The Adventures of Sam and George

A regular feature of The Chatham Record during its early years was the Children’s Column.  This ran on the front page, and featured several short articles, poems, and stories:

A typical Children’s Column opened with a poem, followed by an instructional article, an animal story of some kind, and concluded with a moral tale.  This poem from 26 May 1887 is a fair example of its kind:

The instructional article that follows it – a useful tidbit about the importance of perseverance when learning to jump fences on a horse – is written in much the same style as the rest of the paper. Perhaps this was meant to be read aloud by a parent?  The animal story – about a sensitive monkey – is also written at an adult level.  The concluding moral tale, however, has shorter sentences and simpler vocabulary, and seems to be geared for children to read themselves.  The following example teaches the importance of scapegoatery:

A Good Excuse.

George and Sam thought it great fun to run away to the mill and watch the buzzing saws tear their way through the dry bolts, and although they were ready to obey generally, they would steal away from mamma and run to the mill every chance they could get.

“Boys,” said papa one morning, “if you don’t stay away from that mill, something ‘l get you sure.” But as soon as papa went to his work, and mamma went upstairs, they ran after him as fast as they could.

Sure enough, just as they came to the great shingle mill at the foot of the hill something ran out at them. They didn’t know it was papa with the gray wolf skin robe over his head.

“There ’tis, Sam! Papa said ‘twould come!” yelled George as he turned and run – -oh, how he did run!

“I’m going to find out what it is,” said brave Sam, and he bounded up the hill after George, shouting at the top of his voice–

“Run, Georgie, run! Let’s go and take care of mamma. She’ll be scared. Women always are. Run, Georgie, run!”

They never visited the mill again without permission.

The Children’s Column ran fairly regularly for the first decade or so of The Chatham Record, always on the front page.


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