HISTORY NEVER CEASES TO AMAZE
A Guest Post by Marie Watts
As a writer I have eclectic tastes and am published in both the fiction and non-fiction arena. One of my joys is delving into historic newspapers and finding a connection with our day-to-day lives.
While searching for information regarding a funeral in 1888, I noticed a number of deadly shootings had been chronicled by the Fayette County, Texas paper. The editor opined: “Shooting and killing it would seem are liable to become epidemic, judging from what occurred the past week. There are too many persons in the county who have the privilege of wearing six-shooters. Their number should be curtailed.”
A 1936 report concerning my grandparents’ displacement by the Tennessee River Authority revealed that they had electricity courtesy of Delco. Curious I began researching and found that the General Motors Company, under the name of Delco-Light, had been manufacturing battery-operated power plants for rural residents. Thousands subsequently lost their jobs in that industry when electricity was delivered to rural areas through the Rural Electrification Act.
My most recent find came while I was writing a blog about robocalls in Chinese designed to prey on recent immigrants. After a bit of research, I realized that scamming immigrants has a storied past in the U.S. One of the standouts was the notorious con men George C. Parker. He began his career in 1883 and managed to talk newly arrived, uneducated immigrants into purchasing the Brooklyn Bridge, Madison Square Garden, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the tomb of U.S. Grant.
Many of the issues of today such as scams, gun control, and government subsidizing power sources that affect other industries are not new. However, knowledge of the past can help us understand the complexity of the issues at hand and may offer clues to solutions. Moreover, it reminds us that the “Good Old Days” were not really that great. We can, nevertheless, strive each day to put out best foot forward, do the right thing, and treat others with compassion.
I invite you to join me at mariewatts.com as I write “stories about life” and learn more about my recent novel, The Cause Lives: Warriors for Equal Rights. You can find my historical articles under “Lagniappe”—a little something extra. You can also find me on: