Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Red Light District Becomes Thing of Past in Marietta

Marietta Daily Times, April 8, 1915

Keepers Agree to Close All Their Houses

Fines of $200 and costs were assessed against the four proprietresses of disorderly houses in this city when they were arraigned before Mayor Okey just before noon today. Upon their agreeing to abate the places at once, the fines were suspended. The conditions of the suspension make it impossible not only for the women to resume the conduct of the places, but prevents them leasing or renting their places for immoral purposes.

Another condition of the suspensions was that the women are prohibited from occupying any other houses in the city for immoral purposes, and that the fines may be in force upon their violating any of the city ordinances. The women in court were Mary Snider, 231 Ohio Street; Anna Slack, 313 Ohio Street; Pearl Anderson, 313 Church Street; and Lucy Lee, 128 S. Third Street.

The following statement was made by Mayor Okey before disposing of the cases:

"In carrying out the plan of trying to secure the best condition of order possible in the city, it was necessary to give attention to the so-called social evil. It was attempted to control the evil as far as possible by preventing the increase in the number of houses, and by suppressing those not disposed to observe order. During the last year, six houses have been closed and the inmates dispersed, and one assignation house was prosecuted. Applications made by keepers of houses in other cities to set up here were turned away. All with the view of finally reaching the point of entire suppression of all public houses so far as the authority provided would authorize.

"The progress has not been rapid, and was conducted with as little sensation as possible. No credit will perhaps be given any where for what has been done, and criticism may be expected from those who use the cloak of pretended piety and morality to promote business or political purposes. The present proceedings will close out, by the voluntary action of the defendants, all public houses having regular inmates. The houses of assignation, which are a great deal more objectionable from several points of view than a house with regular inmates, will remain to be treated as evidence can be obtained to suppress them.

"In taking action in the present cases, I wish to say frankly that the closing of these houses is, in my opinion, only the beginning of the suppression of the evil. An eminent historian has said that 'in all nations, ages and religions, a vast mass of irregular indulgence has appeared, which has probably contributed more than any other single cause to the misery and the degradation of man.' The law may reach those who, like these women, are openly conducting houses; but the ten times greater number who are constantly contributing to the misery and degradation of humanity cannot be reached by law. The experience of the world has demonstrated  that human passions cannot be controlled by laws on the statute books. The reformation in this regard, if ever made, must be in the homes, the schools and the churches, and especially in the homes."

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Death of Tom Keene

The Marietta Tri-Weekly Register, February 25, 1890

Last Saturday morning Tom Keene died peacefully in his chair in the Scott House. He came to Marietta after the close of the war with Andy Wagner, from Parkersburg. He was a colored man, aged about 68 years. He was a great banjo player and singer of comic negro melodies. While in the army he accompanied those celebrated troopers, the "Black Horse Cavalry." One of his more favorite pieces was the "Charge of the Cavalry," in which he gave the sound of cannon, clash of arms and rattle of sabre and musket on his banjo.

Tom was a nervy, brave man, and was nearly killed, some years since, while preventing the escape of prisoners from the county jail. A burly fellow hit him over the head with an iron bar, but Tom defended the door and drove the whole gang back to their cells.

For years past he has been in bad health and amused the public from place to place, for a small sum, on his banjo. 

But Tom is dead. He was born in slavery and his relatives are unknown. Often, when singing his song of "The Swanee River," and of his old Southern home, a tear would gather in his eye and the big, brawny fist would wipe it away, as he tuned his instrument and sang humorous ditties to his patrons.

Tom sang many a song in his most hilarious mood when his heart was sad and mournful. There was a grief which burdened him beneath the film of a genial word to all he met. It was this: He was once sentenced to the State penal institution for shooting a colored man who had wronged him and who had compelled him to do an act to a bully who had overborne him, until, in his desperation he sought his own revenge. But he was soon pardoned out.

