What follows are some clippings from the pages of the July 23, 1896 edition of the RANGELEY LAKES newspaper. We with a portion of the paper for the lady of the house. Even an old duffer like me can find the patronizing nature of calling the publisher’s wife “editress”. Can you imagine a female truck mechanic today being called a mechanictress? However, it is my personal view, that we should not judge the folks of the past by the standards, beliefs, motivations, and practices of the present day. In fact, I personally love to cook, find 19th household tips interesting and quite enjoy Mrs. Dill’s contributions.

(Editor’s note: Contemporary commentary in italics, otherwise copy is reprinted just as it was in 1896).

A Cozy Corner for the Ladies.

Mrs. Harry P. Dill, Editress.

Don’t be afraid of a little sunburn. Guarding the skin too carefully with veils, etc., will often do more harm than good. A few applications of simple lotions buttermilk for freckles and sweet cream for sunburn, will soon remove all these traces of the summer’s outing.

(And if you do not attract too many flies, initially, you’ll be delicious)

There is an old superstition concerning a woman’s thumb. If in closing the hand the thumb folds out of the fingers she will rule her husband. If under, she will be ruled by him. It is hinted that a majority of them fold out.

(And today, if you are a jerk you are likely to see her middle digit unfold as well)

Cool the Watermelon in the Sun.

If the refrigerator is too small to hold a watermelon which you wish to keep cold, roll the melon in wet cloths and place it in the sun. The process of evaporation will cool the melon. Wet the cloth on the outside as it becomes dry.

(Brilliant! And while your watermelon chills, try out one of these recipes mailed in to the ‘Editress’ 134 years ago).


1 cup sugar, 1 cup molasses, butter size of an egg. Cook until brittle and just as the taffy is taken from the stove add 1 cup of cocoanut. Pour into buttered tins, mark in squares and cool.                   -Mrs. George Winter, Kingfield

(And then throw the pan away unless you wisely grease or melt butter in it first. Otherwise…YUM!)


1 cup of sugar, 2 eggs, X cup of cream, 1 teaspoon cream tartar, X teaspoon soda, a little nutmeg, flour to roll. Good.      -Ilda. (If Ilda says they are “good”, then take it to the bank!)

(The first officially recorded baseball game in U.S. history took place on June 19, 1846, in Hoboken, New Jersey and here below some 50 years later it was enjoyed in Rangeley)

Batter Up

An exciting ball game was played last Saturday afternoon on the park, between the married men and the single men. under a challenge from the latter. Seven innings were played the score standing 18 to 3 in favor of the single men. F. E. Timberlake, acted as Umpire and H. F. Beedy, scorer. (Soon after a league was formed that pitted teams made up of the staff of various hotels against one another and the summer guests would travel to support their team).

Rangeley Lake House Baseball Team, circa 1900

John J. Wilbur has had mounted at S. L. Crosby’s a great horned owl. It was caught in n trap at Kennebago and is beauty. (State and Federal Laws now protect many raptors and owls as well as Loons, but back then one could shoot or trap just about anything. We have several vintage mounts of such birds preserved and exhibited at our Outdoor Heritage Museum).

(The next story is a mindblower. Today such a cat and mouse game would bring out a Swat Team)

Barking a Game Warden


Lawbreakers who want to be real funny and see how far they can go without getting found out, have a way of pestering the game wardens, to which they have given the name of “barking.” It is an exciting game even when played by skilled men, and few novices care to enter into the hazards unless they have committed murder or long for the bracing sea breezes that float through the state prison at Thomaston. Barking is at its best when an obnoxious warden is on one side of a wide stream, or narrow pond, and a party of lawbreakers is on the other. When the combatants are rightly placed, the poachers will skulk along the shore and shoot among the limbs over the warden’s head until the clothing is covered with bark that the bullets have removed from the trees.

Armed with magazine guns, they will keep up a continuous fire, and the air around the warden will be full of bark and flying splinters as long as he stays in sight. Now and then a particularly good shot will make’ a big joke by putting a bullet through the warden’s hat, or sending it ringing against his gun stock. If the warden jumps about or shows any signs of fear, the shooting is renewed with vigor, and the victim is followed to the clearing. Wardens who have met bears without fear, and have been chased by angry wolves, have been known to go straight home and get into bed after having a gang of barkers follow them for a mile or two. Those who have been induced to confess how they felt when the bark was dropping around them, say the situation was very trying to the nerves.

A big fat warden who lives up in Burlington was barked this summer. He did not like it very much and thought he would play a return engagement with the boys. His usual place of observation is on a high point which overlooks a lake in the Nicotous region. Putting on a new suit of clothes and stuffing his discarded garments with brush and grass he placed the dummy where he was wont to’ sit and waited. Presently a shot rang out across the pond and a bullet went swashing through the limbs, bringing down a shower of bark and leaves. This was followed by another and another until the warden knew there were at least five in the party-. While they were pegging away the warden made al wide detour and came upon them unawares.

“I saw you couldn’t hit me at so long range,” said he smiling, “so I’ve come over to give you a better show.”

Finding they were caught and being sure they would have to kill’ the warden to avoid punishment, they surrendered. Then the warden told them he had enjoyed the sport as much as they had and let them go without so much as a word of warning. Nobody has tried to bark that warden since.

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