The News is in receipt of a copy of the Norwich Sun, with the following marked article.  While we have a pretty good idea to whom we are indebted for this paper, we are not positive and cannot therefore give the name.  But the article is so worthy that we publish it herewith in full:

Are we happier and more contented in New York State and here in Chenango County than we were 70 years ago?  Let’s make a few comparisons.

At that time we had no railroads in this county, (Allegany Co. did) no telephones, no state or improved roads, no radios, no bicycles, no automobiles, no moving and talking pictures, no flying machines, no oil lamps, no electric lights, no trucks, no tractors, no gas, no milk stations, or cheese factories. There was not a place in Chenango County at that time where you could buy a pair of shoes or boots, except to go to a shoe shop, have your foot measured and have the shoes or boots made.  There was not a place in this county where you could purchase any ready-made clothing, no mowing machines, no soap, except what was made at home, called soft soap, no western beef or grain, no unemployment, no welfare organizations. Each town took care of its poor if they had any.

No places were ever sold for taxes 70 years ago and there was not one abandoned farm in the county. Every farm in the county was worth from $35 to $60 per acre.  There were good district schools, where you learned you A, B, C’s or examples in algebra; good churches where they told young people and old, unless they behaved they would go to Hell.

In those days if you wanted to build a courthouse, a jail, a county poor house or a schoolhouse the taxpayers built them just as the wanted them and no “smart Alek” from Albany had anything to say about it.  It was none of their business.

In those days we never had fine, large automobiles with a county nurse in each car, drive up to a district school at $5.00 per day, go inside, one nurse look in the children’s throat, one look at their teeth, one look at their feet, one weigh them and another one is the boss, and still most of those children grew to be strong and healthy men and women.

In those days you could sell milk to your neighbors without having your cows T. B. tested; could sell you vinegar without having some state agent test it; sell your eggs without their being weighed; and your maple syrup without being weighed and not run any risk of being fined. Now about the only thing the poor farmer has that he can control and do as he has a mind to with it, without the fear of being fined is the breath he draws.

As I said before, at that time a piece of property being sold for taxes was never heard of; not an abandoned farm in the county; and not 2,200 acres sold at $4.00 per acre for a game preserve.  The farms in those days were all kept up in nice shape, buildings in good repair, fences were in fine condition and not all overgrown with brush, and pastures were not grown up to thorn brush.  Farmers kept a pair of good horses and most of them a yoke of oxen.

Cows were dried off about the first of November, except one for family use, freshened again in April, then made butter all summer, fed the sour milk to the pigs and calves.  In the fall sold the butter to Charlie Olendorf to ship to New York on the canal.

In the winter every farmer got up wood enough to last a year and did not pay $13.00 per ton for coal.  Now I have given you some idea of the old times when everybody was happy and perfectly content.

Now I am going to give you my idea of the present time.

Farms in this county that are not abandoned are sold to the state for $4.00 per acre, or are not sold for taxes are badly run down and farmers who own their farms are selling their mild and produce for less that it cost to produce it.  The farmers in this county are like a barber who used to live here by the name of George Brown.  He used to like to use big words.  I went into his barbershop one day to get shaved.  I said, “George, how are you getting along?”  He said, “James, I am slowly but genteelly starving to death.” That is like your Chenango County farmer at the present time.

What did we do for amusement in those days?  I don’t know what they did in the villages but out in the country we had spelling schools, husking bees, apple cuts, singing schools, picnics, school exhibitions, surprise parties, donations for the minister, and once in a while, for the wicked ones, we had a dance in the old hotel ballroom with Jim Westcott and Mat Griswold from Polkville to play.  I remember once I came to the village of Norwich with my father and we went to a theatre hall where not stands the Chenango Hotel, and the play was “Ten Nights in a Bar Room.”  Since then I have performed even more that ten nights in a bar room.

What did we have to eat those days?  With not a bakery in the county and no western beef shipped in, we raised all our own vegetables and fruit. Each farmer in the fall fatted a nice young cow or yearling bull, with Indian meal and pumpkins, two or three nice pigs, put down their own corned beef and dried beef, had our own sausage, hams and shoulders enough to last a year, with fresh meat, chicken, turkeys, eggs and once in a while on very rare occasions a roast pig.

Now I want to take your time and give you a little bill of fare for one day.  Farmers raised state corn, took it to the village and William Guernsey ground it between those old millstones.  They took the meal home, sifted it and then made a loaf of Indian bread in a seven quart pan baked it all day, then put a big chunk of wood in the stove and left it all night.  The crust would be about an inch thick and the bread a dark red.  Farmers raised their own buckwheat and had that made into flour.

Breakfast consisted of Buckwheat cakes, with pig sausage, four with sausage and four with maple syrup, coffee browned in the spider, ground in a coffee mill, and you could smell it a half mile, and you had a large cup of that with a little cream in it.   Dinner consisted of a large wedge shaped piece of that Indian bread, steamed, mashed potatoes, a large piece of that pig ham, cut thick, smoked with corn cobs until it was just the color of an orange and as tender as a piece of liver, fried eggs and boiled cider apple sauce.

For supper we used to take some of that yellow corn to the mill and have it ground coarse, called it samp, cooked it all day then had it for supper, samp and milk, apple pie and a large chunk of sage cheese.  There is not a baker in the county that can make a loaf of Indian bread like we used to have at home.  The meals on other days were just as good, only different.

One of the worst things that ever happened to this country was when they invented automobiles and flying machines.  Nowadays everybody is in such a hell of a hurry they can’t take any comfort.  Years ago if a young man wanted to take his girl out riding in the evening, he could lay the lines down a few minutes and the horse would stay in the road.  Now if a young man is riding out with his girl in an auto and he lets go of the steering wheel just a minute, he and his girl have gone to the “Happy Hunting Grounds.”

Last week when Frank Wenzel of the automobile bureau at Albany was here, he made the statement that in 18 months of the World War I, 50,000 men of the American Expedition Forces were killed and in the past 18 months in the United States, automobiles killed 56,000.  Add to that the number killed in flying machines.  Do you agree with me that we would have been happier and more contented if they had never been invented?

How about our financial condition compared with 70 years ago?  Then, not one abandoned farm, no land taken for game preserves, and not one farm ever advertised for sale for taxes.  Last year in this city 44 places were advertised for sale for taxes, and 400 in the county, a total of 444.  This year there is advertised in the city 91 places and in the county 837, a total for the city and county of 928.  People are unable to pay their taxes, and there are more that 40 abandoned farms.  At the rate we are going now, how long will it be before the whole county will be sold for taxes?

There is much more I could say in favor of the yesterdays.  I have just scratched the surface.  But this article is now altogether too long.  Have I made a case?  Were we happier and more contented 70 years ago than now. I leave it to you to answer.