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Newman...A Century Ago

     In the early 1900's it did not pay to get to  the doctor's too late in the day.  He might have told the patient to come back tomorrow.

     And, if surgery were necessary, the closest place to go was Modesto but all the patient could do was pray that he would still be alive by the time he got there.

     Still, there were nice things to recall about early-day Newman-- like the 25 cent round steaks that could feed an entire family, the bag of hard candy a child would get at the Simon Newman Co. store or Newman's first blacksmith shop, which still stands.

     All these things and many more are among the memories Mrs. Ella Brauer Crow, 82 in 1976, told about Newman. 

     Mrs. Crow was the daughter of J. C. Brauer, who operated the blacksmith shop on Merced St.

     She put down her remembrances of her father and other townsfolk in a brief autobiography she worte for family and friends.

     Brauer's Shop, being considered for a historical marker by the Stanislaus County Historical Society, now is occupied by an electric company.

     There, Brauer tested his new branding irons after he had made them on a forge.  He also tested them on the floor and on loose boards, which have been donated to the Newman Museum.

     Some of Brauer's equipment, iron and copper horse shoes and an old iron machine that was used for taking out the spokes of wagon wheels, still were in the shop.

     Mrs. Crow recalls that her father, a native of Germany, started his business in about 1890 with a wagon worker, Manning Rowe.

     It was an interesting period in Newman's life.

     The old soda works put its product in round bottomed bottles, which were shipped on their sides so that the bottles wold not pop their corks.

    If townsfolk did not have a fast horse, they could not make the roundtrip to Modesto in one day because the road was up to the hubs with dust in the summer and muddy in winter.

     Mrs. Crow witnessed  the 1902 dedication of the first turning bridge  over the San Joaquin River on the Hill Ferry Road.

     Later, a riverboat smashed into it, rendering the turning mechanism useless.  the last riverboat went up the river in 1904.

     Things were better in 1917.  The road was paved and a motorist could travel to Modesto without meeting a car.

     In the early days of Newman, recalls Mrs. Crow, there were three doctors and you did not require an appointement.

     However, it did not pay a person to get to the office too late in the evening, Mrs. Crow remembers.

      If you went into Dr. Stration's office and it was late, he would say "Let me look at you and come back tomorrow.  I can't stand another minute."



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