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Not-so-good old days
Readers, I'm sure, will be shocked. Shocked to read this week's bulletin from the past. To think that the residents of one of our pristine Oxford Hills communities once engaged in such licentious behavior boggles the mind. In the first case cited under the heading "Norway Municipal Court," the wicked truth was exposed for all to behold - people in Oxford County had been caught (gasp) gambling.
Norway Municipal Court
WM. F. JONES, JUDGE
Leander Wardwell and Rollin Gilbert of Oxford were before Judge Jones Monday, charged with gambling at the home of Gilbert. They were arrested by Officer J. J. McNeil of Oxford, who seized the cards, money and all the paraphernalia of a poker game.
They pleaded guilty and Gilbert was fined $10 and costs and Wardwell $5. Each paid.
J. M. Day of Woodstock arrested Frank Ryan and Patrick Ahern and brought them before the court for vagrancy and were given 10 days in jail.
J. M. Bartlett arrested Fred Hazleton for drunkenness at Waterford. He was fined $8 and costs.
Domino Benoit was charged with being drunk at the South Paris station and was arrested by R. G. Cole. He was fined $5 and costs. He was committed for 30 days for failure to pay.
Note that the miscreants were not only gambling, but "had all the paraphernalia of a poker game." Oh, the horror. Five will get you ten, the modern-day fathers of Oxford would have to move swiftly to be certain their constituents were not exposed to such morally corrupt behavior, not to mention those implements of evil — the cards. The court did come down hard on Ahern and Ryan — both jailed 10 days for vagrancy. Usually hoboes were told to leave the county forthwith and sometimes even escorted to the Mechanic Falls town line.
On a more serious note, the flight and capture of William Purdy was also described in the same, April 4, 1912, issue of the Norway Advertiser.
Wallace Purdy, a blacksmith belonging in Fryeburg, was arrested in Portland, Monday, noon a warrant charging him with assault with intent to kill. It is claimed that last December Purdy assaulted a man named McKeen as the latter was driving along a road. It is told that Purdy had pulled McKeen from the seat of his wagon and had him down in the road pounding and strangling him in a rather brutal manner. It is intimated that the approach of persons in another wagon was what prevented a fatality. Purdy left Fryeburg and for some time no trace of him could be found. Recently Sheriff Merserve of Fryeburg learned that Purdy was employed in a blacksmith shop in the West End of Portland. The officer returned with him to Fryeburg. He was charged with assault, arraigned before a trial justice, convicted of the charge and was bound over. He was unable to furnish bail and was remanded to jail. He was taken to the jail at South Paris for confinement.
Oddly, by today's standards, the story doesn't say how badly McKeen was injured or why Purdy is said to have born him any ill-will.
As is our custom, we try to exactly reproduce the grammar, spelling, punctuation and style of the original. Commas might appear where least expected and remain absent where we’d expect them if the item was written nowadays. On the other hand, consistency was not considered of utmost importance, so variations of a spelling might appear within one story. In addition, some words were abbreviated differently than today. Where brief explanations of terms are considered necessary, they are presented in brackets  within the quote. Otherwise, explanations appear at the beginning or at the conclusion, without quotes. Parenthesis () used in a quoted passage appeared in the original.