Saturday, May 23, 2015


Cortland County Agricultural Society Fairgrounds and Racetrack.

The Cortland Democrat, Friday, March 21, 1890.

Cortland County Agricultural Society.
   The Cortland County Agricultural Society has been re-organized and the new officers propose to put the society in good working order at once. Ample capital has been provided and the grounds will be put in splendid condition. New buildings for the better accommodation of stock will be put up this spring, and as soon as the ground can be worked an entire new track will be made. The present track is a very smooth one, but owners of horses claim that it is too hard, and they are undoubtedly right about it.
   Mr. Logan, of Syracuse, the well known track builder, has been engaged to build an entire new track. The old one will be plowed up and a new one will be made of softer and more spongy material. Mr. Logan has had large experience in building race courses and has built some of the best and fastest in the country and he guarantees the Cortland track to be equal to any in the land when he has completed it. The right kind of material can be obtained near the grounds and the work will be completed and in readiness for a meeting in July.
   The new officers are excellent business men and they are determined to leave nothing undone to insure the success of the enterprise. With ample funds in the treasury there is no reason why the enterprise should not be a grand success, and result in great benefit to the farmers and breeders of this and adjoining counties. At least $2,500 will be expended on the property this spring.

Cortland County Medical Society.
   The Cortland County Medical Society held its regular session on Thursday, March 13. The afternoon was devoted entirely to reading of scientific papers and discussions.
   Dr. F. W. Higgins read a paper on the tests for sugar, giving demonstration and results with the more recent ones. The conclusion reached was that no one test was infallible and the physician should familiarize himself with at least six of the better ones
   Dr. F. N. Green read a report of a case of chronic disease of the knee joint which presented some unusual and perplexing features. The matter was discussed by Drs. Jewell, White, C. Green, Reese and Edson.
   Dr. W. J. Moore read a paper entitled "Necessary Precautions in Contagious Diseases," giving the sanitary duties of the attending physician with reference especially to diphtheria and scarlet fever. Other points were presented by Drs. Smart, White, Jewett, Edson and Green.
   Dr. H. O. Jewett read a very thorough review of the subject "Injuries to the Hip Joint." The results of his experience in twenty-four cases of fracture at the hip were presented. Especial emphasis was laid upon the symptoms of this important and sometimes obscure accident.
   F. W. HIGGINS, Secretary.

[Village] Appointments.
   A special meeting of the Board of Trustees of this village, was held at the office of the Village Clerk last Thursday evening, and Darwin Totman was re-appointed Street Commissioner and Fred Hatch, Clerk.
   After the transaction of some routine business the board adjourned to Saturday at the same place, when B. T. Wright, Esq., appeared before the board and requested that body to appoint Mr. C. E. Wiles Street Commissioner. Mr. Wright cited Chapter 464 of the laws of 1887, which says, that honorably discharged soldiers and sailors shall be selected for such places, provided they are competent to fill them. The law gives the Board of Trustees considerable latitude in the selection, as they would seem to have a right to decide for themselves as to the capacity of the applicant. This is as it should be. for while there is no doubt but that the board would give soldiers and sailors the preference, everything else being equal, they are themselves responsible for the proper and efficient transaction of the business and they should have the right to select such assistants as they think are the most competent.
   Mr. Hatch has been Clerk of the Board for several years and for that reason, if for no other, is peculiarly well qualified to fill the place. Legal questions under the new charter are liable to arise daily, and Mr. Hatch, being a good lawyer himself, besides being thoroughly conversant with the charter, will be of great service to the board. A new man, even of unquestionable ability could hardly fill his place.
   It was claimed on Monday that Mr. Wright had been instructed to mandamus the board and that the papers had been prepared for service, but we understand no service has been made as yet.

A Hospital in Cortland.
   As the question of a hospital in Cortland is agitated, many queries arise. As it concerns the citizens of Cortland it is right and proper that a correct idea be given to the public, and we submit the following brief statement:
   Since the organization of the Kings' Daughters in Cortland, the desire to accomplish something in this way has been in the hearts of many of the members. At the commencement of this, our second year, the following committee known as Central or Hospital Committee was chosen to arrange and execute plans to this end:
   Mrs. W. W. Brown, Mrs. F. O. Hyatt, Mrs. L. J. Fitzgerald, Mrs. B. T. Wright, Mrs. A. A. Carley, Mrs. Jas. B. Kellogg, Mrs. B. W. Bradford, Mrs. G. J. Mager, Mrs. W. P. Robinson, Mrs. Uri Clark, Mrs. Fidelia Coffin, Mrs. C. P. Walrad, Mrs. S. J. Sornberger,  Mrs. L. Bouton, Mrs. A. E. Buck.
   We wish it to be understood as a Citizens Hospital, a place for the sick among us who have no home or friends to care for them, a hospital for the people, belonging to no church, no organization. Our present aim is to arouse a public interest as well as start a fund for this object.
   As the success of this undertaking rests with the people, before any positive steps are taken regarding a building the citizens will be given an opportunity to publicly express their opinions.
   By Order of Committee.

