Muscatine County, Iowa
Muscatine Journal & News-Tribune
Centennial Edition
31 May 1940

Section 3 Page 11, Submitted by Charlene Nichols Hixon, May 1, 2012

Evils of Drink Were Told in Page One Poem

With swing and with sentiment – of times of the gushing variety – early newspaper editors of Muscatine – then Bloomington – utilized poetry daily to bring messages to their readers. Some were inspired by death of a friend or relative of the contributor, others were utilized to bring home lessons on temperance while still others were just poems or space fillers.

In the edition of 1841 – in the paper completing the first volume of the Bloomington Herold, predecessor of The Muscatine Journal – a browsing reporter found this touching ditty captioned “To a Gentleman Who Asked Me to Take a Glass of Brandy.”

Thou hast a generous heart I know,
As all men have who drink;
But wouldst thou to a world of woe,
My sinful spirit sink?
Ah! Wouldst thou to my loathing lip,
Lift up the accursed bowl;
And bid the bard again to sip,
Damnation to the soul?

Were I to touch the wine cup now,
It would its flame implant;
Despair would burn upon my brow,
And hell within my heart.

Oh! Could thou hear my anguished sighs,
Both when I wake and sleep;
Thouds’t turn away with tearful eyes,
Yes turn away and weep.

The hopes of other years now flown,
Ambitions blighted too;
All, all the latter woes I’ve known.
Are all recalled by you.

Far better to this hapless heart,
A dagger’s death were given;
Than rob me of that better part,
A sober hope of heaven.

Beware the wine cup, oh my friend,
Beware ill-fated love;
These evils down to hell would send
An angel from above.

When you shall life the goblet up,
Oh pause – its horrors scan!
Then dash to earth the damning cup,
And dare to be a man.

Think of your mourning children’s tears,
And all the painful past;
Think of the wretchedness and fears
That must be thine at last.
Think of the loss of fortune, fame
Of friends and peace and pride;
Think of the dark and damning shame,
The grave can never hide.

Ye jolly friends, I found in need,
And oft at midnight met;
If at the bar I do not plead,
Don’t think that I forget.
-- Milford Bard.

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Photo of Joseph Bridgman

The dates of 1813 and 1900 mark the life span of Joseph Bridgman, Muscatine merchant associated with C. Weed & company nearly a century ago. He was born in Massachusetts, was married here on June 4, 1840, and died Feb. 21, 1900.

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The Painting

The Painting, in attractive colors, pictured above, was drawn by Mrs. Elizabeth D. Sterne as a part of a study of pioneer days carried on this year by the Muscatine branch of the American Association of University women. The pictures have been widely displayed and other exhibits are scheduled.

    “In the spring of 1839 Stephen Whicher made a large social party at his house – at which was present about twenty Indians. * * * The center of the large front room was cleared and an Indian war dance introduced. Mrs. Whicher brought out some tin pans and the fire shovel and tongs with a few sticks which made the music. * * * The floor was nearly filled with Indians, the whole circling around in all sorts of savage and frantic shapes and forms of attitudes, keeping time with the ding of the pans and tongs at the same time uttering low guttural sounds – hew-wa-wa-wa – which increased in loudness and tone until it became a savage howl, and they charged upon each other until the ladies were greatly frightened. The squaws did not dance, but laughed to burst to see the pale faced women so frightened.”

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Page created May 2, 2012 by Lynn McCleary