Sometimes I run across amusing items in the old newspapers that don’t contain enough details of their own to fill an entire column. When that happens, I usually just make a note and set the items aside, hoping I’ll eventually run across additional related material.
In the accounts below, no related material ever appeared. I thought the stories were entertaining enough to share, however, so this week is just going to be a hodgepodge of anecdotes that made me smile.
Hopefully, they’ll do the same for you.
I used to think the old Hamilton County jail on the courthouse square was the only jail in the county, but I’ve since discovered that’s not true, as a notice in the Nov. 26, 1901 Hamilton County Ledger proves. The newspaper observed that Atlanta had recently acquired a new jail. To celebrate the occasion, town marshal Henry Mitchell promised to bestow a new suit of clothes upon the first male to — ahem — enjoy the jail’s hospitality. (Don’t worry, the ladies weren’t forgotten. The first female “guest” was to receive a calico dress.)
Also in that same issue was the report of a situation that was driving Cicero’s bankers crazy.
It seems a few weeks earlier, a girl had playfully dropped a dime down the back of the young man sitting in front of her at some unspecified entertainment. One thing led to another and they ended up married. After the news of that got around, every eligible bachelor in town who attended a social function was at risk of having “a good week’s wages chucked down inside his collar.” Cicero’s bankers were in a tizzy because the incident threatened to create a “ten cent piece famine.” For the young men of Cicero, however, it was a windfall. They came up with a special device that directed the money straight into their pockets (details of said device weren’t provided.)
The Ledger went on to observe that the local cigar business was booming. (The better cigars cost 10 cents a piece then.)
The front page of the Sept. 15, 1899 Hamilton County Ledger contained an account of an incident that took place in front of Sopher’s saloon (where Syd’s Bar is today) when the wife of a “feather renovator” (he cleaned feather pillows and mattresses) encountered her husband coming out of Sopher’s in what might be termed a VERY well lubricated state.
The woman clearly objected to her spouse’s condition, because “without any formal preliminaries” she started whacking him over the head with her umbrella. The man was finally able to get away, but his wife continued in hot pursuit and every time she managed to close in on him, she got in another lick. The Ledger ended the article with “No arrests were made.”
Noblesville’s Sears, Roebuck and Co. store marked its third anniversary with an interesting advertisement in the June 29, 1962 Noblesville Daily Ledger.
The ad, which was clearly locally produced, announced the availability of the new Sears fall and winter catalog containing over 140,000 items, including an aneroid sphygmomanometer (a device to check blood pressure) — although “you would almost have to be a nut to want one.” Although acknowledging that the catalog (“now as common as sin”) was printed primarily so people could order from it, the advertisement also pointed out several other uses for the weighty book, such as serving as a door stop, or as something to stand on if you were too short.
In closing, people were asked to pick up their new catalogs at the office to avoid the necessity of mailing them because “it makes the people at the post office grouchy.”
It’s a funny ad. I wish I had room to include the whole thing.

Paula Dunn’s From Time to Thyme column appears each Wednesday in The Times. Contact her at