John W. “Ponty” Pontius and Friend, 1918

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John W. “Ponty” Pontius and Friend, 1918
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Image by UA Archives | Upper Arlington History
John W. Pontius (on the left in this photograph) was an Upper Arlington resident who served in World War I. He was the secretary of the Columbus YMCA and sent back regular reports of the war. One poignant letter that he began writing while crossing the Atlantic from the U.S. to Britain in May 1918 was printed in the June 1918 Norwester magazine. The letter was written over several days and describes the weather during the voyage–the tipping of ship and the fog–and the fact that he has not experienced the seasickness that his fellow passengers have. He addresses his five-year-old daughter Jean when he mentions the sighting of a whale. Pontius was kept busy as the Director of Activities. He describes the many kindnesses and deprivations of the British people once he reaches the British Isles. He expresses confidence that "Fritz will be licked" and is cautious throughout his letter not to mention anything that could compromise the war effort if it fell into the wrong hands.

Pontius came back from the war and resumed his activities in Upper Arlington for many years following. His wife Hazel, also active in the community, was a school board member from 1918 to 1927. They lived at 1644 Cambridge Boulevard.

This image available online at the UA Archives >>

Read the related "Norwester" magazine article at the UA Archives >>


Identifier: hinw08p012i01
Date (yyyy-mm-dd): c. 1918-06
Original Dimensions: 5.7 cm x 9.7 cm
Format: Black and White Halftone Photograph
Source: Norwester, June 1918, page 12
Original Publisher: Upper Arlington Community (Ohio)
Location/s: Upper Arlington (USA, Ohio, Franklin County)
Repository: Upper Arlington Historical Society
Digital Publisher: UA ArchivesUpper Arlington Public Library

Credit: UA Archives – Upper Arlington Public Library (Repository: UA Historical Society)

Mississauga Santa Claus Parade , November 30, 2008 / Town Crier for the 150th Anniversary
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Image by bill barber
I’m still officially down for a bit, but I posted these for my extended families and friends. I don’t really expect comments since I won’t be commenting on yours for a bit.

From my set entitled "Mississauga Santa Claus Parade 2008"
In my collection "Places"…
In my photostream

Taken from Wikipedia
A town crier is a person who is employed by a town council to make public announcements in the streets. The crier can also be used in court or official announcements. Criers often dress elaborately, by a tradition dating to the 18th century, in a red and gold robe, white breeches, black boots and a tricorne hat.

They carry a handbell to attract people’s attention, as they shout the words "Oyez, Oyez, Oyez!" before making their announcements. The word "Oyez" means "hear ye," which is a call for silence and attention. Oyez derives from the Anglo-Norman word for listen. The proclamations book in Chester from the early 19th century records this as O Yes, O Yes!

In Medieval England, town criers were the chief means of news communication with the people of the town since many could not read or write. Royal proclamations, local bylaws, market days, adverts, even selling loaves of sugar were all proclaimed by a bellman or crier throughout the centuries — at Christmas 1798, the Chester Canal Co. sold some sugar damaged in their packet boat and this was to be advertised by the bellman.

Chester’s first recorded ‘belman’ was in 1540. His fees included one (old) penny for ‘going for anything that is lost’ and 4d for leading the funeral procession. In 1681, a fire safety order by the city assembly that all houses should be tiled, not thatched, was to ‘be published throughout the city by the day bellman. In 1553, the crier was paid 13d for ‘ridunge the banes’ (reading the banns or adverts) for the Chester Mystery Plays. In 1598, bellman Richard Woodcock must have been dressed in a similar way to the London bellman, for he had ‘a tymber mast typt at both endes and embellished in the middest with silver’.

In 1620, there was a fight at the cross between the butchers and the bakers where the ‘Cryer brake his Mace in peeces Amonge them’. In 1607, one public notice read by George Tunnall, the bellman, forbade tipping rubbish in the river. In 1715, a local man recorded that the ‘Belman at the Cross … Reads publicly a proclamation in the Mayor’s name, commanding all persons in the City to bee of peaceable and civil behaviour, not to walk around the Streets or Rows at unreasonable hours of night’. In 1743, John Posnitt took over as ‘Day and Night Bellman’.[clarify]

In 1792, Chester had a day and night bellman, John Yarwood and a crier, William Ratcliffe, but by 1835 there seems to have been only one position. It was not until 1998 that Chester had a crier and a bellman again.

Town criers were protected by the ruling monarch, as they sometimes brought bad news such as tax increases. To this day, any town crier in the British Commonwealth is protected under old English law that they are not to be hindered or heckled while performing their duties. To injure or harm a town crier was seen as an act of treason against the ruling monarchy. The term "Posting A Notice" comes from the act of the town crier, who having read his message to the townspeople, would attach it to the door post of the local inn.

As in England, town criers were the means of communication with the people of the town since many people could not read or write. Proclamations, local bylaws, market days, adverts, were all proclaimed by a bellman or crier.

Criers were not always men, many town criers were women. Bells were not the only attention getting device – in Holland, a gong was the instrument of choice for many, and in France a drum was used, or a hunting horn.


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