150 Years Ago (March 1874)

After The Peekskill Messenger boasted that Mr. Sutton was the longest-serving church choir director on the East Coast, having been at Second Presbyterian for 34 years, The Cold Spring Recorder countered that Mr. Barrows had been at the Episcopal church in the village for the same amount of time.

The Recorder reported that “temperance people congratulate each other [on progress made to make alcohol illegal] and hope the day is not distant when every whiskey cask will be knocked in the head.”

The Cold Spring Board of Trustees proposed a budget of $3443.50 [about $89,000 today], including $600 [$15,500] for street cleaning, $400 to pave the Main Street crosswalks and $200 to deepen the Paulding Avenue well.

Charles Baxter sued Oscar Organ for $100 [$2,700], alleging that he quit before completing an eight-month contract as a laborer. Oscar’s father, C.J., offered $39.85 to settle — the wages left to be paid — but Baxter refused. A jury awarded $40.

The Recorder noted that a Western Union agent traveled on the Hudson River Railroad. For a small additional fee, passengers could have telegraphs delivered to any station on the line.

John Dougherty, employed by Capt. George Wise, was arrested in Cold Spring for public intoxication. While awaiting transfer to the county jail, he told Officer Morrison that he had information to offer: He had witnessed the killing of a railroad watchman at the 30th Street depot in New York City and could provide the names of the gang members involved.

Stephen Davenport escaped serious injury when a cow protecting her calf placed her horns on either side of his thigh and threw him. The cow was after a dog that had taken refuge behind its master.

Howard Dykeman was playing on a soft couch when a threaded needle went into his leg, eye first. The doctors put the boy under ether but decided it was too deep to remove.

The Recorder reported that, “like hundreds of letters,” three soldiers found themselves in Cold Spring instead of Cold Spring Harbor, on Long Island. J.G. Southard lent them $10 to buy return train tickets.

The newly formed Cold Spring Total Abstinence Society met at Town Hall.

Vincent Merritt reported finding two horse blankets on the Breakneck road.

William West, 34, of Philipstown, died from head injuries sustained when he jumped or fell from a train as it passed near Cortlandt. He and Thomas Avery, who were traveling together, had asked the conductor and engineer to slow the train so they could jump off. When they refused, West ran to the back of the last car but Avery said he did not see in what manner he left the train. Seeing his friend tumbling beside the tracks, Avery jumped after him but was not injured.

Two cows owned by Richard Denny in North Highlands found their way into the barn and ate so much feed that they died. His loss was about $100.

125 Years ago (March 1899)

Prof. Treat of Garrison caused a stir while walking his 25 performing dogs around Highland Falls before an appearance.

Mr. and Mrs. Joshua Sherwood hosted a party for their neighbors. Grace Sherwood and Ethel Briggs each played the organ while guests elsewhere studied the somber pictures of Milton’s Paradise Lost. The gentlemen smoked and argued about the duties of town officers. Supper was served at 10 p.m.

St. Philip’s Church in Garrison hosted a stereopticon viewing at the Reading Room of a wheeling trip and the cathedrals of England.

A submarine mine that was taken out of Santiago of Philipstown harbor in 1898 during the Spanish-American War in Cuba arrived at West Point for its ordnance museum after being cleaned of its tropical barnacles and painted black. It was said to be exactly like the one that blew up the USS Maine in Havana harbor, killing 268 sailors.

The Union News Co. secured the option to place bootblack stands at all stations of the Central Hudson, including Cold Spring.

The Recorder noted that a well-own document dated at West Point, Aug. 19, 1783, gave the weight of its officers, including George Washington (209 pounds) and Gen. Knox (280 pounds). The average was 222 pounds.

In an official test of the turbine wheel and electric light plant at the foundry, both were started with the push of a button.

Mabel Healy of Cold Spring returned from a year-long tour of Europe and Egypt, where they met most of the royal family of England, the emperors of Germany and Austria and the khedive of Egypt.

Rose Dorland, 60, of the Old Albany Post Road, seriously injured her husband, George, by striking him on the head with a coal chisel while he ate dinner. She was incarcerated at Town Hall. She had been committed to the asylum but was recently discharged. [Dorland was sent to the asylum in Poughkeepsie where, the next month, she was found dead.]

Mrs. Hamilton Fish died in Washington, D.C. Her five children were all born at Rock Lawn, the family home in Garrison.

