This week’s “150 Years Ago…” column again reminds the reader that newspapers served many purposes in 1860. As noted in earlier columns, 1860 newspapers were a source of education, news, and entertainment, to only name a few.

Before reading this week’s primary source, the reader must be informed that America had yet to fully embrace compulsory education. There was no orthodoxy set in schooling and the ability to read and write were highly localized. The author of the following poem gets their point across, but notice the phoenetical method the poet uses:


I Wud Knott Dye in Wintur.
Bi the Orthor of “Thorts on a Faded Boka.”

I wud knott dye in wintur,
When whiskie punchiz flo—
When pooty gals are skeetin’
Oar fealds of ice & sno—
When sassidge meet is phrying
& Hickeri knuts is thick;
Owe! who kud thunk ov dighing,
Or even getting sick?

I wud knott dye in spring tiem,
& miss the turn up greans,
& the pooty song ov the leetle frawgs,
& the ski larkes airly screem;
When burds begin thare wobbling
& taters gin to sprowt—
When turkies go a gobblering,
I wud not then peg out.

I wud knott dye in summer,
& leeve the garding soss—
The roastie lam & buttur-milk—
The cool plase in the gras;
I wud nott dye in summer,
When every thing’s so hott,
& leeve the whiski Jew-lips—
Owe KNOW! ide rather nott.

I wud nott di in ortum,
With peeches fitt for erting;
When the wavy korn is gitting wripe,
& kandidates are treeting.
For these, and uther reesons,
Ide nott di in the phall;
& sence ive thort it over,
I wud not die a tall.