Potoooooooo’s Name

Have you ever heard of Potoooooooo, famous race horse of the 18th century? Though an excellent race horse and a significant sire, he is most remembered now for his unusual name. You may have noticed it.

The origin of his funny name has a couple of supposed explanations, but the most common is nicely wrapped up here:

The famous racehorse, Potoooooooo

The famous racehorse, Potoooooooo Fri, Jan 29, 1915 – 8 · The Washburn Leader (Washburn, North Dakota) · Newspapers.com

You can find many more articles about Potoooooooo on Newspapers.com, though you may want to search a common alternate spelling, Pot-8-Os.

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Easter “Lifting”

As with most holidays, Easter comes with its share of unusual traditions. But while egg hunts and stealthy bunnies still remain mysteriously but firmly tied to this springtime celebration, some customs have fallen by the wayside. One of these is the 18th century English tradition of “lifting.”

“Lifting” was basically what it sounds like—on Easter Monday, men would lift women into the air on chairs or on clasped arms. On Tuesday the roles would reverse, with women lifting men. It seems the custom was to heave the chosen person into the air at least three times, after which they’d typically give you some money to leave them alone.

Below is an amusing clipping found in an 1880 paper that illustrates just how a lifting might go:

Easter

Easter “lifting” tradition Fri, Mar 26, 1880 – 1 · The Aegis & Intelligencer (Bel Air, Maryland) · Newspapers.com

The lifting tradition didn’t last much past the early 1800s, though there seem to be some attempts to revive it in recent years. What do you think—will “lifting” take off again?

Find more on Lifting and other Easter traditions, history, and stories from the past with a search on Newspapers.com.

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Newspapers.com Success Stories

What if you found out your ancestor was a female mining prospector in the 1800s, made a fortune but then lost it all, and later won a lottery and died a wealthy woman? That’s exactly what Lynzi Coffey discovered as she pieced together her family’s story using Newspapers.com. 

Lynzi Coffey

We wanted to share Lynzi’s story, and others from time to time, to show how our members’ research techniques and tips can inspire you in your own genealogical research.

Lynzi had census records for her ancestors and knew they traveled across the country. Plotting the locations where she knew her ancestors lived, she searched newspapers along the route between locations. In the process, Lynzi pieced together the amazing story of her 2nd great grandfather Michael O’Brien and his wife Mary Helde.

Finding Michael in the newspapers required time and patience. O’Brien was often misspelled. Sometimes the “O” was left off, or the apostrophe dropped, and papers spelled “Brien” in a variety of ways (click here to learn how to search for common misspellings using wildcards). Lynzi’s persistence paid off and she found newspaper stories that mentioned his Irish hometown, an employment history, and his family history. She even discovered that Michael was present at the Golden Spike Ceremony in 1869 and found his face in the familiar photo of the rails joining in the Utah territory. It was the resiliency of his wife Mary that really inspired Lynzi.

Michael O’Brien at the Golden Spike Ceremony

Mary Helde was already married when she met Michael, although she did not live with her husband. Through newspapers, Lynzi learned that not only did Mary lose three daughters in their early infancy, but she also had two sons that died tragic deaths. Mary operated a boarding house in Cheyenne, Wyoming when she and Michael crossed paths. She was already independently wealthy having purchased a number of mining claims that apparently paid off. One clipping described her selling her assets for $30,000 in 1866 (about $475,000 in today’s dollars).

Mary left Cheyenne, sold the boarding house and all of her possessions, married Michael, and accompanied him to Nevada and later Utah. Mary described herself as having a “speculative disposition,” and Lynzi realized how true that was when she found clippings of Mary’s numerous mining investments. Sadly, it appears that Mary’s speculation led to a loss of her fortune.

When news came of mining claims opening in North Dakota, Michael left for the Black Hills. Mary joined him about a year later, but their marriage faltered. In 1891, Michael reportedly drowned while swimming, leaving Mary a penniless widow. Unbeknownst to Mary, however, Michael was very much alive. He’d conspired with some friends to stage his accidental death and left town, a fact Lynzi uncovered in Michael’s Civil War pension file.

