Looking Back in Philipstown

150 Years Ago (November 1873)

The West Point Foundry announced it would cast a cannon that would require 33 tons of molten iron and weigh 60,480 pounds. Unfortunately, after about half the metal had been conducted to the mold, the weight and height of the column burst the box. With the mold destroyed, the molten metal had to be drawn from the furnaces and cast in sand. The loss was estimated at $5,000 [$128,000 today].

The daughter of Clark Ireland of Garden Street, while walking home through a vacant lot on Church Street, was attacked by a cow and sustained a slight wound under her arm from its horns.

A few weeks later, a mass of snow slid off the roof of Southard’s store, nearly burying another daughter of Clark Ireland as she looked at the window display.

Philip McCormick, while unloading coal at the furnace, was seriously injured when he was struck in the head by a lump.

In the organizational meeting of the county board of supervisors, William Garrison of Philipstown was elected chair, William Wood II of Philipstown appointed clerk and The Putnam County Monitor named the official paper.

Philip Phillips

The Singing Pilgrim

Philip Phillips — known as the Singing Pilgrim — performed an evening of hymns and spiritual songs at the Methodist Episcopal Church on Main Street.

While returning from the foundry, where he had an ax sharpened, Barton Turner stumbled on the railroad tracks and cut his hand on the tool.

After James Tomlin, 36, a molder at the foundry who lived on Garden Street, was found dead in his bed, a local doctor testified at a coroner’s inquest that he had no idea what killed him but guessed it was “some disease of the heart, or large vessels.”

A new street was opened running west from Cedar parallel to Main. In addition, Academy Street was extended parallel with B Street.

Morris Dlee had on exhibition at his store a miniature steam engine attached to a Singer sewing machine. Heat was applied with kerosene lamps.

Twelve canal boats — including 10 loaded with coal — sank at Newburgh during a violent storm.

While installing ventilators at the Rock Street School, carpenters discovered the classroom ceiling was in immediate danger of collapsing because braces holding the beams had come loose.

The Rev. William George Tozer, who had recently returned from central Africa after spending a decade there as a missionary, preached at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church.

William George Tozer

The Rev. William George Tozer preached in Cold Spring in 1873 after returning from missionary work in Africa. (National Portrait Gallery, London)

A jury found no cause of action in a lawsuit filed by Margaret Robinson against Philip Murtha, her Philipstown neighbor. The fight was over a cow that Murtha said he penned after it foraged on his property.

Thomas Avery demonstrated the brass model of a machine for making paper bags. He was part-owner of the patent.

John Mekeel offered “for sale, cheap” a one-horse buggy sleigh, never used, along with its fur robe and bells.

125 Years Ago (November 1898)

On Nov. 1, the Barriett Electric Light Co. turned on the current and, as The Cold Spring Recorder reported, “a blaze of light burst from four high-power arc lamps on Main Street. The view up Main Street was a brilliant one and is but a prophecy of what we may expect when the 30 lights are distributed through the whole village. It is expected that the dynamo for the incandescent lamps will soon be ready for work to furnish light for private parties.”

Nelsonville soon after contracted with Barriett for 11 street lamps.

Thomas Benedict, the Democratic nominee for Congress, campaigned in Cold Spring. The next day, the Republican candidate, Gen. John Ketcham, followed. (Ketcham, who was first elected to Congress in 1865, won by a wide margin.)

A petition circulated among business owners to ask the Cold Spring post office to continue Sunday delivery.

Vredenberg’s Market on Kemble Avenue offered oysters and clams by the quart or hundred.

The Princeton and West Point football teams played to a 5-5 tie before a crowd of 10,000 spectators. The game included a 30-yard field goal by the cadets.

Andrew Lynch, who for many years occupied a West Point Foundry cottage on Parsonage Street, moved to Storm King to live with his son.

The Rev. George Allen, pastor of the Milton Presbyterian Church, who had been ill with “nervous trouble” at the Orchard Street home of his cousin, Mrs. Henry Hustis, attempted suicide by shooting himself in the head with a .22 caliber revolver. He escaped serious injury but reports in The New York Herald about what led to his despair prompted the Milton congregation to release a statement discounting “misinformation,” such as an assertion that church elders had selected a bride for Allen or that he placed bets on the election results.

The Recorder reported that “the streets were orderly” on Election Day. The only upset was the Democratic candidate, Adrian Dean, winning a state Assembly seat. Theodore Roosevelt was elected governor on the Republican line; he won Philipstown, 544-518.

The producer Harry Hoffman, who a month earlier had presented, with local talent, a drama at Town Hall to benefit the fire company, was a patient at St. Luke’s Hospital in Newburgh. A sore on his leg had developed into cancer, and the limb had to be amputated.

The Men’s Club of St. Mary’s Church took over the room above the post office.

The Recorder noted that “experiments with electric motors and compressed air motors have been in progress on the New York Central Railroad for more than a year, with a view of finding some practicable method of hauling passenger trains through the Fourth Avenue tunnel [in New York City] without the annoyance of smoke. As soon as the necessary details can be arranged, some of the trains leaving the 155th Street station on the Putnam division will regularly have compressed air as a motive power instead of steam.”

A state court jury ruled against Titus Truesdell in his $11,000 [$408,000] lawsuit against the Village of Cold Spring and its Board of Water Commissioners. Truesdell said the village had cut off, without proper notice, the water to his pickle factory on Market Street for lack of payment.

