Yearly Archives: 2015

How a newspaper hoax became ‘The History of the Bathtub’

BATHING THE CROOK Middlesboro Daily News Middlesboro, KY. December 29, 1920 By Dr. Johnson Archer Gray “As Mr. Dooley would say: ‘I see by the papers,’ that the Middlesboro police department are going to inaugurate a new feature in cleaning up the crooks in and around the city; they are going to give them baths […]

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Ms. Horse, Ms. Mule and Ms. Cow — a Christmas fable

Mary sure did have some problems living in that barn. When baby Jesus was born, Joseph needed a crib, so he put some fresh hay in Ms. Horse’s feeding trough. Nobody asked Ms. Horse if they could use her food basket—her manger—for a crib. Once her manger was filled with straw nobody said Ms. Horse […]

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Gib Morgan’s tall tales lead to Paul Bunyan (2 of 2)

(continued from yesterday…) Gib Morgan never wrote down his tall tales before he died. But in the hands of two early 20th century men, working independently of each other, and with different motives, the real life of Gilbert Morgan of Callensburg, PA, created Gib Morgan, the myth. Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio oil field workers […]

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Gib Morgan’s tall tales (1 of 2)

Sistersville, WV mushroomed into a boom town overnight with the discovery of oil there in 1891. The rural village of 300 people suddenly had to house 15,000 souls from the massive influx of oil men, drillers, leasers, speculators, camp followers, floaters, wild-catters, and hangers-on. By the end of 1892 164 wells and 55 drilling stages […]

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The mule I drove was called Old Red

You hear young folk singers today sing happy work songs about mule drivers and mule-skinners. I sometimes wonder if any of them know what driving a mule is really like, and if they’d still sing so merrily if they knew. My first job was carrying water on the Interstate Railroad grade at Josephine, about a […]

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