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A 127-year-old Bluffton joke

And, all this time we thought this story was about a guy

in the oil field who lost and then found his gold glasses

Here’s almost unbelievable story that took place 127 winters ago in the oil fields around Bluffton. The funny thing is that the story, while true, is a joke that we don’t get in 2024. All it lacked when it appeared in 1897 was a laughing meme.


 Knowing the 1897 Bluffton News editor’s writing style as we do, this story’s main point is actually a minor part of the writing production.


As the reader comes to the story’s end – yes, it is truly amazing – there is a brief reference to M.M. (Med) Murray of Bluffton. He was one of the Murray triplets. The three brothers’ antics appeared frequently in the Bluffton News. This story carries one of those antics.


The point the editor made to his audience was that Med Murray dropped his watch out of an upstairs window. That fact in Bluffton would make a pretty good story by itself. It just so happens that the editor heard about the gold glasses and it “equals the experience of M.M. Murray.” Hardly! So, the editor tied the two incidents together, making Murray the punchline.


After this issue of the News was published, everyone in Bluffton  knew the gold glasses story, but better than that, they knew about Murray’s watch and probably razzed him about it.

As a post script, Marilyn Murray Shelly of Bluffton is the great-granddaughter of Med Murray.


In the meantime, enjoy a newspaper’s editor’s joke written in the Jan. 14, 1897, lost in translation 127 years ago in the Bluffton News:


B.F. Smith, a Findlay employee of the Manhattan Oil Co., dropped a pair of gold glasses into a 30,000 barrel oil tank, full of oil, four miles north of Findlay two months ago, and on last Tuesday he found them lodged against a valve in a two inch line at the loading rack two miles from the point where he dropped them.


To travel that distance they had to pass through two miles of three inch line, two field pumps and into a two inch line.


They were uninjured. They clogged the valve and Mr. Smith took it off to see what was wrong, when he discovered his missing spectacles.


This equals the experience of M.M. Murray, who some time ago dropped his watch out of an upstairs window onto a stone pavement and completely demolished the timepiece with the exception of the crystal, which was unharmed.

This might be the first-ever Bluffton business card -

It advertises Med Murray's monument business.

Here's the card's back side -

It shows the Murray triplets

From the Jan. 14, 1897, Bluffton News


1 comentario

Fred did you notice a May 12, 1921 article “Wed in Lima” Grace Yentz and Art Amstutz?

A note penciled in at the bottom of this article says "do not publish above article in future.


12 May 1921

​10 May 1921, Bluffton, Ohio

Wed in Lima

a note penciled in at the bottom of this article says "do not publish above article in future."

GRACE YENTZ and ARTHUR AMSTUTZ wed in Lima on Tuesday morning.

In a quiet ceremony at the home of the officiating minister, Grace Yentz and Arthur Amstutz were married Tuesday morning at 10 o'clock. the wedding vows were received by Rev. T. Allan Canby, pastor of Central Church of Christ of Lima. The…

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