Alone and broke, Mary decided to take her last $20 and enter the Louisiana State Lottery, where she won $5,000! She then organized a group of women to invest in mining and once again grew her fortune. When Mary died in 1912, she had no heirs and divided her estate among friends who had helped her during difficult times, a children’s home, and her church.

The colorful story Lynzi uncovered on Newspapers.com shocked her. Her tips include searching for alternative spellings, plotting your ancestors’ locations and checking all the papers along the way, and exhaustive searches! “Discovering records about my ancestors helped me plot points in their lives, but finding them in Newspapers.com helped me bring their story to life,” said Lynzi. Have you discovered your family’s story? Try using Lynzi’s tips and start searching today on Newspapers.com.

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Game of Thrones: Back to the Beginning

As the premier of Game of Thrones’ final season looms, fans are feeling the tension of years of televised build up. The fantasy phenomenon first came to the screen in April of 2011, and it was a hit from the very start.

A Stark Start

Below are some nostalgic clippings from the months following the season 1 debut.

Game of Thrones review following the TV debut, 2011

Game of Thrones review following the TV debut, 2011 Mon, Apr 25, 2011 – 32 · Calgary Herald (Calgary, Alberta, Canada) · Newspapers.com

Game of Thrones rave review, 2011

Game of Thrones rave review, 2011 Fri, Apr 15, 2011 – G24 · The Boston Globe (Boston, Massachusetts) · Newspapers.com

Arya learning to fight, photo from 2011 review of the Game of Thrones TV debut

Arya learning to fight, photo from 2011 review of the Game of Thrones TV debut Fri, Apr 15, 2011 – G24 · The Boston Globe (Boston, Massachusetts) · Newspapers.com

Review of Game of Thrones series debut, 2011

Review of Game of Thrones series debut, 2011 Sat, Apr 16, 2011 – D4 · Leader-Telegram (Eau Claire, Wisconsin) · Newspapers.com

Peter Dinklage, season 1 of Game of Thrones, 2011

Peter Dinklage, season 1 of Game of Thrones, 2011 Sat, Jun 18, 2011 – G4 · The Boston Globe (Boston, Massachusetts) · Newspapers.com

Eight years later, the clipping below is starting to feel like a game of bingo that’s still ongoing.

Who's who in 'Game of Thrones'? April 2011

Who’s who in ‘Game of Thrones’? April 2011 Wed, Apr 13, 2011 – Page 33 · Philadelphia Daily News (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.com

One Book Began it All

Of course, the show wouldn’t exist without G.R.R. Martin’s books. The sprawling (as-yet unfinished) series first began nearly 23 years ago with A Game of Thrones, released in 1996. And the story was just as popular in print as it has now become on screen.

A Game of Thrones - 1996 review of series debut

A Game of Thrones – 1996 review of series debut Sun, Nov 24, 1996 – 58 · Dayton Daily News (Dayton, Ohio) · Newspapers.com

Are you tuning in this weekend, or do you prefer the books? Find more on the decades-long journey of this popular story with a search on Newspapers.com.

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Radium: A Remedy to Cure All Ills

In the early 1900s, radium was a highly popular additive in all manner of products. It was The Thing for curing what ailed you, as demonstrated in this excellent ad clipped from a 1921 paper:

Radium Cure, Atlanta Journal,
Sunday, June 12, 1921

Radium Cure, Atlanta Journal, Sunday, June 12, 1921 Sun, Jun 12, 1921 – Page 2 · The Atlanta Journal (Atlanta, Georgia) · Newspapers.com

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Louis Armstrong Going Strong

From an April 2nd paper comes this jazzy announcement. In 1957, Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong attended a jazz concert to celebrate his birthday (actually his 56th). An earlier pneumonia scare lead to this great quote: “I know they wanted to get me up there to play first horn for Gabriel but I don’t think I’ll be up there for a long time yet.”

