Anybody Lose a Cow: Ann Arbor Classifieds Then and Now

lost cow

The classified ads are a window into what's going on in a community. For instance, even though most of the ads on Ann Arbor Craig's List are about lost pets and used things for sale, a post like this gives us hints to the exciting night life that our town has to offer:

Two dimes and a nickle - found (A2)
Date: 2010-04-16, 1:27PM EDT

I found two dimes and a nickle on the sidewalk in front of the Arena last night. If you
lost two dimes and a nickle please contact me, I would be delighted to return
them to you. Please be prepared to identify said coins.

Well, things were no less different in Ann Arbor in the mid-nineteenth century. Do you know about The Signal of Liberty, Ann Arbor's historic abolitionist newspaper. We have the Signal on our website, and it's a great resource for learning about the history of anti-slavery in this area.

BUT, it also includes many classified ads that offer an intriguing look into what Ann Arborites were up to in the 1840's.

Here's one from the September 22, 1841 issue from Michael Puttel.
eliza
Let's hope that Michael and Eliza patched things up.

These two from July 7th and August 4th seem to be 1841's version of a lost pet ad.
lost cows
Lost mares
How does one lost a cow... or multiple horses? These two ads also contain the recurring offer for a free Signal subscription in return for Wood! Wood! Wood!

This ad, also from July 7th but recurring throughout the paper's run, is here simply to beg one question: What is a "smut machine"?
Threshing machine ad

Comments

it's craigslist, but time-delayed.


I'm pretty sure the smut in question is corn smut, a plant fungus that grows on ears of corn.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corn_smut

No idea what the machine did.


haha that post is funny


From the Gardener's Dictionary by Philip Miller on Google Books:
The smut machine is the invention of Hall, late of Ewell in Surrey, now of the Prairai in the United States. It resembles that used for dressing flour, and consists of a cylinder perforated with holes, in the inside of which are a number of brushes, which are driven round with great rapidity. The wheat infected with smut is put into the cylinder by a hopper, and the constant friction occasioned by the rapid motion of the brushes, effectually separates the smutty grain which is driven out through the holes of the cylinder.