Looking Back in Philipstown

150 Years Ago (February 1870)

James Secor returned to Cold Spring after spending a few months in the West. He recounted that, while traveling through the British Dominions [Canada], 60 miles west of Suspension Bridge [over the Niagara River], his train hit a broken rail. He was thrown to the floor as the car rolled on its side, and then saw the glowing stove coming toward him. He was able to stamp the fire out through the windows onto the snow. Other men extinguished fires caused by the lamps. One man in the car was found to have been killed.

The Cold Spring Recorder noted peddlers were going door-to-door in the village selling oysters from kettles.

Peddling oysters in Baltimore (Harper’s Weekly)

Constable Dore arrested a homeless woman on suspicion of infanticide after witnesses said they had seen her with an infant in Garrison the day before, but with only baby clothes the next day. The woman said she had no baby but hoped to have one. She was sent to the Overseer of the Poor in Nelsonville.

Michael Fallon was seriously injured when the elevator at the top of the furnace descended suddenly while he was unloading a wheelbarrow of ore.

The frescoes on the walls of the new Methodist Church were nearly complete.

The brook opposite Wood’s blacksmith shop burst during a heavy afternoon rain, sending water down the south gutter of Main Street that met the tide at Gilmore’s Hotel. By evening, the torrent was so great the express trains had to be stopped in both directions, a lake formed at Chestnut and Main, cellars below the tracks filled with mud and William Wright’s barn near the paper mill was carried away with his horse inside. The next week, there were suggestions that a deep sewer be constructed from the Chestnut tree hill to the dock.

An officer from the U.S. House came to Cold Spring to summon an unnamed resident to Washington, D.C., to testify about the illegal sale of appointments to West Point. [The scandal led three House members to resign.]

The Garrison school held its first exhibition, with students performing declamations, dialogues, readings and songs.

Andrew Johnson

Local Connections to Impeachment

William Evarts, a Garrison resident who died in 2013, was the great-great-grandson of William Evarts, one of the lawyers who defended President Andrew Johnson (right) in his impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate in 1868, while Clara Longstreth, of Garrison, is the great-great-granddaughter of Salmon Chase, the chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court who presided over the trial.

125 Years Ago (February 1895)

A soldier from West Point stole a pet fox owned by James Ryan, but the animal, named Dick, was recovered.

A Friday night snowstorm delayed the milk delivery until Saturday afternoon, and grocers, bakers and butchers were forced to bring orders in baskets. Six railroad cars filled with sheep rode out the weather parked in Breakneck Tunnel.

Dr. C.D. Gilson, a graduate of the New York College of Dentistry, opened a practice in the Grove Building at the corner of Morris and Main.

A young man accused of assaulting his father who was being served with an arrest warrant at his home by a village constable asked if he could be excused for a few moments. The Recorder noted that the constable, who agreed to the request, still had the warrant.

A Valentine Party at Town Hall organized by the Ladies’ Auxiliary of St. Mary’s Church featured a one-act farce called The Obstinate Family.

At a school board meeting, the principal reported that, of 323 children ages 5 to 18 in the district, 299 were registered, and the average daily attendance was 242. The library committee also reported it had purchased 81 books, including Civics for Young People, Madam How and Lady Why, Swedish System of Educational Gymnastics, When I was a Boy in China, American Football, and Photography Indoors and Out.

Charles McClary finished a 22-foot-high water tower covered with cedar shingles on the Parrott Street property of Capt. Henry Metcalfe.

Francis Lipsey, the watchman at the Main Street crossing of the Hudson River Railroad, was confined at home for a week with the flu.

Republicans had a clean sweep during county elections in Carmel, winning the positions of collector, justice of the peace, commissioner of highways, assessor, commissioners of excise, election inspectors, overseer of the poor and constables. They even won in Democratic strongholds such as Carmel and Putnam Valley.

Frederick Osborn’s St. Bernard was found shot dead in Garrison, but there were no suspects. Soon after, Lumps, a Hungarian hound owned by Gen. Daniel Butterfield, was killed in Cold Spring by a train.

