Joseph Ashur Lumbard
Editor Of the Snyder County Tribune, Civil War Veteran, Politician
Heather (Sulouff) Truckenmiller
"Here he provided "a barbed exchange of editorial opinion with Weirick which lasted for decades." Weirick referred to Franklin Weirick, current editor of the Selinsgrove Times." From a History Of the Snyder County Tribune http://www.rootsweb.com/~pasnyder/news.htm
Verbal Battle of the ‘70’s Between Joseph A. Lumbard of the Snyder County Tribune and Franklin Weirick of The Selinsgrove Times
By DR. WILLIAM A. RUSS
History Chair Susquehanna University
(Read before the Society, Jan. 25th. 1937)
Franklin Weirick came out of the Civil War an unreconstructed rebel still. The Union victory did not make his editorials any sweeter, but It did remove a great cause upon which he could use his remarkable gifts as a vitriolic writer. No longer could he let loose barbed shafts of accusation which made his opponents’ blood boil with patriotic hate. The country during the period of Reconstruction after the War was no longer in danger, and, therefore. Weirick’s bromides against radical reconstruction, Republican corruption. and Grant’s sins, raised less violent reaction. This is not to say that he was loved any more than before— as a matter of fact he was probably loved as little as ever—but it does say that, while still harping on national problems, Weirick had to expend his best energies in thrusting lances at netty local windmills instead of against Lincoln. The War and the Union. In short. his tongue was not less sharp, but the issues he lashed were less grandiose and his attitude was much less daring. No more was he threatened with lynching on the charge of being a traitor.
During the War. as everyone knows. Weirick fulminated against the Union high, wide and handsome: and since the Unionist Post had gone under there had been no Selinsgrove editor to call his hand. Shortly after the War, however, in 1871. he secured a competitor named Joseph Ashur Lumbard. a man who was worthy of Weirick’s metal. Lumbard brought the Snyder County Tribune to Selinsgrove from Middleburg, publishing his first issue on February 9, 1871—which. by the way, was misdated February 9 1870 on several pages. With Rev. Richard Lazarus as junior editor. Lumbard moved to Selinsgrove as he said for three reasons:
first, there were already three Republican newspapers in the county seat and none at Selinsgrove, a larger place; second, many friends had said that there was a chance for a profitable paper in the metropolis of the county they probably meant there was need of someone to take Weirick’s measure and defend Republicanism against his attacks); and third, since Selinsgrove was a larger place, there was more business, and Lumbard thought he could serve the farmers better by giving them more dependable and quicker market quotations. By March 23. 1871, the new organ had 600 subscribers, altho if one is to Judge by the numerous appeals for payment of subscriptions, many read the paper without ever paying for it.
Weirick undoubtedly did not like the prospect of having a competitor for his own subscribers, whose money was already hard thought to get out of them. At all events, he unloosed his sarcasm as soon as the Tribune appeared. On February 10. 1871, he quoted with evident satisfaction, the Free-burg Courier which reported falsely that Rev. Lazarus who, as has been mentioned, became an editor of the Tribune, was to give up his preaching and go to Lehigh county to manufacture soap. When the first issue of the new sheet appeared. Weirick commented (February 17, 1871) that it “still clings to the martyred Lincoln as Its guiding star and patron saint.” Soon he was poking fun at Lumbard for defending the Republican party, which he irreverently dubbed “the God-and humanity party” March 31. 1871).