Louis Armstrong attending a jazz concert for 59th birthday

Louis Armstrong attending a jazz concert for 59th birthday Tue, Apr 2, 1957 – Page 8 · Naugatuck Daily News (Naugatuck, Connecticut) · Newspapers.com

Armstrong lived another 14 years, passing away at age 69 in July 1971.

Find more articles from his long and successful career with a browse through the papers of Newspapers.com.

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Robert Scott and the Terra Nova Expedition

On March 29, 1912, Captain Robert Falcon Scott of the British Antarctic Expedition made one final entry in his diary:

Captain Scott's last lines

Captain Scott’s last lines Thu, Nov 6, 1913 – 10 · The Boston Globe (Boston, Massachusetts) · Newspapers.com

The Expedition Begins

A year and a half earlier, the expedition that would claim his life began. Captain Scott’s expedition set sail in the summer of 1911 aboard the Terra Nova, the ship which gave the expedition its nickname.

Captain Robert Falcon Scott

Captain Robert Falcon Scott Tue, Feb 11, 1913 – Page 1 · The Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.com

Scott's British Antarctic Expedition begins

Scott’s British Antarctic Expedition begins Thu, Jun 2, 1910 – Page 3 · Los Angeles Herald (Los Angeles, California) · Newspapers.com

Terra Nova, leaving New Zealand

Terra Nova, leaving New Zealand Mon, Feb 10, 1913 – 4 · The Boston Globe (Boston, Massachusetts) · Newspapers.com

Race to the Pole

They reached Antarctica in January, a few weeks later than planned. The early months of the expedition were spent laying depots and taking smaller scientific expeditions. Roald Amundsen‘s Norwegian Expedition was camped not far off, and Scott’s group felt the pressure to be the first to reach the South Pole.

Amundsen-Scott Routes

Amundsen-Scott Routes Tue, Feb 11, 1913 – 9 · The Guardian (London, Greater London, England) · Newspapers.com

Scott’s path to the South Pole took a different route than Amundsen’s, as seen in the clipping above. After enduring months of bitter cold and blizzards, Scott and the four men he’d chosen to make the full trek arrived at the pole. There they found Amundsen’s flag and a letter. The Norwegian team had beat them to the prize.

Reached South Pole one month after Amundsen expedition

Reached South Pole one month after Amundsen expedition Mon, Feb 10, 1913 – 4 · The Boston Globe (Boston, Massachusetts) · Newspapers.com

“It is a terrible disappointment.” Thu, Nov 6, 1913 – 10 · The Boston Globe (Boston, Massachusetts) · Newspapers.com

The Fateful Return

It was on the trip back to base that things quite literally went south. At first all went smoothly—weeks passed without trouble, and the men made good progress. But their health was quickly deteriorating as frostbite and general weariness took their toll. Petty Officer Edgar Evans was the first to die, one month after reaching the South Pole. Scott noted Evans’ poor condition, and it seems probable that Evans suffered a bad concussion from a fall.

Soon after, Lawrence Oates began to show signs of failing health. With his decline came Scott’s recognition that none of them would make it back.

Oates' health failing, chances grim for all

Oates’ health failing, chances grim for all Sat, Nov 8, 1913 – 6 · Staunton Daily Leader (Staunton, Virginia) · Newspapers.com

It became clear that Oates would not make it. He deliberately walked off from the party to his death, saying, “I am just going outside. I may be some time.” When he did not return, the group continued on without him.

Scott and the two remaining explorers, Edward Wilson and Henry Robertson Bowers, were forced to make camp 11 miles from One Ton Depot. Lack of supplies from the base camp and terrible weather sealed their doom. Scott made his March 29 diary entry, and it is presumed that the three men died later that day.

Scott and party found dead

Scott and party found dead Tue, Feb 11, 1913 – Page 1 · The Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.com

Bitter Thoughts

Some months later the surviving expedition members formed a search party to learn the fate of Scott and his traveling companions. They found the three bodies of Scott, Bowers, and Wilson and erected a cairn as their final resting place. Speculation about whether they could have been saved circled among the survivors, and continues to be discussed today.

