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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Robbery In Mathistown

There's an old history joke that George Washington couldn't throw a silver dollar across the Delaware River today because money doesn't go as far as it used to. It's funny, partially because inflation has made it true. I even, occasionally, find myself saying "A million dollars ain't what it used to be!"

A few days ago, I stumbled across an interesting web site that calculates the effect of inflation over the years. You type in a dollar amount and two years and the site calculates the increase in the value of the money over that time period. 

You can view the on line inflation calculator by clicking on the calculator below.

I thought I would give you a practical demonstration of the benefits of the on line inflation calculator to the student of history, by relating it to a 1907 newspaper article regarding a robbery in Mathistown. Mathistown is that section of Bass River Township along Rt. 9 from the Ocean-Burlington County line at Balinger's Creek to Job's Creek.

Tuckerton Mayor J.L. Lane

The robbery of $200 from S.E. Osler doesn't seem like much today; however, if I adjust that $200 from 1907 dollars to today's dollars, the amount becomes $4,620.00. That gives you a more accurate idea of the enormity of the theft. You can truly say that it was grand, not penny, theft!

Not only has the value of money changed over time, but so has our vocabulary. The headline "Footpads Well Prepared" probably doesn't make sense to most of you out in the Blog-O-Sphere. The term "footpads" means "A thief who prays upon pedestrians." Something to tuck in the back of your mind for the next time you do a New York Times crossword puzzle!

Pete S

PS- I also find it interesting that the news item appeared in an Elmira, New York newspaper. It must have been a slow news day in the Elmira area!

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