But the editor of the Tribune was no novice at political and personal crimination. His belligerency can be gauged by his attack upon John Bilgere, of Middleburg. for cancelling his subscription to the Tribune to which attack. Bilger replied in the Volksfeund, that “the editor of the Tribune is both a LIAR and a CHEAT.” (March 3. 1871). The outward obvious issue between Lumbard and Weirick was personal; that is, they were two local editors competing amongst a limited number of potential readers, for subscribers. Moreover this personal clash was based upon local politics—Weirick the Democrat. Still suffering for his Civil War Copperheadism which was true of Democrats everywhere), and Lumbard. Grand Old Party in its right to rule because it had been loyal and had won the war. This personal and party antagonism was personified and dramatized by the Snyder County Representative in the lower house at Harrisburg. Col. Jack Cummings. The scene was made more complicated by the
fact that Cummings. though a Democrat, was execrated by Weirick, because Cummings’ Democracy leaned too far toward Republicanism. To make matters worse, Lumbard defended Cummings and was, to all intents and purposes. Cummings’ editor.
Yet, behind these petty, local crosscurrents of personal and party politics, was a bigger issue which was being debated. This underlying issue, about which Lumbard and Weirick slashed back and forth at each other with weekly regularity, was the question of local and special legislation. The striking thing about the controversy is that both men bitterly opposed local legislation, yet just as bitterly fought and scratched each other over
What was this evil which caused the use of so much ink and paper as each attacked the other?
The evil went back to the State Constitution of 1838 which permitted the legislature at Harrisburg to enact special or private laws for one corporation or one company or one person or one town. Instead of a general law being passed so that charters could be issued as a routine matter of administration, each company which was formed had to get its charter passed by the legislature. If a new bridge was needed over Penn’s Creek. the legislature at Harrisburg had to permit it. If Selinsgrove wished to build a railroad to Freeburg. the legislature had to grant the charter. If Mifflintown had a bad fire (which it did early in 1871) with the destruction of 70 building’s worth from $150,000 to $200.000 the legislature was expected to reimburse the town for the loss. This last was particularly smelly incident of local legislation because the commission which was to distribute $20000 granted by the State to the stricken community was sued for graft and improper distribution of the money. Little wonder that Weirick opposed such pork-barrel legislation which, as he said turned the State Government into a life insurance company; furthermore, all towns which had fires would be asking for aid. Tioga had had 40 buildings burned. Why not help it? Times, January 5. 27; February 16; March 3; and July 21. 1871. Lumbard also criticized such laws, that is when they applied to any other county than Snyder. On April 6. 1871 he said: “Very little actual progress is made from week to week by our State Legislature. Nearly all the sessions are consumed in acting on private bills, and indeed this seems to be the only class of legislation on which the two branches (one Democratic, one Republican) can agree.” Even Weirick, however, was willing to make use of special law when it suited his purpose. For instance he favored the appointment of a committee to ask the legislature to permit Selinsgrove to sell $10,000 worth of bonds. the money to be employed in the purchase of a fire engine, hose and apparatus in order to prevent, if possible. another fire. such as occurred on February 21, 1872 (Times, March 1, 1872). But he objected when the Snyder representative in the lower house at Harrisburg had the assembly pass a law to incorporate the Snyder Fire Insurance Company. on the stock plan (March 15, 1872).
The system of private or special legislation became such a scandal that the main reason for writing the State Constitution of 1874 was to do away with the evil. After that if a law was passed, it must apply to the whole State. and not to one man, or one company. or one county. But until this much needed reform was constitutionalized. the system as it existed was used for all it was worth. Each member of the State Assembly thought it necessary to get as much local legislation for his own area as possible, or else he would be defeated at the next election. Hence, as Lumbard said, most of the time of each member was spent in local interests instead of in legislating for the welfare of all the people all over the Commonwealth. Members traded votes under the theory that if you vote for a bridge over Penn’s Creek in my district. I will vote for a local railroad, whether needed or not, in yours. and no questions will be asked. If one town received a break, its neighbor demanded a similar break. It even descended into religious circles. For instance, Major Cummings. The Snyder member, introduced a bill of relief to exempt the First Lutheran Church of Selinsgrove from payment of taxes on collateral which had been bequeathed to the congregation; at once a similar measure was offered in the Senate for the Lutheran and Reformed congregation at Hassinger’s in Franklin township Tribune, April 6. 1871).
