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Celebrating Christmas in 1908 in the Capital City

Trent Dolan
For the Nevada Appeal

It is Christmas in 1908 and the power’s out in Carson. Prisoners are smuggling morphine under one cent stamps. Tonopah’s population has bloomed to nearly 10,000. Tim the Chinaman is going blind and is broke.

One would think, from the response to the story in last night’s Appeal telling us of the sad plight of poor old Tim, Chinaman, that Christmas time is here already, for Tim is in a fair way already to obtain relief. Dr. Huffaker went down to Chinatown last night and examined Tim’s eyes. He says that the right eye can be saved … if operated on at once; that the left eye will be ready shortly for an operation and that it may be saved.

The Daily Appeal is changing hands again. Once a morning paper, it is now an afternoon paper. After 19 months Dean Smith and James Green have turned it over to Irvin G. Lewis.

Gone are the glory days when Sam P. Davis was editor. We are serious journalists now and have a duty to the 4,000 souls that call Carson City home.

The Austin Reveille tells a story of a man who gave his dog 12 seditz powders and then a drink of water. The dog swelled up until he rose in the air like a baloon (sic) and floated off into the next county. These sort of yarns tend to destroy the faith of the people in the varacity (sic) of the editorial profession and the next legislature should establish a press censorship and see that such shameless fabricators are properly checked.

Gov. Jewett Adams is nearing completion on his new gypsum plant at Moundhouse despite the cold weather. Completion of the Governor’s Mansion still is one year off; The first airplane flight from Nevada, in Carson City, is still two years off; Old Man Beatty is dead: He was thrown from a load of wood near his ranch and suffered a fractured skull. He died without regaining consciousness. He was the namesake of Beatty.

Unprincipled residents. Boy steals from orphan and man refuses assistance. That Carson City has a young man with very little principal and practically no sense of honor or honesty was demonstrated yesterday when one of the inmates of the State Orphan Asylum dropped two half dollar pieces on the sidewalk and saw this certain young man pick them up, pocket them and hurry away, despite the pleading of the little girl and her friends. We are sorry to state that Carson City harbors and unprincipled member of the male sex who pleases to call himself a “man.”

If Carson is to save the Stewart Institute from abandonment, immediate action must be taken by Senators Nixon, Newlands and Congressman Bartlett protesting the abandonment and asking for retention of the school as part of the Indian Bureau of this state.

Carson is deeply mourning the passing of “one of the best women in the county,” Mrs. Mary E. Woodbury, wife of Senator James P. Woodbury of this city died Monday evening. The passing of this estimable lady plunged the whole community into grief. So well is she known for her many charities, her greatness of heart, her kindly and cheerful disposition that hardly a man, woman or child in Ormsby County ins unaffected over the loss of this dear woman.

The new chemical fire engine purchased by the City Trustees for the Warren Engine Company has arrived just in time.

And now it is Christmas.

A wee bit of a girl ran to the window this morning as soon as she could tumble out of bed, looked out at the bare ground and began to sigh.

No snow overnight. The sky perfectly clear. How on earth can Santa Claus come in his sleigh when there is no snow? Would it snow tonight?

One eager question after another poured fourth and the child’s anxious face began to take on a look of disappointment until her mama told her that Santa Claus is a fairy, an old, old fairy, who loves children so much that when there is no snow he summons his fairy steeds, who do not even step on the ground, and is able therefore to go his rounds whether there is any snow or not.

How little it takes to satisfy a child. How child-like people become on this occasion, the most important and the most significant of the whole Christian year.

It is no wonder that the millions who believe in Him celebrate this one day and make it sacred to the children, the little, trustful, happy children, who take everything for granted and repay love and affection bestowed upon them a thousand fold.

In happy emulation of His example and in His memory, Carson City will celebrate this greatest of feasts tonight and tomorrow. Some there may be who are in sorrow. These will be comforted. Some may be in want. These will be supplied. When it is over we will all go back to our usual vocations with a renewed sense of the duties we own to our fellow man and the world will be better and brighter for the sacrifices, as it always is.

* Trent Dolan is the son of Bill Dolan, who wrote a column for the Nevada Appeal from 1947 until his death in 2006.