The Jamestown Alert could deliver a back handed complement with the best of them back in 1881.
About every month or so they ran a column called â€œWe Surmise.â€ It was a chance for the editors of the Alert take a shot at whatever they thought deserved a little bit of criticism.
Like slow construction work.
â€œWe surmise that the new elevator makes hast slowly,â€ the Alert wrote.
This was followed by â€œWe surmise that the time is up for building the sidewalk along Fifth Avenue and it is some oneâ€™s business to attend to it.â€
The editors may have given us an idea of what was delaying construction.
â€œWe surmise that the Dakota House has two new dining room girls and that the boys go in the dining room more and stay later than of yore,â€ they wrote.
The editors practiced a little community promotion too.
â€œWe surmise that there were three girl babies born this week and it wasnâ€™t much of a week for babies either,â€ the editors commented. Along with, â€œWe surmise that our school house isnâ€™t large enough to accommodate the scholars.â€
The community was small but growing at the time. The Will Elmer store, dealer in Drugs and Medicines, also sold Oil and Painting Stock.
Letâ€™s hope they didnâ€™t confuse their inventory.
And the Fields Jewelry Store advertised the finest quality violin strings.
The paper had a bit of criticism for the fall weather in 1881.
â€œWe surmise that it is time to put ear laps on that straw hat,â€ they wrote.
But it was the citizens of Jamestown that drew the sharpest barbs.
â€œWe surmise that the Order of the Knights of the Red Cross is not an anti-temperance society,â€ they wrote.
The Order of the Knights of the Red Cross was a Masonic order of the 1880s.
And that comment was mild compared to this more general statement about the young men of the community.
â€œWe surmise that some of the young men are smoking opium,â€ the Alert commented.
Evidently drugs arenâ€™t a new problem to the Jamestown area. And, like today, they werenâ€™t the only problems facing the community.
â€œWe surmise that Postmaster Kelley wants less swearing in the post office when there are ladies present,â€ the editors wrote.
But the biggest criticism, in the form of a very backhanded compliment, was aimed at the night life of Jamestown.
â€œWe surmise that for the amount of bad whisky drank in Jamestown there is less fighting than one would expect,â€ commented the Alert pundits.
I think our community has improved in the 130 years since these comments. Or at least the quality of the whiskey has.