A particularly ridiculous example of local legislation at its worst, passed for political purposes, was a bill offered by Assemblyman Cummings to the effect that the islands in the Susquehanna Rivers opposite Selinsgrove need not befenced in. Weirick thought this act was especially rotten because of the reasons Cummings had in mind for pushing it thru. “Jack Is just as sharp as other people,” said Weirick on February 3, 1871, even “if he can’t spell.” It seems that, as explained by Weirick, a Mr. Fry, of Selinsgrove, owned one of the islands: but all of them were in Northumberland county, since the west shore of the river was the county boundary. Fry, a Republican, was supposed to have promised to vote for the Democratic Cummings if Cummings brought the islands into Snyder county where taxes were lower, Whether all this was true or not, it was Weirick’s explanation February 3 and 10, 1871). While the bill was passing the House, other members, again according to Weirick, must have their fun at such silly legislation. One member facetiously tried to amend the law by providing that only licensed cattle, with conspicuous tags, could run on the islands; a second tried to provide that the tide must not be allowed to overrun the islands; and still a third wished to prohibit boys from wallowing in the river (Times, February 17, 1871). Another bill offered by Cummings to get votes was to permit the Snyder county commissioners to build a bridge over Penn’s Creek, at or near Mowry’s Mill. Jackson town-shin ‘Ibid.), Still another enactment which drew Weirick’s ire was a Senate bill “to amend the marriage contract between Jacob A. Smith and Caroline, his wife” (March 24. 1871). Little wonder that Weirick said on February 24. 1871: “Special legislation has run mad, and Tom, Dick and Harry all look to Harrisburg for relief from taxation In one shape or another.”
All this was insane enough but Weirirk’s own pet peeve was Cummings’ attempts, as the former said, to get rail-reads Incorporated and chartered in every township of Snyder county In order to win votes. It was for this reason that he dubbed Cummings a statesman, but the word always appeared in ouote marks. Said Weiriek on June 9, 1871:
“The grand era of railroads in Snyder County has dawned upon us. Our able ‘statesman’ during the past winter secured the enactment of a charter for a railroad from Selinsgrove to Nofthumberland; one from Selinsgrove to the Junction on the Juniata; and one from Beavertown to Troxelville, All right if ever built; but then every man of good sense will know that all this chartering is a mere delusion to humbug people to vote for the re-election of the ‘statesman’.”
Weiriek was right about the great number of railroads which were being chartered; he was probably equally correct when he said most of them were mere politics. At any rate, railroads were in the air. The near completion of the Sunbury and Lewistown turned everybody’s head. A charter was granted for the Lewisburg, Centre and Spruce Creek Railroad, which was authorized by the assembly to Issue thr ee millions in bonds (Times, February 2, 1872). A meeting was held to build a Selinsgrove and Freeburg Railroad, narrow guage, to cost $90,000 (Tribune, July 20, 1871). Weirick thought this road was a political one (TImes, July 21, 1871), altho it was started and the grading can still be seen In spots. There was even talk of a Selinsgrove to Shamokin Railroad (Times, December 15, 1871). When ore mines were discovered along the route of the projected track between Freeburg and Richfield, W e I r i c k thought it was mostly “blow” ore (Times, August 25, 1871).
