Looking Back in Philipstown

150 Years Ago (June 1872)

circus ad

The circus came to the village in June 1872.

The Great North American Circus and Humpty Dumpty Pantomime Troupe performed following a parade down Main Street by its opera band.

Almira Southard accompanied her son, Judge Southard, to San Francisco, where he was a delegate to the National Republican Convention. She planned to stay for a year.

M.W. Lozier, of Nelsonville, cut himself severely on a shaving razor that had been left open on a chair in his room.

Burglars stole $3 in change and eight boxes of cigars from Davenport’s.

Robert Morris, author of Freemasonry in the Holy Land, spoke at the Masonic lodge.

Three months after William Humphreys Jr. of Nelsonville took in Maria Kane, 14, from the Howard Mission in New York City, a man showed up claiming to be her uncle and demanding custody. Maria said she didn’t know him. The man later returned with a document he claimed was a letter of guardianship. The Cold Spring Recorder suggested that the girl should not be surrendered to anyone but the superintendent of the Howard Mission.

homas Van Renssalaer Gibbs

Gibbs

A Black cadet, Thomas Van Renssalaer Gibbs, the son of Jonathan Clarkson Gibbs, Florida’s secretary of state, enrolled at West Point. [Gibbs left the academy in January 1873 and enrolled at Oberlin College. The first Black cadet to graduate was Henry Flipper in 1877.]

125 Years Ago (June 1897)

The Cold Spring Village Improvement Association sprayed the elm trees. It also noted that two of its wire trash baskets were missing and that Capt. Henry Metcalfe, its president, was accepting bids to provide 12 loads of soil, excavate places for trees along village streets and fill the holes with the soil.

Thomas Early, a former resident of Cold Spring, was arrested on charges that he stole from Fort Clinton at West Point four cannons captured during the Mexican and Civil wars. Early, the proprietor of a plumbing firm, allegedly confessed to Secret Service agent William McManus (also a former Cold Spring resident) that he and two co-conspirators broke up two guns with dynamite to recover the brass and that the others were resold several times and ended up with a collector in Germany. Early pleaded guilty and was sentenced to six months at hard labor.

Walter Timm, accompanied by his son, arrived in Cold Spring from Philadelphia to visit his brother. They made the trip by bicycle.

After being residents of Cold Spring for 57 years, Mr. and Mrs. E.A. Pelton moved to Nebraska City, Nebraska, to live with their daughter. Mr. Pelton later wrote to say that the journey by train took 38 hours.

Gilbert Forman, 74, who lived in Putnam Valley near the Philipstown line, died of a stroke at 10 a.m. on a Monday while standing in his yard. Coincidently, his sister, Mary Wilson of Dutchess County, died on the same day at nearly the same time.

A correspondent for the St. Louis Republic reported on the eagles of Storm King, which, he wrote, “have, in a great degree, lost their fear of man, if they ever had any. During the shad fishing season they will approach within a few feet of the fishermen when they are hauling their nets, and are invariably awarded with a nice, plump fish.” He noted there was one old eagle the fishermen had nicknamed Harvey Birch, after the hero in The Spy, by James Fenimore Cooper, because he had been seen “on the mountain near Garrisons where Enoch Crosby, alias Harvey Birch, the patriot spy of the Revolution, had the cave where he used to meet and confer with Washington.”

Samuel Parkes Cadman

The Rev. Samuel Parkes Cadman

The Rev. Samuel Parkes Cadman (right), a prominent Methodist minister from New York City and an outspoken opponent of racism, delivered a lecture at the Methodist Episcopal Church on Abraham Lincoln, whom he called a “magnificent diamond of many facets.”

Susan Duryee, 12, a granddaughter of railroad executive Samuel Sloan, drowned at Olygasket, the Sloan estate in Garrison. She was riding bicycles with a cousin along the shore of a lake when she lost control.

Capt. Daniel McElroy Sr., who had lived in Cold Spring for 72 years, died at his home on Fair Street. A well-known boatman on the Hudson, at age 18 he became captain of a sloop that carried freight between the West Point Foundry and New York City.

A team of workers from Poughkeepsie installed a long-distance telephone line from the Garrison station to the residences on the Osborn estate.

A dog poisoner was at work in Cold Spring. On a Saturday morning, eight dogs were found dead, including a few on Main Street.

Chalmers Dale, who had a summer home in Philipstown called Bonnie Braze, returned home after traveling to Massachusetts to challenge the will of his mother-in-law, who had left $40,000 [about $1.3 million today] and a home to a niece whom Dale said had undue influence on her aunt. Dale’s son, Chalmers Dale Jr., received $125,000 [$4.35 million], and the remainder of the estate, valued at $800,000 [$28 million], was divided among other relatives, friends and charities. After a judge upheld the will, Dale was asked if he would appeal. He said: “If you got struck between the eyes and laid out flat, would you at once get up and say you wanted lunch?”

Elisha Rusk of Parrott Street in Cold Spring, who had been elected the year before as Putnam County district attorney, died at age 39 following surgery to correct “an internal trouble.” Soon after his death, Orestes Cleveland Jr., the son of the former longtime mayor of Jersey City, New Jersey, established a law practice in Rusk’s former Main Street office.

Village water was introduced to the home of William Haldane and the Bethany Day Nursery on the river road. The job required 3,500 feet of pipe to make a connection to the main on Fair Street.

Margaret Young of Glasgow, Scotland, visited her aunt, Isabella Boyd, in Cold Spring. She planned to see Niagara Falls before returning home.

