Cecil Whig first edition

ELKTON — Each week, we take a look back in time to examine what was on the minds of Cecil County readers. Rotating through the Whig’s 177-year history, we hope to not only provide direct text from our archives, but also context as to why the issue was important at the time.

Join us as we thumb through the pages of our history.

150 years ago (June 5, 1869)

We add this story to the list of things that remind us that yesterday wasn’t as good as we make it out to be and today isn’t nearly as bad as we think. Particularly interesting to us was the fact that the county had gangs of “rowdies” hanging out at Elkton bars, something we haven’t seen much written about before.

Stabbing Affair

A serious stabbing affray occurred in Elkton, in the Hollow — which is the “Dark and Bloody Ground of the town — on Saturday night last. There are several rival gangs of rowdies who make Elkton a kind of neutral ground where they have been in the habit of meeting, and after being prepared for their hellish work by the numerous grog-shops that abound in the town, the rival parties enter the lists for a general light. On Saturday night last one of the these worthies, Adam Shivery, who belongs to a “Barrens” gang, came into town with others, apparently prepared for the bloody work perpetrated. An old feud existed between him and Jack McCauley, who resides at Little Elk. Meeting his rival near Neals’ Hotel, he dismounted from his horse and attacked him with a knife, inflicting several stabs on McCauley, wounding him dangerously in the breast, side and groin.

The Sheriff and a posse went in pursuit of the criminal, who, succeeded in eluding them till about daylight on Sunday morning when they caught him by laying in wait on the railroad near Elk Neck crossing. He was brought back and lodged in jail where be remained till Thursday last when he was released on bail.

This short update was a nice reminder of the important origin of Port Deposit, where timber was floated downriver on the Susquehanna from Pennsylvania to be sold. Our reporter apparently couldn’t tell the poor quality of the “second cullings,” or pieces of useable wood of lesser quality or size. We also enjoyed the short pitch for newspaper advertising that the reporter passed off to the lumberyard owners.

“Second Cullings”

While seated in the office of Davis & Pugh, lumber dealers, of Port Deposit, one afternoon this week, we noticed their yard hands piling some very nice looking lumber. Inquiring what grade they termed it, we were told it was “second cullings.” The boards being broad and perfect in appearance we inferred that “second cullings” must rank pretty high in the lumber class, but on further inquiry were informed that the technical terms used by lumbermen to designate the different qualities of stuff were panel, common, and second cullings. We are not sure that there was not another grade between these, but the nice looking lumber in our poor judgment, ranked quite low in Davis & Pugh’s scale of qualities. We remembered just then, that this firm had been preparing an advertisement of their business for The Whig for — well, about three years — and we inquired if they did not lose a good deal in the course of a year by parties who failed to pay whom they bad credited with goods. We inferred this from the fact that that advertisement had been so long in preparation, that the same relaxation would fail in pushing an honest bill in the way of a slow customer, and the golden fruit of many a golden opportunity be thus lost. An additional consideration is advertising in The Whig always insures cash customers, for we continually point out the beauties and advantages of the cash system, believing that the maxim of Poor Richard, “He that goes borrowing goes sorrowing,” contains more truth than poetry. And he that don’t advertise who has good articles to sell, loses many a cash customer, which is a potent cause of grief.

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