He served as jailer under ex-Sheriffs Hicks and Steadman, when his strength was herculean and his nerves were those of steel. But Tom, like many white men, yielded to his love of liquor and many a song went to pay the price of a drink.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Infirmary

The Marietta Times, January 6, 1870

Last summer we paid a visit to this institution and reported, with some detail, what we saw and heard. The substance was favorable to the Superintendent, William Gill, and to the Directors, Messrs. F. A. Wheeler, John Dowling, and S. E. Fay. By invitation of Mr. Gill on New year's Day, we again went out to the Infirmary Farm. The roads were muddy and the weather raw, with a tendency to rain. The very worst bed of mire we went through was Greene Street in Marietta. The mud pike is in tolerable order - perhaps as good as we ought to expect.

The County Infirmary has been in its present location since 1838. Before that, from 1835 to 1838, it was near town, where Mrs. Cone now lives. The main building, of frame, was put up at the start and is in an excellent state of preservation. The house to the northeast, where most of the paupers spend their time, was built in 1846. The "Jail," as they call it, was erected in 1854. This is used for the confinement of the insane poor who cannot be safely allowed at large. There are three such in the Infirmary now, but once in awhile a fourth and fifth become violent and have to be put in durance. The Dining Room dates back to about four years ago. These structures constitute the household arrangements, so far as buildings are concerned.

Entering the house where the paupers spend the day, we noticed in the first was room, two old men: Josiah Dow and John Delaney. Mr. Dow has been here with occasional intervals since 1865. In his prime he was a steamboat engineer and one of the best; but he was somewhat given to intemperance; was never provident for the future, and so, here he is, at three score and ten, the recipient of public charity. He came to Marietta, as we understood, in 1818. John Delaney, his room mate, is a native of Prince Edward's Island in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. He was a sailor for 16 years of his life, and afterwards became a farmer. Mr. Delaney is 75 years old and has been in the "County House" about three years. He is a civil and good sort of man. Mr. Gill has him employed as gardener and says that he is the best hand on the farm. An incurable fever sore, which exhausted his money and his health, brought him here to end his days.

There are sixty persons in this place, 25 females and 35 males. Most of them are the aged or the infirm in body or mind, or both. Natural imbecility seems to be characteristic of nearly all that we saw. The proportion of paupers from intemperate habits is remarkably small, there being but three in the concern whose condition is directly traceable to drunkenness. One of these, an old man of 60, once owned a farm up the Muskingum River in Adams Township, but he drank it up. He now sets as steward to the kitchen, and is steady and clearheaded, but broken somewhat in health. His wife, who brought him most of the property he once had, is here with him, a hearty old woman. She manages well, bears her misfortunes with firmness and never pines about the causes which led to pauperism, when a better lot was rightfully hers.

Mr. Gill will be Superintendent for the next year. He is one of the best men for the place that can be found. All that we said last summer is but confirmed by what has since transpired.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Butchers May Close Sundays

Marietta Daily Times, April 1, 1921

Marietta butchers at a meeting Thursday night in the Chamber of Commerce building acted favorably upon a resolution to keep their places of business closed on Sundays.

The practice generally followed at present is to open for a few hours on Sunday, some conducting business until 9 a.m. and others till noon.

All but three or four meat dealers were present.  A committee was appointed to see the absentees relative to the closing plan.  If all markets consent, the plan will be effective soon.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Saw Mill

American Friend & Marietta Gazette, September 13, 1826

For sale, the Saw Mill, known by the name of Regnier's Mill, 20 miles from Marietta, on Duck Creek. This Saw Mill is allowed by competent judges to be the best in this part of the country, is in good repair, and situated in a thriving settlement. All kinds of lumber are ready sale at the Mill. As there is no other mill within ten miles, it would be an excellent stand for a Carding Machine, which, by a judicious calculation, might be propelled by water the year round with little exception.

There are also two farms for sale - one adjoining the said mill, containing 119 acres of excellent land, well watered and timbered, with 26 acres of improvement, two log cabins and one log barn. The other farm contains 86 acres of choice land, one mile from said mills, and is watered by a beautiful clear stream running through said lot, with excellent springs thereon and well timbered, with about nine acres of improvement, two log cabins, twenty-five choice apple trees, and a number of other kinds of fruit trees. 

Said property will be sold separate or together, to suit purchasers. One fourth of the purchase money will be required down, the remainder in two and three years. Horses and cattle will be received in part payment. For further information, enquire of

J. M. Chamberlain, living on the premises, or
Julius Regnier, Gallipolis