Published in the New Era, a weekly that served the riverfront communities for more than 75 years, the editorial threatened doom if the nation's leaders could not quell labor unrest without assuming greater police powers.
Ninety-six years later, with the country still intact, the journal's prose has been revived by a Riverton resident who discovered a pile of crumbling papers in the basement of Freddy's Shoe Repair on Main Street.
Shop owner Fred DeVece earlier this year found issues going back to July 21, 1894, and turned them over to the Historical Society of Riverton. They have been stored on microfilm by the state Department of Archives and Record Management and placed on file at the Delia Biddle Pugh Library at the Burlington County Historical Society.
DeVece, whose shoe-repair business is in the former New Era publishing house, said the issues were among piles of lead printing plates. The original lead smelting pot and ladles, in addition to anniversary issues of the paper, remain.
From the western saga of "Whispering Smith" to "The Face of Rosenfel," the written equivalent of a soap opera, the New Era covered everything from local government to the social lives of its readers. Its editorials were stoked with fire and brimstone, setting the tone for the conservative journal that espoused the virtues of organized religion and featured a weekly Bible Question Club contest.
Betty Hahle, president of Riverton's Historical Society, said the discovery was significant because the New Era offered the most detailed account of the area's history. Including those papers found in DeVece's shop, only about 70 copies of the paper have been recovered, and all the issues from around World War I are missing, she said.
The New Era was started in 1889 by Charles W. Brewster of Riverton and was printed for a short period in the office of the Moorestown Chronicle. After moving to three sites in Riverton, it settled in DeVece's building until the late 1960s.
One of the newspaper's weekly features was "Milady's Beauty Secrets," a personal-grooming column written by Helena Rubenstein, who later founded the cosmetics company bearing her name.
In the 1930s, a single-family house in Riverton with quick access to the trolley, bus and railroad was being sold for $6,000. It cost $433,492 to educate the students throughout the 38 school districts in Burlington County, a stark contrast to the estimated $422 million outlay to educate students in the 40 districts in the 1990-91 school year.
During Prohibition, the paper published reports of police raids on ''hooch" operations throughout the area. Eight speak-easies were raided in Bordentown on one evening.
And by 1942, when the populace was saving its tin, buying war bonds and being versed on air-raid warning signals for the battle "over there," the FOX Theater in Riverside was showing Watch on The Rhine, starring Bette Davis and Paul Lukas.
For 3 cents an issue - or $1 a year - the New Era did more than report the news.