They Wanted to Marry.
   Three girls from the classic precincts of Brewery Hill in Homer, accompanied by two young men, boarded a train from this place last Saturday evening for Binghamton. Arrangements had been made for a third young man to accompany the party but for some reason he failed to show up and the third damsel, some fourteen or fifteen years of age, is said to have been somewhat disappointed by the failure.
   They were seen about Binghamton on Monday and it is said that an officer from Homer was sent after the children, but whether he found them or not, we have not learned. There are some very, very naughty people in Homer.

Christmas in Nacaome, Honduras.
   The year in Nacaome has two great festivals,  La Pascua or Christmas time, the day proper being called "La dia de noche buena" or the day of the good night. La Pascua begins at Christmas Eve, "La noche buena," and extends to the eighth of January.
   In this town the eve is preceded by nine mornings of pandemonium in a custom  inaugurated by the late respected pastor Padre Cruz, whose lamented bones we are fain to believe must give a quiver of horror, when we who succeed him are roused from our morning sleep by the hideous sound which his fertile brain invented.
   A great ox-horn is worked thin and resonant, the tip is sawed off at the beginning of the hollow, into which is inserted a reed. This instrument is placed in the mouth of a demon sometimes called boy or kid. The reeds are tuned to all pitches from the lowest roar of an infuriated bull, passing all changes to the finest whistle of a joyous bird. Hundreds of these instruments constructed by the hands of the worthy priest, peace to his soul, are stored as sacred relics of his departed greatness, in the great church at Nacaome.
   Every year, on the 15th of December, the portals of the sacred chamber are thrown open. Hundreds of greedy kids seize upon the dusty horns and with lurking devilishness in their eyes, sneak away to their homes. Promptly at four o'clock on the following morning they gather in the darkness on the plaza. No, you cannot imagine it. We have been startled by many sounds—sounds burdened with joy—sounds freighted with death—but never has our soul been so torn by the awful, uncertain, hideous fear and anguish as when first greeted by these commemorating horrors of the sainted father Cruz.
   Christmas Eve inaugurates the festival with balls, and high mass at midnight. The Christmas ball of this year was given at the house of La Dona Baitasara— a very estimable friend of ours. The "sala" or great room of her house is from its size and general equipment admirably adapted to a great ball. The snow white walls rise to a height of eighteen feet, the floor of tile is perfectly smooth, the great barred windows and open doors hung with elegant curtains, give excellent ventilation. A row of armed chairs against the wall, encircle the room. An orchestra of six pieces is out of sight on the garden piazza. From one end of the great "sala" is a refreshment room for the ladies, from the other the end is a room with a well supplied side board for the gentlemen. Thoroughly trained servants anticipate the slightest wish.
   We are on the reception committee and therefore on duty at 8 o'clock; and
we are obliged to plead guilty, that with all the Spanish politeness that we have added to our previous genteel breeding, we neglected the reception of the gentlemen in our efforts to remove the silken mantillas speedily and gracefully from the heads of handsome dark-eyed ninas; to take their little hands in greeting and perhaps add to the words of welcome a whispered endearment.
   Soon the walls were lined with beautiful girls, whose general type is black eyes, black hair and creamy complexions. The variation being dark brown, or very, very dark auburn hair, brown eyes and different densities of creamines of the skin. Dresses low cut "revealing the most elegant necks we have ever seen," were neatly made of material varying from pawns and tulle to silks and laces. The prominent color, white, varied by pink, blue and one elegant suit of creamy lace. Satin shoes to match the dress adorned all the pretty feet. The dresses are cut so short as not to touch the floor but to reveal the pretty movements of the feet in the dance. The hair is plainly dressed, often hanging in heavy braids or perfectly loose.
   Inspiring music and a few not less inspiring sips of wine, and all was in motion. Polka, Mazurka and French waltz, succeeded each other and repeated. Between each dance is interval as long as the dance, when we offered sweet paper cigarettes to still sweeter lips and the offering of fire from our own lighted cigarettes gives other opportunity to slyly touch responsive fingers and drop soft words into willing ears.
   Remember, my dear readers, that we are not an Anglo-Saxon society here. The rigid, social laws of old Spain are in force here. An ugly matron is always in charge of the precious girl. The impulses of young blood find exit only in a touch, a look, a sigh. The espionage of these social customs appears to the writer an awful sacrifice of personal liberties, the born right of every woman. The girls are simply slaves to the bad tempers, irritations and unjust and ever prevailing suspicions of their elders. And by force of these circumstances, the unjustly rigid discipline to which they are subjected, convert good girls into deceitful women, to make in their turn unjust mothers.
