Wednesday, January 31, 2018

The Invention of the IRS Form 1099

Lincoln had implemented a federal income tax in 1861 to pay for the Civil War and an income tax was collected during the 1890's.

The 16th Amendment was passed in 1913 to clear constitutional issues with such a tax and the first 1040's came soon after.

The features of the income tax that we know today were quickly part of the system. This early 1918 article warns people receiving money from others that their payers would be telling the federal government about that money. The IRS Form 1099 was the culprit.

World War I Sacrifices in Clay County

County newspapers played a big role in preparing citizens for the sacrifices needed to fight World War I and to sustain support for the war. Neutrality had been a strong political force keeping the U. S. out of the European war. Wilson ran for re-election largely on the slogan, "He Kept Us out of War!"

The Federal Food Administration imposed price controls on many products to prevent businesses from ripping off consumers as the war made many commodities and other products scarce and subject to sharp inflation.

Nebraska Senator Gilbert Hitchcock made this pitch for buying was stamps to his niece in Omaha:

"A Nickel a Day wins the War" might be the point of this pitch.

The U. S. time in WWI was relatively short so the sacrifices of Americans paled before the experiences of Europeans.

Winning WWI with Chickens

This Harvard business aimed to win the war with chickens.

The major incubator business in Clay County was the Old Trusty Company in Clay Center where M. M. Johnson employed more than 200 people sending incubators and other poultry products across the country.

Emil Ochsner manufactured a smaller number of incubators in Sutton and we've found evidence that the wife of Sutton tavern owner Tim Hartnett made a few of them.

And we found a newspaper item that the B & H Incubator Company in Fairfield had shipped a 120-egg incubator to Greece. B & H were fellows named Bayles and Hayes.

Here we have the ad of Higgins Hardware in Harvard though there is no indication that this product was also manufactured in Clay County.

Why Towns Grow

This article appeared in The Clay County News on January 14, 1993, an except from the Freeman (South Dakota) Courier from about one year earlier.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

The King Newspapers in Clay County 1946-1968.

This article appeared in The Clay County News on January 25, 1968 marking the anniversary of the King Newspapers in the county.

H. C. King and his son Roy King published The Edgar Sun, The Clay County Sun, The Harvard Courier and The Fairfield Auxiliary at various times before consolidating all of the county newspapers into The Clay County News.

This article also relates the King family's version of an episode with a competing paper, the Clay County Leader.

And, not to be picky, but my math would suggest to me that the Clay County News was completing its 22nd year at this point and entering its 23rd rather than the statement in the headline.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

The Sutton Register newspaper vanishes - 1942

Multiple newspapers in a town was common in the early days. Sutton lost that distinction 75 years ago this week when Ronald Furse of The Sutton News purchased The Sutton Register from the Brown family.

Last Mail Train in Clay County - 1967

The Burlington railroad played a big part in the siting and the development of Sutton. Mail service and passenger service were crucial to the folks in Sutton. Until 1967.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Letter from Harvard Man Gassed in WWI

We included this item in our column for the December 13th issue of The Clay County News with the note that we'd have the complete article here:

from the column's 1917 section:

"John T. Johnson of Harvard, son of Robert and Sara Johnson wrote his parents from a hospital in Birmingham, England after he, “…got my ration of gas Oct. 31 and the night of Nov. 2nd”. He was slightly affected in the left lung and had a peculiar sensation in his chest but said, “it’s all nicely under control.” He had been in the army for several years at various postings. His company was in Australia in 1915 when the entire crew enlisted in the British Army. They were in the Australian Imperial Forces serving in Egypt, the Dardanelles and in France where he encountered the poisonous gas. (That’s a brief summary of the letter – check the Sutton Museum blog for it all.)"

And the full article from The Harvard Courier newspaper of December 14, 1917:

Friday, December 8, 2017

Lyric Theater went dark, 50 years ago

From The Clay County News, December 14, 1967:

1942 9-State Blackout Test

Nighttime bombers posed a huge threat to Britain and their answer to protect cities was to institute "blackouts" to hide the cities from bomber crews.

Who knew how deep into the interior of the U. S. the threat might reach? The blackout proclamation appeared in The Sutton News, December 10, 1942.

The Test results appeared in The Sutton News a week later on December 17, 1942:

From our Clay County News column of December 13, 2017:

Wartime blackout procedures were based on British practices begun on September 1, 1939 immediately before the outbreak of WWII. These conditions continued until September 1944 when Britain relaxed to a “Dim-out” set of rules. Full lighting was restored in Britain in April 1945 and on April 30th, Big Ben was lit after 5 years and 123 days of darkness.