Scott Party thoughts

Scott Party thoughts Tue, Feb 18, 1913 – Page 7 · The Reidsville Review (Reidsville, North Carolina) · Newspapers.com

Find more on this highly publicized tragedy with a search through the archives of Newspapers.com.

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Hats Banned in Theater

The specifics may change over the years, but some frustrations still transcend time and space. So long, hats!

Women's hats barred from nickel theaters

Women’s hats barred from nickel theaters Thu, Jun 2, 1910 – Page 3 · Los Angeles Herald (Los Angeles, California) · Newspapers.com

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The Phantom Barber of Pascagoula

One of U.S. history’s strangest crimes was a streak of sneaky haircuts that took place in 1942 Mississippi. The Pascagoula criminal was nicknamed “The Phantom Barber” for his creepy habit of cutting locks of hair off young girls while they slept.

Unsettling illustration of the Phantom Barber

Unsettling illustration of the Phantom Barber Sun, Aug 30, 1942 – 59 · The San Francisco Examiner (San Francisco, California) · Newspapers.com

The Phantom Barber Strikes

The first victims of the nighttime barber were Mary Evelyn Briggs and Edna Marie Hydel. The two shared a room in Our Lady of Victories convent and woke in time to see a man crawling out the window. Mary was the sole victim to give a description of the perpetrator:

Mary Evelyn Bridges [sic] describes Phantom Barber encounter

Mary Evelyn Bridges [sic] describes Phantom Barber encounter Fri, Aug 14, 1942 – Page 9 · The Greenville News (Greenville, South Carolina) · Newspapers.com

Mary Evelyn Briggs and her sister Laura (Phantom Barber)

Mary Evelyn Briggs and her sister Laura (Phantom Barber) Sun, Aug 30, 1942 – 59 · The San Francisco Examiner (San Francisco, California) · Newspapers.com

A few days later, six-year-old Carol Peattie awoke to find much of her hair missing. The screen on her window was cut. An adult woman, Mrs. Taylor, also fell victim to the unusual crime, and her account led to suspicions that the criminal used chloroform to keep the girls from waking.

Mrs. Taylor the final victim of the Phantom Barber

Mrs. Taylor the final victim of the Phantom Barber Wed, Jun 24, 1942 – 1 · The Tribune (Scranton, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.com

The intruder didn’t injure these girls. His break-ins consisted of slicing open window screens, cutting off the hair, and slipping away unseen. He did occasionally leave behind footprints, but they weren’t enough to secure his identity.

The Heidelberg Incident

Quite suddenly the Phantom’s escapades went from bizarre to brutal. He broke into the home of Terrell Heidelberg and attacked him and his wife with an iron pipe. In the face of such violence the search for the Phantom Barber increased.

Heidelbergs attacked by the Phantom Barber

Heidelbergs attacked by the Phantom Barber Fri, Aug 14, 1942 – Page 19 · The Morning News (Wilmington, Delaware) · Newspapers.com

An Arrest is Made

At last a suspect was found. A man named William Dolan was arrested and charged with attempted murder. Human hair was found near his home, and he had some disagreement with the Heidelbergs that gave him motive for the assault.

William Dolan arrested as the

William Dolan arrested as the “Phantom Barber” Fri, Aug 14, 1942 – 1 · The Daily Times (Davenport, Iowa) · Newspapers.com

Dolan, called a “Nazi saboteur,” was known for having German sympathies during a time when war hung heavily on the public mind. Most were happy to see him arrested and slept soundly knowing the Phantom Barber was behind bars. But Dolan always maintained his innocence and was released early after passing a lie detector test. Early doubts about his true guilt have only grown in the years since. It is hard to say whether the real Phantom Barber was ever caught.

Find more on the Phantom Barber with a search on Newspapers.com.

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Young Woman Rescues Child

Hats off to this everyday hero who, in 1910, rescues a child with her quick action.

Heroine rescues endangered childHeroine rescues endangered child Thu, Jun 2, 1910 – Page 1 · Los Angeles Herald (Los Angeles, California) · Newspapers.com

Thanks, Vernie! Your heroism isn’t forgotten, even 100 years later.

Find more like this with a browse through Newspapers.com.

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