100 Years Ago

Rube in Laurel

From the Laurel social column:

"Several of the young ladies of Laurel will hold a dance at the Academy of Music here on Monday evening February 3rd, dancing to begin at 8:30 P.M.


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"At the regular meeting of the mayor and city council Monday evening, electric lights were granted to the Laurel Free Library, free of charge.

"The women's club of Laurel held a rummage sale last Saturday. The sale will be held every Saturday for a number of weeks, between the hours of 1 and 10 P.M. All kinds of warm clothing, shoes, hats and other useful articles are on sale.

"Rube and His Ma, the three act rural comedy, is to be given at the opera house here for the benefit of the Laurel baseball club. The performers are among those who so greatly delighted our citizens at the recent Laurel Library benefit. Rube and his Ma, will be portrayed by Miss Mary Bond, and Mr. Ray Ellis."

75 Years Ago

Famous pumpkin

From the Times social column:

"Mrs. Cora Mercier is spending some time in Washington with her son-in-law and daughter, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Letts.

"Miss Carolyn Pickett entertained the past week Miss Ann Melvin, of Pocomoke City, a classmate at Western Maryland College."

With fewer institutions of higher learning then, many Howard countians attended Western Maryland College, now McDaniel College, in Westminster, Md., first named for the Western Maryland Railroad. Part of the campus today is a designated National Historic District and includes some interesting architecture, including the exquisite "little Baker chapel".

Among the famous people who attended Western Maryland was Whittaker Chambers, a spy who had a change of heart, and whose name is synonymous with the "Pumpkin Papers." The "papers" was actually microfilm he hid for a short time in a hollowed out pumpkin on his Carroll County property, Pipe Creek Farm, in 1948.

But in the 1920s, Chambers was a member of the Communist Party and during the 1930s he spied for the Soviet Union, collecting sensitive information from government officials in Washington and passing it on to his Soviet handler.

However, by the late 1930s the relentless brutality of the Soviets transformed Chamber's allegiance. He made changes in his life and ultimately testified against Alger Hiss in Hiss' espionage and perjury trial.

Chambers wrote his autobiography "Witness" on Pipe Creek Farm. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and his farm is on the National Register of Historic Places, but is not open to the public.

And you thought farm life is all about feed corn, hog reports and square dancing!

50 Years Ago

Rats! It's mice!

From the extension service's "Farm and Home" column:

"Protecting Fruit Against Mouse Damage: Have you taken the necessary precautions to protect your peach and apple trees against mouse damage? 'Fruit tree losses due to mouse injury are greater than the combined losses due to diseases, insects, etc.' says Glen J. Stadelbacker, University of Maryland, Extension Fomologist.

"No grower would fail to spray to protect the fruit crop, nor should he trust to luck on the 5 to 20 years investment that he has in the trees. ... Ornamental trees and shrubs, which are also suggested to mouse damage, can be treated with endrin. For a copy of the leaflet on endrin application, consult the County Agent's Office."

As if the farmer didn't have enough to worry about, now there's mice mickey mousin' with his fruit trees.