Aww, Rats

In 1900, farmer Patrick Ryan, who lived near Cumberland (Allegany County), devised a unique way to rid his farm of rats that were ruining his corn, wheat and other crops. He’d tried various approaches, but most unconventional one — soaking corn in whiskey in a barrel — worked the best. “This the rats ate rapidly,... Continue Reading →

Flies: ‘More Dangerous than Rattlesnakes’

Today, we generally think of flies as more of a nuisance than a health hazard. But in the early 20th century, flies spreading typhoid, cholera, tuberculosis and other diseases was a true public safety concern. In 1912, government officials encouraged farmers to keep stables clean, use screens in doors and windows and fly-catching devices to protect... Continue Reading →

Straw Hat Day

Straw Hat Day was an unofficial holiday across the nation each May signaling the start of spring. This was the day when men would switch from wearing their felt hats to straw hats in anticipation of the warmer weather. Though basically unheard of today, Straw Hat Day advertisements and articles could be found in newspapers... Continue Reading →

In Honor of Mother

On Mother's Day, we honor our mothers for all they have done for us. But this is nothing new. More than 100 years ago, an article in a Cumberland newspaper shared poignant thoughts about mothers, reminding readers to remember their mothers, living or deceased: “To recall the memories of the mothers that are gone and... Continue Reading →

The Day of the Groundhog

Today’s the day the groundhog rules. Will he peek his head out, see his shadow, and doom us to six more weeks of winter? Or will he emerge shadowless from his lair and grant us an early spring? He and his ancestors have kept us guessing for years. A February 1898 Denton Journal article describes the... Continue Reading →

Edward McKenna’s Secret Stash

Those who knew Edward McKenna in life were shocked at the surprise he left in death. The Cumberland man, described as an “octogenarian gardener and expert fruit grower” by The Washington Post, died in February 1905 and was laid to rest on February 10 in St. Patrick’s Cemetery. The Post article described Edward as “…generally... Continue Reading →

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