10 Years Ago
Week of January 3, 2013
by Harold D. Garber
New Year’s Day Superstitions—Besides getting sloppy drunk and kissing everybody in the room at the stroke of midnight, celebrants throughout the ages have observed numerous lesser-known New Year’s customs and superstitions.
Because Jan. 1 is the first day of the new year, we have drawn a connection between what we do on that day and our fate throughout the rest of the year.
Here are some of the ways we attempt to guarantee a good outcome through our acts on that portentous first day:
Kissing at midnight–we kiss those dearest to us at midnight, not only to share a moment of celebration with our favorite people, but also to ensure those affections and ties will continue throughout the next 12 months.
Stocking up–the new year must not be seen in with bare cupboards, lest that be the way of things for the year.
Paying off bills–The new year should not be begun with the household in debt, so checks should be written and mailed off prior to Jan. 1. Likewise, personal debts should be settled before the New Year arrives.
First footing–The first person to enter your home after the stroke of midnight will influence the year you’re about to have.
Nothing goes out–Nothing, absolutely nothing, not even garbage, is to leave the house on the first day of the year. Some people soften this rule by saying it’s okay to remove things from the home on New Year’s Day provided something else has been brought in first.
Food–A tradition common to the southern states dictates eating of black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day will attract good luck.
Work–Make sure to do, and be successful at, something related to your work on the first day of the year, even if you don’t go near your place of employment that day.
Also, do not do laundry on New Year’s Day, lest a member of the family be “washed away” (die) in the upcoming months.
New clothes–Wear something new on Jan. 1 to increase the liklihood of you receiving more new garments during the year to follow.
Money–Do not pay back loans or lend money or other precious items on New Year’s Day. To do so is to guarantee you’ll be paying out all year.
Breakage–Avoid breaking things on that first day lest wreckage be part of your year. Also, avoid crying on the first day of the year lest that activity set the tone for the next 12 months.
30 Years Ago
Week of January 7, 1993
On New Year’s
Brings Good Luck
The custom of cleaning chimneys on New Year’s Day supposedly brought good luck to the household during the coming year. Today we say “cleaning the slate” instead of “cleaning the chimney.” This means making resolutions to correct faults and bad habits, and resolving to make the new year better than the previous year.
An American Ceremony
“Ring out the old, ring in the new.” These traditional New Year’s words take on special significance in 1993, as Americans welcome Bill Clinton as our 42nd president on Jan. 20.
America’s first president, George Washington, was inauguarated on April 30, 1789. The ceremony was simple. Washington took the 35-word oath required by Article II, section 1, of the U.S. Constitution to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” He then deliverd his inaugural address—a ritual that is still the heart and soul of our present-day inaugural ceremony.
50 Years Ago
Week of January 6, 1973
May Be Discontinued
Pendleton County’s Treasure Mountain Festival is on the rocks.
The problem—lack of cooperation by local civic groups and individuals.
The Treasure Mountain Festival has developed into an excellent ambassador for Pendleton County. It has brought the county much recognition and many friends. The great majority of the people of the county would like to see it continued, and it is hoped that festival problems can be successfully worked out and the festival continued.
60 Years Ago
Week of January 3, 1963
100 YEARS AGO
By LON K. SAVAGE
Editor’s Note—The following is one of a series of articles on the Civil War. Each weekly installment covers events which occurred exactly 100 years ago.
Emancipation Edict Hailed, Condemned
One hundred years ago this week, in one of the darkest moments of the Civil War for the United States, the words of a proclamation spread across the nation to change the history of the war and of the nation.
It was President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, issued, as he had promised, on the first day of 1863. He had put the final touches on it in the last hours of 1862, at the same moment when hundreds of Federal troops were being shot down in the cotton fields around Murfreesboro, Tenn.
Some had said Lincoln would not issue the proclamation, even though his preliminary emancipation proclamation, issued the preceding September, had promised the document would be forthcoming with the new year.
It was too revolutionary, too shocking, many had said; the war was to restore the Union, not to end slavery, they had argued.
Perhaps, they thought, Lincoln would change his mind.
But they were wrong. New Year’s Day came and the proclamation was prepared. That morning, Lincolon shook hands for hours in an annual reception. That afternoon, William H. Seward, Secretary of State, came to the White House with the document, and Lincoln, his hand wavering slightly from the hand-shaking of the morning, signed it—with his full name, “Abraham Lincoln,” instead of the usual “A. Lincoln.”
The document burst forth in newspapers across the country and, eventually, in history books around the world. “I do order and declare,” it said, “that all persons held as slaves within (certain states) . . . are, and henceforth shall be free; and that the Executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authorities thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons . . .”
