Mrs. Shaw and the Fatal Cooking Mistake

A woman named Mrs. Shaw made the news in the Lancaster Gazette, 1830, when she accidentally poisoned everyone at her dinner party, including herself.

Mrs. Shaw's fatal cooking mistakeMrs. Shaw’s fatal cooking mistake Sat, Sep 4, 1830 – 3 · The Lancaster Gazette (Lancaster, Lancashire, England) ·

Best not to mix that arsenic and bold taste.

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Canadian Collection of Newspapers!

This month we’re excited to announce that our Canadian newspaper archives are expanding! We’ve added several papers from publisher Postmedia Network and will be adding more pages and titles through 2019!  We have papers from Ontario, Québec, British Columbia, Alberta, and Manitoba. Here’s just a sampling of what you’ll find.


Parliament Burns – February 1916
The Ottawa Citizen

The Montréal Gazette: Founded in 1778, the Montréal Gazette is one of the oldest newspapers in North America. Though originally published in French, the Gazette has been English-only since 1822. Montréal is Canada’s second largest city and established itself early on as an important center for the fur trade. Our earliest issues date back to 1857 when the Gazette published this ad for fur coats made from beaver, doeskin or Siberian fur. This story printed in 1858 teaches readers how to care for and clean their furs. In the late 1800s, expansion on the St. Lawrence River canal system began. The river provided a water shipping corridor and the Grand Trunk Railway provided a land connection, enabling Montréal to undergo rapid growth industrialization. The Gazette recorded births, marriages, and deaths of many of Montréal’s citizens. It also reported on a tragic fire in 1927 at the Laurier Palace Theatre that killed 78 children who had gathered to watch a silent film.

The Calgary Herald: With issues dating back to 1888, we have papers chronicling life in Calgary for the past 130 years! The Herald was initially published in a tent at the junction of the Bow and Elbow rivers in 1883. Early on, Fort Calgary was established as an outpost for the Mounted Police. As homestead land became available, the population grew along with Calgary’s mining and ranching industries. The world-famous Calgary Stampede started in 1912 and celebrates that ranching heritage. In 1914, the discovery of oil at the Dingman well created a frenzy that died down as the First World War began.

Edmonton Journal: In 1903, around the time Edmonton got its first railway, three newsmen printed the first edition of the Edmonton Journal in the back of a fruit store. The population was just 4,000 back them, and the Journal has chronicled the growth for the past 115 years! In 1947, the Imperial Oil Company struck a rich deposit of “black gold.” The oil discovery sent the population of the city booming and cemented Alberta’s reputation as a province rich in oil and gas.

The Ottawa Citizen:  Royal Engineers set up a campsite in present day Ottawa during construction of the Rideau Canal (now a UNESCO World Heritage Site). In 1845, the Citizen published its first edition and 12 years later Ottawa was named Canada’s capital by Queen Victoria. Our archives begin in 1898 and cover notable events like the great Ottawa-Hull fire that destroyed a large tract of Ottawa and most of Hull in 1900. The “Social and Personal” column is a great place to search for historic news of your Ottawa ancestors!

Our Canadian newspaper archives are a great way to research your Canadian ancestors or Canadian history. Check back often as we’re updating this collection regularly. Get started searching our Canadian archives today!

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Tacoma Narrows Bridge Collapses – This Week in History

On November 7, 1940, just four months after its completion, the world’s third-longest suspension bridge snaps in a 42 mph wind and collapses into the waters below. This was the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, a slender, 2-lane creation whose tendency to visibly sway and wobble earned it the name “Galloping Gertie.”

World's Third Largest Suspension Bridge CollapsesWorld’s Third Largest Suspension Bridge Collapses Fri, Nov 8, 1940 – Page 1 · Altoona Tribune (Altoona, Blair, Pennsylvania, United States of America) ·

A single car was on the bridge at the time of the incident, occupied by a newspaper copy editor named Leonard Coatsworth and his cocker spaniel. When the bridge began to violently tip one way and then the other, he abandoned the car—and, after a quick, failed coercion effort, the dog—and crawled his way across the bridge to shore before the bridge snapped. (You can read a full account of his experience in his own words here.)

The dog, still inside the car when it slid off the broken bridge, was the single casualty of the disaster.

