Friday, February 28, 2014

Mail Train

Fast Mail Train, Harper's Weekly.
The Cortland News, Friday, August 11, 1882.

Handling the Mails.

   A correspondent of the Cincinnati Enquirer, who rode from that city to Chicago in a postal car, writes as follows:

   A postal car is so arranged that everything is right at hand. To be sure this is convenient, but it makes things very much crowded. There are boxes for letters and boxes for papers, and there are racks for pouches and racks for bags. Then there is a storeroom in front. Some of the boxes are for special cities, and some are for railroads. So it is with the pouches and bags. The poaches for the letters are hung by themselves on hooks with the tops open. Ditto the sacks for the papers. As soon as the wagon load of mail arrives at the car from the post office it is dumped out of the pouches, and the clerks immediately begin to "throw" it. At the post office the people arrange the letters by States. This is all the start the clerks on the cars get. Each box in the car represents either a city or a railroad, and the letters most all be placed in the proper boxes to reach the cities for which they are destined or the railroad connection that will give it the quickest delivery.

   In order to correctly "throw" a State the man so doing most know the location of every city, town, village, hamlet, railroad station and crossing in every county of that State. He must be able to detect the second he sees it a misdirected letter. Misdirected letters are called "nixies." Accompanying each package of letters sent from the post office is a slip of paper with the date stamped upon, and the name of the letters printed thereon. There is also a number stamped on the slip, and that number represents the clerk at the post office who put up the package. In case a nixie is found in a package of letters it is returned by the clerk of the car, who stamps the date on the nixie slip, writes thereon the "misdirection" and signs his name to it.

   Each nixie is charged against the clerk at the post office who permits it to go to the car, and at the end of the month there is a grand hauling over the coals. If too many nixies are set opposite a man's name in a given time he is relieved of the responsibilities of his position. Last night thirty-six detected on one car, and one of them was an official letter written from the Cincinnati post office to a postmaster in a town which doesn't exist

   It may be reasonable to suppose that a man of ordinary intelligence could learn all of the little towns and so forth in one or two States, but when it comes to twelve States it would seem to be an impossibility; but Mr. McGinnis, the man with the best memory in the mail service, can locate every town, railroad station or crossing in Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan, Nebraska, Dakota, Montana, California, Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia.

   The rapidity with which he works when throwing mail is astonishing. He picks up a handful of letters, and before you imagined he had glanced at it to see where it was destined for he has read the town, the city and State, and chucked it in the box it belongs in. So familiar is he with the location of the boxes he does not have to look up to see where the place is the letter goes, but gives it a flirt in the direction of the proposed receptacle, and it alights in the right place, while he still has his eyes on the letters in his other hand. He throws mail matter as fast as a person could count say for half a minute, but at the end of that time the counter would get left and McGinnis would be going on. There were 120 different pouches on the car during the night, for different roads and cities, and it was necessary that McGinnis should keep in his mind just exactly where each pouch was for, what was in it and when to look it up.

   While throwing letters he was continually being asked by the others where this, that and the other town was, or where such and such a paper or letter would go, and answered each question before it was well out of the interrogator's mouth, never stopping in his work for a second. Mr. McGinnis and his crew handled 161 sacks of mail on their trip last night.

   We ran through a most violent rain storm, but McGinnis never lost him self and could at all times tell just where we were by the motion of the car. He has been in the service for eight years, and is the oldest clerk in his division—that is in service, for he is a young man by years.

   I saw him do something that it is claimed no other man in the service can do, and that was to throw a State without having the boxes labeled. He had the State of Michigan to throw, and he threw it into the boxes used for the State of Kentucky. Thus, he had to improvise boxes as he went along, and had to remember just where he put over a thousand letters.

   After the letters are thrown into the boxes they are taken out and tied up in bundles and chucked into their respective pouches. Care must be exercised not to throw a bundle into the wrong pouch, and it is a mystery how easy one man can retain in his memory which is which and which isn't with so many to choose from. But McGinnis can stand in any part of the car and throw a bundle to any other part of the car with out a miss and without looking.

McLean, N. Y., August 7, 1882.

   Mr. William Clark is building an addition to his house that his brother may make his home with him.

   Every one speaks of the dry weather. Some of the later crops will be almost a failure if we do not have rain and that soon.

