The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

Mark Simonson

December 28, 2013

Today's news had similarities to stories in 1888

Bullying, gun control, smoking, mischievous behavior by youngsters and downtown Oneonta lighting may have made news locally during 2013. These same topics made news as well as few amusing others in 1888. Each wasn’t  lengthy enough for a stand-alone column, so just as we’re dealing with leftovers from our holiday feasts this week, we can call this a leftover collection of 125 years ago.

As I find these stories, I often say to myself, “Wow, you couldn’t print that today.” Some of the content may be considered politically incorrect by today’s standards, but that’s how it was published back in the day. These come from both The Oneonta Herald and Oneonta Daily News.


From Jan. 5, 1888, it was reported, “Quite a little commotion was caused in the post office last Thursday evening as the mail was being distributed, by a boy darting into the crowd of people, closely followed by Sam Sing, the Chinese laundryman. Sam succeeded in catching the boy, who shouted lustily to the bystanders to ‘Take him off,’ which they finally did, when Sam grabbed the boy’s hat and sped back to his laundry. It appears that some of the smart youth with which Oneonta abounds have been in the habit of pestering Sam, who is a wholly inoffensive fellow, usually ready to return a smile for a blow, and on this particular evening a stone was fired thro’ Sam’s window. This was more than his good nature could stand, and with his pigtail flying in the air he sailed out, hatless, after the offender, and after a lively run captured him at the stated post office. He would only relinquish the boy’s hat on being paid for the broken window. If Sam would administer a good thrashing to some of these unruly youngsters he would win the approbation of the mass of the people, and at the same time relieve himself of further persecution.”

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Mark Simonson

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