Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times
Sunday was Valentine’s Day, so when we went through Uncle Jack’s scrapbooks this week, we wanted to find some examples of romance. Maybe some marriage announcements. Maybe an example of a sweetheart’s dance or some other celebration of young love.
We found some of that. But we also found some rather amusing stories concerning the less than lingering effects of love over the years.
Among our favorites was the piece on “Kissing” copied by the Progressive from a Steubenville, Ohio newspaper. That piece, on the divorce of Minnie and Andrew Slentz, quoted Minnie who said, “Real kissing grows monotonous during the second year,” before becoming “intermittent” and “stop(ping) entirely before the eighth year of the marriage.”
“Some couples might kiss each other right up until they are sixty in their attempt to fool themselves… but it is all bosh,” Minnie told the court.
Below that was another amusing, but unrelated, observation that one of the passenger trains arrived on time the previous Tuesday. Apparently this was rare enough occurrence to warrant mention when it happened.
At least Minnie Slentz did the honorable thing and sued for divorce before seeking the “heart glow” that accompanies kissing in the “first few months of marriage” from another.
Nancy Carroll apparently decided to run off with Bill Kitchen before letting her husband, Hampton Carroll, know she was finished with their relationship, according to a June 11, 1913 article in the Progressive. Unfortunately for her one of Hampton’s sons saw the two together and let his father know what was going on. Hampton found an officer of the law and had Kitchen arrested for abandonment of his three children. While Nancy was released, Kitchen stayed in jail where the paper reported he was not eager to see Hampton Carroll.
While the pair denied any wrongdoing – Nancy said she was on her way to visit her sister near Ironton, Ohio and Kitchen said he was on his way to South Portsmouth and had secured care for his children in his absence – Nancy did declare her intent to leave Hampton because he, “ain’t been treating me right.”
Whether they really were planning to run off together, or whether they were simply walking together to the train as they claimed, someone apparently thought Bill Kitchen was better looking than Hampton Carroll based on the article’s headline, “Had She Gone With A Handsomer Man?”
Lest you think us completely cynical and pessimistic, with a black sense of humor, concerning the holiday, we leave you with an endearing piece from a June, 1915 issue of the Carter County Herald calling on men to “Watch Your Wife.”
This isn’t to keep her from running off with Handsome Bill Kitchen, though. Rather it’s a call for men to do their share of work to keep their wives happy, and their relationship healthy.
“Keep in mind the girl you led to the alter (sic) – for your wife is that girl; just as good, just as lovable, just as sincere, just as honest,” the article reminds men. “Keep in mind also that you were ready to do almost anything to get her – and so you are reminded that it’s up to you to make some little sacrifice in order to keep her.”
This is something, though the language is a bit dated, we think we can all get behind this Valentine’s Day holiday and every day.
Editor’s Note: This is the 31st in a series of articles drawn from historical newspaper clippings