January 23, 2008 -History R Us

I just finished submitting a couple of articles to Wilderness Road, a historical publication for this region. I really needed the distraction of something that was being written for pure pleasure. Actually one of the submissions is based on an article I found that was written a hundred years ago on the last Indian raids in this locale.

I completed the extraction of all the mentions of my direct line in the local papers from 1900 to 1924 over the holidays as well. That made up into a nice 35 page diary of sorts. God bless those local news correspondents that characterized the news scene here a hundred years ago! i learned a few things i hadn't known before!

That's all the fun for now...we'll be transporting Ma Smith home soon, and I want to go visit a dear friend who just had a quadruple bypass. This was a hard day , as it also marked the tenth anniversary of my Dad's passing.

Here's another reprint from a run of articles written a hundred years ago from my Great Great Grandfather ...

Charlie W. Ridgway

Children’s Corner

The Bullitt County News-July 19, 1908

Children and Their Ways.

"It would seem impossible to do justice to this subject in a little article like this for there have been children in the world ever since the first children were born unto Adam and Eve, and it would require several large volumes to tell all about children and their ways. In all times children have played a big part in the home life, and in every nation children have their peculiarities that belong to that nation; hence the difference in children in different nations and countries. Children receive their first impressions at home, and are, to some extent, what their parents make them.

This little article is not a wise dissertation on child life, but a rehearsal of a few of the circumstances that have come under my observation or that I have heard from others, and is more for the amusement of children than for the instruction of the old.

Children are the purest and best part of society, and are generally good until they learn too many ways of older people. The sweetest theme in life is childhood and youth, and children should be permitted to enjoy their innocent life as long as possible. There is nothing more pleasing than a sweet amicable child where reason first begins to dawn upon it. If all older children understood training children right there are but few children who might not be trained to be useful. Children are fortunate who have parents who will train them in the way they should go.

Once in my travels when I was spending the night with an hospitable family I was favorably impressed by the deportment of a little girl about five years old. When it came time for her to retire for the night she went and leaned lovingly on the mother who undressed her and put her night clothes on her after which the little girl stood hesitatingly and looked first at her mother and then at me. In fact, she looked inquiringly at me as if considering something of importance. She then went to her mother and dropped down on her knees by her mother’s side who placed her hand on her little head while she, in sweet childish accents, said her little evening prayer. She arose perfectly composed. When she kissed mamma and told papa good-night and ran away to her little bed- a sweet specimen of parental training.

But there are some parents who neglect their children altogether and some ever set them a bad example, and it is distressing to see how early some children take to bad habits. Shortly after the occurance just mentioned above I was approaching an humble dwelling when my attention was attracted by two small boys in a potato patch near the road side. They were apparently about 5 and 7 years old and they were distressed with each other from some cause and they were using curse...

July 26, 1908 Continued from last week

...words at rapid and fearful rate. I thought, poor little boys, where did you learn all that. And it occurred to me that the parents were to blame; possibly had set the example.

It has been my fortune to spend a great portion of my life among children and I have frequently enjoyed their sweet, trite, funny little ways. On one occasion when I had offered a prize to the scholar who would make two capital letters exactly alike a little girl who thought she had the succeeded in winning the prize came to me with a great deal of confidence and showed her specimen, but when I began to point out the difference in the letters, she said, innocently, "Now Misser Widgway, don’t tell me a tory." I said, "N, I don’t tell you a tory; look here (pointing to the letters)you see this letter is larger than that and wider across the top." She nodded assent and went back to her seat to try again, never dreaming that she had said anything out of order. In fact, I did not even let her know that she had, for where there is no harm intended there is not much harm done.

One pleasant day in winter I had occasion to go to the barn to catch a horse, about half way from the house I saw one of my little grand children sitting on a stone under a large persimmon tree that was full of persimmons. He was sitting there as contentedly as a bird on a limb with his elbows on his knees and his chin resting in his hands,, the very picture of contentment. I said "Ernest, what are you sitting there for?" He said, "I am waiting for a persimmon to fall." I caught the lesson at once. We are all more or less waiting for persimmons to fall, from the man who courts the presidency of the United States down to the man who lingers around the country bar room and some wait for persimmons that never fall.

I was riding with a little girl one morning and they had a sick cow at their house, and I said to her, "How is your sick cow this morning?" She said in a subdued voice: "Uncle Charley, she is bad off, she died last night." Of course it was a little trite, but it would have been a sin to laugh. Another little girl was looking thoughtfully at her mama one day when she said, " Mama, you did not have many beaux when you were young, did you?" Mamma said, "Well, no, not so many, why?" "Well I thought you did not or you would never have taken papa."

A little girl six years old who seemed to understand personal rights said to me, "Uncle John gave me a nickel, now that nickel was all mine, wasn’t it?" I said "yes it looked that way." Well she said, "I sent that nickel by papa and got candy, now that candy was all mine wasn’t it?" I said, "Yes, it looks that way." Thoughtfully, she said "Well papa took a part of it and gave it to brother, now do you think papa treated me right?" I said, " Well you wanted brother to have some didn’t you?" She said, "Yes, but I thought I ought to be the one to divide it." That is the principle that underlies the whole government of the United States. Little did she know the magnitude of her question.

August 2, 1908- Continued from last week

One time when James Simmons and Ernest were little boys, Kirby Simmons came home one evening and Ernest was standing around the yard looking sneaking, Kirby said"what is the matter?" and at the same time said "where is James?" Ernest said, "He is upstairs lying down, he don’t feel good." Kirby said, "What is the matter with him?" Ernest said, "We were playing on the hillside rolling one another in a barrel and the barrel got away from me and rolled down the hill with him in it and he has not been feeling good since." Kirby laughed a little out of the corner of his mouth and said, "Well you make haste and do up the evening work."
It seems a little funny that that should ever have happened, for they are both men now and James is married and Ernest wants to marry. I will tell that where the girls will hear it. But that was the last time they rolled each other in a barrel; that broke up the barrel business.

A mother wanted to appear good and asked the preacher to return thanks at the table, a little boy, standing at the back of her chair, looking on in surprise said," Mamma, please get him to say that again." Children will sometimes betray their parents. Manners plays a big part in child life as the following little incident will show. On one occasion during the Bullitt County Fair, two ladies had driven some distance over a dusty road, and on arriving at Shepherdsville walked in one of the modern stores and asked for the mirror and a dust brush, and having bought a box of whitening proceeded to prepare for the Fair, when a lad came to their relief and applied the dust brush and helped them in various ways, and when everything was in order, he said admiringly, "Now you ladies look nice enough to get married today" and walking away, left them, when one of the ladies said, "Isn’t he nice?" the other said, "Yes he is as cute as he can be." But about this time another boy came along and stared at the ladies who were getting ready to start, when one of the ladies said to the other, "do I need a little more starch on my face?" The impudent boy said: "you have enough on your face now to make a biscuit," and grinned in their face and ran away. One of the ladies said "Isn’t he hateful?" and the other said, "yes he is a despicable little boy." Why was one a despicable little boy and the other just as nice and cute as he could be?

Boys, you might think about that a little; there is a lesson in it.

There are but few things that pay a better dividend on the investment than manners. Children should be polite to all, especially to old people. They should "Mr. and Mrs." those older than themselves. It is nice to hear children say, good morning, Mr. Jones, or good morning Mr. Joe, and not how are you , John? Or how are you Joe? and finish up with it.

Every child should try and be an honor to his parents, and every good parent should be an honor to his children."

C. W. R.

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