News Briefs from the Washington Standard at the Turn of the Century

Until recent years we’d get our daily news headlines and short features from the radio or television.  Now, with the age of computers and smart phones, we go “on-line” to find out what’s going on around town.  We do still utilize print or on-line newspapers today, but the high tech way of getting the daily dose of information at the turn of the century around 1900 was the local newspaper.  In our area, one of those influential newspapers was published by John Miller Murphy.  His paper was called the Washington Standard.  Let’s look at some short clips from that old paper.

April 27, 1900:  “Mr. Fenton of Tumwater, a teamster for Wm. Mitchell, was Tuesday kicked by one of his horses, breaking his leg just above the ankle.”

July 6, 1900:  “The balloon ascension announced at Tumwater at 3 o’clock did not come off until 5 o’clock on account of the windstorm that prevailed at that hour, however, a splendid ascent, as well as a parachute descent, was made by Professor Hamilton.  The balloon floated to the westward and the aeronaut landed about a mile east and south of town.  He landed in a dead tree and was injured quite severely by it falling with his weight.”

July 20, 1900:  “A report that the number of bicycles in Olympia area reached the 1,000 mark.”

July 11, 1902:  “Thomas Foley has been arrested in Tumwater for pilfering small articles from residences.  He claims that he is a machinist from Tacoma and that he is in retirement to sober up.”

Sep. 19, 1902:  “W. O. Bush of Bush Prairie recalls that in 1845, 58 years ago, there was an experience in this section similar to that experienced last Friday.  He says the smoke and darkness lasted 6 weeks, or until the fall rains put out the fires and cleared the atmosphere.”  (There was also mention of a fire on Mima Prairie started by sparks from a train.  Farms were damaged with losses totaling $6,000.)

Dec. 9, 1898:   “A Tumwater woman asked a tramp who called at her back door the other evening for something to eat, why he didn’t take a bath.  He said that he was too proud to beg for soap.”

Don Trosper, Public History Manager, “Heritage Builders” program, May 2016

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