   Again we see in our midst Dr. Henry Lanning, who has been on a trip in the western part of the State. He has been engaged in missionary work in Japan for the past nine years and is now home on a visit to his parents. We believe the Doctor expects to return to Japan sometime in September, going by the way of San Francisco, and he will then make the tour round the world. He has spent much time in the Old World viewing, in particular, the hospitals, with the purpose of building one in Japan.

   Our school opens Monday, Aug. 7, with the same teachers as last term. May they be successful in their labors, as our school has ever held high rank among the village schools of the county.


Catskill Archive, The Fast Mail Train:

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Old Syracuse-Cortland Plank Road Uncovered

The Cortland News, Friday, August 4, 1882.
   Street commissioner Davern has been doing some extensive grading on Mill [Clinton Avenue] street.
   Farmers are paying two dollars per day for a good hand through haying and harvesting.
   Mr. A. B. Chamberlain, of Elmira, has been appointed receiver for the Utica, Ithaca & Elmira railroad.
   The next meeting of the social circle of the Universalist society will be held at the residence of Lewis Davis this Friday evening.
   Messrs. D. F. Wallace and O. C. Smith are in New York for the purpose of obtaining goods, principally wall papers, for the fall and winter trade.
   The building now being erected on Port Watson street by Mr. A. Schermerhorn, for a wagon factory, will be a three-story brick. Mr. D. G. Corwin is the builder.
   Messrs. Day & Bangs are making a specialty in the manufacture of a strong, substantial, yet easy and fine-looking chair at their factory. It is the embodiment of Mr. Bangs' ideas, and a great demand has already been created for them.
    Miss Julia B. Slafter, daughter of E. P. Slafter, and a graduate from the Normal, class of June, '82, has accepted a position in the primary department of the new high school in Ithaca—a position which she is excellently adapted to fill
   Proprietor of store in village on line of N. Y. Central R. R., on seeing a gentleman enter with samples of wall papers: "There comes the good-looking man with the good-looking patterns." O. C. Smith was the man referred to; but we wish it distinctly understood that Otis did not give us the above story.
   The Japanese wedding at Hitchcock's new wagon and cutter factory last Friday evening drew together quite a large audience, the whole affair passing off in a decidedly smooth and pleasant manner. The bell …did well, the wedding was a novel ceremony, the orchestra afforded excellent music, while Miss C. E. Hillman, of Wilkesbarre, Pa., who is visiting in town, sang a couple of songs in a manner that greatly delighted her hearers.
   We have received the first number of a weekly paper entitled Justice, published in New York city, and devoted to anti-monopoly principles. It advocates and will support and defend the rights of the many as against privileges for the few. It claims that corporations, the creation of the State, shall be controlled by the State. It says that labor and capital see allies, not enemies, and will work for justice for both…
   Mr. John Ryan is laying a flagstone walk in front of his saloon.
   B. F. Taylor has laid a new plank walk in front of Smith & Kingsbury's store.
   Mr. Caleb Hitchcock has purchased and will soon put in his new cutter and wagon factory a fifty-horse power engine.
   The net profits of the entertainment [Japanese wedding] at C. B. Hitchcock's factory for the benefit of the Women's Auxiliary amounted to $68.
   W. H. Wild will hold a grove meeting at Hoxieville, Sunday, Aug. 6, at 11 o'clock A. M. Subject, "Origin, Nature and Destiny of Spiritualism."
   Henry Gleason, Esq., manager of the Hitchcock wagon and cutter factory, is gaining health so rapidly that he intends soon to go west on a business tour.
   Rev. J. L. Robertson has accepted the call of the Presbyterian church to become its pastor, and it is expected will enter upon his duties Sunday, Aug. 13, inst.
   Mr. Andrew H. Day has sold his interest in the chair factory to a brother of Mr. Elmer Bangs, and the business will hereafter be conducted by the firm of Bangs Brothers.
   Mr. Geo. W. Roe has been doing some good work in house painting, as the houses of B. A. Benedict, H. Wallace, Harrison Wells and others, lately painted by him, fully show.
   O. U. Kellogg, Esq., has sold his house on Elm street, which was partially destroyed by fire a short time ago, to Mr. Woodard, foreman of the Wagon Co.'s blacksmith shop, for $2,000.
   The agent of the Syracuse Morning Standard has located an office at the Cortland Wagon Company's office for the convenience of the many employees of that company who are taking that paper.
   The [Cortland] trustees have decided to run the sluice across Main street near the post office corner under the cross-walk, instead of as now, so that by removing the flagstones the gutter can be cleaned in case it becomes clogged.
   Jumbo was in Albany last Saturday, and The Argus says that in the street parade of over half a mile in length, the three elephants, Jumbo, Queen and Bridgeport (the baby) do not appear. The great show is in Rutland, Vt., on the 8th inst.
   The National Bank of Cortland has declared a dividend of three and a half per cent, besides passing four and a half to surplus. Charlie Selover, the Moravia boy, had something to do with that record. He is one of the most reliable and popular cashiers in the State.—Moravia Rep.
   Wednesday morning a little son of John C. Seamans, three years old, partook of his breakfast as usual, though appearing somewhat stupid. Becoming seriously ill at once, Dr. Nash was sent for and he pronounced the attack one of diptherial croup. No relief could be afforded, and at half-past one P. M. the little sufferer died.
   The digging of the trenches for the ties of the horse railway brings to light much of the old plank constituting the road formerly in use between Cortland and Syracuse previous to the opening of the S. & B. railroad. Some of it is as sound as when in use.
   The Cortland Steam Mill Company, on Port Watson street, are making an extensive addition to their mill. On the west ten bins or elevators are being constructed to a height equivalent to a three-story building, each about ten feet square, and with a capacity in all of 15,000 bushels. On the east side an addition of equal height will be erected, the roof of sheet iron to be raised and to cover the entire building, and the sides to be protected by corrugated sheet iron. When completed, the building will be 49 feet front by 64 feet deep, and will have a capacity for storing 30,000 bushels of wheat.
   Pahtay, the Burmese student from the State Normal school at Cortland, delivered a very entertaining and certainly a most instructive lecture on the life and habits, customs and history of Burmah, in the Baptist church here, last Monday evening. It was not as largely attended as it should have been, but the speaker had the close attention of his audience throughout the entire lecture. He appeared in his native dress, exhibited specimens of Burman industries and utensils, and his audience were certainly more intelligent upon this comparatively unknown country, its people and manners, than when they assembled. Mr. Pahtay spoke in Auburn on Tuesday evening.—Moravia Rep.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Sweet Fragrance of New-Mown Hay

