Looking Back in Philipstown

150 Years Ago (November 1871)

The Watson Brothers, “three flying men of the air, assisted by a fine ballet troupe and some choice vocalists,” performed at Town Hall.

The children of Cold Spring celebrated the end of October by throwing cabbage stumps at people and buildings, which The Cold Spring Recorder dismissed as a “foreign practice.”

E.P. Dykeman and C. Bullock were thrown from their wagon while returning from Putnam Valley when a wheel hit a rock in the road.

William Hustis, William J. Hustis and Milton Hustis of North Highlands departed for Kansas to hunt buffalo.

Edward Ward suffered a fatal head injury while painting an iron tank at the West Point Foundry when his scaffolding tipped and he was thrown into a pile of iron. He had moved to Cold Spring to work at the foundry in 1832.

Word arrived that Thomas Avery of Nelsonville, who had sailed a few weeks earlier for Cuba, had died at Cienfuegos of yellow fever.

C.C. Griffin reported finding an unusual Native American ornament near his home: It was fish-shaped, with a hole drilled in one end. It appeared to be talc hardened by heat.

An intoxicated man kicked over the stove at the beer shop run by Mrs. Patrick Devine west of the tracks, causing a fire that was contained using water from a hand pump and by pitching the stove outdoors.

125 Years Ago (November 1896)

Irving McCoy, editor of The Cold Spring Recorder, advised: “This is the season of the year when drivers ought to blanket their horses when they leave them standing for any length of time, if the life of the animal is worth a blanket.”

McCoy also noted that, although a large and enthusiastic crowd had gathered at the depot to hear the election results, the campaign itself “had been the quietest in Cold Spring in many years.” Republican candidates won in every district in Putnam County except one in Philipstown.

The traveling Little Vernon Brothers played, sang, whistled and recited at the Methodist Episcopal Church under the auspices of the Epworth League Society.

Little Vernon Brothers

The traveling Little Vernon Brothers performed at Town Hall in 1896.

A St. Bernard owned by Charles Briggs was said to have followed a hawk that stole one of the Briggs’ chickens to the mountainside, retrieved the chicken and returned it, unharmed, to the barnyard.

The Recorder carried a notice reminding parents of a new state law that all children between ages 8 and 14 had to attend school, and that those between 14 and 16 had to attend unless gainfully employed.

About 150 people attended a Thursday night lecture by the Rev. Samuel Parkes Cadman at the North Highlands Methodist Episcopal Church on life in London, where he was born and grew up. Cadman, 33, was in charge of the Central Metropolitan Temple in New York City, where Gen. Ulysses Grant formerly worshipped. [Cadman, who in the 1920s would become a pioneering radio pastor, was widely cited for quips such as “A little experience often upsets a lot of theory.”]

Bridget McMahon, who shot Patrick O’Malley to death in October at Highland Station following a dispute, was indicted by a grand jury in Carmel on charges of manslaughter in the first degree. She was released on $1,000 bail.

BroomHow to Use a Broom
From The Cold Spring Recorder, Nov. 27, 1896

■ Don’t let it get dirty. Cleanse often by putting in a pail of lukewarm soap suds or hold under a faucet.

■ Don’t use a broom straw to test a cake. It is not neat and very dangerous, as many brooms are soaked in arsenic solution to give them their green color.

■ Don’t sweep with your back. Use your arms and the broom, with not too long a stroke.

■ Don’t put salt on the floor when about to sweep. Dampen a newspaper, tear in pieces and throw on the carpet.

Justice John Riggs heard a lawsuit at Town Hall against Joseph Griffin by Daniel McElroy Jr., who contended he had agreed to buy 30 barrels of apples at 75 cents per barrel for No. 1 fruit and 40 cents per barrel for windfalls and No. 2 fruit but that No. 2s were passed off as No. 1s. The defendant argued the contract was null regardless because the product had been delivered by his son, Frederick, without his approval. The judge awarded McElroy $12.

Henry Fairfield Osborn hired W.H. Ladue to construct a stone fountain in Depot Square in Garrison with material from the King Granite Quarry in memory of Osborn’s deceased son, Gurdon. It was to be fed by the Helen Wilson spring. [The monument is located at Garrison’s Landing and remembers Gurdon Saltonstall Osborn, who died in March 1896 when he was eight months old.]

Osborn fountain

The Osborn fountain on Garrison’s Landing (Photo by C. Rowe)

Sewell Thornhill resigned his position at Boyd & Co. to open his own drugstore on Long Island.

The mangled body of Owen Hayden was found at 6 p.m. about 60 feet north of the Garrison freight depot. He was a night watchman for the railroad stationed at the tunnel and it was supposed that he had stepped aside for a southbound express but was caught by one of the steps and dragged under the wheels. His body was found by his brother, Daniel. Owen’s lantern was found on the end of a tie on the north track.

Sylvenus Ferris and Fred Camp saved Camp’s barn behind his home on Main Street from being destroyed when they threw a burning bag filled with asbestos and hair fiber out of the hay loft.

The Haldane Debating Club held its monthly meeting to address the question, “Resolved: That machinery has been generally beneficial to mankind.”

Two railroad carloads filled with bison passed through on their way from Austin Corbin’s preserve in New Hampshire to Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx.

bison at corbin

In 1896, Corbin’s Park in New Hampshire shipped bison to New York City by way of Cold Spring.

When an oil lamp being carried by Ellen Burns of Market Street exploded, she quickly tore off her flaming apron but burned her hands.

