Expulsion from school or worse, reported to county probation officer
Cigarettes have been lit for decades in Bluffton, and their notoriety historically falls on youth.
Here’s a couple stories to prove our point.
From the Feb. 24 1910, Bluffton News, comes this decree from the Bluffton school board:
The Board of Education at the last meeting set up some rules and regulations in which they resolved that:
• the students shall refrain from the use of tobacco in any form • that the pupils shall not loiter in tobacco stores and pool rooms • that students over 16 years of age will be expelled if said rules are disobeyed
• those under 16 shall be reported to the county probation officer.
We now turn to Cigarette Creek As the board of education announcement states, youth smoking cigarettes represented the certain breakdown of polite society; obviously a sign of juvenile delinquency.
So, where could you roll your own smokes without being caught, if you were underage living in Bluffton at this time?
The answer was at the southern edge of town where a small stream flows quietly from Orange Township to the Big Riley.
Today this stream – it’s more like a ditch – flows through the village park. On the county plat map it even has a name, but no one recognizes it today.
Pick a year between 1910 and 1919. Take a walk south of town where the small steam flows into the Riley.
Will Triplett took this photo of an unidentified young man from Bluffton with a cigar
Walk quietly because you will stumble onto a pack of adolescent boys enjoying themselves, while sitting on the bank of a no-name stream that, by default, earned the name Cigarette Creek.
On a hike through the park today, don’t be surprised if you sniff the aroma of an unfiltered cigarette or two. Caution: these ghosts may be hazardous to your health.
In case readers become curious as to who could possibly be sneaking around smoking cigarettes or hanging around Bluffton pool rooms, here’s a list of the senior, juniors and sophomore at Bluffton High School when the 1910 school board edict was announced.
Some on the list below were apparently breaking the rules:
Bluffton HS class of 1910
Rosa Amstutz Kline
Lesta Basinger Hochstettler
Inez Doty Ringold
Clara Freyman Niswander
Jennie Powell Pease
Eunah Temple Johnson
Mabel Wyer King
Bluffton HS class of 1911
Ruth Stauffer Stucky
Louella Geiger Schmidt
Salva Steiner Oyer
Edith Hall Bixler
Nellie Kauffman James
Ethel Steinman Magee
Bluffton HS class of 1912
Zilla Rupp Litwiller
Vera Rogers Gratz
Viola Stratton Hirschfield
Inez Stettler Neuenschwander
Gusta Smith Davidson
Alice Santschi Parker
Minnie Mueller Basinger
Carol Betzner Lehman
Bertha Roethlisberger Newman
Hallie Thut Althaus
One of several pool halls on Main Street that high school youth were not permitted to enter on fear of expulsion from school.