The grocers Perry & Reilly had on exhibit at their store a “petrified potato” that was found in a load from Putnam Valley.

Two gamblers from New York City conducted a “shell game” in Garrison and fleeced several residents out of $5 to $15 each. One man lost $25 but raised such a ruckus that the shell man refunded his money.

Garrison hosted horse races with entrants from nine river towns. Ed Rockett of Sing Sing won the three-quarter-mile, which was best three times in five, and J.W. Tompkins of Sing Sing took the trotters’ division, with George Garrison of Garrison finishing fourth.

The Recorder ran a list, dating to 1825, of when the frozen Hudson had re-opened to boat traffic. The dates ranged from Feb. 4 to April 13.

The state allocated 10,000 brown and 15,000 brook trout to the Cold Spring-on-Hudson Fish and Game Protective Association.

Progressive euchre was said to be a fad among Garrison residents.

P.A. July, who had recently opened a Main Street barber shop, announced he also would sell plates, chemicals and papers for amateur photographers.

A young man who passed through the village claimed to be one of the 20 survivors of the Jan. 31 sinking of the ocean liner SS Elbe in the North Sea. He said he was coming from Buffalo, where he had visited his brother, a lawyer, to prepare a lawsuit.

100 Years Ago (February 1920)

A state representative visited Town Hall to distribute forms and explain the newly adopted state income tax law, which required all single people who made more than $1,000 annually [about $13,000 today] and all couples who made more than $2,000 to file by March 15.

Snow drifts after a storm prevented the coal men from making their deliveries. The temperature on one Sunday morning plunged to 16 below; because of the frozen ground, the bodies of many residents who died had to be stored in vaults at Cold Spring Cemetery.

The annual meeting of the General Chemical Co. of Philipstown was held at its offices near Manitou station.

Because of a backlog at the Secretary of State’s Office, drivers were allowed to display their 1919 license plates until March 1.

Katherine Scullion and Kathleen Nichols of Garrison both landed jobs at the Baker Underwear Factory in Peekskill.

In February 1920, two Garrison residents landed jobs at the Baker Underwear Factory in Peekskill.

F.C. Dale, the proprietor of Blackfriar Farms in Cold Spring, offered at “bargain prices” any surplus from a carload of middlings, oats, corn, gluten, cornmeal and alfalfa meal; a carload of No. 2 hay; and a barrel of raw linseed oil.

The Knights of Columbus offered $10 in gold for the best essay by a Haldane student on “Benefits of an Enlistment in the United States Army.”

A federal prohibition agent warned merchants that signs advertising liquor needed to be removed to avoid “drastic steps” by law enforcement.

The local Boy Scout troop took a trip to the Newburgh YMCA, where six members passed the swimming test and three completed a 14-mile hike.

75 Years Ago (February 1945)

The Field Artillery Team from West Point took on a team from Beacon at the Lions Club Athletic Carnival at the Haldane school. The event benefited the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis [the March of Dimes], which fought polio. The West Point team featured Harry Boykoff, a 6-foot-10 former center for St. John’s University who would later play in the NBA.

Thomas Clune, a sophomore at the Peekskill Military Academy and the son of K.H. Clune of Manitou, defeated Eugene Pardini at 1:08 in the second round of a boxing match at Vasa Temple in the Bronx.

50 Years Ago (February 1970)

Joseph Lahey, the superintendent of highways for Philipstown for the previous eight years and town supervisor from 1944 to 1956, died at Butterfield Memorial Hospital at age 72. He had 26 grandchildren, all living in Cold Spring.

Jane Polhemus of Manitou was named Haldane’s Homemaker of Tomorrow after getting the high score on a test of knowledge and attitudes prepared by Betty Crocker. Polhemus planned to become a nurse.

Thomas Perna of the New York State Pure Waters Authority reviewed the final phase of a preliminary sanitary sewage system survey with Nelsonville officials. The Cold Spring Village Board proposed that Nelsonville lay out a 10-inch water main through Pine Street to the village line.

