This post is a response to a question posted by Randy Seavers at Genea-Musings. He asked, “What happened in the world on the day your maternal grandmother was born?”
My maternal grandmother was born on January 13, 1909, in Muscogee, in Escambia County, Florida, on a cold and windy winter’s day.
I turned to newspapers.com to pull up the Pensacola Journal published that Wednesday morning to check out the news of the day. That edition, by the way, sold for five cents, the equivalent of about $1.45, according to the conversion calculator at WestEgg.com.
The only local article above the fold describes something that could never happen today. Escambia County commissioners, it says, “decided to retire to the Clerk’s private office and discuss the bills… presented since the last meeting.” Florida’s Sunshine Law now prohibits our leaders from discussing public business in private. Coverage of the commission meeting was the only local news on the front page.
Elsewhere, above the fold and around the country, Tennessee legislators were preparing to pass a bill prohibiting the sale of liquor within three miles of a school. In Pittsburgh, the president of the Tube City Railroad company was convicted of trying to bribe a city leader. South Carolina Senator Benjamin Tillman was “fixing for attack on Roosevelt,” claiming to have “material regarding the president’s dark and crooked ways.” A Louisiana professor was arguing against a group from the Philadelphia Academy of Science being allowed to open archaeological digs at Native American sites in his state.
It’s page three before we find any more local news. One short piece announces that “stockholders of the hotel company” were planning a meeting to discuss the name for a new hotel. I can only assume this refers to the San Carlos Hotel, as construction began in August 1909. Other short items referred to businessmen’s travels; detailed a shipment of cotton leaving Pensacola bound for France; and mentioned 33 people found guilty out of 40 cases docketed in court the previous day.
Advertisements offered Doan’s Pills for backache and a whole bundle of old newspapers for the same price as that day’s edition.
And that’s the news of the day, January 13, 1909.