Abilene was settled way back in 1881 and then eventually named Abilene in 1883. A lot has happened since then; a couple of world wars, a couple of pandemics, and an actor even became president.

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In all that time, you know there have been some crazy headlines topping our local news, and thanks to the National Archives, we can take a trip back in time to experience those headlines.

You may have to zoom in to read some of these headlines, but I also did some zooming in for you with the stories we'll talk about.

The Abilene Daily Reporter | March 17th, 1919

National Archives/Wikimedia Commons
National Archives/Wikimedia Commons
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"Three Suspects Break Out of Ballinger Jail"

National Archives/Wikimedia Commons
National Archives/Wikimedia Commons
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Apparently, three men robbed (or blew up) the Winters State Bank, so they got thrown in jail. According to these headlines, the men used blankets as ropes to escape. I wasn't able to read it all but according to this story, "Skinny" Newton, "Frenchie" LeBeaux, and Jack Johnson were captured at Stanton Lake a few hours after they broke free.


Abilene Daily Reporter | April 19th, 1909

National Archives/Wikimedia Commons
National Archives/Wikimedia Commons
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"Four Cattlemen Hung to Rafters by Angry Oklahoma Mob Today"

National Archives/Wikimedia Commons
National Archives/Wikimedia Commons
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The opening sentence of this story sounds like it's straight out of a western: "Four prominent cattlemen were taken from jail here today by a mob of about a hundred men and lynched".

Holy cow (pun intended).


The Abilene Daily Reporter | August 20th, 1917

National Archives/Wikimedia Commons
National Archives/Wikimedia Commons
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"Six Matters of Big Import to Abilene Are Discussed"

National Archives/Wikimedia Commons
National Archives/Wikimedia Commons
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Basically, this story is about six agenda items that our City Commissioner, at the time, wanted to discuss. Those six items are/were:

  1. "Elm creek water sight should be built and water furnished to our people for domestic services, free"
    1. Free? I bet our current city leaders would soil themselves if they had to utter the word free.
  2. "The city should take over and properly extend the sewer system"
    1. Oh, what a wonderful job they did with it, too.
  3. "The greatest care should be given to the conditions of our public schools"
    1. Well, that didn't last long.
  4. "The city should so construct its pipe line (if feasible) from the Elm creek dam so as to develop power to generate electricity"
    1. So power issues have been going on this long?
  5. "The city should have a city hall and stop paying rent"
    1. I wonder if they rented the backroom of a bar to conduct city business.
  6. "The stockholders of the street railway company will give the city their stock, and if the city could get the bonds at their present market value, and if we can develop our own power, the city should own and operate the street railway"
    1. The city has been strong-arming its citizens for quite some time, it seems.

Please excuse any grammatical errors above, those were direct quotes from our newspaper.

You're reading this on the internet right now. Try to imagine reading this article a week after I wrote it and only if you were to get the newspaper.

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