Tacoma Narrows Bridge Collapse, 1940Tacoma Narrows Bridge Collapse, 1940 Thu, Nov 28, 1940 – 3 · The Springville Herald (Springville, Utah, United States of America) ·

Though a firm consensus hasn’t been reached as to the exact reasons for the collapse, the Tacoma Bridge incident led to better aerodynamics in bridge design and, eventually, the implementation of mandatory wind-tunnel testing. In 1950, a new and improved Tacoma Narrows Bridge (nicknamed “Sturdy Gertie”) was constructed with wider lanes and better resistance to wind.

Old Tacoma Bridge vs New Tacoma BridgeOld Tacoma Bridge vs New Tacoma Bridge Sun, Nov 12, 1950 – Page 46 · Daily Press (Newport News, Newport News, Virginia, United States of America) ·

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Town Unites to Honor Soldiers During WWII

During WWII, townspeople from Perkasie, Pennsylvania, banded together in a remarkable way to honor and support the young men and women from their community serving in the armed forces. In honor of Veterans Day and those who served, we wanted to share their story!

Servicemen's Edition News HeraldIn June 1942, Perkasie community members gathered at the local Fire Hall to organize the Perkasie Community Service Group (C.S.G.). After some discussion, the C.S.G. made a list of things they wanted to accomplish. They agreed to: send a weekly letter to every service member from the community; include a special servicemen’s pocket edition of the News Herald with community news; send each service member a dollar bill once a month.

The effort would require funding and donations. Members went door-to-door soliciting dimes, quarters and dollars.  Benefits and fundraisers were held. Members of the community were each assigned special duties. Some of those responsibilities included addressing envelopes or keeping the mailing list updated. Before the war ended, nearly 800 young people serving from Perkasie would receive 70,000 letters and more than $17,500 from the C.S.G. When a soldier didn’t make it home, the C.S.G. presented the family a Gold Star Flag and a letter of condolence.

Grateful service men and women loved the letters! Many sent expressions of gratitude to the News Herald. Richard E. Moyer was a 21-year-old infantryman who was wounded and sent home. He told the C.S.G. how he and 8 buddies spent months isolated in the Italian war theatre. “No mail, no nothing,” he said, “not even pay reached us for months.” Finally, when communications were re-established, Moyer received a backlog of 196 pieces of mail, but still no paychecks. “Among them were five C.S.G. letters with a buck each. As I opened one, the bill fell out and my buddies gasped ‘real money’, and asked whether my dad sent it. As I continued to open mail and find more dollars, I explained that all the kids from my home-town get a buck-a-month from the community, and my buddies decided they came from the wrong town. We had a glorious time spending the first five dollars we saw in months,” Moyer said.

Sgt. Howard Krout received his letter from the C.S.G., but two bills had inadvertently been placed in the envelope. Several weeks later he returned the extra dollar to the C.S.G. with the explanation, “two bills were sticking together, and I knew that I am entitled to only one.”

Another recipient was 21-year-old seaman Wilbur F. Hendricks. He kept these pocket edition newspapers long after the war ended. Upon his death in 2007, his family donated the newspapers to the Perkasie Historical Society in his honor. His collection is now digitized and available to view for the first time here. salutes veterans like Richard Moyer, Howard Krout, and Wilbur Hendricks; and we salute the Perkasie community. How did your hometown support the troops during WWII? Search our archives today to learn more!


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World War I Ends: November 11, 1918

WWI Ends!

WWI Ends! Mon, Nov 11, 1918 – 1 · Chicago Tribune

On the morning of November 11, 1918, at 1:55 A.M., the telephone rang at the offices of the Chicago Tribune. An Associated Press operator delivered a news flash with the short message, “Armistice Signed,” and then hung up. Fifty minutes later, the U.S. State Department released the official announcement: Effective this morning at 6:00 A.M. ET, the world war officially ends. An Armistice signed by Germany in the 11th month, on the 11th day, and in the 11th hour of 1918 brought an end to the fighting in WWI. 

In France, thousands of American heavy guns fired parting shots at that exact moment. WWI, also known as the Great War, resulted in more than 37 million military casualties and 8.5 million deaths worldwide. American Expeditionary Force (AEF) casualties numbered 323 thousand with nearly 117 thousand deaths. 