The Recorder cited the increasing number of freight trains as a sign that business was improving following a national financial crash.

Frank Anderson, an employee of Harvey Hustis in the North Highlands, was watching employees of Perry & Reilley’s unload barrels of sugar from a wagon when he decided to lend a hand. However, he dropped a barrel on his left leg, breaking it near the ankle. As soon as Anderson could be moved he was sent to the county farm for paupers until he could work again.

Ellsworth Miller, the local agent for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said he suspected two horses owned by Samuel Hustis of North Highlands had died of starvation. He attempted to secure an arrest warrant in Philipstown but, after finding that all the justices were related to Hustis, instead petitioned Judge Pratt in Putnam Valley. Hustis was arrested the next week and jailed when he could not produce the $500 [$18,500] bail.

Isaac Jenkins and his family, who had moved to Cold Spring from Elkhart, Indiana, a year earlier, moved back to Elkhart.

John Miller of Highland Falls sent live opossums to Mr. Reeves at Garrison to stock Putnam County.

James Brewster of Cold Spring was accused by The Recorder of “reckless driving” after his wagon allegedly hit Mrs. William Tubbs of Breakneck on the river road, sending her sprawling. A witness said Brewster didn’t stop to check on her but “kept on his way.”

The Old Homestead Club purchased the shuffleboard that had been used at the defunct Highland House and placed it in the basement of its Main Street building.

Daniel Roadbin was arrested for being drunk and disorderly and sentenced to 150 days in jail in Kings County, where he resided. When Officer McCaffrey transported the prisoner to the Kings County jail, he recognized an inmate: John O’Mara of Cold Spring, who had been reported missing a few months earlier. He was serving 60 days for a petty larceny.

George Richardson, a traveling performer “who had amused a few people” while passing through Cold Spring by stuffing billiard balls into his mouth, according to The Recorder, was arrested in New York City for vagrancy. Richardson also had been arrested in Jersey City after a police officer demanded he prove the balls weren’t stolen.

100 Years Ago (November 1923)

The Putnam County Jail hadn’t held a prisoner for a year when Harrison Ellis, a shrubbery salesman from Beacon, arrived because he could not pay the $1,500 [$27,000] bail set by a Cold Spring justice. Ellis had been accused by Joseph Redalfi of the village of failing to deliver $600 worth of grapevines.

A 55-year-old Virginia man who had been working near Cold Spring checked himself into St. Francis Hospital in Poughkeepsie, saying he had been drinking since Election Day.

75 Years Ago (November 1948)

A blaze destroyed the Cold Spring Dyeing and Finishing Co. plant at the old West Point Foundry site. Firefighters had to wait for water to be drawn from the river.

The Cold Spring Travelers, a basketball team comprised of veterans, was looking for opponents.

A 56-year-old Cherry Street man was killed on Route 9D north of Cold Spring when his car hit a utility pole. The crash cut power to the village for an hour.

In four games, the Haldane football team recorded 97 points while holding its opponents scoreless.

A Dobbs Ferry teenager was shot in the thigh while hunting with four friends in woods near Cold Spring. One of his companions said he saw something move in the brush and fired. The victim was taken to a doctor’s office in the village before being driven home.

50 Years Ago (November 1973)

The Committee for the Preservation of Cold Spring called on residents to attend a Planning Board meeting to protest the proposed Forge Gate housing project.

Joseph Percacciolo was elected to a third term as Philipstown supervisor.

Eleven truckloads of topsoil were dumped at the future site of Mayor’s Park.

Salmagundi Book Works opened at 66 Main St.

After a series of suspicious fires, Mayor John Meyer closed the Nelsonville Woods.

In a ceremony at the Italian Consulate in New York City, Joseph Percacciolo Sr. received the Cross of Cavaliere and DiVittorio for his service in the Italian Army during World War I.

Con Edison announced that Reactor No. 2 at Indian Point would be out of service for several weeks because of a crack in one of the four pipes that supplied water to the steam boilers.

Mayor Meyer of Nelsonville said that a developer planned to buy the land formerly owned by the New York Trap Rock Co. behind the Masonic Temple.

Because of overcrowding, the Haldane school board implemented double sessions in the elementary school. Students in grades 3 and 5 would attend class from 7:50 a.m. to noon and students in grades 4 and 6 from noon to 4:10 p.m.

The school board also agreed to accept high school students from New Hope Manor, a residential treatment program for women operated by the Franciscan Friars in Garrison.

25 Years Ago (November 1998)

The Haldane volleyball team won its first Class D state title, defeating Cattaragus in four games (3-15, 15-3, 15-3, 17-15).

Supervisor Bill Mazzuca warned Philipstown residents outside the villages to expect a large tax increase. Despite extensive cutting — including $300,000 devoted to paving dirt roads — he said the Town Board still anticipated a 24 percent increase. A week later, higher-than-anticipated revenue from the state mortgage tax and an increase in town fees allowed the board to adopt a budget with a 4.78 percent increase.

The Garrison Village Association held its first meeting at the firehouse, although a reporter for the Putnam County News & Recorder was asked to leave.

Three young adults were arrested for smoking marijuana in the parking lot of the gas station on Chestnut Street. Another young adult was arrested for possession of 18 baggies of weed after being stopped for speeding on Bank Street.

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