundred dollars and bought a lighter and younger team.

J.C. Bucher is making preparations to build a corn crib and wagon shed.

Bluffton: The butchers of Bluffton will close their markets on Sunday mornings at 9 o’clock, sun time, until further notice. The beef trust has struck Bluffton. All the butchers raised price of meat Tuesday, Prices rain now from 7 to 15 cents.

Susan Shaw was adjudged insane and was taken to the Toledo asylum Saturday by sheriff Bogart.

Ella Arnold attempted to shoot and kill Jesse Martin close to Mt. Blanchard last Thursday. The latter was plowing in a field at the time. None of the shots took effect. The cause of these shooting is unknown.

The following letters remaining on the Bluffton P.O. week ending Aug. 19, 1899, will be sent to the dead letter office at Washington, D.C., on Sept. 4, 1899:
Mr. Joseph Bowers
Della Cramer
Mr. Earl Eaton
Mr. Bubb Giliom
Dessie Keeney
Persons calling for any of the above will please say advertised.

I.B. Beeshy, Mary Owens, Clara Greding, Jacob Amstutz, Gertrude Lewis, S.P. Herr, J.S. Herr all received diplomas from the Board of Control of the Ohio Teachers’ Teaching Circle, after having finished a four year’s’ course which was planned by the board.

More sandstone sidewalks were put down here this season than ever before.

Simon Herr has just received a large number of bicycles, which he will sell at reduced prices.

As Frank Somney, who assists Adolph Shifferly run his threshing machine, was standing on the machine while threshing at Ben Balmer’s last Thursday, one of his feet came in contact with the cylinder which might have proved a bad accident had it not been for the canvass which also got in the cylinder which quickly made the best jump the track.

Newspaper locals – as you can see, they shared everything and barred nothing. They were informative, interesting, well-read news boarding on scandalous, but it was a different time.

And today they are part of forgotten Bluffton.