The Recorder noted that “soon shad and strawberries will be ripe, the bloom will be on the cucumber, and early cholera will be in sight.”

It also noted that, after having electric lights installed, a number of merchants immediately painted their ceilings and walls.

Gov. Roosevelt enacted a law that made it a crime for physicians to divulge any information about their patients, before or after death.

For the first time, Republicans had no candidate for town supervisor. The polls were open on March 28 from sunrise to sunset. The Recorder noted that while there were a few “small scraps” throughout the village but no arrests.

It took until 5 a.m. the next day to count the 942 ballots. The county Board of Supervisors changed from three Republicans and three Democrats and five Republicans and one Democrat.

The editor of The Recorder opined: “The meanest person on Earth is the anonymous letter writer. We have one in this town.”

The West Point Athletic Association adopted the colors black, gray and gold.

The Hudson Railroad was building a switching station on the south side of the Breakneck tunnel and had about 1,000 ties waiting to be installed.

The remains of Mary Nelson, 49, the wife of Arestamenus Nelson, a former Cold Spring resident, were brought from Brooklyn for interment.

Capt. Henry Metcalfe, who spent the winters in Thomasville, Georgia, where he was president of the country club, met President William McKinley when McKinley was feted at a reception.

The Continentalville correspondent for The Recorder issued a correction: A raffle winner the previous week had won a horse named Bycycle, not a bicycle.

Emily Warren Roebling, formerly of Cold Spring and the wife of civil engineer Washington Roebling, was among the 48 women who graduated from the New York University law school. At graduation, she was recognized for her essay, “What an American Woman Loses by Her Marriage with a Foreigner.”

100 Years Ago (March 1924)

The Cold Spring Fire Co. installed a telephone and hired a watchman. “In the event of a night fire, the telephone operator is notified, who will call up the watchman,” The Recorder explained. “The watchman will learn the location of the fire, sound the siren, open the doors and have everything in readiness when the firemen arrive.”

Patrick Feane, a laborer at Brown’s Physical Training Farm, was hit and killed by a passenger train at the Garrison station on a Sunday afternoon. Feane and a friend, Thomas Ryan, were crossing the tracks and did not see the express approaching because it was hidden behind a freight car parked on the siding. Ryan stumbled and fell a step behind, which saved his life.

Elsie Muller, a former Haldane High School student, won the women’s quarter-mile and mile races at the Middle Atlantic Speed Skating Championships in New York City. [Muller represented the U.S. at the 1932 Olympics in Lake Placid when women’s speed skating debuted as a demonstration sport.]

Elsie Muller
Elsie Muller, who attended Haldane, skated at the 1932 Olympics. (New York Heritage)

Augusta Schaffner died at age 52. She had moved to Continentalville with her husband, Walter, after a doctor advised him to get out of Brooklyn for his health. They purchased the Jeremiah Lynch farm but the house was damaged by blasting when the New York City aqueduct went through. The couple returned to Brooklyn, but Mrs. Schaffner missed the country and they bought a farm in Montrose.

Edward Collard won the award for the “most striking” costume at a masquerade ball hosted by the Odd Fellow and Rebeckah lodges. He came as a sheikh. His wife won for the “most grotesque” costume but no details were provided.

Putnam County Sheriff Wallace Secord announced a crackdown on games of chance, primarily punch boards. [After placing a bet, a player “punched” a precut hole to force out a piece of paper with a number that corresponded with a prize, such as a pack of cigarettes or cash.]

punch board
An early punch board (Collectors Weekly)

Ezra Brewer and Sherman Warren purchased new Dodge cars to start a taxi service.

Van Nostrand of 24 Parrott St. placed a classified ad in The Recorder to sell his 25-hen chicken house, 70 feet of 6-foot-high fencing, 140-egg incubator and 10-foot chicken run for $27 [$500].

75 Years Ago (March 1949)

The Civics Club at Haldane High School sponsored a sports carnival to raise money for a trip to Washington, D.C. The event included a basketball game between the faculty and varsity players and three boxing matches refereed by Ray Impellittiere, who had been a heavyweight fighter in the 1930s.

The newly formed Haldane PTA elected officers and passed bylaws.

At the weekly student assembly at Haldane High School, the baseball coach showed a motion picture about the 1948 World Series and explained the rules.

Philipstown mailed a survey to each of the 600 veterans in town to get their thoughts on a suitable memorial for those who served.

