I first came across the following newspaper about a namesake of mine some years ago and stumbled across it again recently. I am still intrigued by the notion that I might have been a lunatic in former life and of course I can already hear some of you thinking that not much has changed since then but that’s a discussion for another day. The original article first appeared in the Dallas Daily Times Herald on March 3rd 1890. It read as follows:
James Mernin, a lunatic, was given quarters in the county jail this morning. He came from San Francisco to Dallas and his wild talk and warlike actions created a great stir on the Texas & Pacific passenger train between this city and Fort Worth last night. The conductor telegraphed for an officer to meet him at the depot, and when the train arrived, Mernin fell into the hands of the blue-coats. A six-shooter was found upon his person, but not a cent of money. He is as crazy as a March hare and will have to be placed in the asylum. The man is about thirty years old, is attired in workingman’s garb, and raves continually about his brother. The officers are of the opinion that the brother referred to is a resident of Dallas or Dallas county.
Interestingly, the Dallas Times Herald was founded in 1888 by a merger of the Dallas Times and the Dallas Herald newspapers. It was once one of two major daily newspapers serving the Dallas, Texas area. It won three Pulitzer Prizes, all for photography, and two George Polk Awards, for local and regional reporting. As an afternoon publication for most of its 103 years, its demise was hastened by the shift of newspaper reading habits to morning papers, as well as the loss of an antitrust lawsuit against crosstown rival The Dallas Morning News. On December 8, 1991, the owner of The Dallas Morning News, bought the Times Herald for $55 million and closed the paper the very next day!