Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Mid-Week Historical Newsbreak -- Who's Got Your Tongue?

Two weeks ago in the Newsbreak story about the horse killed by bees, I promised an even more gruesome story to come. Well, here it is. This story comes from the Juniata Sentinel and Republican, dated January 02, 1878. It relates an incident where a horse owned by a Hockessin man became spooked by an oncoming train. The farm hand who was working with the horse tried to get it to come forward, for some reason, by grabbing its tongue. The horse was so scared that it continued to back off, not stopping until it had torn out its own tongue!

To answer your first question, no, I don't know why I would post something like this. I just had it is all. The second question as to why the man would grab the horse's tongue -- I have no idea. Maybe that's a thing. I don't know. I'm not really a horse guy. Seems kind of odd to me, though. I can, however, at least somewhat clear up a few things from the newspaper story.

Only some really deep research could hope to turn up the name of the tongue-pulling farmhand, but I can correct the name of the horse's owner. I'm honestly not quite sure exactly what the name is supposed to be here. Garghm? Garghun? Well, I think it's pretty likely that the name should actually be Hamilton Graham. Graham ran one of the kaolin mines in Hockessin and owned a house just east of town, between Lancaster Pike and Old Wilmington Road. The house is now facing Yorklyn Road, although that portion of the road was only a private lane at the time. The property also happens to run along the Wilmington and Western tracks. It would have been a WWRR train that spooked the unfortunate horse.

I can also fill in who the "Mr. Bergh" mentioned at the end of the article was. Henry Bergh was the founder of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). The organization was formed only 12 years earlier, and the name probably would have been more recognized then than now. The reference seems spot on, and unless the whole incident was just a tragic accident, I'd tend to agree.

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