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Resourceful Smith

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"I lived at a little crossroads hamlet which was not eveu a postoffice, on the ine between New York state and Pennsylvania, ' ' said a story teller to a Sioux City Journal reporter. "Of course, there was a blacksmith shop there. ín those days the blacksmith's trade was a notoriously good one. All the blacksmiths ot rich with their horse, mulé and ox shoeing, and the wagon and the other repair work which they did. Most of the blacksmiths combined with their. other work wagon repairing and even wagon making. There were very few big wagon factories in those days, and a good hand made wagon cost big money. When they were doing nothing else, they would make wagons, and when there was lots of transient work the wagons had to wait. This state line shop was a busy place. There was no tavern there, but the blacksmith also had a eider press, and he made the eider for all the farmers for Railes around. But neither this nor the profits of his shop could account for the rapid way in which he accumulated wealth. As is well known, apple eider, if allowed to stand long enough, will become "hard, " and af ter that it will turn into vinegar. "This eider dealer always had plenty of hard eider on hand, but never had any vinegar for sale. The farmers and others who stopped at his place could always get a drink of hard eider, which they took out of a tin dipper at 10 cents a drink, and the size of the drink was something which attracted very little attention. Hardly any kind of beverage is more intosicating than hard eider. It is a good deal like champagne in one respect. You can drink a great deal of it one day, and the next day you will be awfully sick and sorry, and a good deal drunker than when you went to bed. The blacksmith required no license to sell hard eider, and he worked the game to the limit His place became very popular, and the farmers came from many miles around in both states to get their horses shod at his place. Many of them would come home drunk, and their wives began to protest. They always had to have some excuse for having visited the state line shop, and so the blacksmith, after supplying them with a few dipperfuls of hard eider, would take the shoes off their beasts and put on new ones, whether they needed it or not. For this service he would charge a good round price, while in many instances it was noticed he made no charge for the eider. "But, as is the way of all flesh, this blacksmith died one day, and then his business secrets came out. He left an estáte of over $80,000, and in the cellar of the eider press a great number of empty whisky barrels were found. For years he had been putting whisky into his eider and had been setting new shnps nn uparlv ftvprv hnrsfi whiiYh rame _ - w along, willy nilly. "-


Ann Arbor Argus
Old News