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#10 --Newcomerstown Saloons and a Visit by Carrie Nation
In the early eighteen nineties, Newcomerstown, still a small village, had a surplus of saloons. As I recall it, there were twelve, give or take one or two, and there was no occasion for a man to go without a drink providing of course that he had the money.
In those days there were plenty of lumber being sawed and hauled into Newcomerstown to be carried and shipped out on the railroad. Hauling was, of course, done with wagons and quite often a driver would have a few drinks before he started his homeward journey. One such man, I saw one day heading back home, evidently having had more than one drink. He had also bought himself a sack of bananas. He was sitting on the rear hounds, or axle of his wagon with the lines wrapped around the brake handle, busily eating bananas, while the horses plodded along the dusty road. However, he did not take the time to take the rind off the bananas but was eating them rind and all. I'll bet he was a sick one when he got home!
Sam Douglas had a saloon on Main Street, where Joe Visintainer now has a meat market. Sam ran an orderly place; no swearing, no loud talk and if you had too much to drink when you came in Sam would refuse to sell you anything and politely escort you out of the front door.
Sam's saloon was the only place visited by Carrie Nation of hatchet-wielding fame. She was notorious for walking into a saloon, berating the saloon keeper, and with a few swipes of her trusty hatchet (aided and abetted by some of her zealous followers) destroy anything in sight; bottles, glasses, etc. and always taking a few lusty swipes at the large glass mirror behind the back bar. Following the singing of a hymn, giving the bartender a thorough dressing down, and warning him to repent, she and her satellites would depart, leaving behind plenty of wreckage.
During this performance, Sam stood at the far end of the bar and never, never said a word. After the female wreckers had departed, he proceeded to clean the debris up. No doubt he thought aplenty.
This was the only saloon raided; as the word had got around, and the rest of the saloon keepers had very prudently locked the front doors to their establishments and departed.
While on the subject of saloons, I cannot help but recall one run by Hanson Crater on Canal Street, where the Ortt Radio store is now located.
Hans was a large man, very pompous, dressed in the height of fashion in those days; a swallow tail coat white vest, string tie, and a "plug" hat. I think that Hans wore the first bifocal eyeglasses that I ever saw - if you could call two pairs of glasses that. He wore one pair which hooked over his ears; while the other pair which was called "nose pincers," were down on the end of his nose. When he wanted to see the person to whom he was talking, it would be necessary to tilt his head back; so he could bring the object in proper focus in both pairs of glasses.
Hans' living quarters were over the saloon. Whether he was a widower or a bachelor, I never knew. However, he had a big voluptuous blonde who was his housekeeper.
Hans decided that he wanted her picture painted, so he hired an artist to come out from Pittsburgh to make the picture. In four or five weeks, the picture was completed. It was about three feet wide and six feet long, long enough to cover the back bar. On the day the painting was completed, Hans very carefully carried the painting downstairs to the bar room and he and his bartender fastened it on the back bar glass. Then stood back to look at it. It was a full-length picture of his housekeeper clad in her own bare skin reclining on a tiger-skin rug. Business boomed in that saloon. Many came to see the painting, and of course, would buy a drink or two.
Next week's story: Recollections of the Livery Stable Fire and the Stagecoach. Stories are reprinted from a series is stories by former NCTnews contributor, D.B. Moore. The historic tales are from Moore's book, My Hometown, Gekelemukpechunk. The book is a collection of true stories that Moore recalled from growing up in Newcomerstown.