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Riley County Ramblings - 100 Years Ago


From the Manhattan Republic
March 21, 1907: 

City Council Meets.
    Some forty years ago and more, there was no hearse in the village of Manhattan and the dead were taken to the cemetery in any ordinary vehicle.  There arose a desire among the progressive citizens of the town to have a hearse.  A man by the name of Murphy, who was in the undertaking business at that time made the city council a proposition that if the city would put up $300.00 he would add $500.00 and jointly they would buy and own a hearse.  This was done.  Thirty seven years ago, Mr. W. H. Bower bought out Mr. Murphy and has since taken care of and used the hearse.  During these thirty seven years, Mr. Bower has kept a careful account of all receipts and disbursements, crediting and charging the city with three eights of each.  He finds that the city now owes him something over $100.00.  Mr. Bower brought the matter before the council and asked that a committee be appointed to settle up the matter.  It was referred to the city property committee.

March 28, 1907:

A Miracle.  Child Falls From Window of U.P. Flyer and is Unhurt.
    Yesterday the fast Union Pacific passenger train, No. 103, from the east was late.  With the explanation goes a remarkable story.  A mother was holding her two year child at the open window, the train going at a speed of fifty miles an hour, somehow the mothers hold was loosened and the wind took the little fellow through the window, just as though he were a fly.  The mother screamed and raised a panic.  In a few minutes the train was stopped and backed up for five miles before they came to the child.  The little fellow was walking around on the right of way and wasn’t even crying.  A doctor examined him and found two slight bruises, amounting to nothing.  The mother didn’t let go of the baby anymore.  So 103 came in an hour late and many people were very impatient but the little fellow, who caused it all, was sweetly sleeping as the train went through.


March 28, 1907:

The Day Current.  Electric Service at All Hours.  Some Uses to Which it can be Put.
    The Manhattan Ice, Light and Power Company turned on the day current and the last two issues of the Republic were printed with electricity for motive power.  The day current is now on and Manhattan people may provide for many conveniences and luxuries which they have not hitherto enjoyed.    
     Power motors may be used by every printing office, blacksmith shop, and other work shops where water motors and gasoline engines are now employed.
    Electric motors for sewing machines have been introduced into some tailoring shops and may be put in many houses.  The motor is not expensive and makes sewing machines go as smooth as oil.  It can be fastened to the lamp drop and it is easily regulated.  They will save many a woman the weariness incident to running a sewing machine.
    Electric flatirons will soon come into general use.  They ware attached to the lamp drop and in a few minutes the iron is hot and ready for use, the current can be turned on or off as needed.  They will save the housewife the heat of a stove in summer and can operated at a small cost.  These irons will be distributed around town by the company by applicant signing the following:

You may deliver to me one Electric Flat Iron, which I agree to try, and if satisfactory to me, to return to you within 30 days from this date.  If I do not return it at that time, you may charge same to my account at $4.00.

It is understood that if I notify you within 30 days to call for this iron you will do so, and no charge will be made to me for the use of the same.


    Electric fans will be put in by the company at once for all who want them, payment to be made in 60 days.

    The most attractive of the electric appliances for the housewife are the various cooking utensils.  A complete outfit may be bought for about $50.00 by which all the cooking and baking can be done by electricity.  The set comes with a specially wired table and includes an oven, tea kettle, boilers and broilers, coffee percolator and several similar articles.  These articles may be purchased separate and used on the ordinary drop.  There are many convenient utensils for heating water or milk, cooking eggs etc. that may be so used.  There is an apparatus for the table so arranged that a meal can be cooked as desired, just set right at the table and cook your pan cakes, eggs, etc. and get them right off the bat, so to speak.

    We know of no reasons why it cannot be so fixed that electricity will wash the dishes and rock the cradle.   Manhattan people are entitled to the best there is and this day current will help along and we should like to see them get the full benefit (sic) from it.