Tuesday, September 30, 2014


The Cortland Democrat, Friday, January27, 1888.
Fire Alarm Telegraph.
   Next Wednesday afternoon and evening the Gamewell Fire Alarm Telegraph Company will exhibit their system in Firemen's Hall in this village. This system is in use in nearly all the large cities and towns, and is highly recommended wherever it has been adopted. By its use an alarm, with the location of the fire, can be sounded almost instantly, and the annoying confusion that usually takes place after an alarm is entirely avoided and much valuable time saved.
   It is very often the case in this town that several minutes elapse after an alarm is sounded before the department learns the location of the fire, and on many occasions valuable properly is destroyed within these few minutes that might have been saved, had the village been provided with this system.
   A represent of the company was in town on Wednesday, and explained the system to several of our leading citizens. Should the town decide to adopt the system, twenty four fire boxes will be placed in different locations in the village, which would enable an alarm to be given at the moment a fire was discovered. We hope every citizen will be on hand next Wednesday afternoon and evening to witness a test of the system.

The Gamewell Fire Alarm.

   The exhibition at Firemen's Hall, Wednesday afternoon and evening, of the Gamewell Fire Alarm system, drew a large number of our citizens, all of whom were much interested in its workings. The firemen were particularly enthusiastic in its praise, and earnestly expressed the wish that Cortland might have such a system.
   The apparatus consists essentially of a set of batteries and wires similar to the telephone and telegraph systems. Alarms are made from the boxes situated in various parts of the town. These boxes are numbered and a half dozen keys provided for each, which are left in the immediate vicinity. When a fire is discovered the box nearest is unlocked and the alarm given. The electrical current sets the tower strike in motion, and the number of the box is struck four times on the bell in the tower.
   False alarms are provided against in the construction of the lock. The key, once inserted, cannot be withdrawn until released by another key, which is in the hands of the chief or his assistant. The keys are all numbered, and a record kept of them by the chief, so that it is easy to ascertain by whom the alarm was given.
   The galvanometer in the department rooms shows the amount of electrical force in the wires. This consists essentially of a needle passing over a graduated face similar to the steam gauge on boilers. Any variation above or below the normal force is instantly registered, and provision can be at once made for its correction. Should wire in any part of the circuit become broken, an alarm of one stroke is sounded on the bell.
   The system is now in use in over three hundred of the cities in the United States, and is giving the best of satisfaction. Should it be deemed to be for our advantage to have such a system, we make no question that it will be put in soon.—Cortland Democrat, Feb. 3, 1888.

Annual Camp Fire.
   Notwithstanding the inclement weather on Wednesday evening, a large number of the veterans of Grover post, No. 98. G. A. R., and the ladies of Grover Relief Corps, met at Dunsmoor's Park to participate in the festivities of the annual camp fire of the post. Long tables had been set in the hall under the superintendence of the ladies of the relief corps, and on them were placed in abundance of the substantials and delicacies which are so important a factor in keeping the lords of creation in good humor.
   The much talked of army bean was present and was attacked with vigor by the veterans and their friends who were present.
   It was 10 o'clock when commander S. L. Palmer took the chair and ordered comrade B. T. Wright to make a speech. Mr. Wright responded in one of his happiest efforts, and was followed by Major Sager, Colonel Place, comrades H. M. Kellogg, Tompkins and Wiles.
   Commander Dayton, of Post Hatch, McLean, was also called out and gave a brief history of his post, and an account of what they were trying to accomplish. H. C. Beebe was leader in the songs, and all that he gave out were sung with a will by the large audience present.
   When the speech making was over, the hands of the clock pointed to an hour far beyond that at which good soldiers are supposed to be in bed, and the company dispersed to their homes, regretting that a camp fire did not come every mouth instead of once in a year.

   John H. Bacon, of Homer, has taken out letters patent on a hose reel.
   The Homer Wire Fabric Company have [brought] in electric lights to light their new factory.
   A miniature toboggan slide has been built by W. S. Copeland, on his grounds on North Main street.
   Work was resumed in all the departments of the Cortland Wagon Co. last Monday morning.
   The thermometer registered 16 degrees below zero just north of Homer, last Monday.
   Commanding General Woodworth, of Albany, will have charge of the opening exercises of the Canton Fair.
   An extra panel of fifty jurors was drawn last Tuesday morning, to serve during the trial of Maurice Congdon, charged with murder. The case is set down for next Monday.
   Next spring Mr. B. F. Taylor intends to build a handsome new block on the site now occupied by Smith & Bates as a hardware store. The building will be of brick and the front will be trimmed with brown [stone.] Smith & Bates will occupy the store when completed.
   Last Friday evening Mrs. Ardelia John[son] residing on Albany street, in Homer, fell from the top of a long pair of stairs at her home, to the bottom. Some of the oil in the lamp she carried spilled upon the stairs, setting them on fire. She put out the flames before much damage was done although she was quite seriously bruised.
   Frank Pindar, for some time past foreman at the DEMOCRAT office, has resigned that position. He is succeeded by S. H. Strowbridge, formerly editor of the Cortland NEWS. Mr. Strowbridge brings to the discharge of his duties a thorough knowledge of everything that pertains to the printer's art, and will prove himself a worthy successor to Mr. Pindar. The Monitor tenders to Mr. Stowbridge its best wishes for his success.Cortland Monitor.

From Everywhere.

