Whenever I get the time, I love poring through old newspapers from Chattooga and Walker Counties, searching the bits of news for names of people in my family tree. The Summerville News and Walker County Messenger are littered with my ancestors far and wide. Most of the time when an ancestor is mentioned it seems inconsequential. The more I read through these things, the more I feel like I’m looking at a Twitter feed from over 100 years ago! Indeed, social media isn’t the phenomenon of the new millennium we think it to be. Sure, the bits and bytes shuffling back and forth between our smartphones and computer screens weren’t around in our ancestor’s time. But our ancestors were just as interested in everybody else’s “status updates” as we are today… only the medium for sharing those updates has changed.
This week I started combing my records for some of these “status updates” to assemble a selection for you here. Looking for a unifying theme, I noticed a lot of talk about rabid dogs and dangerous snakes. Yep, that’s what I said: dogs and snakes. Now I don’t mean dogs and snakes at the same time. But there seemed to be an awful lot of newspaper mentions about these two animals. I suppose for a rural country area you’re going to have a lot of dogs and, well, a lot of snakes. And I suppose it also makes a good news story to talk about the latest mad dog or venomous snake. Still, it gives me a chuckle to think that over a century later this is what I’m reading about. Like I said… inconsequential.
But apparently, to our ancestors, it was enough to make the newspaper.Read More