A young man from New York City who was determined to see a girl who spent her summers at her family’s estate in Cold Spring took a late train from Grand Central but didn’t realize it was a nonstop to Poughkeepsie. He waited on the platform there until 3:17 a.m., when he boarded a southbound mail train, not realizing it, too, was nonstop, to Grand Central. At Cold Spring, he leaped from the car but somehow escaped injury. When the flagman helped him up, the man exclaimed: “I was bound to see that girl!”

While playing hide-and-seek in her family’s barn, Helen Coe fell about 8 feet from the hayloft and struck a manger below. She was not seriously injured.

New York State reported that the average annual cost per student had risen over five years from $79.27 [$2,500] to $113.28 [$4,000], mostly because of the addition of high schools.

100 Years Ago (June 1922)

The Manitou Co. of New York City purchased 100 acres along the river in Philipstown to build a development with 170 homes on half-acre lots.

Members of the Philipstown lodge of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows followed their yearly custom and placed flowers at Cold Spring Cemetery on the graves of deceased members.

A friendly baseball game was arranged between a team from Cold Spring and one made up mostly of workers from the Frederick Snare Corp., contractors on the Catskill aqueduct. The Snare team recruited pitcher “Hackensack” Harry Harper, who had started Game 6 of the 1921 World Series for the Yankees; his brother, Walter, at catcher; and another brother, Roger, at first base. Nevertheless, the Cold Spring “twirler,” Tom Rogers, did not allow a hit in the locals’ 8-7 win. [The Yankees released Harper that same month and he played his final professional season with Brooklyn.]

Harry Harper

Harry Harper of the Yankees pitched in the World Series in 1921 and in Cold Spring in 1922. (Library of Congress)

Twelve contractors presented bids to architect Hobart Upjohn to construct a hospital and a library with money bequeathed by Julia Butterfield.

The owner of the Petrel said that, unless there was a substantial increase in business, he would no longer sail between Newburgh and Cold Spring.

Prof. J.Y. Wheatly of the Carnegie Institute of Technology [Carnegie Mellon], who was visiting friends in Cold Spring, said he enjoyed Pittsburgh except for the coal smoke.

The Cold Spring Village Board voted to direct the police officer to make “a full report of his activities while on duty.”

William Hincke, who purchased the Hustis Farm, began construction on a bungalow he intended to rent to visitors from New York City.

Margaret MacLean, a teacher at the Haldane school, left for a two-month visit with relatives in Savannah, Georgia. Another Haldane teacher, Ida Porter, sailed for Spain to take a summer course at the University of Madrid.

75 Years Ago (June 1947)

Douglas Chandler

Douglas Chandler in 1947

Lt. Col. Roland Gleazer of Cold Spring testified in Boston at the trial of Douglas Chandler, who had been charged with treason for broadcasting Nazi propaganda from Berlin during the war. Gleazer told the court that, as a member of Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower’s staff in Europe, he had been assigned to return Chandler to the U.S. for trial. [Chandler was convicted and sentenced to life in prison. His sentence was commuted in 1963 on the condition he leave the U.S.; he returned to Germany but later disappeared.]

The Italian-American Club of Cold Spring hosted a St. Anthony’s Day celebration with a block dance, baseball game, concert and fireworks.

50 Years Ago (June 1972)

Doris Thacher, who lived in a 220-year-old Dutch farmhouse on Route 9 in Hyde Park, said she wanted to have it torn down to make the property easier to sell because she planned to move to Cold Spring. The curator of Boscobel said the structure was unfit for preservation, and Thacher noted that nothing historical had taken place there. “This is a farmer’s home that served its owners well for over 200 years but which is no longer useful in today’s world,” she said.

Jack Curran, the basketball coach at Archbishop Molloy High School in Queens, held his annual summer basketball camp at the Taconic Lodge on Route 301 assisted by two NBA players — Mike Riordan of the Baltimore Bullets and Keven Loughery of the Philadelphia 76ers — along with college coaches such as Digger Phelps of Notre Dame, a native of Beacon; Dean Smith of North Carolina; and Hubie Brown of Duke. The lodge had a gym with eight baskets, as well as two outdoor courts.

Voters approved a 4.4 percent increase in spending at the Garrison School, 206-62.

Incumbent Willis Stephens easily won the Republican primary for his U.S. House seat over Putnam County Clerk William Rich.

25 Years Ago (June 1997)

Members of the community expressed alarm at rumors that St. Basil Academy had announced at its commencement that its students would be attending Garrison in the fall. The Garrison school board wrote the academy to say that was not the case, because the 38 St. Basil students were not residents of the district. St. Basil responded that it planned to become legal guardians to its students, which would make them residents. St. Basil, founded in 1944 by the Greek Orthodox Church, was created to assist needy children from broken or dysfunctional homes or orphans and had a capacity of 120.

A Fishkill man was killed and his two daughters injured in a head-on collision between his minivan and a truck on Route 9 just south of Jaycox Road.

The Cold Spring Baptist Church said that, due to financial constraints, it had dismissed its pastor of six years, the Rev. Richard Chartier.

The United Methodist Church of Cold Spring and South Highland Methodist Church of Garrison honored the Rev. Ashok Visuvasam and his wife, Manora, with a farewell luncheon. Ashok planned to launch an online ministry, The Chapel on the Web. He was succeeded by the Rev. Kyong Hee Kim.

After a legal battle, the Putnam Valley Town Board voted 4-1 to disband the town’s 22-man police department. Officials said residents should expect their annual taxes to drop by $200 to $300.

In a bit of gossip, the New York Daily News reported that former MTV reporter Tabitha Soren had been heard “whining and complaining” to her fiance while they hiked a mountain near Cold Spring. “He was saying, ‘It’s not much farther to the top,’ ” according to the paper’s “spy.”

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