I spent part of today at the genealogy library, doing some research about Socialists in Bryan county in 1914-15. (Isn’t that what you do on your day off?) In the process I found some interesting items about my great grandfather, Calvin Wheeler Banta in the weekly “Liberty Hill” news column. My grandfather, John Springer, had a reputation in these parts as a good farmer. He raised his crops and his children on the farm I can still see from my dining room window. But I guess I had forgotten about his father-in-law living on the same plot of ground.
Old newspapers are a wealth of information if you have the patience and eyesight to read microfilm. In summer 1914 issues of the Caddo Herald I found “Mrs. C.W. Banta is up again after a three week’s spell”, and “C.W. Banta was in Caddo on business Monday.” They just don’t write news like that anymore! I also found out that my great grandfather had suffered a little heat sickness from working too hard in the cane fields, but later recovered and carried 185 jars of syrup to Caddo to sell. This news was in the July 17, 1914 paper: “C.W. Banta is making two and three trips a week to Caddo with garden stuff that is bringing a fancy price owing to the drought prevailing on Caddo prairie. Tomatoes and watermelons have begun to get ripe and he finds no time to complain of hard times and cuss the government.” That tells me so much more about him than dry facts on a census roll. You can bet I’ll be reading the Liberty Hill news again soon.