Perhaps the boom road which received most discussion and condemnation from Weiriek was the projected Selinsgrove and North Branch which was to run to Mifflintown thru Port Trevorton. This road was mentioned in the Tribune as early as June 8, 1871. Soon a charter was received and stock of $20,000 printed, When the books were opened at $50 per share, only 220 shares were taken, whereas the charter itquired 400 (Times, June 30 and August 11, 1871). Nevertheless a board was elected (Tribune, August 10, 1871), and in November it was announced that a corps of engineers was to start surveying (Ibid., November 9, 1871). and by spring, it was reported that the seven miles of track between Selinsgrove and Port Trevorton had been contracted at $20,000 a mile and that grading was to start in a few weeks (Times, April 5. 1872). Some work was done in grading, but the project did not move. Weirick, who thought the venture was a fake, gave it no support whatever. On October 2, 1874, he announced that all the work so far done had been made possible by borrowed capital, instead of by money received from payment of subscriptions. Subscribers tried to pay their subscriptions by note, and, said Weirick, “an effort has been made to sell these notes at a shave.” Furthermore. not even the cost of printing the bonds ($605.01) had ever been paid (Times, October 9, 1874). A report by a hired geologist that there were minerals along the right-of-way did not make subscribers any more anxious to pay up; and soon it was stated that these subscribers were taking legal steps to break their contracts (Times, October 1, 1874). Weirick aided and abetted in this reluctance of the subscribers to make good their promises, for, he asked, why throw money away on something whose success had vanished? (August 13, 1874).
With these facts regarding the iniquity of private and special legislation in mind, we now turn to the actual battle between Weirick and Lumbard, The gunning started on March 9. 1871, when Lumbard tweaked Weirick for lying about Cummings; the editor of The Times, declared the editor of The Tribune, ought to keep “his potato trap shut,” Next week (March 16, 1871) Lumbard was editorializing upon “The penetrating mind of the great mogul who rules the destiny of the democracy of the county,” and added: “What a great depth of mind Weirick has got; it is a great pity that .he does not devote his leisure hours to the study of Astrology.” Next issue, Lumbard added that Weirick. the ‘old Goose’ who runs that paper (The Times) must have quite a nest of eggs, judging from the amount of noise she is making” (March 23. 18Th, The reason for this somewhat bumptious, if effective, attack upon Weirick was that he had been taking Cummings and Lumbard to task for not clicking in their attitudes toward certain local laws which Cummings was pushing thru the Assembly. In other words, The Times thought that the Assemblyman and his obsequious editor should get together on the question of the bridge over Penn’s Creek, the question of local option, and the question of chartering the Selinsgrove and North B ranch Railroad, already discussed. Furthermore, Weirick thought it was monstrous that Cummings had pushed a law thru the legislature to increase ferriage charges across the Susquchanna River at Selinsgrove from fifteen to twenty—five cents (Times, March 17 and 24. 18711.
Weirick in his criticism, of course became personal—so much so, in fact. that Cummings thought it necessary to rise on the floor of the House at Harrisburg and use considerable time lo defend himself from defamation of character by the editor of The Times. Cummings called Weirick “a dirty dog” for saying that he and Lumbard disagreed on the bridge question, local option and the North Branch Railroad. He then gave a biography of Weirick which went something as follows: In 1857 Cummings met a bum coming over a hill in Snyder county. The bum was Weirick, Cummings said he charitably gave Weirick a loan to enable him to set up the Snyder County Journal. The loan of between five and six hundred dollars was still owing. In spite of the fact that Weirick had belonged to the Know-Nothing Party and was, therefore, politically friendless, Cummings secured his appointment in 1860 as county marshal. Then during the Civil War, Cummings got Weirick exempted from the draft, “on account of a disease which he did not think it would be right to designate” (Tribune, March 30, 1871).
At first Weirick said that Cummings’ speech was so scurrilous that he would not lower his own dignity by answering it. He simply stated that “His (Cummings’) explanation is a LIE from end to end,” but did permit himself to add that Cummings at the “age of twenty-five could not write a common receipt” (March 24. 1871). Either he changed his mind of his own will, or else the impression made by Cummings’ statements was so unfavorable to him; at all events, next week, Weirick made a rather extended answer, He denied that he even lived in Snyder ccunty in 1857; not only was he in Wisconsin and Illinois during that year, but he had never heard of Cummings that early. He denied that he was a bum and declared that his parents were not destitute. He denied that he ever borrowed from Cummings and added: “We challenge any man to prove that we ever defrauded any one out of a cent.” Moreover, Cummings lied when he said he had helped Weirick to get out of serving in the army. The facts were that Cummings wanted Weirick to pay h’m $400 to get him exempted and that Weirick refused the offer. In an editorialette he said: “No gentleman, and no man of honor, will ever resort to falsehood for defence. It is the refuge only of baser minds” (Times, March 31. 1871).
