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Reading Gazette, witchcraft, bed bugs, market women, superstitions, school punishments
A set of handwritten notes copied from the Reading Gazette of 1876, transcribed by Alfred L. Shoemaker, circa 1950. Within, a number of excerpts are compiled on topics such as witchcraft, cock fighting, women going to market in Philadelphia and superstitions about bed bugs.
Jan 15, 1876 From the New York Sun
An Old Fashioned Witch
(Granny Tribble of Brecknock)
Jan 22, 1876 Another Case of Alleged Witchcraft
Recollections of an old Citizen
“At that time a great deal of cock fighting was done in Reading and the place where most of it took place was at the tavern at Sixth and Cherry.
pupil of Mrs. Ludwiger who taught at Trinity Lutheran
“She used to punish the children by putting them in a bag and standing them up, with their heads out and the bag string tied around their neck, leaving the upper portion of the bag, which was too long, to hang down their shoulders in the form of a cape, and the whole school used to laugh at the children in the bags.”
Feb 12, 1876, p. 3, col. 6 and March 4, 1876, p. 3, col. 4 Article on Dr. John Strouse
“Holidays his mother would get a bag full of wheat ground, and then bake white bread.”
March 4, 1876 Coming to Market Bucks wom. to Phil.
The woman’s equipment consisted of a market saddle - generally a very common affair -on which was placed a bag stuffed at each end with hay. The use of this was to sustain the butter-pails fastened on each side of the rider, the hay preventing the animal heat of the horse from softening the butter. There was also a market wallet, made with pouches or pockets on each side, laid across the horse. In one end of this were packed dressed chickens, and often a supply of bread and butter for the market woman’s personal consumption. The other end held oats for the refreshment of the faithful horse.
Each market woman had an oil-cloth cover for her bonnet, with a cape opening for her neck and shoulders … The woman also had riding aprons, which were tied around the waist and protected the feet from exposure when on horseback.
March 11, 1876 Humbugging a Whole Neighborhood
* banning p. 3, col. 3
Sept 30, 1876 New Berlin Item
“Superstition still exists at Boyertown. Wednesday evening an envelope, without any address, was picked up, containing a smaller one, with the words on it “I love you with all my hart,” evidently in a child’s handwriting. Inside were a three-cent piece and three bed bugs, and it was evidently hoped by the person who dropped it that all the bugs would leave his or her house and go to that of the person who picked up the envelope. The latter, however, not believing in such “spells”, pocketed the coin and laughed at the superstition.”
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Shoemaker, Alfred L., "Notes From the Reading Gazette: January 15 to September 30, 1876" (1950). Alfred L. Shoemaker Folk Cultural Documents. 180.
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