The Cortland News, Friday, July 28, 1882.
   Mr. Fred W. Kingsbury is enjoying a few days' vacation at Glen Haven.
   Mrs. Bullman is making extensive repairs on her house on Owego street
   There will be no services at the Presbyterian church on the next two Sundays.
   Mrs. Purvis has laid a plank walk in front of her premises on Port Watson Street.
   Mrs. Amasa Givens has lately added a wing to the west side of her residence on Tompkins street.
   Mr. and Mrs. Geo. W. Edgcomb leave next week for a two weeks' sojourn among the Thousand Islands.
   The best hay weather for a full week past that we have ever known. And the farmers have fully improved it.
   Rev. Henry Martin Grant delivered on Sunday evening a very interesting discourse on the Egyptian situation.
   Mr. James S. Squires and family will go in a few days for a month's sojourn at their cottage at the Thousand Islands.
   Rev. Elijah Horr and family leave next week for a three weeks' stay at Thousand Island Park, where they have a cottage.
   Had we stated last week that Moses Hopkins was the grandfather of L. D. C. Hopkins, we should have said as we intended to say.
   Mr. Lamont Calvert will, in the course of a few weeks, take his former position in the Cortland post office. Lamont may expect, for he will certainly receive, a right hearty welcome.
   Mr. Frank E. Plumb, foreman of the Democrat office, goes to the State Firemen's Convention at Rochester, and will afterwards visit relatives in the southern part of Michigan and in Minnesota.
   Last Saturday evening as Mr. A. B. Benham's cows were returning to the pasture, the 8:45 train from Syracuse struck, one of the most valuable of the Durhams. She was not missed until morning, and when found was dead.
   White water-lilies to the number of 240 were tastefully arranged on the marble font at the Methodist church last Sunday, presenting a unique as well as beautiful appearance. They were sent from Little York by Miss Florence Kellogg.
   Rev. John J. McLoughlin has been transferred to the assistant pastorship of St. Mary's church, Oswego, N. Y., the oldest church in the city. The reverend gentleman has the best wishes of all who know him for his success in his new field of usefulness.
   In due time changes are to be made at the S. & B. depot [Syracuse & Binghamton railroad—CC editor] in this village. The freight house will be moved to a position south of the one it now occupies, and a road will be opened from Railroad [Central Avenue—CC editor] street east of the tracks to the road running east past the Wagon Company's factory. These arrangements will add to the convenience and be of advantage to both the company and the public.
   Besides the base-ball match between the Stars and Flyaways on the Fair Grounds Aug 12, the Emerald Hose Company are making arrangements for a match between local clubs in the forenoon. A tent, 40x60 feet, will be put up, to give the people a chance to dance on the green. Other amusements will be provided. The railroads will give visitors excursion rates. With a fair day, a huge crowd will be there, which can safely calculate on a huge time.
   The work of constructing the horse railroad is being pushed as rapidly as the number of workmen will permit. The road is ballasted, at the time we write (Thursday afternoon), as far north as the Keator block, and trenches prepared for the ties several rods farther on the paved portion of Main street. From the Cortland House to the residence of Mr. Benham, the trenches are ready for the ties, and workmen are ballasting near the Cortland House. On Tuesday 58 tons of rails arrived, which it is expected will be laid in a few days, or as soon as a reasonable distance is ready.
   Mr. S. D. Freer, the well-known coal merchant of the village, has begun the erection of a new coal dump, located on the west side of the railroad tracks. The switch will commence just south of the [S. & B.] passenger depot. Workmen are now laying the masonry on East Court street at the commencement of the incline, and from there trestle work will be constructed for a distance of 112 feet south, rising at that point to a height of 16 feet, to the coal dump proper. The coal will fall into pockets provided with screens, so that it will be received into the wagons without shoveling and in a clean, unbroken condition. A vast deal of labor will thus be saved, and the delivery of coal and filling of orders will be greatly facilitated. The yard now in use by Mr. Freer for the storage of wood will afterward be used as cattle yards.

