Tag Archives: oddments

Must Be True!

From the April 3, 1879 edition (although it might have fit nicely into the April 1st edition…):

From the dead


















“Singular as this circumstance may seem, we are assured that it is true in every particular.”


A Neat Party Trick from the Chatham Record

if your parties tend toward the somniferous side. . .

From the December 10, 1896 edition:  AppleSliceArticle

To Cut an Apple, but Not the Skin

“This little trick, well performed, is quite startling. Select an apple with a firm, smooth skin. Take a long and slender darning needle and thread it with silk or linen thread; cotton will do, but is more liable to break. Beginning at the stem end take a long stitch under the skin of the apple, being careful not to go so deep that the point of the needle does not readily emerge. Take another stitch in the same direction, sewing right around the apple exactly as you would cut it in half. When the thread comes out again near the stem take the two ends one in each hand, cross them and pull steadily. The thread will, of course, cut the apple in two, leaving no mark on the skin, and without breaking it beyond the tiny holes made by the needle, which are quite invisible. By repeating the performance in different parts of the apple, it may be cut into quarters and eighths, and on being peeled will fall into three sections.”

A Good Dog Story

From the July 9, 1885 edition of The Chatham Record:

A Bit of Cheesecake (1920s Version)

That’s a lot of leg for 1928!  It would seem that North Carolina is disproportionately represented in this contest – the only state with more than one finalist pictured.  Let’s hope that Miss Dippie and Miss Willie Lou enjoyed their brush with fame, no matter who ended up winning.  (And is that a cigarette the latter contestant is holding?)

X-Files: Pittsboro Edition

On August 8, 1952, the Chatham Record reported strange doings in the Pittsboro sky:

It’s too bad the object disappeared before Reverend Maness could take a gander at it; it might have saved Mr. Morgan some ribbing over the next few weeks if he’d had such an unimpeachable witness to back up his claim.  Still, it’s not everyone who has the gumption to run an account of their own personal UFO sighting on the front page of the local newspaper.

Must Have Been a Slow News Day

How else can you account for the Chatham Record‘s decision to run as newsworthy the idle yarn-spinning of a few local old-timers? And what happened to Mr. Boon’s chicken and snake story?  Maybe the editor felt that the contemporaneous readers of this 1911 edition had heard it so many times already, sparing them yet another retelling would be a kindness.  It leaves kind of a gap, though, for those of us less familiar with these old codgers and their pet potboilers.

1919: A Bad Year for Women?

Apparently 1919 was a rough time for women; after browsing through years and years worth of Chatham Record issues, I hit 1919 and suddenly was bombarded by ads for “women’s tonics”. Was there something in the air that year? Did one person develop a “miracle cure” and it was quickly replicated by everyone looking to make a quick buck? Click on the images below to read more about these super tonics that claim to cure everything from cramps to madness!

Caro-Graphics: Bite-sized History

…And now back to our regularly-scheduled CCL on the Record updates!

I recently came across this quirky little feature in the Chatham Record: Caro-Graphics, odd little factoids relating to North Carolina in comic form. Below are three examples of the feature from the latter half of 1937:

If facts like these are the bar of judgment, then I’d say none of us know our state as well as we thought! I haven’t yet found where this weekly feature begins or ends, but I’ll be keeping an eye out for more interesting tidbits from Caro-Graphics.

The Secret Life of Beekeepers

Occasionally the Chatham Record would report on items featured in other news publications around the country and the world. This one comes from England, and covers a most unusual topic. From October 22, 1885:

A Bee Superstition.

Says an English exchange: The instance given of the carrying out at Geeston, in Rutland, of the superstition that bees will not remain after a death in the house of their owner, especially of the owner himself, unless an intimation be given to them of the fact, might be multiplied indefinitely, for it prevails over a considerable portion of England. In the case mentioned, the widow knocked at the beehives one after the other, repeating each time the formula, “He’s gone, he’s gone.” And as the bees hummed in reply it was understood that they accepted the news and would stay. In Herefordshire it is considered sufficient to tie a piece of crape to a stick set in front of the hives, and in other counties those or similar precautions are always observed by persons who would not lose their bees. It is difficult to account for this widespread belief, or to give any possible conjecture as to its origin.

I found this article just 24 hours after hearing told aloud the story of Aristaeus and the Bees from the Greek poem in four books, the Georgics – a funny coincidence, though that story involves sacrificing many cows to revive dead bees, not a dead owner. Thankfully, that particular tradition did not persist! The story is also referenced in the popular novel The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd, available in both print and audio versions at the library. The particular superstition mentioned in this article does persist today in some areas, according to varied sources, along with other superstitions regarding the sale and borrowing of bees. These little insects have certainly garnered their share of fame over the years! I’ll leave you this week with an excerpt from a poem by John Greenleaf Whittier entitled “Telling the Bees”:

“And the song she was singing ever since
In my ear sounds on:–
“Stay at home, pretty bees, fly not hence!
Mistress Mary is dead and gone!”

The Case for Temperance: Elephant Edition

From 1932:

After an alarming headline, this news story ends happily – the elephant baby didn’t sustain any lasting damage from his brush with the wrong side of the liquor laws.  It isn’t certain whether the fact that the whiskey was “of the bootleg variety” had anything to do with this little elephant ending up in a bootleg himself, but it certainly adds a little more color to an already unusual story.