Sunday, November 17, 2013

Zinger by Orson Hyde

This is not related to Czech genealogy in any way whatsoever, but it's interesting! 

I am doing some interesting research on my Mormon ancestors who lived in Iowa. One of them operated the south of the Platte river ferry route for at least 6 months in approximately 1849-1850. I have been looking for clues about him in the local newspaper for Kanesville (later renamed to Council Bluffs), the "Frontier Guardian and Iowa Statesman." At the time, Orson Hyde was the editor. This was 1849-1851ish.

I found that most of the newspaper was written for a Mormon audience. There were many letters from church leaders like Brigham Young, as well as missionary letters from those abroad in places like England. It was really interesting to read. 

The ads were hilarious. Of course mid-19th century drug ads are also sort of cringe-worthy. They cause me to wonder about the lunacy of our doctors the people of the future will think when they see drug ads in our writings.

Most of the ads, though, were for emigrants. Wagon wheels! Teamsters! Oxen! We have supplies! We will outfit you for your journey west! The Gold Rush isn't over yet, you can still profit from it! Go west! Go west! Go west!

The funniest thing I found was definitely this short letter to the editor, and Orson Hyde's snappy comeback. Orson Hyde was certainly a character, that is for sure. 


Here's a transcription:
"QUESTION BY AN ANTI-MORMON: - Friend Hyde,
If Mr. Thomas C. Sharp is so bad a man as you rep-
resent him to be in your last Guardian, why do you
not cast the devil out of him and make him a good
man, as your creed invests you with miraculous
power to do it?
ANSWER - It would be a great pity to exercise
such power upon Mr. Sharp as to cast the Devil out
of him; for there would be nothing left but his
shirt and nose."

This definitely made me laugh out loud.

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