Japanese Wedding.
   Ah Ben Sin and Flo Chang, Friday evening, July 28, 41 Elm street. All the presents received at this wedding will be used by the Woman's Auxiliary in adding to the attractions of the circulating library of Cortland.

Deputy Collectorship.
   William O. Bunn, the editor of the Republican, has been appointed Deputy Collector of Internal Revenue for the 4th division of the 24th District of New York, by Jno. N. Knapp, Esq., Collector, and assigned to duty as Division Deputy.—Homer Rep.
   While we take pleasure in extending our congratulations to Bro. Bunn for the good fortune that has befallen him, we are equally gratified to learn that "the appointment will not sever his relations, to the readers of the Republican" of whom we are one, and trust, with him, "that the more active life of the position he holds will be conducive to an improved state of health."

Lapeer, July 24, 1882.
   George Rood and Miss Ida Ayers, of Richford, spent last Sabbath at this place.
   The sweet fragrance of the new-mown hay is immensely appreciated by rival couples in search of moonlight and solitude. "O Summer, sweet Summer, glide slowly away."

Chicago, July 26, 1882.
   We understand that George Noyes has engaged a steam engine to run his threshing machine this fall.
   Mr. E. R. Baldwin has returned to his farm where he will remain a few weeks.
   Mr. C. E. Baldwin has taken a contract for 20,000 feet of lumber for the new church at Cortland.

Virgil, July 25, 1882.
   We learn that M. L. Sheerar is a candidate for the office of Sheriff.
   I. M. Seamans had the misfortune to severely sprain his ankle last week while shoeing a horse for M. Ballou.

Scott, July 26, 1882.
   Beautiful weather for securing the hay crop, which is very good here. Farmers are improving the time. Hired help is quite scarce.
   Hop growers are encouraged; 35 cents have been offered and refused. Pretty good to begin with. Most of the yards are looking well.
   Those who entertain the idea that to belong to a brass band is incompatible with ministerial dignity will be interested to hear that J. J. White has withdrawn his membership from the band, but plays with them occasionally at home.