July 16, 1886 Lewiston Weekly Journal front page

Though it came in the middle of a dry spell, Friday, July 16, 1886 was an otherwise typical day detailed by the Lewiston Weekly Journal.

Let’s just grab a handful of the news items reported on that day to get a sense of what the paper’s local coverage was like in those simpler times:

• “The police took an insane girl to the city farm on Saturday.”

• “The tuneful Italian street peddler Joseph Antonio, who has trudged so many miles behind the cartloads of oranges, this spring singing his huckster’s song in broken English, has appeared in court as a complainant against a French-Canadian woman named Mary Roberts, who has, he claims, stolen extensively from him. … The woman was arrested on Saturday afternoon and was lodged in the city prison.”

•  “The list of drowning accidents is growing large this year. Within the past 18 months, nearly a score of lives have been lost in the canals and river about Lewiston and Auburn. On Saturday evening, a Knox Street boy, aged about 10 years, was drowned in the river while bathing. The body was recovered. The boy ventured beyond his depth and disappeared.”

•  “Three hundred barrels of Lake Auburn Mineral Spring Water per month are hauled to the depots of the two cities.”


•  “On the farm of Asa Garcelon in South Auburn, Sunday night, frosts shriveled the beans and peas.”

•  A list of items gathered by Turner’s centennial committee included “a cane once owned by Dr. [Benjamin] Franklin, pawned by a relative for rum in South Carolina in 1861,” the “cocked hat and wig of Rev. Charles Turner for whom the town was named” and the baby clothes worn by John Keen, born in 1729, made of “coarser material than used nowadays.”

•  Nathan B. Moore had just killed his 275th moose.

•  “Lisbon sent a big delegation to the circus.”

•  “M.M. Phinney is building a fine house on College Street.”

•  “Officers Hanscom and Odlin searched the billiard hall at the corner of Lisbon and Chestnut streets Tuesday forenoon and found one-half barrel of ale on tap.”


•  “Harry Whiting, of Auburn, was accidentally shot in the leg by a playmate a few days ago. The wound is not serious.”

•  “The Umbagog Pulp Company in Livermore Falls have improved the appearance of their gate house considerably by a coat of paint.”

•  “The true journalistic instinct to get there, if born in a man, never will subside. There is nothing surprising in the Bangor Commercial’s report that a Portland newspaper man who went to Bar Harbor with the Maine Press excursion ‘was in the dining room before the gong struck.'”

•  “A fire has been raging the Coffin bog in Leeds for several days, doing much damage to woodland and has destroyed the cranberry and blueberry crop on a large territory, where probably 100 bushels of cranberries would have grown this year.”

•  “The cavalcade of teams from the Poland Spring house to the Shaker church Sunday morning was a sight to be marveled at. It extended a quarter of a mile.”

Comments are not available on this story.