ED COLEMAN: ‘History’ in old newspaper clippings

Ed Coleman
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By Ed Coleman

The clippings came from attics, basements and closets; some, I was told, came from the walls of houses being renovated or torn down.

All the clippings, given to me by readers, are from newspapers published over the years in Kentville - The Western Chronicle, The Orchardist and The Advertiser – and the earliest is dated March 12, 1890. I suppose, in the truest sense of the word “history,” there‘s little that’s historical about these clippings. They’re simply interesting records of the times and mundane evidence of what life was like when our great-grandparents and grandparents were in their prime.

Keeping that in mind, I’ll tell you what I found interesting as well as mundane in those clippings. All the clippings, which came from late 19th century to early 20th century editions of the three papers, seem to indicate an obsession with bile, bowels, boils and Bibles (but perhaps not in that order).

I reached this conclusion from the numerous patent medicine advertisements and the temperance sermons I found in the papers. In the Oct. 24, 1911, issue of The Orchardist, for example, almost a third of a news page was given over to medicinal ads and write-ups about cures for common ailments. Prominent in the two-line medicinal ads was our own Minards Liniment. That same issue announced the commencement of Acadia University with the boast that “in 1891, Acadia graduated 43 (!) and this year promises to surpass that.” In comparison, Acadia awarded 700 degrees at last year’s convocation. 

We must have been on the verge of the electronic age around 1911.  In the Oct. 24th issue, the Nova Scotia Telephone Company advised the public that the telephone is “no longer a luxury, it is a necessity.”

Now, on to more of the mundane, the all-revealing news clips and announcements:

Travelling dentist: In the Western Chronicle, March 12, 1890, Dentist J. E. Mulloney advised the public he would be in Kentville every Monday and in Wolfville every Saturday. Over a decade later, in 1906, Mulloney had given up travelling and was now established on Webster Street in Kentville.  Mulloney announced in a February issue of the Western Chronicle that “teeth that fit” was his specialty. In the same issue, mention is made of a proposal to establish a Canada-wide “messenger pigeon system.” 

It appears that the popular community bean and strawberry suppers are far from being a modern day social event. In a February 1906 Western Chronicle, the Coldbrook Mutual Improvement Society announced that a “bean supper and musical and literary entertainment” given by its members the previous week was very successful. Beans and music! Now that’s a good combination, if you’ll pardon the inference.

In a September 1903 issue of The Advertiser, editor R. G. Harris laments that mail had been going astray, causing “confusion and inconvenience” due to many “town and communities” in Kings and Hants County having the same place names. In the same issue is an announcement in the Hantsport news that Capt. T. W. McKinley will launch his schooner Bluenose there the following week. In this issue, McDougall’s Pharmacy in Kentville offers Kodak’s Brownie Cameras for $1 and $2.

While it was dubbed a Kentville newspaper, The Western Chronicle made an effort to present news of nearby areas, such as Berwick and Canning. In its October 16, 1919 issue, the paper announced the opening of the “Movie Theatre of Bligh and Woodworth” in Berwick. There’s a Canning page in many of the early 19th century Western Chronicles with community notes giving birth, deaths and visitations (of the earthly kind) plus editorial comments by the “Old Man of Canning.”

Oh, yes. The paper had an “Old Man of Berwick” as well, and he was.

 

Organizations: Acadia University, Nova Scotia Telephone Company, Coldbrook Mutual Improvement Society Kodak Theatre of Bligh and Woodworth

Geographic location: Kentville, Berwick, Wolfville Webster Street Canada Kings Hants County Hantsport Western Chronicles

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