Lumbard could not be silent when his man Cummings was thus pilloried. His reaction to Weirick’s defense was: “That WlNDYcation of the editor of the ‘Times’ is decidedly lame.” He went on to say that Weirick was “timorous” when Cummings was in town, and that, “holding on to his ‘stovepipe,’ he skeedadles without fully investigating the cause of his alarm” (April 6, 1871).
The contest between the two editors had thus degenerated into a rather vulgar, small-town newspaper row, in which personal attacks, innuendo, and misstatement were the recognized ammunition. While it is true that the same general standard of editorial etiquette obtained in the larger metropolitan dailies—witness the verbal hair-pulling and cat-calling between Greeley of the New York Tribune, Raymond of the New York Times, and Marble of the New York World—the fact remains that the general lowering of morals in all walks of life during Reconstruction was notably evident in the small newspapers whose editors knew in detail the personal lives of their fellows. The crudeness of small-town personal journalism is nowhere better exemplified than in the never-ending battledoring and shuttlecocking between Lumbard and Weirick during the summer of
For instance, Lumbard on April 13, said of Weirick: “If he has not brain enough to enjoy anything that we may appreciate, it certainly is not our fault and we heartily pity him.” Lumbard consistently referred to Weirick as “Frank” or “Frank-i-e,” while Weirick just as consistently riled Lumbard by misspelling his middle name “Asher” instead of “Ashur.” Weirick, a more literate man, and much keener than Lumbard delighted in breaking a lance at Lumbard every time the latter evidenced (which was often) his weakness at spelling. When Lumbard said that the State Assembly had had an “ardercus” session. Weirick made fun of Lumbard’s illiteracy with malevolent glee Times, June 9. 1871).
Lumbard. if weak in spelling and wit, was strong in crimination and in simple, unadorned, rude bludgeoning. The lie passed back and forth so frequently that it lost its savor. On April 21 1871, Lumbard accused “Frank” of misquotation: “The lie in Frank’s article is so apparent that we consider further comment unnecessary.” Several weeks later “YOSEP”, as Weirick liked to dub Lumbard, was taking Frank for a loss by saying that the editor of The Times refused to denounce the local Republican county officials because he was getting the pub-
lic printing; “the moment he (Weirick) wo’d BREATHE, he would loose his hold of the teat, hence he does not take time to breathe loud enough to be heard” (Tribune, May 11, 1871).
On May 25: “Frank Weirick is (was) a notorious liar”; on June 15: “Frank’s influence amounts to about as much as the ox that attempted to butt the locomotive off the track, yet he is conceited enough to imagine that when he blows his horn, like of old, the walls of Jericho must fall.” On June 22, the Tribune had a small cartoon of Weirick, in a black coat, wearing long hair, feet up on a high stool, looking at the election returns and saying, “Thunderation!”
A new low for vulgar vituperation was reached in the issues of the Tribune after Fourth of July, 1871. It seems that Weirick went fishing on the Fourth, but took more firewater than fishing equipment, and got into some kind of trouble. Let the Tribune tell the story in its own inimitable poetry of July 13, 1871:
“An Editor that a Fishing Went. Respectfully dedicated to the great Mogul,
July the 4th, 1871
With a basket of beets, a rod and a line
With cakes (And perhaps) some lager and wine,
The Editor left his sanctuary quite happy and free,
With a hurrah for the 4th, three cheers for a spree.
The river was reached and soon it was crossed,
And for a while to the world, our hero was lost,
But alas, when the time for a dinner came round,
The beets had disappeared and could not be found.
Now the great Mogul got mad, and said a big d—m
That his beets had been taken by another young man,
And his spirit was up, he felt very queer,
So he resolved to go for the young fellow’s ear.
