Through efforts by the National Digital Newspaper Program in Ohio, these papers that were once only available on microfilm are now digitized, full text searchable and freely available on the Library of Congress website. They are filled to the brim with interesting and unique stories about our state and local history, and below are just a couple stories that I found while perusing some of the newspapers listed above. A Jail Break in Kalida! A $125 reward was offered to any person who could arrest and deliver three men who had escaped from the Putnam County Jail on December 1845. Major Curtis, Nelson Curtis and William Holmes, imprisoned for murder and counterfeit, made their escape by cutting through a wall two and a half feet thick, besides a two inch plank inside.
In the rest of this article, the Sheriff provides physical descriptions of the men and their clothing. Major Curtis is reported to have a sinister countenance. (Kalida Venture, December 30, 1845, Image 3, col. 4)
According to a separate article, their escape was ingeniously planned, and the Sheriff is no way to blameas the cells of the jail are above ground, with single walls, it is almost certain that a desperate villain will get out. (Kalida Venture, December 30, 1845, Image 3, col. 1, 4). Ravennas Shakespearean Fundraiser In March 1891, the students of Ravenna High School presented the drama The Shakespeare Water Cure in order to raise money to purchase books for their school library. This comedic performance featured characters from some of William Shakespeares most famous plays (Lady Macbeth, Romeo and Shylock, to name a few) gathered together and engaged in their old tricks and intrigues (Democratic Press, March 25, 1891, Image 3, col. 4-5). The event raised $31.20 in net proceeds (approximately $840 in todays money!) and the stage of this fine hall was never graced by more talented amateurs (Democratic Press, April 1, 1891, Image 3, col. 3).