   In one particular family in which there are two daughters and which family is one of the stateliest in this department, and into which, during the past year the writer has been received with unqualified confidence, he has not had the opportunity to speak one word to either of the girls outside the hearing of their elders, except in the dance or late in the night of the ball when the elders become drowsy and negligent. And yet, the writer is an austere, middle-aged man who enjoys the reputation of never flirting and into whose care the most cautious mother is willing to place her daughter. Such is the force of custom and for this reason are highly valued the little opportunities given in removing a shawl, offering a cigarette, or other similar attentions to exchange by touch, look and a few whispered words the sympathies of young hearts.
   A bountiful repast was served at midnight. Not one of the dishes served at this table is known in the State of New York. One pleasant feature of these balls is the interval between dances, when songs, comic recitations, cigarette smoking and conversation fill in pleasantly. Etiquette and general decorum are absolutely fine.
  At five o'clock in the morning the ball broke up. Mr. Howard, of the El Gobernador Mining companies, Mr. Vincent of London, Secretary of the Guadalupe Mining Company, and Mr. Gilbert of San Francisco were the writer’s guests at this ball. The first two, unaccustomed to this society, and who for their imperfection in the language could not join in all the pleasures, expressed themselves as having had a very pleasant evening and passed their morning nap-dreaming of Honduras beauties.
   The plaza, a square area of about one acre had been strongly fenced in as the arena for bull fights. It is the custom for the large ranches to respectfully contribute four bulls each day for the fight. On the 28th the first performance occurred and continued with but two days of intermission until the sixth of January, four bulls being fought each day. At ten o'clock of each day the gentlemen and "ranchers" ride out toward the Hacienda, from which the bulls for the day are coming to meet and escort them to town. In the outskirts of the village they take up the band, which with lively music escorts them to the arena. One bull is let into the arena at a time. He is met by a dozen or more of old and young sports, mounted on quick moving mustangs. Not more awful is the fear of the fighters for the bulls than the fear of the bulls for the fighters. It is a wicked battle, in which both sides are on the defensive. When a bull finally turns complete coward, then the valiant "torreores" follow him in his flight around the arena, seize him by the tail and play jokes on him. He is finally mounted bare back and his bucking attempts to throw the rider is the only fun in the play. Two really savage bulls, after tossing up a man or throwing him without injuring him, held the field at bay for a long time and were let off without further molestation.
   The writer's house occupies part of one side of the arena and its great barred balcony windows were desirable positions for viewing the sport. And the pleasantest part of the performance was the select company invited by him each day and idled in the intervals with dancing.
   It is the custom for several of the principal families to put in their houses shrines in representation of the birth of Christ. These shrines are called "nacimientoes" and consist of green cloths thrown over rough surfaces to represent hills, on these are placed diminutive figures of trees men, sheep, cattle, dogs, etc., in representation of the waiting shepherds. At the foot is a representation of the birthplace of the Savior, and a diminutive figure of the Christ babe. All is covered by an awning of artificial flowers, green branches and colored papers. In these houses of nacimientoes dancing is in order for everybody throughout the entire festival. One steals the babe, puts it in his vest pocket and carries it home; a search is instituted by a party accompanied by musicians. They go to the house of the stealer and find the babe and the dance continues there until the babe is carried to its home. At the end of the feast, the body of the babe is, with great ceremony by the priest, carried in grand procession from one of the mission churches to the church of the principal pastor. The final scene of the nacimientoes are sacred ceremonies and prayers, and all concludes on the last evening with a grand display of fireworks of the central church to which the babe has been carried.
   [The name of the author was not included with this article. The Cortland based San Rafael Mining and Milling Company had several representatives who traveled to or lived in Honduras—CC editor.]

No comments:

Post a Comment