But here the Editor met with a serious mishap,
In attempting to ‘whallop” this 16 year old chap.
He found ‘Young America’ active and tough.
And soon was compelled to bellow ‘Enough!’
Thus ‘young Harry’ has taught the Mogul a lesson
By giving him this much needed capital dressing.
And now our advice is. he had better look out.
Or some of these times ‘old Harry’ will give him a bout’.”
This event which took place at Duck’s Harbor was of course never referred to by the editor of the Times, but it became Lumbard’s theme song during the coming political campaign. Hardly an attack was made on Weirick by the Tribune wherein some reference or other was not made to Duck’s Harbor. Or to the beets, which, by virtue of the humor of the period soon became "beat" that is. beaten in the election. For instance, on September 21. 1871. Lumbard reported: “The editor of the Times challenges any one to row up to Duck's Harbor. The prize to be a basket of beats.” Attain en August 31. 1871. Lumbard cased himself of the following. anent the election and Weirick’s escapade on the Fourth of July:
“WEIRICK HORS DE COMBAT
‘‘Fourth of July nowhere! Beats versus Ballots, Weirick's friend Jim. Cummings nominated by acclamation. After us lug his ponderous lute ll ect to d e— teat Jno. Cummings by writing article after article in his wide spread and influential paper the hero of Duck’s Harbor finds himself placed HORS BE COMBAT; not a single friend to sustain him in his hour of affliction. His dreaded enemy receives the nomination without a single vote against him.
“For some time the editor of the Times was rather glum, but from the indications of his last issue, his spirits are improving Another Fourth of July excursion and a ‘mill’ with Harry might do him some good.
‘‘Frank is a miserable liar for one who practices so much ... the moon was nearly full last Friday which ac counts for Frank’s lunacy.’’
The summer and fall of 1871 were unfortunate for the editor of The Time’s. Not only was his political ene my in his own party, Cummings,renominated and supported by the Re pubhran Tribune, but he had to take a great deal of ribbing for the Duck’s Harbor Episode. More than that, he had made the enemy of the P. 0. S. of A. by an editorial which accused it of bigotry and of persecuting the Catholic Church. ‘‘Veritas’’ in the Tribune of August 31. 1871, made a frontal attack upon him for lying, by quoting’ tile resolutions passed by a recent P. 0. S. of A. convention at Hariisburg. During these troublous times, Weirick made one peep only, On August 25, 1871, he said:
“Some one must have given the editor of the Tribune a bit of advice, as he has for the past two months ceased to call us by such gentlemanly, refined and dignified titles as ‘Frankie’ and ‘liar’ and ‘spindle-shanked,’ &c., &c. We could never reply to this killing wit of the polished and accomplished scholar whose fertile genius alone could invent such choice language. Besides being conscious of the superior beauty of his countenance and the incomparable gracefulness of his manly form, we were compelled in silence to submit to those harrowing’ animadversions upon our frail corporosity,”
The honors in mudslinging went to the Tribune without any question.
On September 7. Lumbard brought out his heavy artillery in earnest. Said he: “The (Freeburg) Courier hits the editor of the ‘Times’ on a soft spot. (of course we mean on the head) when it tells Frank-i-e to ‘wash his own robes, &c.' We suppose that the ‘Courier’ forgets that the Naval Hero of the ‘Times’ ‘did wash his robes’ when he fell into Duck’s Harbor, on the ‘glorious 4th of July’.” Next week Lumbard became even more vicious when he accused Weirick of blackmail in connection with a certain political scandal in Harrisburg (September 14. 1871). Still Weirick said little. On September 21, the Tribune, with evident satisfaction, clipped the Lewistown Democrat which had a character sketch of the editor of the Times:
“Frank Weirick publishes a ‘patent outside’ sheet at Selinsgrove, called the Times. lie is an eccentric genius, who delights in animadversion. Hence he is continually ‘in hot water.’ Judging by his newspaper we would suppose that lie hated everybody. He ‘pitches into’ A. C. Simpson, President of the (S. & Li Railroad. into Col, Jack Cummings into our humble self, and a half dozen others, of both sides of politics, with equal acrimony and probably equal groundlessness, But, the amount of damage he can do any one is infinitesimally sic) small.”