War impacts the culture. Britain’s blackout inspired a popular song first recorded by Vaughn Monroe. Though a good rendition, I prefer Vera Lynn’s version, both available on of course. Incredible lyrics matched to a great song. Young folks unfamiliar with the song and the melody do need to fix that. The opening stanza:

When the lights go on again all over the world
And the boys are home again all over the world
And rain or snow is all that may fall from the skies above
A kiss won't mean "Goodbye" but "Hello to love"

My preferred rendition:

Vera Lynn, "When the Lights go on Again (All Over the World)

Vaughn Monroe was first to record the song:

Vaughn Monroe, "When the Lights go on Again (All Over the World)

And then there is Vera Lynn's concert in 1990 at age 73. She was born March 17, 1917 and is now 100 years old:

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Donald Burns wounded in Africa - 1942

Donnie Burns of Sutton took a bullet in the arm in action along the Moroccan coast north of Casablanca. He was with a crew of five Coast Guardsmen working the beach when they were hit.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

1942-1950 Sutton Wedding Clippings

The recent Shirley Wach donation included a scrapbook of newspaper clippings of Sutton weddings from about 1942 - 1950.

The note inside the cover indicates it was the work of Christine Fenske and it was "Book IV". Pages are 7 X 10 inches. About 80 of the pages in the book are filled. 

This 7" X 10" scrapbook of Sutton wedding newspaper clippings was part of the Shirley Wach collection received recently.

If there might be a clipping of interest to you, stop by the museum on a Sunday afternoon or drop us a note and we'll check it out for you.

The clippings were pasted into a catalog from the W. M. Welch Scientific Company in Chicago. A few of the trade catalogs are available at for impressive prices and the Smithsonian seems to have a display of them. Several hundred items at the end of the book were not covered by wedding pics and are somewhat interesting in themselves. 

Friday, November 24, 2017

1917 Sutton Red Cross Report

We mentioned this story in the Clay County News column of November 29. Mrs. A. W. (Mayme) Clark reported on items sent from the Sutton Chapter of the Red Cross to France.

This article appeared in the November 30, 1917 issue of The Sutton News. 

WWI Embalmers in the Trenches

Insight into conditions for our predecessors, 100 years ago.

The Harvard embalmer/furniture store owner ran this ad in 1917 calling for support for the Purple Cross Bill, a bill supporting means to recover and preserve the bodies of soldiers on the WWI battlefields.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Honored by the French, but Why?

Excuse the "inside baseball" post here, but it's interesting, I guess, but in any case, certainly curious.

Among the services by our host, BLOGGER, a Google product, are several statistics including information about our audience. There has been a persistent mystery for the past two or three months, at least. 

We seem to have fans in FRANCE!

The metric that BLOGGER presents us is PAGEVIEWS. I'll let them explain that:

A pageview is a count indicating the number of times a Web page has been loaded into a browser. The publishing platform Blogger, used for all Blogspot-hosted sites, counts pageviews using Google’s proprietary algorithms.

This blog runs about 6,000 pageviews a month, a few hundred a day, it varies. And we not only see how much activity we have, but also where it comes from. The image depicts our "audience" for the past month, Oct. 10 - Nov 16. 

The numbers for the past month are:

France               2757
United States    2178
Ukraine              280
Poland                215
Russia                  65
Spain                   52
Germany             38
Brazil                  35
China                  30
India                   25

That's interesting, and we have no idea what to make of it.

Our long-term statistics go back to 2010 in the third year of our existence where our audience has been U. S. - 70,000; Russia - 15,000; France - 9,000; Germany 5,500; Ukraine - 3,500; South Korea - 3200; China - 2,100; Poland 1,600; U.K. - 1,200 and Canada - 1,000.

Those have been reasonably consistent, except for France which was not among the top not too long ago. France has spiked and spiked a lot in just a few months.


And it's not a passing thing. Our stats for today from 4 PM on the 16th through 3 PM today (17th) are:  France - 105, U.S. - 26, Ukraine - 12 and other countries petering out into single digits. 

Our reasons for bringing this up are threefold, at least.

1. Our visitors may find it interesting to learn we're watching and know where you live - at least what country you're in.

2. We are seriously confused about what we are seeing and someone will tell us we're all wet and do not understand BLOGGER statistics.

and 3. Hey you people in France. Hi and welcome. But really, what the heck are you doing here? Is there someone from Sutton now living in a swank apartment in Paris with enough time on their hands to refresh their browser all day? And why? Whatever the reason, even if it is somehow nefarious, we are still flattered, very flattered. 

No big deal, but we'd have to be brain-dead not to be at least a little bit curious.

Like a said at the top, "inside baseball".