Looking Back in Philipstown

150 Years Ago (April 1870)

A number of surgeons and doctors came to Cold Spring to assist in an operation on the kidneys of Mallachy Hessian, who the Cold Spring Recorder reported was doing “as well as could be expected.”

W.W. Wilson, an employee of the West Point Foundry, was unable to work after “having met the common fate of getting iron chippings in his eye,” the Recorder said.

Recorder Editor S.B. Allis was formerly the village postmaster.

The editor of the Recorder and the proprietors of The Gleneida Monitor in Carmel and The Fishkill Journal lobbed insults at each other, with the Fishkill man writing, “Cold Spring is such a bad place that the whole of Putnam County has to be scoured over to find hickory cudgels to lick the inhabitants,” and the Carmel man adding that the Recorder editor was “one of the most quiet, inoffensive, meek and lowly gentlemen of the press we have ever met.” The Recorder editor, Sylvester Beers Allis, said the barbs only showed that “great wisdom, after running through skulls of such peculiar nature, comes forth terribly distorted.”

Dogs killed nine sheep and wounded six more on the farm of William Knapp near the Highland church.

The new pews at the Methodist Church were deemed “very comfortable.”

James Monroe, a painter working in Nelsonville, was thrown from his horse when he let go of the bridle while receiving curbside service at a Main Street cigar store.

John Best, attempting to kill a rat with a hatchet outside his father’s paint shop on Stone Street, instead cut his toe.

Mrs. Elwell, who moved to Cold Spring with her husband when the village had three houses, died at age 75.

The village postmaster reported that an honest young boy, John Doyle, put his hand up to the delivery window and said, “Mister Letterman, here’s four cents. I find ’em on the winder.” The pennies were nickels that had been given in change to a customer who later returned for the money.

After the schooner Cabinet of Newport ran aground in heavy wind near the West Point lower dock, its captain and one of the two mates took the anchor and about 50 fathoms of chain in a yawl and rowed into the river, hoping they could pull the ship’s bow off the flats. As the chain was let out, however, the anchor in the aft began to drag the boat down. The two men attempted to swim back to shore but disappeared under the waves.

125 Years Ago (April 1895)

Edward Post, the dry goods merchant, lost a pocket book containing about $100. He had two boys named McElreth arrested, but Justice Nelson dismissed the case for lack of evidence.

At a special meeting of the Nelsonville Village Board, Levi Wood was called to answer to a charge that he had libeled the previous board, and John Utter to answer to an allegation that he had voted illegally. An attorney who appeared on behalf of both men said the board didn’t have jurisdiction in either matter.

Sam Lee was the owner of the Cold Spring Chinese Laundry. He would go to New York City on his day off. Behind him is Church Street facing east. (Putnam History Museum)

Sam Lee, the Chinese laundryman, caught 15 trout on the first day of the season.

The Nelsonville board gave permission to the Gouverneur estate to straighten Secor Street.

The superintendent of the West Point Foundry, James Greene, caught his arm in a piece of machinery and would have lost the limb except for the quick response of a workman.

Hamilton Fish, a Garrison resident who was speaker of the state Assembly, introduced a bill prepared by the Putnam County Board of Supervisors that called for all persons convicted as vagrants or tramps in Putnam to be sent to the penitentiary under contract with the state instead of to the county jail or poorhouse.

A new stoop was built around the train depot.

The New York Times, in an article on the history of the circus, said the first one had been organized in 1827 or 1828 in Putnam County by three men named Angevine, Titus and Burgess. “People think and walk circus there,” the paper claimed.

Messenger Woods, while digging in a garden near West Point, found about $5 worth of old coins, which he surmised had been buried there by Captain Kidd, who was said to have lived in a hut under Crow’s Nest. He hired two men to dig all the next day for more treasure.

Jared Barhite

Jared Barhite

Jared Barhite, the former principal of the old Rock Street School, published Our Profession and Other Poems, which included verse related to teaching, Arbor Day and other subjects. “During the past quarter of a century it has been a pleasant pastime for me to obey the dictates of my feelings and inscribe them upon paper,” he wrote in the introduction. “The intent being good, the fruit cannot be evil.”

George Mosher Jr. sold his interest in the oyster saloon and general store to his father and brother to open a wholesale candy and cigar business.

The editor of the Recorder offered: “A good many of the people who are taking sarsaparilla for the blood at this season of the year would do a good deal better to go out every day and take a walk.”

