From the very beginning of its existence Caddo had a reputation as a rough and rowdy town. This amusing exchange between the editor of the paper and a local resident is just one tiny example of the problems which plagued citizens before they obtained some protection from the law. Note: ginger beer was made by mixing ginger, sugar, water, and “ginger beer plant”- a substance which allowed fermentation in just a few days. The alcohol content varied, but could be as high as 11%.
Friday, May 9, 1876
A Public Nuisance
A few more ginger shops in town and the quiet, decent portion of our community had as well pull up stakes and seek some other locality. We are not on principle opposed to a man drinking anything he may choose, or as much of it as he has the capacity to chamber, but we do contend that in doing so he has no right to disturb the peace of his neighbors; and until we have laws in this country to punish men for a breach of the peace the fewer of those semi-liquor saloons we have, the better.
These remarks are not made through any desire to interfere with any man’s private business, for everybody knows that this is something the Star never presumes to, except so far as duty requires it in watching the interests of the community. When a man’s occupation is the cause of disturbing the peace and quiet of the whole surrounding neighborhood, it then becomes a public nuisance and justly merits the severest criticism of the press. And no right-thinking man will engage in anything of this kind, under the existing state of affairs, knowing as he does that we have no protection at law, but are completely at the mercy of all the rough and rowdies that my congregate here.
May 16, 1876
The columns of the Star are always open to those who feel themselves aggrieved at anything that may appear in it and the following epistle is as freely published as though its language was as soft and soothing as a love-lorn maiden’s song. Sorry indeed are we that in the discharge of our duty as a public journalist it ever becomes necessary for us to say anything to wound the feelings of another, for we would rather elicit one kind word than a thousand harsh ones, but when it does we say it regardless of consequences. To the uncalled-for insinuations of our friend we make no reply, but leave our readers to form their own conclusions. All we will say is that we regret very much that Mr. Scott finds himself in a situation to take offense at an article that was written for the benefit of the whole town, he and his family as much as anyone else.
Here is his letter verbatim, et literatim et punctuatim:
Editor of Oklahoma Star
In your paper of the 9th I Noticed a piece Headed Public Nuicence- Now Sir I want to Know if you do not think a Beggor is a more Public Nuicence than a vendor of Ginger or as you call it a Ginger Stand, you say the Respectful part of the people had beter move out of the town, you of course will remain; when you are aware for two months your nearest Neighbor Kept a house of Ill Fame that you did not Notice for reasons best Known to your self. H. R. Scott