Wise As It Was: In the paper 100 years ago…

By Messenger Staff | Published Saturday, January 20, 2018

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From Friday, Jan. 18, 1918

Ridiculous Superstitions

Numerous curious and ridiculous superstitions as to methods of preventing disease were believed in years ago, and are not altogether extinct, even today. Much ancient faith clustered about the mandrake root, which was carved in the form of a doll, dressed in clothes, and kept in a box or coffin concealed in some corner of the house. Each month it was washed in wine and water and freshly garbed. Another universal cure was to carry a piece of mistletoe which had been cut from a tree by a golden sickle and caught in a white vessel as it fell. Metal scraped from a church bell or a piece of the rope was supposed to have a similar protective influence against disease, as also a cloth stained in the blood of a murderer, or the rope with which he was hanged.


  • It was advised that windows in hen houses should be kept open in all but the severest weather to give the fowls plenty of good air to breathe.
  • Citizens were urged to buy thrift stamps to win the war. “Every thrift stamp is a nail in the kaiser’s coffin!”
  • C.C. Leonard was confined to his home.
  • Alvord experienced an epidemic of measles, with more than 100 reported cases.
  • A Dodge Brothers touring car was priced at $885.
  • The silent action film serial “The Seven Pearls” could be viewed at the Magestic every Saturday afternoon and night. It was one of the best films ever depicted on the screen in Decatur.


From Thursday, Jan. 21, 1943

City Council Still Works for Decatur Gratis, They Like It That Way

Those City aldermen are at it again.

In a council meeting at the City Hall Wednesday, Jan. 13, Decatur’s six aldermen and mayor voted themselves out of a salary into another year of gratis work in their capacities. Serving in their respective offices the past five years aldermen of Decatur have donated their work and efforts to maintain the government completely void of petty politics.


  • ramblin’ ’round town: It was cold as heck.
  • Louretta Lee McNeil of Paradise began training with the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps.
  • Mr. Bob Cates, who had been seriously ill, was reported to be up again and working at the popcorn stand. His friends were glad to see him back.
  • Citizens were urged to put at least 10 percent of their pay into war bonds.
  • Mrs. Clarence Muncy of Greenwood was reported very low.
  • It was reported that the price of flour had increased, while the price of bread had remained the same, distressing bakers.
  • In Cottondale, the main oppossum hunters were Billie Gene Powers, Harold Gentry, Douglas Gentry and Sursh Cash.
  • The price of milk was 44 cents per gallon.


From Thursday, Jan. 18, 1968

  • The Cocanougher Feed Mill was damaged by fire.
  • All you can eat catfish dinner was $1 at Lester’s Restaurant in Decatur.
  • Mrs. Elva Arrington and her brother, Vernon Walker, hosted a musical in their home. A dozen musicians played and the guests joined in for some “good old gospel singing.” There were refreshments.
  • Three movies were featured at the Sunset Drive-In Theatre, “Fort Utah,” “Psychopath” and “The Bobo” with Peter Sellers.
  • Pork chops were 65 cents per pound.
  • Gaylon Atkins was elected president of the Decatur 4-H Horse Club.


From Thursday, Jan. 21, 1993

  • Bill Perry, IRS Investigator and Jerry Hopkins, DPA intelligence sergeant, received the peace officer of the year award from the Jack-Montague-Wise Criminal Justice Association for their investigation into law enforcement corrpution in Wise County.
  • A box of chocolates cost $3.95 at the Messenger Hallmark in Decatur.
  • Glamour shot packages began at $34.95 at B.J.’s Photo in Bridgeport.
  • Mary Joe Covington of Alvord cut her finger with an electric knife.
  • “Body of Evidence,” “Nowhere to Run” and “Aladdin” were playing at Plaza Cinema III in Decatur.

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