Tag Archives: yellow journalism

What Happened if the Newspaper Caught you Kissing the Hired Help?





Much as been said about fake news-but, I don’t write news, just history. Sometimes stories that I have written have received comments such as:

Not a true story- been debunked- stop spreading fake news.

But these are the stories that have been told for generations and also recorded on national historical sites. According to Wikipedia folklore is: the body of expressive culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the traditions common to that culture, subculture or group. These include oral traditions such as tales, proverbs and jokes.

Personally I feel these home-grown stories make up part of our local culture, and I for one am not going to stop telling them. But- journalism in the old days was all about selling papers and here are a few I definitely call in the fake news category.


1901-Almonte Gazette-“Fake Offer”

The editor of a Kootenay, British Columbia newspaper, who was unmarried, offered to send his paper free of charge for one year to any maiden who would send her address and a lock of her hair before 1 Jan. 1901. He now has the largest circulation in the district and enough hair to stuff a mattress.

February 1906-Almonte Gazette-“Fake Intimidation”?

An editor of the Almonte Gazette once published the following:

“If the married man who was seen kissing the hired girl doesn’t come in and pay his subscription, we will publish the name. The next day, 25 married men paid their subscriptions and told the editor he should not pay attention to such silly stories.

Feb 14 1890-Almonte GazetteShawville Equity

A strange story was related to us a few days ago, in connection with the death of a horse owned by Mr. Andrew Havilin, of North Clarendon, VT. which occurred about ten days previously. It seems that early in the summer the animal was observed to be afflicted with some trouble, the cause of which baffled all attempts to discover. The only thing peculiar Hr. Havilin noticed about the horse, after he took sick, was his frequent efforts to swallow something that seemed to rise in his throat.

The animal gradually declined until death relieved its sufferings. On examination being made, the partly  remains of a large snake were found in the windpipe, thus explaining the mystery of why the horse was sick. mystery. How the reptile took up its quarters in such a singular lodging-place remains to be explained.

True or False?


Poor Journalism or Mistaken Identity?

Local Newspapers–Yellow Journalism

The Maggie Murphy Potatoe Hoax in Carleton Place

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in Hometown News and now in The Townships Sun

Local Newspapers–Yellow Journalism



Yellow journalism, or the yellow press, is a type of journalism that presents little or no legitimate well-researched news and instead uses eye-catching headlines to sell more newspapers.Techniques may include exaggerations of news events, scandal-mongering, or sensationalism. By extension, the term yellow journalism is used today as a pejorative to decry any journalism that treats news in an unprofessional or unethical fashion.

There is not a day that does not go by when I see totally insane titles of articles from old archived newspapers. They needed to sell newspapers, so the more ridiculous the title and article the more papers they sold.

I remember seeing a title of: The Streets of Carleton Place Ran Thick With the Blood of Terror! and of course I use strange titles too. Today one would now call that clickbait–but I personally believe it is a way to get people to read history, and as far as I know I am not making any income LOL.

Yesterday I wrote about a newspaper story from the Almonte Gazette called: Going to the Chapel –Drummond Whalen and Johnson of Carleton Place. The Gazette was later asked to retract a lot of what they had put on the front page. Historian John Morrow from the Lanark County Genealogical Society sent this comment of which I thought I would share.



“From what I have heard over the years the Almonte Gazette’s then editor/publisher, Adelbert Stewart “Stew” Hanna was quite a character, especially when he was allegedly inebriated (which apparently was not that unusual), and was not above a bit of “yellow” journalism at those times, and this appears to be one of them. My father told me one time it was frequently Mrs. Hanna, not Stew, who oversaw the Gazette’s weekly publication.

I also had occasion one time to sit down with Angus Edward “Gus” Dobbie, long-time editor of the Smiths Falls Record-News, who told me he and Stew Hanna maintained quite a running editorial battle in the pages of their respective papers. Gus Dobbie also commented about Norman E. H. Turner, who was editor and publisher of the Perth Courier during that time period, that Norm Turner was a great businessman as publisher, but as an editor “he couldn’t sharpen Stew Hanna’s pencils”.

John Morrow


Read the Almonte Gazette here




Some of the Lanark County Genealogical Society yesterday. Everyone single person has a story in this picture. The woman about to sit down is Irma Willowby whose husband was one of the Willowbys of Carleton Place I have written about.