Harry McElrath, a police officer and Haldane bus driver, was elected mayor of Nelsonville after receiving 61 write-in votes. Milton Smith, who had been mayor for 35 years, received 42 votes. McElrath said he was unaware of the campaign to get him elected.

The body of Walter Glanville was among the 6,785 being returned from Europe by the U.S. military. The paratrooper, who graduated from Haldane High School in 1943, had been killed in action in Belgium in 1944.

Robert “Bumpy” McCaffrey Jr. celebrated his sixth birthday.

kiss me kate program
The cover of 1949 Broadway program for Kiss Me, Kate

Fourteen girls in Miss Callahan’s personal and social development class at Haldane traveled to New York City for a Broadway performance of Kiss Me, Kate.

Elliott Hammond moved his grocery store from Kemble and Main to 106 Main St., between the Cold Spring Lumber Co. and Florence Daniels’ Beauty Shoppe.

Members of the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars chapters circulated a petition asking the Army to show mercy on Gilbert Turner Jr. of Nelsonville, who had been sentenced to six years and eight months in prison for desertion. They noted that Turner and his wife had nine children, with another on the way, and said he would “become a useful citizen” if allowed to return home.

The Garrison Fish and Game Club voted to extend by a month its fox-trapping contest because of a lack of entries.

Pvt. John Lyons surprised his family on Parsonage Street by calling from Tokyo, where he was stationed.

50 Years Ago (March 1974)

Although the Haldane basketball team lost to Cedar Knolls in the first round of the sectional tournament to finish 10-9, they exceeded expectations and John Rath was named the Bi-Valley League coach of the year.

Hal Hamilton rolled a 268 in the Western Putnam Men’s Bowling League, the best local score since Bob Romano hit 289 a few years earlier.

The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms questioned the conservative bona fides of Rep. Hamilton Fish, a Republican whose district included Philipstown, because he refused to support legislation to repeal the Gun Control Act of 1968.

The Cold Spring Village Board said that it could not determine why homeowners on Garden Street were having problems with interference on their TVs.

A 20-year-old Rock Street man was charged with burglarizing the Wagon Wheel on Main Street. He was arrested after he spent a signed bill that had been framed by the restaurant as a good-luck token.

A Main Street parade was scheduled for March 30, the day after what was then unofficially known as Honor the Viet Nam Veterans Day. [In 2008, New York State designated March 29 as Vietnam Veterans Day, and in 2017 the federal government did the same.]

25 Years Ago (March 1999)

Following a proposal to the Philipstown Town Board to make the hamlet of Garrison into a village, the Just Say No to Village Government Committee held an organizational meeting. The committee, whose slogan was “It Doesn’t Take a Village,” expressed fear that the federal government would force a Village of Garrison to construct low-income housing.

The state Education Department rescinded an environmental review of a proposed expansion at the Garrison School because of what it said was inaccurate information. The agency then asked a judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed by a group of Garrison residents to overturn the review, saying the issue was now moot.

The Haldane boys’ basketball team won its first sectional title, defeating Hamilton at the Westchester County Center. Jeff Amato hit two free throws with 20 seconds left to seal the 67-64 win, and Joe and Tommy Virgadamo combined for 37 points. The girls’ team also defeated Hamilton, 51-29, to win the section — the first time two Haldane teams had won a Gold Ball on the same night on the same court against the same opponent. (The boys lost to Millbrook in the next round, and the girls lost in the state title game.)

Malcolm Stevenson, 87, of Cold Spring, spoke to cadets at West Point about his service during World War II as the tail gunner aboard a B-24 bomber. He recalled that enemy fire during one run tore off a chunk of the plane’s tail and could not explain why he hadn’t been sucked out. He returned to the U.S. in April 1945 after completing the required 50 missions. He said his rookie crew advanced from “Coffin Corner” — the most dangerous spot in a formation — to the lead plane on raids that involved 1,000 bombers and 750 fighter planes.

Protesters held a demonstration in front of the newly opened Cracker Barrel on Route 9 in Fishkill to protest the chain’s practice of firing gay employees. The demonstration was organized by Kenneth Weinberg of Cold Spring, who noted that, in New York state, gay people were not covered by anti-discrimination laws.

Behind The Story

Type: News

News: Based on facts, either observed and verified directly by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

A former longtime national magazine editor, Rowe has worked at newspapers in Michigan, Idaho and South Dakota and has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in journalism from Northwestern University. Location: Philipstown. Languages: English. Area of Expertise: General.

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