Eleanor Tripp’s newspaper clippings
Enjoy these humorous newspaper reports about Westport from the 1860s. Westport Point reporter Thomas W. Mayhew laced his stories with a particularly dry sense of humor:
“Any person passing by would think the advent day was high at hand.”
May 14, 1860 A worthy member of the Society of Friends at Westport thinks that the trouble on the Horseneck Beach is about to end concerning the sea weed, for some person or other has taken down his weather vane and has put the old enemy in its place, awful to behold. Any person passing by would think the advent day was high at hand.
“We were not aware that our population was so large until seeing nearly all in the street.”
July 27, 1860
Our citizens were nearly all in the street this evening, and there was more excitement than we ever witnessed here, caused by a spirited young horse coming into town at the top of his speed, having the forward wheels of a wagon attached. We learn the horse ran in consequence of one of the reins parting one mile from his place. The animal was brought to a stand by falling when near the wharves. It belonged to Mr. Abner Petty. The rider was thrown out soon after the start, it is said some hurt, how much we have not learned.
We were not aware that our population was so large until seeing nearly all in the street.
“… at length the centrifugal force, combined with the staggering amount of exhilarants which had found their way to the brain of one of them, proved too much for him…”
1866 March 28th Police Court. Two Westporters were on a drunken spree last night, driving wildly about our streets. They made repeated attempts to determine with some degree of nicely how small a space their wagon could be turned around in and at length the centrifugal force, combined with the staggering amount of exhilarants which had found their way to the brain of one of them, proved too much for him, and pitched him out headlong. He appeared in court this morning with a turban of discolored bandages, an example of the imaginary “raw-head-and-bloody-bones” of the horrid old nursery stories; and having paid considerably heavy doctor’s bill, the officer thought he had been sufficiently punished, and made no complaint against him. The other one was fined two dollars and costs, amounting to $8.35.
“We felt rather delicate at first at being rowed by a lady…”
August 22, 1864
THE MAID OF HORSE NECK
Brother Davol, of the Bristol County Republican, has been stopping at Westport Point, hunting adventures and curiosities, and thus speaks of one of the latter.
Horse Neck can boast not exactly of a “Lady of the Lake”, but of a female sailor who rivals Scott’s celebrated heroine in the ease and speed with which she makes her boat glide over the water. She is the daughter of the only family that lives on the strip of land called Horse Neck, which is accessible only by water or a long distance around. Therefore boating has become her “forte.” Hearing of her skill at the oar, we (the lawyer and myself) managed to get left on the Neck one day for the sake of securing her to row us across the harbor. We called at her house and stated our situation and desire to be ferried over. She seemed to sympathize at once with our unfortunate dilemma, and readily consented to row us across, and tripping out over the rocks, she stepped into the boat like a sea-nymph, and bade the lawyer to be seated in one end and myself in the other, to trim the boat properly, while she took the middle and the oars and darted the craft out into the current with as much ease as an old salt could do it. We felt rather delicate at first at being rowed by a lady, feeling that we ourselves ought to have hold of the oars instead of the graceful sailor girl; but we had no time to recover from our admiration of her skill and the romance of our situation when we found ourselves at the wharf on the opposite side. The distance across is nearly a quarter of a mile, and the tide was running rapidly. While speaking to her of the ease with which she handled the oars, she informed us that she could sail a boat better than she could row one, and we have since heard old skippers acknowledge this to be true. The name of this “faire ladye” is Deborah Gifford.
“The poultry and domestic animals between here and Fall River will henceforth sleep more quietly.”
Police Court—Borden, J. Thursday Dec. 2 1869
When rogues fall out, honest men get their dues. The truth of this adage has long been suspected, and it is proved true in this court today. Holder A. Tripp and George W. Sprague appear to have been holding high carnival among the chickens, pigs and sheep of Westport and Dartmouth, until Sprague got in a tiff with Tripp and told somebody his pal was a thief. Two complaints were accordingly made against Holder, for stealing 4 hens from Zeletes L. Almy and 12 from William Almy of Westport, and were continued till this morning, when Sprague testifies so explicitly that Holder is ordered to give $200 bail in each case for his appearance at the Superior Court. The theft of a pig from Lemuel Barker, 2d, of Dartmouth, is also fastened on Tripp with the same result. Tripp is not the man to quietly stand all this preaching, and he accuses Sprague of stealing the same pig, and a sheep from George W. Wing, of Westport; and Sprague finds that what is sauce for mutton, and sauce for pig is of course a standard dish made carefully from an old recipe. Six hundred dollars is more bail than Tripp can furnish, and four hundred is just as far out of Sprague’s reach. The poultry and domestic animals between here and Fall River will henceforth sleep more quietly. O. Prescott for prosecution in the case for larceny from William Almy; W.H. Johnson for Tripp, and for the prosecution in the cases against Sprague.
Some of the poultry, recovered after being killed, will be distributed by the police among the poor of the city, the owners declining to take it away.