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A look back to horse-and-buggy days

The day after tomorrow, July 19, has been designated as Celebration of the Horse Day. 

Years ago there were several stables in Hartselle, and I can remember going to the Howell stable to saddle up a horse owned by “Mr. Bill” prior to doing some pleasure riding. For a considerable period after autos had become the dominant method of transportation, the horse and buggy was still the main way people in this area got where they needed or wanted to go.

  • March 9, 1903—George Wilson was tried today before Squire Raney on the charge of horse stealing and placed under a $500 bond, which he said he could not make and was therefore sent to jail. Wilson is a mystery. No one here knows anything about him, and he refuses to talk. He is about 60 years of age, well dressed and looks more like a businessman in good circumstances than a horse thief. 
  • March 6, 1909—In the editorial rooms of a Decatur newspaper is an old-fashioned desk, which was used some 20 years ago by Richard A. Ballinger, now secretary of the interior in President William H. Taft’s cabinet. Mr. Ballinger was previously secretary of the Horseshoe Nail Works in East New Decatur.
  • April 11, 1909—While riding in a horse race yesterday afternoon, Hugh Boggs met with a peculiar accident which will confine him to his room for several days. Mr. Boggs’ horse was ahead of the other horse when a cow crossed the racetrack. Mr. Boggs’ horse ran into the cow, stumbled over her and fell, while Mr. Boggs was thrown a distance of about 20 feet, landing on his head. His major injury is an ugly flesh wound on the head and a bad shaking up. His condition is not considered serious, however.
  • Feb. 27, 1911—Mrs. J. Burleson Orr entertained this afternoon with a Good Luck party in honor of Mrs. John A. Gilliland. A contest on how you would like to spend your time if you were someone besides yourself was held. Many clever and original answers were given to the questions and caused much merriment as the hostess read them aloud. A vote by ballot was taken to determine the winner of the first prize. Mrs. Pierce Pattillo, being the lucky one, was presented with a pair of hose. The consolation prize, a gilded horseshoe tied with blue satin ribbon in a handsome case, was won by Mrs. Chester I. Lee. Many people remember Mrs. Lee very fondly and the great interest she took in young people, especially in terms of their spirituality.
  • March 2, 1911—Alderman Cook of New Decatur has introduced before the city council a blue law ordinance which prohibits a livery stable from renting horses on Sundays.
  • Feb. 28, 1913—There’s almost a panic among the stock owners in and around Moulton on account of a mysterious disease that has affected horses of that vicinity.
  • March 18,1915—A curious but true story is told by Brice Thompson, one of our rural mail carriers. Mr. Thompson says while on top of Burleson mountain his horse became frightened and ran away, and he was unable to control him. The horse ran some distance, according to Mr. Thompson, until he came to a mailbox, at which point the horse drew up close to the box and stopped. It was the force of habit on the part of the horse, said Mr. Thompson. “That horse knows his duty as well as I know it,” he firmly believes.
  • April 7, 1922—The armory of Troop C, of the Cavalry Corps, was badly burned here tonight. The company had 10,000 rounds of ammunition stored in the building, and the explosion of the cartridges prevented fire fighters from properly combating the blaze. Members of the troop fought heroically to save the troop’s horses, however, and only one of them met death. 
  • March 21, 1946—The counselor of the Junior Riding Club, Billie McCutcheon, requests the presence of all members interested in the spring horse show to be present at the next meeting, March 23 at 2 p.m., at the home of Freddy Bennett. Members should be sure their horses have been shod before the meeting.

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