As the news broke, a sleepy nation woke to celebrate! In Chicago, US Navy men (nicknamed Jackies) poured into the streets cheering. News reached the West coast just before midnight. Fireworks summoned residents in Oakland, California, to a party downtown! 

With the fighting over, transporting troops home became the next big logistical challenge. Most soldiers made it home within a year, but a few thousand didn’t return until 1920. Every available ship, and a few seized German ships, helped to “bring the boys home!” 

All over the country, communities held celebrations. In Allentown, Pennsylvania, 50,000 citizens greeted returning soldiers with a confetti parade. 

Not all the boys were coming home whole. The physical and emotional trauma suffered by the sick and wounded was astonishing. Legislation like the Adjusted Compensation Act; the Soldier Rehabilitation Act of 1918 (that provided prostheses for those who lost limbs); and the organization of the American Legion sought to help returning soldiers. 

Among the many injured were Pvt. Anthony Kulig, 24, who spent 19 months at Walter Reed Hospital recovering from an amputated arm, a knee injury, and 52 wounds on his body. First Lt. John W. McManigal chronicled his injuries and others he observed during his time as a POW in a dramatic five-part series printed in the Kansas Democrat in 1919. He recalled one soldier in a POW hospital having both legs amputated without any anesthetic. 

The development of an improved veteran healthcare system is just one of the legacies left to future military generations by WWI veterans. Do you have an interest in military history or have ancestors that fought in WWI? How did your hometown celebrate the Armistice? Tell us about it and search our archives at!

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The Ghosts of Papers Past

Happy Halloween! Today is a day of scares and haunts, and what better captures the spirit of all things mysterious than a ghost? Ghost stories have existed for hundreds of years. Maybe you even have some of your own?

The people interviewed for this 1889 article did, and they shared it all.

Community Ghost StoriesCommunity Ghost Stories Sun, Jun 2, 1889 – Page 26 · St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America) ·

The article is a full page of stories, suspicions, and skepticism. But here are some of the best and most entertaining of the bunch. From passenger-packed trains to murdered bunnies, a wide range of spirits and specters can be found in these clippings.

Ghostly Objects

First up, a carriage apparition startles a couple of interested gentlemen:

Ghost of an Old-Fashioned CarriageGhost of an Old-Fashioned Carriage Sun, Jun 2, 1889 – Page 26 · St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America) ·

Here, a Mr. Ed Pemberton remembers a time when the train tracks beneath his feet shook from the passage of a beautiful phantom train.

Phantom TrainPhantom Train Sun, Jun 2, 1889 – Page 26 · St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America) ·

Ghostly Animals

Ever heard of a phantom cow? If not, this clipping will do the trick:

Giant Ghost CowGiant Ghost Cow Sun, Jun 2, 1889 – Page 26 · St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America) ·

A certain aforementioned bunny makes his appearance in this roller-coaster ride of a story:

Created a Ghost by Mistaking it for a GhostCreated a Ghost by Mistaking it for a Ghost Sun, Jun 2, 1889 – Page 26 · St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America) ·

Headless humans make frequent appearances in ghost stories, but how about a headless dog?:

Headless Dog GhostHeadless Dog Ghost Sun, Jun 2, 1889 – Page 26 · St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America) ·

Ghostly Humans

Human ghosts often present themselves in two ways: either to haunt a place where they resided or died, or to serve as an omen for the living. The following two clippings give accounts of the former.

This clipping shares a slightly longer story, but is perhaps the most quintessential ghost story in this collection. It involves an old man, the home where he died, a fiddle, and a gruesome cat.