The Recorder reported “talk of giving the sheriff of Putnam County a salary.”

After finding one of his chickens partly eaten, John Meeks poisoned the remains and the next day found a dead hoot owl whose wingspan measured 3 1/2 feet.

100 Years Ago (November 1921)

John Brooks was elected as the Philipstown superintendent of highways following an unusual race. The Republicans nominated the Democratic incumbent, Fenton Smith, claiming they had taken the party’s “best man.” In response, the Democrats endorsed Brooks, the candidate of the People’s Party, who won every district except No. 3, where Smith lived.

W.E. Hickey renovated his pool parlor and added a second table.

The Sterling Brothers troupe performed Uncle Tom’s Cabin at Town Hall with child actor Little Flossie as Eva and “high-class vaudeville” between acts.

Some leaves from a pile being burned by Joseph Davis Sr. in Garrison were carried to his roof, starting a fire that caused serious damage. Firefighters from Peekskill and West Point managed to keep the flames from spreading to other buildings by pumping water through hose lines from the river.

About 300 people gathered at the war monument to participate in an Armistice Day ceremony. Following the singing of the “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” a flag was raised on a new pole, then lowered to half-mast. The crowd sang “The Star-Spangled Banner,” followed by invocations and two minutes of silence.

The Hudson Tire and Rubber Co. screened The Making of a Tire at Town Hall with scenes from rubber plantations in Borneo and a factory in Akron, Ohio. The firm planned to open a plant in Yonkers that would produce 7,500 tires a day.

The Town Board granted a franchise to the Philipstown Electric Co. of Garrison.

Parcels selected for the Julia Butterfield Memorial Hospital and public library eight years earlier were put up for sale by the county, which had seized them for unpaid taxes.

75 Years Ago (November 1946)

A Newburgh man was detained in New York City and sent to the Putnam County jail on charges he stole $300 worth of tools from Peter Grasse of Garrison. When arrested, he was in a car reported stolen from Farmington, Connecticut, that bore a license plate stolen from Beacon.

A man who was walking at 10 p.m. along Old Albany Post Road [Route 9] was struck and killed south of Lane Gate Road.

According to Earl Devendorf of the state Division of Sanitation, nine communities in the mid-Hudson Valley, including Cold Spring and Beacon, discharged raw sewage into public waters. “The high percentage of untreated sewage in this region — 49 percent — as compared with 20 percent for the entire state, indicates a lag in treatment,” he told state legislators. The communities said they could not afford to construct sewage disposal plants.

50 Years Ago (November 1971)

Joseph Percacciolo, a Democrat, easily won reelection as Philipstown supervisor, while Margaret Mihalik, a Republican, was reelected as town clerk. Three Republican incumbents were reelected to the Town Board and Wendall Lyons, a Democrat, upset incumbent James Moshier to become highway superintendent.

The Haldane school board appointed James Budney, a father of five and former Nelsonville trustee, to replace Ken Mattern, who resigned with the hope his departure would be a first step toward “a unified and progressive school system.”

Joseph DeLuccia, a former Cold Spring resident, died at age 70 in New Hampshire. He was the retired founder of the Cold Spring Dyeing and Finishing Co. and the longtime president of the board of the Butterfield Memorial Hospital.

The Philipstown Community Council held its annual meeting. Father Dan Egan, head of the New Hope project at Graymoor, spoke about drug addiction, noting that it stemmed from a sick society in which young people were looking for the “real” world through “phony” drugs; were not able to communicate with their parents; and were looking for quick answers. Jan, an 18-year-old from Garrison, also spoke about her addiction to LSD.

The Philipstown Packers came from behind on a 67-yard run in the fourth quarter by Lou Cava to tie the Beacon Colts, 13-13. The Packers finished with a 1-2-3 record.

25 Years Ago (November 1996)

James Whitcomb Riley

One of the first performances at the Philipstown Depot Theatre in 1996 centered on the poetry of James Whitcomb Riley (1849-1916).

The Philipstown Depot Theatre on Garrison’s Landing opened its doors on Nov. 9. One of its first programs was “a rollicking hour of rural rhythm and rhymes” by James Whitcomb Riley (1849-1916), known as the “Hoosier poet.”

A $150,000 road grader owned by the Philipstown Highway Department parked on East Mountain Road North was destroyed by fire at 7 a.m. on a Friday. A contentious debate over the paving of East Mountain Road North and Esselborne Road, along with a broken windshield and missing radio, led to speculation of vandalism.

Kurt Lauer of Cold Spring played Kenny in a production of Neil Simon’s Rumors at the Paramount Center for the Arts in Peekskill.

Bob Ingram, editor and publisher of The Putnam County News & Recorder, announced his retirement. Associate Publisher Brian O’Donnell was promoted.

A chemical spill at Pemm Corp. caused a fire that killed a 24-year worker from Pleasant Valley. Route 9 was closed for six hours as 75 firefighters fought the blaze. The building also housed the offices of a chiropractor and a podiatrist.

The 93 acres of the Capuchin Friary on Route 9D in Garrison, known as Glenclyffe, were listed at $6 million. The land included the friary, a chapel, a dormitory and a gymnasium.

Capuchin Friary

The former Capuchin Friary is now The Garrison Institute.

Lt. William Kearns, a New York City firefighter, visited his daughter Leanne and other students in Mrs. Downer’s second-grade class at Haldane in full gear, while Westchester police officer Michael Susi, father of sixth-grader Mary, landed a search-and-rescue helicopter on the football field for a science lesson.

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