Saturday, March 28, 2015


E. C. & N. track and roundhouse near Owego Street, Cortland. (1894 map)

The Cortland Democrat, Friday, September 27, 1889.

Killed by the Cars.
   At about 6 o'clock last Saturday afternoon, Daniel McBrearty, for the past five years night watchman at the E. C. & N. car shops, boarded engine No. 8 at or near the round house just west of Owego street, intending to ride down to the car shops between Owego and South Main streets. He was not seen alive again by any one after the train passed Owego street, but was picked up on the track near the car shops dead and horribly mangled. It is supposed that he undertook to jump from the engine and fell under the wheels of the tender which passed over him.
   He was carried to his late residence, No. 18 Squires street, and Coroner Moore was notified.
   The following named persons were summoned as a Coroner's Jury and an inquest was held at Firemen's Hall on Monday morning, after viewing the body: A. W. Keeler, A. Gordenier, J. Tuttle, John Conway, W. M. Turner, N. H. Winter, A. Terrell, Wm. Donnegan, J. C. Thompson. Mr. Keeler was sworn as foreman. The post-mortem examination was made by Dr. Dana.
   After hearing the evidence the jury rendered the following verdict:—
   "That Daniel McBrearty came to his death by being struck by the tender of engine No. 8, in the yard of the E. C. & N. railroad, Saturday, Sept. 2lst. 1889, and that his death was purely accidental."
   Mr. McBrearty was an industrious and respected citizen, forty-five years of age, and leaves a wife and two children. By his industry and economy he had paid for a comfortable home since he came to this place from Marathon, some six or seven years since. The funeral was held on Monday last.

Robert W. Griswold Shoots Dennis O'Shea in a Quarrel Tuesday Morning.
   Last Tuesday morning the citizens of Preble were somewhat startled to learn that Robert W. Griswold, who resides with his son on a farm about three miles east of Preble Corners, had shot his neighbor, Dennis O'Shea. For some months past there has been some feeling between the parties over the fact that O'Shea's cows were frequently found on Griswold's premises.
   Although the farm is owned by Griswold's son Robert, the old gentleman has taken it upon himself to do the faultfinding and quarrelling with O'Shea. Griswold's farm adjoins the Truxton town line and lies on both sides of the road running east and west in the direction of Truxton village. Another road runs parallel with this highway and about a mile south. A few rods west of Griswold's house is a cross road leading to the last mentioned road and O'Shea and family, consisting of a wife and five or six children, lived on this cross road about midway between the two roads running east and west. There is a piece of woods between Griswold's house and O'Shea's.
   A warrant was issued by Justice Frank Daley, soon after the news of the shooting reached Preble and the same was placed in the hands of Constables A. W. Morgan and Henry Currie, who started for the home of Griswold. He could not be found but Mrs. Griswold was seen driving towards Homer and she was followed. On arriving at the latter place she drove about on several streets and finally stopped at the residence of Geo. Stebbins where she stayed to dinner; after which she resumed her journey and drove straight to the jail in this place, where the officers found Griswold, who had given himself up to the Sheriff. The officers took him to Preble on the 3:08 accommodation train. The examination was adjourned until Wednesday at 10 A. M., and the prisoner was brought to Cortland for safe keeping and returned in the morning.
   The People were represented by District Attorney Bronson, and Frank Pierce of Homer appeared for the prisoner.
   The first and only witness summoned was Daniel O'Shea, second son of the deceased and who is about 19 or 20 years of age. His evidence was substantially as follows: "I had just got up and dressed and was at the top of the stairs when Griswold appeared on his own premises and said to father 'Your cattle are in my lot.' Father said, 'Whose fence did they get over?' Griswold answered, 'Not mine.' Father then said, 'I will go and get them out and see whose fence they got over.' As they were walking away across the lot, father said, 'What are you doing with that gun? Griswold answered, 'I'm hunting.' They then disappeared between the two barns and had been gone about eight minutes when I heard father yell, 'Put down that gun.' I ran and stood upon the line fence between Griswold's farm and ours and saw father about 10 rods on Griswold's land and about ten feet from Griswold himself, dodging back and forth trying to confuse Griswold's aim. Finally Griswold fired and father fell after walking two or three steps. Griswold said, 'There G—d d—n you,' and then turned and ran towards his own home. I returned and went after a doctor and made a complaint against Griswold. Before the warrant for his arrest could be served however, Griswold had walked the entire 14 miles to Cortland and given himself up to Sheriff Borthwick. Father was shot between 7 and 8 o'clock in the morning and died at 3:33 in the afternoon."
   Griswold was held to await the action of the Grand Jury and was brought to Cortland and landed in jail.
   The line fence between the two farms is near O'Shea's house. It is claimed by parties who talked with the witness after the occurrence that his first story does not agree in scarcely any particular with the story be told on the stand. It is also claimed that Mrs. O'Shea, who was standing in the door of her house at the time of the shooting, does not agree with her son.
   Coroner Bradford of Homer, summoned the following jury on Wednesday morning: John H. Gay, John Manchester, Richard Egbertson, Edwin Wilbur, Seth Hobart and Frank J. Collier. After viewing the remains, the evidence of Justice Perry Haynes, who produced an ante-mortem statement, and the evidence of Mrs. O'Shea was taken and the inquest was adjourned until Monday at 10 A. M.
   The gun used was a shot gun and the charge struck O'Shea in the left side just below the heart, making a hole as large as a silver dollar and a much larger one on the opposite side where it came out. The charge passed through the diaphragm, kidneys and spleen. The funeral was held Thursday morning.
   O'Shea was about 53 years of age, and is said to have been of a quarrelsome disposition and disposed to fight on rather slight provocation.
   Somewhere about 1868 or 1869, Griswold turned up in Homer and opened a watch repairing shop. He traveled about the country on foot a good part of the time calling at farm houses to repair watches and clocks. About 1870 or 1871, he moved to Cortland and after a while located in the rooms now occupied by the Gas Company's office on Court street, where he hung out a sign as a watch repairer. Business in his line not being very good he added bill posting, and frequently traveled about the county posting and distributing bills. He invariably wore a stove-pipe hat, with an open faced silver watch fastened about midway between the crown and rim in front, and was known everywhere as "the man with a watch in his hat."
   After several years of unsuccessful effort in business here he left town and the next we heard of him he was running a small farm in McLean and was trying, with some prospects of success, to revolutionize the potato growing industry. For one season at least he astonished everybody with the size and yield of his "bulbous roots" and sold his large crop at high prices. A year ago last spring he went to live on the farm where the killing was done, with his son Jay, who had rented it. Last spring his son Robert bought the place. Jay moving to East River, and the old man remained with Robert.
   Griswold is about 63 years of age, very slim and about five feet nine inches in height. His health has always been good and he is an excellent pedestrian. He has always been considered a sort of harmless crank, and no one who knew him would have imagined he could muster up spunk enough to kill anybody.

