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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Are those old newspapers worth something?

(Note: This story is a continuation of an article I wrote for The Patch. Read here.)

When ever I find old newspaper at a sale, no matter the condition, or the location I am immediately curious about the date and any reference from the scrap I’ve found. If it was saved it must have been for a reason. Was it the headline, or a more personal reference or association? Or was it just to line a steamer trunk? I have to know. 

The Connecticut Herald and weekly Journal came to me while checking through a pile of papers at a recent sale. Seeing 1871, I was happy to drop 2 dollars for it and see what I could find within. It is a good example of rag or linen based paper stock. Though fraught with strong creases this paper is as pliable as a fresh rubber band. 

A quick scan of the articles and I've found the reason why it was saved, or so I think. This being found at a Bridgewater, CT estate sale the longtime resident may well have known, befriended, or just taken great pride in the relationship of a member of the Boardman family to the history of Connecticut. The Boardmans were the founding family of New Milford and served the State and community through every generation. If you take the time to read this obituary you will see that it goes more in to the family history than the deceased himself.  

 My scanner, unfortunately, made short work of the document.

The second paper I discovered at this sale was an even earlier edition of "Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper" 
This paper may have been kept due to the report of the imminent threat of War between the States. This early report from February 1861 features a profile of Major Armstrong who was in control of Fort Sumpter in Virginia. This letter from a correspondent in Charleston tells of the confusion and feelings of vigilance toward the Federal government.

 It was a confusing and scary time for residents of those States and must have also weighed heavy on the shoulders of a new president.
In just a few months, tensions would rise further as supply ships were turned back from aiding Fort Sumpter, Major Armstrong held off the threat until supplies ran out. The attack on the Fort began the war and the rest was, well, ...a bloody mess. 

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