What follows is a smattering of interesting short articles filled with lessons from the past that appeared in the March 18, 1897 edition of the RANGELEY LAKES newspaper.  
(Some articles redacted for space reasons, otherwise all text reprinted just as it appeared in 1897. Contemporary commentary printed in italics).

(From the front page)
Our Public Schools
All nations have endeavored to educate their children for particular purposes. The ancient Persians aimed at the simple virtues; the Athenians, at a love for the beautiful; and the Spartans, at physical endurance. Our idea should be far more comprehensive, aiming to produce true Americans, or in other words, lovers of God and man.
The marvelous development of our physical resources has made us half crazy to become rich. Fifty years ago a man was considered well off who possessed Five thousand dollars, but it now requires five hundred thousand dollars to brand a person rich…The very fact of our having a silver dollar to pay a hundred cents, when it is worth only ninety cents, is against us. We ought to realize that honest labor makes the honest dollar. What we most need is not more quacks and politicians, but more tillers of the soil who will put it to the best uses and dot it with homes filled with intelligence and supplied with libraries and music; mechanics with cultured brains, honest hearts and skilled hands. It is necessary to learn how to spend without wasting. How much more a little money will do in cultivated hands than in those that are gross. True intelligence will give us the best food and clothing at the bottom prices, and will be honorable too. Our education should teach the head to deal with the pocket as to be strictly economical and just, yet farthest from meanness. The genuineness of our public school system is in this direction, and therefore should be encouraged.
The average weekly wages of teachers in Wisconsin is $9.06; Nebraska, $10.00; New York, $12.18; New Hampshire, $8.50. Maine, $7.10, exclusive of board. Skilled handicraft of all kinds is paid a higher rate than this. As yet teaching has not been truly estimated and put on a par value with other vocations. Now education in our land is a public duty and we must have a high grade, if we would have the best country. The voice of authority should say to every child of school age and health, you must be in school there is no alternative. Danger is threatening us from the fact that so many are suffered to play the truant, or remain out of school for work, or idleness… In Berlin, Prussia, with a population of nearly a million and a half, probably there are not ten children out of school whom the law requires to be there. We must come to this to have our government safe. It would not take long for ignorance and misrule to destroy our Republic. Its prosperity depends upon the diffusion of knowledge and the sustenance of enlightened conscience. The great influx of immigration must be utilized and assimilated so as to contribute to the progress of our nation. The public school has the power to do this. Should it be neglected, or misdirected, the greatest catastrophe would befall our country and the world. The glorious deeds of Columbus, Washington, Lincoln, and Horace Mann would be buried in anarchy and riotous living.
(Wow! A great deal to digest there, but wisdom remains throughout in my humble opinion. BTW, Today, The United States ranks 14th in education according to the World Bank. Note that this was determined prior to the Covid-19 lockdowns).

The Wonders of the Age
For years it has been a pet saying with the newspapers, when mentioning some new discovery in the vast field of electricity, that “Electricity is only in its infancy.” This has been heralded so long that it is questioned if it will ever get out of its babyhood. No sooner is a new discovery made and its wonderful powers and capabilities telegraphed over the globe, then another, and more startling invention is given to the world. How mysterious these all seemed when first announced, and yet how commonplace they have become. The telegraph, the phonograph, the kinetograph (forerunner of the motion-picture film projector, invented by Thomas A. Edison and William Dickson of the United States in 1891), the X-ray, the incandescent and arc light, the trolley, are so familiar that we seem to have always had them. Now, no one wonders when it is announced that we are right on the verge of obtaining electricity from coal and saving the 90 per cent waste that is now lost by burning it (to power steam engines), and so enable our large steam ships to cross the ocean with a few tons of coal in place of the thousands now consumed. This discovery will place the mysterious power within the reach of everyone. Our houses will be lighted and heated, power for all farm work generated on the premises, horseless carriages will roll along our highways. “Electrics” (transmission lines) or a great improvement on them will follow our highways all throughout the land. Telegraphing without wires has been done and an inventor is about bringing out a marvelous improvement on this. Another has nearly perfect an instrument with which you can see, by means of a wire, the place from which you are receiving a message. Really “it is only in its infancy.”
(And, like it or not, in the 126 years since this appeared, America has led the world in innovation, prosperity and international generosity BECAUSE of progress attained because of fossil fuels. Oil, as the fuel that would power our industrial revolution, was also in its infancy in 1897. And today despite our noble intentions to eliminate our carbon emissions, in 2020, 60% of our electricity generation came from fossil fuels. All while here in 2023 China and India with their combined populations of 2.8 Billion, are building a coal fired powerplant every 30 days! Plenty to ponder here, but in my humble opinion, the U.S. policy of throwing Natural Gas into the “basket of energy deplorables” along with coal and oil is ignoring its potential to help ween us off our immense 150 year old dependence on the later. Natural gas is far less of an environmental threat than the other two, if elimination of all is truly our goal. Kind of like Methadone as temporary solution for a heroin addiction. Just saying?)

(Below begs the question…Are kids today too soft?)
Miss Christine Cragin, aged 12 years, is hauling her father’s yearly supply of edgings (the live edge bark cut removed from a log sawed off in the process of sawing lumber) from Austin’s mill. She has hauled several cords already, loading them nearly all herself and handles her team with as much care as any man around the mill.

(Today, I suppose wisely, we do not allow a twelve year old child ride a bike without a helmet! By today’s standards what this twelve year old girl was doing is flat-out astonishing. Answer to my question: YUP!).

(Back when I ran the museum, folks would comment “How I wish I lived back in the Good Old Days”. I would smile and my response was always the same: “Then you would now be dead and when it comes to the medical arts you sre as heck wouldn’t!” A couple small meant to be humorous illustration of how limited medicine was at the time below)


She—And did your friend take the doctor’s advice?
She- “And did he pay for it?”
He- “Well, I should rather say he did! He’s dead!”

1905 Borax ad. (How many cleaning products would you use to treat your baby’s mouth sores?)

(And there was also this bit of sound medical “advice” also found on page 3)
“Of course every mother and housekeeper knows the virtue of borax for babies’ sore mouths; used with honey, it was an infallible remedy with our grandfathers, but I suppose few know of its wonderful healing powers in burns, cuts and such troubles. A strong solution of borax water applied to a burn, by wrapping it up in old, soft linen, will take the fire all out and heal rapidly. Kerosene is excellent, also, but most of the children like borax best. In tonsilitis, irritating coughs, ulcerated throat, you will not need a physician, provided you commence in time to gargle with salt water and borax. Make a strong solution and gargle often. You need not fear of getting too much, or an overdose; here is the virtue of borax. It is not poison, and no matter how many mistakes you make, your child will not be injured. It is the best all around disinfectant I have ever used. It will purify water, instantly destroy fungi, prevent growth of bacteria, and about the kitchen sink and closets and pantry shelves, it is invaluable; so good to keep away roaches and ants, and it is so clean and safe that you have no fears in using it.

(And on page 4, some sailor humor regarding marriage)
As Good as Married
First Sailor— Ya know, Bill, yer don’t really know what life is till yer get spliced.
Second Sailor—W’y, shiver me timbers, messmate! I’ve never been married, true.  But I’ve had yeller fever and cholera. I’ve been frostbit, drowned, burned alive, bit by a shark, blown up at sea and operated on for cancer. What more does a reasonable chap want?

I will happily celebrate 35 years of being “spliced” to the best wife in the world on April Fool’s Day! Have a great week, stock up on Borax (I think you might be able to find a box in the cleaning section) and By Cracky, do something to toughen up your kids!

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