As regular as clock-work Lumbard’s denunciations appeared, but Weirick said nothing. Next issue, September
21. Lumbard dragged out the bloody shirt to help win the elections; speaking of the “Mogul of the Rebel sheet, the Selinsgrove Times,” he said:
It's columns for years have been devoted to the abuse of the most respectable men of all parties, and during the lifetime of Abraham Lincoln, and even since his death, he has been constantly slandering his reputation and denouncing every measure that he recommended (sic) for the putting every measure that he recommended (sic) for the putting down of the great Southern DEMOCRATIC REBELLION.”
As Weirick remained strangely silent on local questions and kept his exchanges and editorials on national questions, Lumbard continually hammered with the pugnacity of Grant before Richmond. On October 26, with election drawing close, Lumbard went into a spree of anti-Weirick castigation, “Since locals are scarce (said he), we trust our readers will pardon us for using so much space to reply to the silly articles in the Mogul’s last issue. If we were blind we would have no trouble to tell the state of the moon. if some one would read the ‘Times’ for us.” In short besides two regular editorials, Lumbard penned eight editorial paragraphs against Weirick distributed thru the local news section. A strange man indeed who could furnish to his opponent that amount of filling when news was scarce! And yet a man who was clearly Lumbard’s intellectual superior, when the latter admitted that he could not understand Weirick’s articles on national or nonpolitical issues. One of the editorials in this issue charged Weirick with lying and with knifing his own Democratic party. The real reason for Frank’s silence, opined Lumbard. was political pap; so he wrote a mock epitaph to the once immortal Weirick:
“IN MEMORY of one who betrayed his trust in or— (sic) that he might receive a little Public printing. But now he is at rest, death would not be duped. Reader. Here rests the Mogul of the Times. His spirit left for warmer climes. But let us hope that he may find. Mercy. from the One, so just & kind ( .)
“A BETRAYED CANDIDATE.”
Whether Weiriek’s non-political editorializing at this time was due to public printing is a question; he simply denied it. Probably the real reason was that he could not stomach his own party’s candidate. Jack Cummings, who was running again for legislature on the basis of many local laws which he had sponsored for Snyder County. In any case, just before election. Weirick’s unwonted silence got under Lumbard’s skin. It was no fun to try to rile the enemy when the enemy simply deigned not to be riled. Finally Lumbard plainly asked Weiriek certain questions, to which, he said, an answer was expected. On November 2, under the subject of Weirick’s “Meanness and egotism.” Lumbard said: “The answer of the TIMES, to the question proposed by us in our last issue, read thusly :—“ There followed merely a blank space in the column.
The election over, the Weirick-Lum bard feud tended to sleep for sonic months. It was not until the following summer that Weirick seemed to be feeling well again. In any case. he seems to have bided his time, calmly and silently, for one entire year in order to get back at Lumbard for the malevolent rain of ridicule which poured forth from the Tribune after the Duck’s Harbor incident of July 4. 1871. Just before Independence Day. 1872, there began to appear numerous insinuations, which local Selinsgrovers probably understood, about the man-who would-not-drink. Lumbard either had built up a reputation for temperance, or else his shafts at Weirick, for his unfortunate condition at Duck’s Harbor had created for Lumbard a reputation for abstinence. In any event, Weirick’s first issue July 12) after Independence Day. 1872, was chock full of sarcasm and satire on Lumbard’s proclivities for strong drink. Weirick began by saying that Lumbard was so drunk on election day, that he “mistook the curb stone for his easy editorial chair! He gets these spells too often to pass off for ‘sunstroke’ or ‘mental exhaustion!’ “With this thrust as a preface, Weirick tried his hand at the same kind of satirical poetry to which he had been subjected the year before. The reader must decide whether the following is any better than “Maxie’s” ebullition of twelve months before:
“On the Fourth of July Joseph Asher, in truth.
