Correct response: Who is James A. Garfield?
“Strawberries for President Garfield are shipped from Quebec,” The Commercial Advertiser of Fort Edward reported on Aug. 10, 1881.
The north-of-the border harvest must have been running late, as the usual Quebec strawberry season runs April-July. Around the same time, Matthew Crawford, a member of the Ohio Horticultural Society, named a new variety of strawberry the Mrs. Garfield Strawberry in honor of Lucretia Garfield, the president’s wife, just a few weeks before the President was shot on July 2, 1881, according to the James A. Garfield National Historical Site.
In other anecdotes of the lighter side of politics collected from historic newspapers of the region:
The 1880 presidential campaign stimulated the Glens Falls economy. “We understand the Novelty Manufacturing Co. of Glens Falls have received an order for 40,000 campaign torches to be completed in September,” The Commercial Advertiser of Sandy Hill reported on July 14, 1880.
The Post-Star of Glens Falls reported on June 10, 1948 that the Republican party would spend $5,000 per night – the equivalent of $62,931 per night in 2023 dollars — at the Republican National Convention for bands — the “biggest entertainment expenditures in the country’s history.”
She celebrated like any other politician. “Mrs. Kinsley, who was elected as school commissioner in the second commissioner district of Clinton County on Tuesday, upon hearing the good news ‘set up’ the cigars just like any other candidate does when he wins,” The Morning Star reported on Nov. 12, 1890.
An unnamed political correspondent reflected nostalgically on covering President Ulysses S. Grant earlier in the correspondent’s career. “General Grant was the best man to interview I
ever met. He would only talk to a person whom he knew well, and then he would tell you exactly what you wanted to know than any man I ever made an inquiry of,” the correspondent reported in The Morning Star on Nov. 18, 1890. “He was very pleasant to newspaper men in which he had confidence, but when one came about whom he did not know or trust, you couldn’t get a word out of him.”
“Now bury the political hatchet. Settle down in your regular vocations. The holiday season will soon be at hand, enjoining a fraternal feeling and reviving that inspiring legend, ‘Peace on Earth, good will to men.” – The Morning Star, Nov. 8, 1890.
“The Democratic National Convention opening here (in Philadelphia) July 13 will probably be an even more reverberating clambake than last week’s gathering of the Grand Old Party. The prudent man who plans to attend it will bring his own earmuffs.” – The Post-Star, June 29, 1948.
“Friends! Keep moving. – Glad tidings are pouring in upon us, but the verdict of the ballot box has yet to be rendered. Deem the result in doubt until every vote is deposited. Then shout!” – The Fort Edward Ledger, Nov. 5, 1859.
Photo: A New York Times pressman checking a newspaper for defects in 1942.