This paper used to run a regular item called “20 years ago today” and “50 years ago today,” featuring small stories from those numbers of years ago.
I have to admit they lost appeal to me when I realized the “20 years ago” items were stuff that I had written. “Have I really been around here that long?” I would wonder,realize I had, and then go into a sulk, feeling like an old fart and whining about where the years had gone.
Still, old news can be fun.
Just for grins I looked up the 1879 edition of the Ogden “Junction” and found a couple of tidbits from this very date, Dec. 17, 130 years ago. The items aren’t what anyone would call big news, but they do show that the news back there was a lot more interesting to read. Certainly the guys doing the writing seemed to enjoy themselves:
A Narrow Escape
A go-as-you-please race between a reporter and a revolver
Early yesterday morning a young man coming down town espied a couple of men asleep in front of a saloon. He approached them with “Hello George, is that you?” At the same instant he raised the rim of one of the men’s slouch hats and attempted to strike a match. His ears were at once greeted with the sharp “Click! Click!” of a six-shooter, and he jumped about six feet off the ground.
“Hold on!” he said. “If you’re going to pull anything like that, I’ve got to go.”
He started off on lightning pace and never stopped for four blocks, when his wind was exhausted. It turns out now that the individual with the revolver was not “a tramp awakening from a debauch” but a good-natured devotee of Bacchus, bent on frightening the first man who tackled him. The steps were measured after daylight, and the greatest was found to be 18, while the least only 10 feet. A piece of his coat tail containing a portion of a pocket with a love letter was found on a neighboring post and can be had on application to this office.
It is not known who the fleet-footed flyer was, but from the evidence it is supposed that it was one of the “locals,” of the dispatch.
(I am going to guess that the Dispatch is a competing paper and the Junction is having some fun at their expense. 10-foot steps sound like a bit of exaggeration, but certainly the news does not lie!)
A row occured on Fifth Street (Now 25th Street in Ogden- ed) last night. An erring husband was out late, and on his return home found his place supplied by a young Lothario, who was drunk even to quarrelsomness. Hot words passed between the parties, and weapons were drawn, when the husband started out after a policeman. With the assistance of the officer the intruder was ejected, but succeeded in proclaiming to the neighborhood his clandestinely acquired rights to the lady’s chamber. He then pushed his clenched fist trough the glass, and will feel the effect thereof when he awakes today. He also declared his determination to kill somebody before he went to bed, but sleep overpowered him, and the murder is still in abeyance.