It is interesting and fun to read what the local newspaper, The Sheridan Enterprise, served up as fare for its readers exactly 100 years ago on New Year’s Eve, Dec. 31, 1913. The four page newspaper was crammed full of about everything imaginable.
The headline on the front page was “New York Commissioner of Police Quits Job.” The story was about the fact that he walked out of a commission meeting without notice because he disagreed with the new administration. Enough of that!
The reader’s eyes were more likely drawn to two articles on the front page. One described the ticket sales and the other reported on the rehearsals for the Miners Midland Cabaret Show that was being staged to benefit the Sheridan baseball club. The advance ticket sales were “going rapidly” and the rehearsals for the “Big Doings” were at fever pitch. It was noted that the “celebrated Beauty Chorus will eclipse anything ever before attempted by either amateurs or professionals in Sheridan.” It must have been interesting because the only cast members mentioned in the article were men, some of them fairly prominent. They may have been the same men who would perform as “black face comedians.”
Also on the front page was an article about the semi-monthly pay of $40,000 that was to be distributed to area coal miners. That total was down about 25 percent from the previous pay period because the weather was mild and the demand for coal slackened.
Incidentally, in case you were interested in the weather, the weather last night was 8 degrees, and the state of the weather was “clear.”
On the medical side, there was also an article titled “Uric Acid in Meat Clogs the Kidneys.” The article advised the reader to “Take a glass of salts if your back hurts or bladder bothers you.” And, “Drink lots of water,” was the proffered advice. There was a plethora of advertisements for patent medicines. In those days, it seemed there were plenty of pills, potions and powders to cure anything that could possibly ail mankind.
Probably the most important news in the paper that day was a short announcement that 15 liquor license renewals were delivered that morning to saloons in town. Turns out that of the 22 licenses 15 were due to expire at midnight. Not a good thing to happen on New Year’s Eve.
The Society Section announced that “Mr. and Mrs. Kendrick will keep open house on New Year’s afternoon from 3 until 6” and, also, that “The Elks will be at home tomorrow afternoon…an orchestra will furnish delightful music, light refreshments will be served and there will be favors for the ladies.” And it was mentioned in several places that there would be dinner and dancing at the Sheridan Inn on New Year’s Eve.
In case the reader was looking for a place to rent, Mr. Bob Parrish of the Lucky Dog Barber Shop announced that he had a three-room furnished/unfurnished house for rent. It was “close in.” The phone number was 608J.
Entertainment announcements were important in the days and anything that came to town was well attended. The paper announced that the “Real Dog Actors” were coming to town the next day. The actors were 12 “Snow White Trained Poodles.” Cost of admission to the matinee was 10 cents for adults and five cents for children. If that didn’t tickle your fancy, then you could go to the Grand Theatre where King Baggott was staring in a two reel comedy “Love vs. Law.” Supposedly, “If you don’t laugh you are sick.” Another entertainment alternative was scheduled for The Orpheum where Prof Norwood, a “Suggestionist” would perform. This was, “A show that will convulse you with laughter; also give you food for thought.”
The rest of the paper contained a smattering of classified ads, some obituaries, and notices of who had entertained whom in their home. There was also an announcement that the Dutch Creek Oil and Gas Company had filed papers of incorporation with the county clerk. The company was capitalized at $100,000 and the purpose of the company was to prospect for oil and gas.
While it is interesting for us to look back 100 years, it would be even more interesting to know what the people then would think if they could have looked forward to our news today, 100 years into the future.
What would they have thought?
Tom Ringley was re-elected as a county commissioner in 2012. He is the author of four books. Ringley grew up in Sheridan and returned home in 1990 after 27 years as an Air Force officer. He has been involved with the local hospital foundation, the Sheridan-Wyo-Rodeo and has been the facilities director at the county fairgrounds.