“And I further declare and make known, that such persons of suitable condition, will be received into the armed service of the United States . . . And upon this act . . . I invoke the considerable judgement of mankind and the gracious favor of Almighty God.”
The proclamation, however, specifically exempted most areas of the country under Union control; slavery was not forbidden in certain counties of eastern Virginia, certain parishes of Louisiana and 48 counties in what is now West Virginia. Nor did the proclamation prohibit slavery in Tennessee or the border states of Maryland, Kentucky and Missouri.
Nevertheless, the proclamation was met with celebration by New York Negroes and their friends and by 100-gun salutes in Pittsburg, Boston and Buffalo.
Others condemned it. The New York Herald called it unnecessary, unwise, illtimed and beyond the constitution. The New York Tribune said it was a usurpation of power. And a Richmond paper called it “the most startling political crime, the most stupid political blunder yet known in American history.”
Abroad, too, there were some criticisms—especially of the proclamation’s failure to give freedom in areas where the Union could enforce the edict. But, as some noted at the time, the proclamation stirred the imagination of popular opinion throughout the world. It was, they realized, a gigantic step toward the end of human slavery everywhere.
At Chickasaw Bayou
It was a hectic Christmas season for Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman and the people of Vicksburg, Miss., 100 years ago last week.
Christmas Day found Sherman and some 30,000 Federal troops under his command moving down the Mississippi River from Memphis in transports and steamers toward what he considered the key city of the Confederacy: Vicksburg. Taking Vicksburg would give the Federals control of the Mississippi from top to bottom and would cut the Confederacy in two.
Sherman’s plan was to do just that. He and his men, he figured, would move downstream to the Yazoo River, which emptied into the Mississippi just north of Vicksburg. There, they would turn into the Yazoo and debark, and the troops would assault the city from the rear through the swamp and water called Chickasaw Bayou. Sherman’s commanding officer, Ulysses S. Grant, would meanwhile offer help from northern Mississippi by keeping the Confederates busy in that quarter.
But affairs didn’t go as planned. Sherman’s troops passed into the Yazoo, debarked and prepared for their assault on schedule, and immediately Federal problems arose.
The first problem had come up before Christmas. Grant, cut off from his supply line and communications, had been forced to withdraw from the area of Oxford, Miss., thus liberating some of the Confederate troops there to go to the defense of Vicksburg. The Confederates, under Gen. J. C. Pemberton, quickly took advantage of this fact, and two days after Christmas Pemberton was at Vicksburg with three extra brigades to defend the city.
The lay of the land caused a second Federal problem at Chickasaw Bayou. When Sherman spread his men out for the attack, they found only three roads through the swamps on which to move. Confederates had effectively obstructed them with fallen trees and had taken positions covering each of them with artillery and small arms.
Despite the problems, Sherman decided to go ahead as planned. “We will lose 5,000 men before we take Vicksburg, and may as well lose them here as anywhere else,” he told one of his division commanders. The attack was ordered Dec. 29.
Immediately before the attack, a colonel questioned whether he was to make a direct assault. “Yes,” he was told; “form your brigade.” with an air of respectful protest, the colonel went to do his duty, moaning, “My poor brigade…”
At noon that day, with shouting and yelling, three brigades of Federals charged down the three roads toward the Confederate positions and were mowed down en masse. Some fell in the swamp; some turned and fled; some floundered through the mire to the bluffs under the Confederate positions and there took protection. The Confederate line remained unbroken.
Darkness ended the fighting, after more than 1,200 Federals had been killed or wounded, another 500 listed as missing. The Confederate losses numbered only 187. The New Year came with Sherman and his men still licking their wounds, and on January 2 they headed back North for safer country.
Next week: Battle of Murfreesboro.
70 Years Ago
January 8, 1953
97 Chickens Sunday
A wildcat got into Mr. Ralph Rexrode’s chickn house Sunday night and killed 97 of his laying flock. The damage was estimated at $200.
Mr. Rexrode went to feed the chickens Monday morning at about 6 o’clock and found the dead chickens scattered all over the building. “I thought lightning had struck it,” he said describing the scene. On closer investigation he saw the wildcat lying back in a corner under some chicken roosts.
He then sent Charles, his son, back to the house after a gun. Charles, just 13 years old, got the pleasure of shooting the cat. Mr. Rexrode works at Sites Chevrolet, Incorporated.
By Mary Mann Zinn
Home Demonstration Agent
Household Hints . . . .
Cleaning the broiler after it has been used is easy if you wipe it as soon as it has cooled. If fat becomes burned on the oven walls, a small amount of concentrated ammonia in a small dish set in the oven will loosen it within an hour or two so you can wash it with soap and water.
To prevent peel from sticking to the grater, rub washed lemon diagonally across the grater in long strokes.