Herbert Crouch and wife
  • Herbert Crouch and wife
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From the Carlsbad Plain Truth (editor William Webster Borden, whose slogan was “Independent but not neutral”):

“Charles Kelly has a remarkable hen. She disappeared on Dec. 25, 1886, leaving a brood of young chickens behind her. It was supposed that none but some hungry coyote could tell of where she had gone. But day before yesterday, just one month from the time of her disappearance, she surprised her owners by coming home again. If those coyotes had not wickedly killed and carried away 17 other chickens for him on that same unfortunate day, Charlie would ask the poor coyote’s pardon for having wrongly accused him.” - September 23, 1886

“The word ‘kid’ is fast becoming an accepted word. The other day a parrot called out ‘Hello! Hello, kid!’ The dictionaries will perhaps be the next to adopt the slang term.” – April 1, 1891.

From the Carlsbad Spirit of Love:

“A law passed in county requiring all travelers to have lights on their vehicles.” – October, 1911.

“Six airship passes in ten days in January! Pretty soon we won’t get out of bed to see one.” – January, 1914.

From the Oceanside Blade:

Archibald “Arch” Freeman was a constable at Oceanside in the mid-1880s. In 1895 the Blade described him as “one of the old time characters of this region.” He had “sandy hair, red beard, blue overalls, one eye in a bandage, and a face terribly pitted from smallpox." When he brought a prisoner from Fallbrook, one of the citizenry confused the two, since Freeman was “one of the hardest looking characters he ever saw.” The Blade came to Freeman’s defense: “It may be all true that he presents a rough exterior, is uncouth of manners and more or less typical of the ‘Wild and Woolly,’ but, while brave as a lion, it is said by those who know, that there is not a breast in all the California’s in which beats a heart more tender and kind than Arch Freeman’s.”

Herbert Crouch came to San Diego in 1869. For years he wrote letters to the editor correcting historical mistakes. In 1920 he had words for recent arrivals: “Well, we old settlers did not go around talking bonds, eating barbequed beef and roast chicken, and singing songs, but lived on hog and hominy, laid out the roads and built them ourselves, and opened the way for the newcomers.”

Charles Wesley Orton, Carlsbad: A New Unabashed History:

“One of the more vulpine of the railroad magnates was California’s own C.P. Huntington, of whom the nicest thing said was that he had never been known to steal a red-hot stove.”

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eastlaker July 29, 2014 @ 10:30 a.m.

Just makes one love the English language, and those that write it!


Ken Harrison July 29, 2014 @ 11:26 a.m.

Interesting article here Jeff. Maybe a regular column addition to The Reader? "Goofy stuff old folks said way back when." It's really a shame the historic newspaper names no longer exist, like the Oceanside Blade, Carlsbad Journal, Encinitas Coast Dispatch, and the Vista Press. More importantly, where are the archives and photos? I was the recipient of two boxes of old Coast Dispatch photos, but there are many many more, I assume now lost forever.


Jay Allen Sanford July 29, 2014 @ 5:05 p.m.

These old news excerpts WOULD make a great weekly column! Fun to look back at a world where "airships" were becoming so common as to annoy, and the word "kid" was a brand new slang term --


Jeff Smith Aug. 4, 2014 @ 11 a.m.

Sorry I'm late in getting back. Not a regular column - local theater around here's become Snowsnado II. Maybe one a month. eastlaker - language, always.

Ken - one of the most alarming things about SD history: it's so fragile. Often without knowing it, people toss away priceless objects. At the turn of the 19th century, kids used to throw rocks at an old wall on Presidio Hill. They eventually flattened the last remaining adobe wall of the original fortress.

Jay - I'm right with you. Amazes me how sometimes a single sentence or paragraph can time machine you back to a specific moment.


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