P.J. Miller put on exhibit in the Boyd building a Graphophone, “a machine that talks, laughs, whistles and sings,” according to the Recorder.

A Cold Spring merchant in 1895 displayed a Graphophone to attract customers.

100 Years Ago (April 1920)

Ida Giles, the widow of Dr. Richard Giles, asked the board to rescind a resolution passed the previous month at the request of Alice Haldane to change the name of Oak Street to Giles Place to honor her late husband.

The neighbors of Robert Grindrod thanked him for shopping for them while the roads bordering the Fahnestock estate were impassable.

The silent movie, The Trap, was screened at Philipstown Town Hall in 1920.

As part of its twice-weekly series of silent moving pictures shown at Town Hall, the Old Homestead Club screened The Trap, starring Olive Tell, and Bonnie Bonnie Lassie, with Mary MacLaren.

The Loretto Council of the Knights of Columbus organized a baseball team.

Eleven applicants were elected at the annual meeting of the Cold Spring Fire Co. No. 1. A proposal to purchase an auto chemical engine was referred to a committee. The secretary reported that the company had responded to one call in 1919, which took only about two hours because the building was already fully engaged. He also mourned the death of David Harkness, the company’s founder.

Dorothy Giles complained to the Village Board that Fred Goodfriend was slaughtering pigs inside his Main Street bakery. In his defense, Goodfriend said he was keeping swine only as a patriotic duty to increase the wartime food supply.

Mayme English-Lillotte, a friend of bestselling author James Whitcomb Riley, known as the “Hoosier Poet,” read from his works at Town Hall.

A group of Republican women in Philipstown organized in 1920 to elect Gen. Leonard Wood as U.S. president. (Library of Congress)

A number of Republican women gathered at the home of Mary Haldane to discuss a campaign to support Gen. Leonard Wood for president. [At the convention, Wood led on the first four ballots and again on the seventh, but Warren Harding eventually won the nomination on the 10th ballot.]

The Board of Health noted that all garbage must be in metal containers with lids, barrels of ash must not be too heavy for two men to lift, and horses, goats, sheep, rabbits, etc., must not be allowed to wander.

William Huestis, a carpenter who, as a young man, built the steeple on the Methodist Church, died at age 74, and John Adams, who came from Ireland at age 21 and worked in the West Point Foundry for 40 years, died at age 71.

James Ladue, the Democratic candidate for the county committeeman to represent Philipstown District 5, lost in the primary, 17-10, to a soldier named F.C. Selleck who ran as a write-in candidate.

William Magee of Garrison offered a reward for the return of his black dog, which he had given an unfortunately racist name that the editor of the Recorder chose to put in a headline.

75 Years Ago (April 1945)

A fire that gutted a three-story barn on the estate of auctioneer and appraiser O. Rundle Gilbert on Philipse Brook Road in Garrison destroyed 75,000 U.S. patent models dating back a century, representing about half of Gilbert’s collection. Gilbert said the models had been submitted to the U.S. Patent Office with applications between 1790 and 1890. [Congress had auctioned off the models in 1925, and Gilbert bought them in 1939. In 1979 he sold what remained — about 800 boxes — to an aerospace engineer; the collection is now at the Hagley Museum in Delaware.]

Hear Now, the magazine of the 111th Battalion, profiled “Sampson” Monroe, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Royal Monroe of Cold Spring. It noted that the 5-foot-3, 120-pound soldier was one of the strongest men in the battalion.

Staff Sgt. Malcolm Stevenson, a Haldane grad who lived on Garden Street, flew his 25th combat sortie over Europe as a tail turret gunner on a B-24 Liberator.

Word arrived that First Lt. Herbert Ellis Bowden, of Garrison, who was serving with the U.S. Army Air Corps, was killed in action over Iwo Jima.

Marie O’Keefe of Parrott Street left for duty with the U.S. Navy Nursing Corps.

Mr. and Mrs. George Fischer of Rock Street received word that their son, Corp. William Fischer, was a prisoner of war in Germany.

Col. Joseph Haskell of Garrison, a 1930 graduate of West Point, was assigned as commanding officer of the Combat Command B of the 7th Armored Division.

A memorial service held at Haldane Central School for President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who died on April 12, included the singing of “Abide with Me” and “America the Beautiful,” the reading of his favorite Bible passage (I Corinthians 13) and a prayer for President Truman.

U.S. Rep. Hamilton Fish, who lived in Garrison, said he was writing a book called Now the Truth Can Be Told with “inside facts” about America’s participation in the war. [Fish later published two books on the subject, including FDR, The Other Side of the Coin: How We Were Tricked Into World War II in 1976.]

