Recently I have been reading and indexing the beginning issues of the Reading Eagle in early 1868. Several things stick out; the first is the number of railroad injuries, maimings and deaths, reported in almost every issue. It is horrific. The second is the damage wrought by fires in the local subscription area and in fact, all over country. The third is the vitriolic nature of politics during Reconstruction. Finally, the compilation of news items from all over the United States because those bits might be of interest to the local folks, a little bit like USA Today.
Territories and Outlaws
Advertisements were taken for:
- the payment of debts upon death,
- bed and board separations i.e. a woman leaving her husband,
- dissolution of partnerships,
- creation of partnerships,
- people looking for positions,
- appointments of administrators for an estate,
- real estate sales or property partitions upon death,
- sales of personal effects upon death.
The article on page 2, column 2 of Volume I, Issue 50 was short and would be confusing for a researcher.
These four men were cited as lynched outside of Dale City, Colorado (sic). According to the John Crowley 1868 Diary, Dale City was a boom town in the late 1860s in Laramie Co., Wyoming during the building of the Dale Creek trestle for the transcontinental railroad. If you were researching one of these four men, this article could send you pretty far wrong.
Secondly, why on earth would this news snippit be in a Reading, Pennsylvania newspaper, more than two thousand miles to the east?
So many young men disappeared between the 1860 and 1870 census, many of them were killed in the war. In any decade there was always the call of the wild open west, a rampant need of freedom from social constraints. In this case, it doesn’t appear to have been minerals, gold, silver or oil and gas, cattle ranching, cowboys, trailriding, railroading, gambling or homesteading, joining the merchant marines, running off to join the circus, but just pure lawlessness. Manifest destiny came down to the sentence “Go West, young man, go west” attributed to Horace Greeley and reprinted repeatedly in newspapers around the country after the Civil War.
A more genealogically helpful advertisement was the following:
This bed and board separation for Isaac and Louisa Schneider may have been the precursor to a divorce. A whole other record group may be investigated in Berks Co., Pennsylvania, the Berks Co., Pa. Prothonotary Office.