Looking through old newspapers for information about the early days of Delphos can become an obsessive experience or it can be very frustrating. It all depends on how much time you have on your hands and whether you like reading about what went on way back when. A recent foray into the newspaper archives for information netted some interesting tidbits on our ancestors and their activities in 1896.
The national news was well covered with much commentary on political matters. Each week the newspaper featured an installment of a story, usually fiction, which probably meant that section of the paper wasn’t sent to the outhouse before it could be read by all the adults in the household.
In an 1896 edition of the Delphos Herald, I found ads and articles about what was playing at the Sheeter Opera House. Entertainment in Delphos in 1896 was live and was not just held on Friday or Saturday nights. In fact, one week in February of that year boasted three separate shows. On Tuesday, was Elmer E. Vance’s Original and only Legitimate Railroad Comedy Drama, “The Limited Mail” featuring BEATRICE—-the phenomenal fancy dancer. Thursday’s feature was Howorth’s Big Show on a “Trip to Ireland” which was a comedy about a tour through Ireland interspersed with specialties by every member of the company. Friday’s show was “Pecks Bad Boy”.
If you didn’t want to hang around Delphos for the shows because the weather was just too cold for you, going south for the winter was apparently being promoted on the Queen and Crescent Railroad Route out of Cincinnati.
The paper also noted all kinds of local news. The Elida oil people were looking for two gushers to come in today or tomorrow and the water works drillers had reached a depth of 189 feet in the third well. The electric light company’s men were working on a new improved switch board for the opera house and some of the enterprising farmers around Scott’s Crossing were looking kindly towards forming an oil company and experimenting with the drill. The spoke department of the Ohio Wheel company was shut down on account of slack orders which threw ten men out of employment. It was announced that the railroads had granted a-cent-a-mile rate to the K. of P. and G.A.R. for their encampments in Minneapolis and St. Paul next summer. It was suggested that Delphos look into organizing a street fair as this would be a way to advertise the town and bring in more industry.
Lots of notices were published as to who was visiting in Delphos and who of Delphos was visiting out of town as well as who was injured or ill. By perusing the church schedules you can see which churches used a traveling preacher.
Much can be learned about the early settlers of Delphos thanks to the Delphos Herald archives.
The Delphos Canal Commission Museum it trying to preserve as much of our history as possible and any interesting facts about life in the early days is always enlightening. If you have stories you would like to pass on please contact the Delphos Canal Museum. We are open on Thursday mornings from 9 until noon and on Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 3pm.
Printed in the Delphos Herald July 2, 2016