A Life in Livestock

Maria Elena Hardman dropped off at The Current office one of the unused tags she had purchased at an antique shop in Hudson, asking if we knew anything about it.

A little digging revealed it had belonged to Delos Luther, a livestock and farm equipment auctioneer who lived at 19 Parsonage St. in the 1940s. By 1948 he and his family had moved to Wassaic, a hamlet in eastern Dutchess County, where for the next three decades his wife Queenie, their son David and their grandson Delos II ran Luther’s Livestock Commission Market.

From the mid-1950s to the late 1960s, the market moved 2,000 calves per week, but the large farms of Wappinger and Fishkill were eventually covered by IBM, motels, restaurants and schools. Delos died in 1983, at age 73.

The Hudson View Inn, owned by Mr. and Mrs. Ludwig Link, reopened its bar after a month-long renovation.

St. Philip’s in Garrison said it planned to invite the three past rectors who were still living to each preach in 1970 as part of a celebration of the church’s 200th anniversary.

Coach William Merante organized a nine-member wrestling team at Haldane High School that competed in two scrimmages and one meet. The team members were Jim Roberto, Wayne Merritt, Jeff Consaga, Lou Sabatini, John Lastrom, Frank Torchia, Joe Vitanza, Charles Mills and Frank Gallio.

Walter Rathjen, who operated the local Ford agency, Cold Spring Auto Sales, for 20 years before moving to Poughkeepsie, died at age 70.

Marguerite Walker Rogers of Cold Spring donated a collection of gowns to Ladycliff College in Highland Falls, including dresses worn by her mother, grandmothers and a great aunt that dated to the Civil War.

Tom Cahill, Army’s head football coach, spoke to the Cold Spring Lions and shared film highlights from the 1969 season. The Lions also heard at a second meeting from Nelsonville resident James Helbock, the commanding officer of the photographic section of the New York City Police Department, who spoke about forensic photography.

Army Coach Tom Cahill spoke to the Cold Spring Lions Club in 1970

25 Years Ago (February 1995)

A group called the Bannerman’s Castle Trust, headed by Neal Caplan and headquartered in Brooklyn, launched a campaign to restore Bannerman’s Island.

The Philipstown board discussed closing a portion of East Mountain Road so Beacon could repair its water reservoir near Esselborne Road. The work would create a 3-mile detour for residents.

Jim Gordon of Putnam Valley, the voice of the New York Giants on WOR Radio for 18 seasons, was fired. He had been hired in 1977 to succeed Marv Albert. Gordon, who also served on the Putnam County Legislature for 10 years, was best known for his call of Scott Norwood’s 47-yard field goal attempt with eight seconds left in Super Bowl XXV (1991), which Norwood missed. [Gordon died in 2003 at age 76.]

A Putnam County sheriff’s deputy shot a 19-year-old man dead in Kent after he ignored orders to drop his weapon and instead shot through the door of a residence. The man, who was armed with a stolen Glock 40, was found to be wearing a bulletproof vest.

The Putnam County Supreme Court dismissed a lawsuit filed by New York State to re-open a right of way established in 1909 across private property in Garrison to allow a second access point to Arden Point, near the train station. The family that owned the land fought the easement because it wanted to construct a development known as Kendronkill Landing on the site.

O’Sullivan in 1995

Patrick O’Sullivan (right) opened Limited Edition Realty at 155 Main St.

Joey DeMarco recorded his 1,000th career point for the Haldane varsity boys’ basketball team a week after scoring a school-record 41 points in a victory over Lourdes. DeMarco became the fourth Haldane player to reach 1,000 points, after Mike Kiefer, Damon Perpetua and Jenny Moran.

Boscobel named Charles Lyle, a former director of the Maryland Historical Society, as its new executive director. He succeeded Frederick Stanyer, who retired after 31 years.

Putnam County sheriff’s deputies, using a K-9 officer named Alf, located two 8-year-olds who were lost in the woods near Old West Point Road in Garrison.

The Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival announced that, for its ninth season, it would present The Tempest and The Two Gentlemen of Verona.


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