Digital Humanities

Witticism from the Holmes County Republican

As part of my work at the NULab, I’ve been researching newspapers from the mid-nineteenth century. This little tidbit from a newspaper in Millersburg, OH, caught my eye and I thought I’d share.

P.S. If you know anything about Millersburg in the 1850s, or the Holmes County Republican or Holmes County Farmer, please contact me. I would like to know more about this town’s news.

About Girls’ Names.

If you are a very precise man and wish to be certain of what you get, never marry a girl named Ann; for we have the authority of Lindley Murray, and others, that “an is an indefinite article.”[1. I’ve been listening to the Anne of Green Gables series on my commute to school, and this one seems to hold true, in that case at least.]

If you would like to have a wife who is “one of a thousand,” you should marry an Emily or an Emma, for any printer can tell you that “em’s” are always counted by thousands.

If you do not wish to have a bustling, fly-about wife, you should not marry one named Jenny; for every cotton spinner knows that jennies are always on the go.

If you marry one named Margaret, you may confidentially expect that she will end her days on the gallows; for all the world knows that “days” were made for hanging.[2. I must confess, I don’t understand this one at all. Someone please enlighten me? Update: Apparently this is a misprint. In every other newspaper in which this or a similar witticism appears, the word “days” is replaced by the word “Pegs,” which makes much more sense. What’s weird is that the “days”/”pegs” mistake looks a lot like an OCR problem. Did they have OCR problems in 1856?]

The most incessant writer in the world is he who is always bound to Ad-a-line.

You may adore your wife, but you will be surpassed, in love when your wife is a Dora.

Unless you would have the evil one for a father-inlaw, you should not marry a lady named Elizabeth, for the devil is the father of Lize– (lies.)

If you wish to succeed in life as a porter, you should marry a Caroline, and treat her very kindly, for so long as you continue to
do this, you will be good to Carry.

Many men of high moral principles, and who would not gamble for the world, still have not refused to take a Bet.

from the Holmes County Republican, August 21, 1856 (its inaugural issue under that name)

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