Turned his nose up so high
That he pulled out a TOOTH! He was bent to go home.
But his legs both refused,
And he sank in his doom.
Most unconsciously SNOOZED!
But the strangest of all,
To every one who thinks,
Is this wonderful fall
Of the man who NEVER DRINKS!”
Not satisfied with this, Weirick had some editorials on Lumbard’s antics on the Fourth. He reported that the holiday had passed quietly with only one drunk (Lumbard). He continued: “Our neighbor, the Editor of the Tribune, was so completely ‘tore’ that he was laid out ‘sprawling.’ Couldn’t go to Sunbury . . . There will be a great rush at the dentists for a month or two if that illustrious tooth can’t be found which the Editor of the Tribune swallowed on the Fourth, . . . The Editor of the Tribune not only lost his tooth on the Fourth, but he was also subjected to a severe bath of cold water, applied with a force pump. This however was no misfortune, as it assisted nature in throwing off the Jersey lightning and enabled him to reach home before next day.”
Weirick then inserted a mock advertisement which read as follows:
“HEAVY REWARD OFFERED. A heavy Reward will be paid to any person who will find and return to its handsome owner, an artificial front tooth lost or swallowed by the Editor of the SNYDER COUNTY TRIBUNE on the Fourth of July, during a protracted spell of severe unconsciousness that overcame him after looking at the Fourth of July too early thru the bottom of a tumbler. TOWN CLERK.” In his next issue (July 19) Weirick reported: “That TOOTH has not yet been recovered, several boxes of Fills to the contrary notwithstanding! We would suggest Gerhart’s WORM SYRUP!”
Weirick had his revenge, and with good measure, heaped up to overflowing. The journalistic feud continued sporadically, arising during elections, waning during other periods The great fire of 1874 played havoc with newspaper rivalries by wiping out the Times office. For nine months, that is, from the issue of October 31, 1874, to that of August 13, 1875, Weirick, busy restoring his burned-out business, had no mouthpiece, while Lumbard had the fire and other matters to occupy his attention. The logomachy between the two contestants tends to become tiresome, altho that is not to say that it ceased. In his very first issue after nine months of silence due to the fire of 1874, Weirick showed that he still had the knack of making enemies by saying things in such a way as to appear cynical. Said he, in his maiden effort of 1874: “The Flag, a paper issued in Seiinsgrove during the past year by J. A. Lumbard and H. Hathaway Shindel in the interest of the Patriotic Order Sons of America, has been discontin
ued. Patiiotism must be on a decline when it can’t keep up an organ of its own.” The famous election of 1876 between Hayes and Tilden revived old animosities between Lumbard and Weirick. On November 10, 1876, after the election, Weirick ran a cartoon of Lumbard standing on what looked like a telescope, “Looking for Those’ Heavy Majorities for Hayes and WAGENSELLER.” Next week, November 16, 1876, the same cartoon appeared on its side, with the comment: “YOSEP Loaked Straight Forward Last Week for those Heavy Majorities; But Failing to See Them He Changed Position and now leans towards the Ethereal Sky!
HOW IS THAT FOR HIGH?”
Noting down this final wisecrack, we leave Frank Weirick for a spell, hoping however, that this the second chapter in Frank’s adventures, will enable Selinsgrove people to appreciate the strange genius who once walked in their midst. In this phase of his career, there is still evident the same mordant wit, the same ability to make enemies, and the same individualistic slant on life which characterized him as a Copperhead editor during the War between the States. Perhaps, if the members of the Snyder County Historical Society are interested, there will appear some time in the future a third paper on the amusing and instructive activities of the Naval Hero of Duck’s Harbor.