A Fine Horse.
   Racine, the fine stallion owned by B. B. Terry & Co., of this place was exhibited at the Greene fair last week and attracted much attention from breeders of fine horses. During his stay there he gave an exhibition half mile heat which he made in 1:18 without a skip and without training. Several noted horsemen from Orange county, the acknowledged home of fine horses, were in attendance and they unhesitatingly pronounced him to be the finest horse known to them. They valued him at $25,000, which is a pretty good price for a stock horse, but Racine is a very fine animal and besides being very fast he is as well bred as the best of them. Cortland people ought to be, and are, justly proud of this fine bred horse.

Additional Mail Facilities.
   Postmaster Maybury has brought about a change or rather an addition to the mail service here, which will be highly appreciated by the business men and citizens generally of this place. Commencing Wednesday of this week, a mail pouch for Homer will be forwarded on the 9:58 A. M. train every day except Sunday. A still greater convenience will prove to be the pouch which will be dispatched for Syracuse on the 7:30 P. M. train. Mails will close 30 minutes before leaving time of trains. Postmaster Maybury is entitled to the thanks of all for his efforts in improving the mail service for the benefit of the people of this town.

Election of Officers.
   At a meeting of the Executive Board of the W. C. T. U., held Sept. 17th, the following officers were elected as superintendents of departments:
   Scientific Instruction—Mrs. Julia W. Stoppard.
   Heredity—Mrs. Lydia Strowbridge.
   L. M. S. S. and Freedmen—Kate Greenman.
   S. S. Work—Miss Libbie Robertson.
   Law—Mrs. Kate E. Sanders.
   Press—Miss Amanda Chamberlin.
   Evangelistic—Mrs. Alma Walker, Mrs. M. R. Head, Mrs. Robert Colver.
   Coffee Brigade—Mr. and Mrs. M. L. Decker.
   Temperance Literature—Mrs. Levi S. Lewis.
   Fair—Mrs. J. L. Gillett.
   Finance—Mrs. Helen Beard, Miss Alice G. Purvis, Mrs. S. A. Tanner, Miss Sara Hare, Miss H. C. Henry.

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