   Ithaca’s test well for salt, natural gas or oil is a failure. It is 3,185 feet and has cost about $5,000.
   George De La Mater, of DeRuyter, has just received back pay to the amount of $1,400, and been granted a pension. He enlisted about six months before the war closed and received $1,000 bounty at the time of his enlistment.
   Two sparrows attacked a rat on the roof of a store at Americus, Ga. The sparrows kept nearing the edge, and at last one of them took a position where the rat would go over if he should spring at it. The rat, maddened by repeated failures, made the fatal leap, struck the hard pavement of the street and while stunned was killed by a negro with a spade.
   Some idea of the scale of the tunneling operations under the bed of the Harlem River, to connection with the new Croton aqueduct, may be formed from the fact that the shaft which has been sunk on the northerly bank of the river to meet the mouth of the tunnel is 429 feet in depth—more than the length of two city blocks. It is 86x17 feet in length and breadth, with two elevators running day and night, each capable of accommodating twenty men. Excavation is going on at the rate of nine feet per day. So far the tunnel has progressed 550 feet into the bed of the river. The distance to be completed is 1,300 feet. The tunnel is lighted by electricity from a dynamo above ground.  

Monday, September 29, 2014


Bill Nye, journalist, humorist.

The Cortland Democrat, Friday, February 3, 1888.
The Old Man Writes a Letter to His Boy in the City.
   I tried to write to you last week, but didn't get around to it owing to circumstances. I went away on a little business tower for a few days on the cars, and when I got home the sociable broke loose in our once happy home.
   While out on my commershal tower down the Omehaw railroad buying a new well diggin' machine, of which I had heard a good deal pro and con, I had the pleasure of riding on one of them sleeping cars that we hear so much about.
   I am going on fifty years old and that's the first time I ever slumbred at the rate of 45 miles per hour, including stops.
   I got acquainted with the porter, and he blacked my boots in the night all unbeknownst to me while I was engaged in slumber. He must have thought that I was your father, and that we rolled in luxury at home all the time, and that it was a common thing for us to have our boots blacked by menials. When I left the car this porter brushed my clothes till the hot flames ran up and down my spinal column, and I told him that he had treated me square, and I wrung his hand when he held it out towards me, and I told him that any time he wanted a good cool drink of buttermilk to just holler through our telephone.
   We had the sociable at our house last week, and when I got home your mother set me right to work borryin' chairs and dishes. She had solicited some cakes and other things. I don't know whether you are onto the schedule by which these sociables are run or not. The idea is a novel one.
   The sisters in our set, onct in every so often, turn their houses wrong side out for the purpose of raising $4 to apply on the church debt. When I was a boy we worshipped with less frills than they do now. Now it seems that the debt is part of the worship.
   Well, we had a good time and used up 150 cookies in a short time. Part of these were devoured and the balance was trod into our all wool carpet.
   Several of the young people got to playing Copenhagen in the sitting room and stepped on the old cat in such a way as to disfigure him for life. They also had a disturbance in the front room and knocked off some of the plastering.
   So, your mother is feeling rather slim, and I am not very chipper myself. I hope that you are hard at your books, so that you will be an ornament to society. Society is needing some ornaments very much. I sincerely hope that you will not begin to monkey with rum. I should hate to have you meet with a felon's death or fill a drunkard's grave. If anybody has got to fill a drunkard's grave, let him do it himself. What has the drunkard ever done for you that he should expect you to fill his grave for him?
   I expect you to do right as near as possible. You will not do exactly right all the time, but try to strike a good average. I do not expect you to let your studies encroach too much on your polo, but try to unite the two so that you will not break down under the strain. I should feel sad and mortified to have you come home a physical wreck. I think one physical wreck in the family is enough, and I am rapidly getting where I can do the entire physical wreck business for our neighborhood
   I see by your picture that you have got one of them pleated coats, with a belt around it and short pants. They make you look as you did when I used to spank you in years gone by, and I feel the same old desire to do it now that I did then. Old and feeble that I am, it seems as though I could spank a boy that wears knickerbocker pants buttoned on to a Gerabaldy waist and pleated jacket.
   If it wasn't for them cute little camel's hair whiskers of yours I would not believe that you had grown up to be a large expensive boy with thoughts. Some of the thoughts you express in your letters are far beyond your years. Do you think them yourself or is there some boy in the school that thinks all the thoughts for the rest?
   Some of your letters are so deep that your mother and I can hardly grapple with them. One of them especially was so full of foreign stuff that you had got out of a bill of fare that we will have to wait till you come home before we can take it in. I can talk a little Chippewa, but that's all the foreign language I am familiar with. When I was young we had to get our foreign languages the best we could, so I studied Chippewa without a master. A Chippewa chief took me into his camp and kept me there for some time, while I acquired his language. He became so much attached to me that I had great difficulty in coming away.
   I wish that you would write in the United States dialect as much as possible, and not try to paralyze your parents with imported expressions that come too high for poor people.
   Remember that you are the only boy we've got, and we are only going through the motion of living here for your sake. For us the day is wearing out, and it is now way long into the shank of the evening. All we ask of you is to improve on the old people. You can see where I fooled myself and can do better. Read and write and sifer and polo and get nollege, and try not to be ashamed of your uncultivated parents.
   When you get that checkered little sawed-off coat on and that pair of knee panties and that poker-dot necktie, and the sassy little boys holler "rats" when you pass by and your heart is bowed down, remember that no matter how foolish you look, your parents will never sour on you.