Corroborated Ghost StoryCorroborated Ghost Story Sun, Jun 2, 1889 – Page 26 · St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America) ·

Here we have a spirit whose presence at the place where he was killed seems to curse the very ground:

Murdered Man Haunts the Spot Where He DiedMurdered Man Haunts the Spot Where He Died Sun, Jun 2, 1889 – Page 26 · St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America) ·

The next two clippings are stories of ghosts acting as omens. In this first clipping, a super-human phantom hops into an fresh grave to warn the observer of impending death:

Grave Ghost an Omen for Things to ComeGrave Ghost an Omen for Things to Come Sun, Jun 2, 1889 – Page 26 · St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America) ·

And in this clipping, the ghost of a Confederate soldier disappears when fired upon by the storyteller, who came to believe it had been a friendly warning:

A Soldier GhostA Soldier Ghost Sun, Jun 2, 1889 – Page 26 · St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America) ·

Ghostly Surprises

Finally, we have a couple of ghost stories with surprise endings. This clipping describes a haunting shadow that no one could explain…until they could:

Ghost Solution Leads to LaughsGhost Solution Leads to Laughs Sun, Jun 2, 1889 – Page 26 · St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America) ·

And perhaps most surprising at all was this clipping, in which a man describes a very real ghost who had a very peculiar favor to ask:

Ghost Appeared to Ask For Spirit Ball ProgrammesGhost Appeared to Ask For Spirit Ball Programmes Sun, Jun 2, 1889 – Page 26 · St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America) ·

So what do you think? Are ghosts real, or simply the imaginations of minds that are often over-tired or overworked? Perhaps the truth of it all should be left alone, just as this clipping suggests:

Poetic View of GhostsPoetic View of Ghosts Sun, Jun 2, 1889 – Page 26 · St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America) ·

Find these ghost stories and more from this article here, and more on with a search through the collection.

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The Monster Vampire of Summit Street

It’s almost Halloween, so what better to read today than a clipping about a “Monster Vampire?”

A A “Monster Vampire” Thu, Mar 4, 1880 – 1 · The Morning Journal-Courier (New Haven, Connecticut, United States of America) ·

Notice how it’s never called a bat? Interesting how that crucial addition is always included these days.

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The Wisconsin Town that Tried to Secede

In the summer of 1967, the state of Wisconsin had a little oopsie with their newly released official road map. The town of Winneconne, with a population of around 1,300 at the time, had been forgotten on the map—and they did not let it go without a (lighthearted) fight.


Winneconne to Secede from StateWinneconne to Secede from State Fri, Jul 14, 1967 – 2 · The Daily Telegram (Eau Claire, Eau Claire, Wisconsin, United States of America) ·

In their plans for secession, Winneconne thought of it all. There were discussions of taxing fishermen–and idle fishermen watchers—and of creating a toll for the Winneconne bridge. Officials were elected for their sovereign state, and they even created a new flag.

Flag of the Sovereign State of WinneconneFlag of the Sovereign State of Winneconne Wed, Jul 16, 1969 – Page 22 · The Oshkosh Northwestern (Oshkosh, Winnebago, Wisconsin, United States of America) ·

The slogan “We Like It Where?” (a play on the similar slogan “We Like it Here”) became the catchphrase of the new Sovereign State of Winneconne.

“We Like it — Where?” Mon, May 1, 1967 – 1 · News-Record (Neenah, Wisconsin, United States of America) ·

The New Sovereign State of WinneconneThe New Sovereign State of Winneconne Fri, Jul 14, 1967 – Page 4 · The Oshkosh Northwestern (Oshkosh, Winnebago, Wisconsin, United States of America) ·

As playful as the whole secession plan was, however, there was genuine reasoning behind it. The town of Winneconne sought the attention of state officials to get their name back on the map. After all, how can a small town grow and thrive if no one knows where to find it?

Back in the Family

In the end, an arrangement was reached with Wisconsin’s governor, Warren Knowles, to put Winneconne back on the map and give it proper signage on the highway. Secession was avoided, and Winneconne remains a part of Wisconsin (and its road maps) to this day. There’s even an annual celebration of the whole event!

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OK Corral Shootout – This Week in History

This week in 1881, a brief but deadly shootout between the Earp brothers and the “cowboys” at OK Corral results in three dead and three wounded. It has since become one of the most famous gunfights of the American Wild West.

Bloody Battle in the Streets of TombstoneBloody Battle in the Streets of Tombstone Sun, Oct 30, 1881 – Page 1 · Arizona Weekly Citizen (Tucson, Pima, Arizona, United States of America) ·

Among the dead, as stated in the clipping above, were cowboys Tom (erroneously called Jim) McLaury, Frank McLaury and Billy Clanton. Famous lawman Wyatt Earp and his brothers, Morgan and Virgil, along with friend Doc Holliday, survived with wounds.

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