50 Years Ago (April 1970)

Mr. Jiggs, “the world’s smartest chimp” (who had once appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show), and Pop the Magician performed at Haldane Central School in a benefit for the Philipstown chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star.

Salvator Dahlia retired from the Garrison post office after a 52-year career. He began as a clerk in April 1918 and become postmaster in 1946. He also was the school district clerk for 30 years and a former president of the Garrison Volunteer Fire Co.

Mary Adamson, a Cold Spring sixth-grader, won third prize in the national Episcopal Church School Essay Contest for “Sunday School — and the Other Six Days of the Week.”

Jacob Glick of Cold Spring celebrated his 100th birthday. He opened a dry goods and clothing store on Main Street in 1906 and had owned it for 64 years. An Orthodox Jew, he credited his long life to working hard six days a week but always keeping the Sabbath.

Mr. and Mrs. Frank Budney received word that their son, S/P 4 Edward Budney, had been shot four times during a battle in Vietnam and was recovering in a hospital near Tokyo. The Haldane graduate had enlisted four months earlier.

The Chapel of Our Lady of Cold Spring Restoration Committee elected officers of a newly created corporation that planned to buy the property and remains of the 1834 chapel, which was the first Catholic Church built in the archdiocese outside Manhattan.

Twenty-eight students from the Haldane Junior-Senior High made their annual trip to the Metropolitan Opera in New York City to see Verdi’s La Traviata.

William Elmore resigned from the Garrison school board, saying he would not have time to fulfill his duties after becoming editor of the Columbia Law Review.

Helen Stephens, who with her husband, Bill, operated Willie’s Esso Service Center, became the first female graduate of the Humble Oil and Refining Co.’s course in service-station management.

A silver tankard and bowl presented to the Cold Spring Methodist Episcopal Church on June 16, 1870, the year its new building was dedicated, was purchased at a local auction by the Putnam County Historical Society.

The Copy Machine Supply Co., owned by John Beale of Nelsonville, was named by the American Photocopy Equipment Co. as its dealer of the year.

KCOR Corp. donated 1.25 acres of land to the North Highlands Fire District for a firehouse.

Seven Haldane students, under the direction of art teacher Mark Giammatteo, built a model rocket during study halls that flew to an altitude of 600 feet.

25 Years Ago (April 1995)

Judith Furnan resigned as president of the Putnam Humane Society, citing the election of the paid shelter manager to the volunteer board of directors, which Furnan called a “serious conflict of interest.”

Megan LaDue made 16 of 25 attempts from the line to win the 13-year-old girls’ title at the Knights of Columbus Free Throw Contest state championships held at West Point.

Main Street in Nelsonville was closed for more than two hours as firefighters battled a blaze at the D&B Service Station. Officials said the fire may have started when the building’s oil burner kicked on while an employee was draining gas from a car into a bucket.

Eight Haldane High School students completed the Teaching AIDS Prevention program to become peer educators.

Stefan Weinberg, a Holocaust survivor, spoke to 10th-graders at Haldane about his experiences. After four years in a ghetto, Weinberg had been sent to a concentration camp at age 20 with his mother, who was killed.

Nelsonville received a $50,000 grant from the Hudson River Valley Greenway to analyze the village’s master plan, inventory commercial services, plan hiking trails, and repair sidewalks and plant trees.

A Putnam County sheriff’s deputy and his K-9, Alf, located a lost 2 1/2-year-old boy in Philipstown. The boy’s mother said she had gone inside for a few minutes and came out to find him gone from the yard. Alf located the boy about a half mile into the woods, where he was sitting on the ground crying for his mother.

The Butterfield Library appointed Karen Shea as its director. She succeeded Phyllis Keaton, who took a position in Spring Valley.

Chefalo Brothers completed a balcony inside the Chapel of Our Lady with 20 seats and room for a pipe organ. The $30,000 project was funded by the estate of Hugh Holt.

Gov. George Pataki, a resident of Garrison, threw out the first pitch for the Little League season.

A man questioned by a Putnam County sheriff’s deputy because he was walking between parked cars at the Garrison train station at 4:30 a.m. turned out to have escaped three days earlier from state custody in New York City.

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One thought on “Looking Back in Philipstown

  1. Fascinating issue! Thanks for your work 🙂 I loved exploring that area for its shops and scenic views as well as the great hiking.