Thursday, July 18, 2013

The West Tennessee Democrat, May 12 1876

The West Tennessee Democrat
May 12, 1876 - Editor T.H. Baker
Considering its age this newspaper is in fantastic condition.  At first I thought it had been saved because of the large advertisement for J.W. Moran's store which I posted yesterday.  But then I noticed a name had been written on the front page, Mrs. Allie Edwards.

Mrs. Allie Edwards
Prof. Hunter weds Blanche Edwards.
What connection, if any, did Allie Edwards have to the Moran family?  After reading some of the newspaper I found an article that mentions Blanche Edwards of Gardner Station and a Prof. Hunter. My logical conclusion is that Blanche and Allie are related but so far I haven't found anything about an Allie Edwards but I did find marriage information regarding Blanche and W.W. Hunter. They were married on May 1 1876 in Weakley County.

"Something Wrong"  The last number of the Fulton Times contains a notice of the marriage of Prof. Hunter, one of its editors, to Miss Blanche Edwards, of Gardner Station.  The same number of the paper contains Prof. Hunter's "valedictory."

There is something wrong here.  We have often heard of men getting "into business" by marrying and most new married couples anticipate "squalls"--after awhile--but this indicates that a man may get "out" of business by the same process, and haven't the "squalls"....   

Unfortunately that last line of the article is forever lost but even without that last thought it seems to me the article is not very complimentary to Prof. Hunter.  Anyway, the Moran tree has several folks with the surname Edwards in it, usually in connection to Bondurants and Gardners and since Blanche Edwards was from Gardner Station there's a good chance she's a distant Moran relation.  The other curiosity is Prof. W.W. Hunter.  Agnes Hunter Cowardin, another Moran relative, married John Almus Gardner.  I wonder if W.W. Hunter is a relation via Agnes?  More research is necessary on this line.

I thought it would be fun to share what people in Weakley County were talking about and reading in 1876.

On the political front:

For Trustee: Smyth--We are authorized to announce the name of J.M. Smyth, of the eleventh district, as a candidate for Trustee.  Election in August next.

For the Senate: Martin--We are authorized to announce the name of George W. Martin, as a candidate to represent this Senatorial District in the next General Assembly--election in November.

For the Legislature:  Finch--We are authorized to announce C.F. Finch, of the Tenth District, as a candidate for the Lower House of the Legislature at the ensuing November election, subject to the will of the people.

For Sheriff:  Irvine--We are authorized to announce R.N. Irvine as a candidate for Sheriff, at the ensuing August election.

For Constable:  Parham--We are authorized to announce W.W. Parham as a candidate for Constable for the 5th Civil District of Weakley County, at the ensuing August election.

Dresden, Tenn., April 6, 1876--Remembering with gratitude the support so generously given me in the past, I come again to ask your votes for official promotion.  By your votes I have twice been chosen as one of the two constables which it is the privilege of the qualified voters of this District to elect.  How I have executed the varied, and sometimes painful and delicate duties of that office, is well known to you all.  If an active, vigilant and impartial attention to the interests of those who entrusted their business to my care during the two terms to which you elected me is ony (sic) recommendation, I certainly feel that my past official life entitles me to  future preferment Thanking you for past honors, and assuring those who support me in my present need will be enshrined in my heart of hearts, I am, most respectfully,
         W.W. Parham

Women, education and the Bluestocking.
"Education of Women"--Keep as much as possible in the grand and common road of life.  Depend upon it men set more value on the cultivated minds than on the accomplishments of women, which they are rarely able to appreciate.  It is a common error that literature unfits women for the every day business of life.  It gives women a real and proper weight in society, but they must use it with discretion.  If the stocking is blue the petticoat must be long; the want of this has furnished food for ridicule in all ages.

Drug Addiction in 1876

"Morphia Disease" -- Terrible Consequences of the Abuse of narcotics in Modern Society.
The vast abuse of narcotics in modern society is becoming, the London Lancet remarks, a serious evil. There is no denying the fact that in countries where no administrative control of chemist's shops exists, as in England and America, the public has too easy access to such drugs.  The report of the medical officer to the Privy Council on the use of laudanum in the industrial districts of England for the purpose of keeping infants quiet startled its readers some years ago.  It is not long since a political weekly contemporary boldly contended that chloral was to be found int he work-boxes and baskets of nearly every lady in the West End, "to calm her nerves."

Women and Fashion
"Miscellaneous Items"--Entire costumes for evening are now often modeled after fashions which prevailed in revolutionary days, as for instance, the lengthened court train, with satin petticoat, deep pointed corsage and Lady Washington sleeves.

The prevailing style in parasols is the canopied top, with crochet rings, to which are attached small bows of ribbons.

Cream-colored cashmere over-dresses are among the special fancies of the season.

The rough and ready straw hats are being covered with full puffings of white tyarlatan, and trimmed with scarlet poppies and green leaves.

Postillion reappears at the back of basques.

Bias folds, with narrow Tom Thumb fringe, are again seen on skirts of rich silk dresses.

Little girls' frocks are now made in what is called the English Style.  The bodice is prolonged to below the hips, where the skirt is put on in plaits at the back and plain in front.

And let's not forget the men!

"Southern Men and Manners"--Olive Logan, writing to the Chicago Times from Washington, gives her views of southern men from a social standpoint:

Men of this decidedly southern cast of thought and breeding are amazingly agreeable to women.  I forstall retort here, by at once asserting that I do not speak of the as lover or sweetheart (in which capacity I have no use for them), but as the mere cavaliere savante of society, the carpet knight of the drawing-room.  In this respect they are immeasurably superior to our pre-occupied, busy and thoughtless northern men.  Their form of address is in itself more respectful.  A remark to a lady is almost invariably prefaced by the word "madame."  A seat in a street care is instantly relinquished in favor of a woman by these courtly men.  To meet a lady in the street and walk with her, and not relieve her of such parcels as she may be carrying, would be considered very rude conduct.  This particular item in their code of etiquette is directly at variance with that prevailing among New York men, who, copying the European custom, hold that a lady may carry a small bundle with propriety, ladies being constant purchasers of odds and ends, but no gentleman carries a parcel, that being a distinctive badge of a counter-jumper or errand man.  I know that I shall evoke a responsive "yes" from the lips of hundreds and hundreds of my lady readers when I ask if it is not their custom to carry their own shawls, umbrellas, bundles and even bags, instead of stowing the same in the arms of hubby, pa or brother.

George P. Rowell & Co. American
Newspaper Directory, 1873
The West Tennessee Democrat wasn't around for very long and at the time it was in circulation it was the only paper being published in Weakley County. The editor & publisher was T.H. Baker, who had previously published the Carroll County Democrat.  In 1876 The West Tennessee Democrat was renamed the Dresden Democrat. In 1881, the Dresden Democrat had this to say about its former editor: "T.H. Baker, Former editor of the Dresden Democrat, and later of the Paris Post, has made another flop.  He flopped into the Republican Party at this time."

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