Monday, May 4, 2015


Google map. Binnewater Third Lake in Ulster County marked.

The Cortland Democrat, Friday, February 14, 1890.

The Details of the Drowning of the Slater Family on Sunday.
   KINGSTON, N. Y., Feb. 10.—Situated about four and a half miles from this city are five beautiful sheets of water called the Binnewater lakes. They are in close proximity to one another, and are for the most part surrounded by woods.
   The third Binnewater is oblong in shape and is about 400 feet in length and 295 feet in width. In some places the depth of the water exceeds sixty feet. With an exception of an open space of about 100 feet on the east shore, the lake is bordered with woods that extend back as far as the eye can reach from an elevated position.
   The locality is sparsely settled, there being only three houses in a radius of half a mile. It was at the third Binnewater that one of the most appalling drowning accidents in the history of Ulster county happened yesterday afternoon.
   The victims were six in number, five being members of the Slater family—the father, mother, two sons and a stepson, as follows: Jacob R. Slater, aged 63 years; Mary Maria Slater, 62; Edmund D. Slater, 18; Benjamin Slater, 15; Louis Whittaker, 5; and Matilda Bush, 14; the latter being the daughter of a neighbor.
   Whittaker was a grandson of Mr. and Mrs. Slater, by whom he had been adopted. The dead boy's father and mother live in this city. All the victims lived near the scene of their death.
   About two weeks ago ice four inches in thickness formed in the pond, but the mild weather and warm rains, which have prevailed since then, have had the effect of wearing it away.
   Yesterday forenoon the ice was about two inches in thickness. A number of small children in the neighborhood ventured upon it with sleds and enjoyed themselves dragging one another over the smooth surface without mishap.
   About 1:30 o'clock in the afternoon the victims of the accident went to the pond. The Slater boys buckled on their skates. The children each had a sled. All but one sled was left on shore. They arranged to take turns being shoved from one end of the lake to the other.
   They broke through the ice suddenly. Mrs. Slater heard the cries of the children for help and ran to rescue them. She had nearly reached the point where the children broke through, when the treacherous ice again gave way, and she too, went under.
   Her cries for help were heard by her husband and he rushed to the rescue of his wife and children only to meet the same fate. He broke through a few feet from where his wife perished.
   Hiram Jones, a playmate of the ill owned children, said this forenoon: "On Sunday afternoon William Dickson came to our house and asked me to go along with him to Slater's house over at the the Binnewater. We went and found that the two Slater boys, Ben and Eddie and Tillie Bush and Louie Whittaker, were playing and skating on the ice. We went out there too.
   They had a sled. Louie Whittaker and Tillie were on the sled and Ben and Eddie Slater were pushing the sled along. The Slater boys had on skates. They promised Willie Dickson and myself that we could have the next ride. While we were looking at them I heard the ice crack and soon I saw they were all in the water.
   Willie Dickson and I ran to the Slater house as fast as we could and told Mr. Slater and his wife what had happened. Mrs. Slater ran out to the pond screaming "Oh my boys." Mr. Slater who was in his shirt sleeves, stopped at the wood pile and picked up a large reed fish pole. After we told Mr. Slater what had happened we were so scared that we ran home."
   The boys, becoming dazed after seeing  their companions sink under the ice, ran home. On their way thither they told William Keyser and George Aringer of the calamity. These two citizens ran to the lake.
   Aringer says all they could see was a large reed fishing pole which Slater evidently intended to use in rescuing the young people, and the coats of the boys floating on the water.
   All the bodies, except that of the Bush girl, were recovered to-day.
   Slater served in the 156th regiment, N. Y. S. V. He was a member of Pratt post, G. A. R., of this city.


  • The Cortland Standard is astride the fence on the liquor question. Its editor don't dare to favor the temperance end of the party, nor has the courage to come out in favor of the saloons. Of course everybody knows that he is in favor of the saloons notwithstanding the fact that he has been howling himself hoarse for the past four or five years for the Anti- Saloon party and high-license.

  • There are a good many republicans in this town who are really in favor of temperance. They are not exactly prohibitionists but they are temperance men. The only opportunity they ever have of voting in accord with their principles is when the prohibitionists make a nomination for Excise Commissioner. They ought to have a chance to vote for temperance without going out of their party to do so, but they never will. The republican party as run in this town by the editor of the Standard is in favor of free whiskey. While the democrats are not in favor of no license, they do favor regulating the sale of liquor.

  • The republican town convention is to be held in this place to-morrow. Will the party dare take a decisive stand on the liquor question? Most certainly not. It will pretend to be in favor of temperance and the nominations will be made by the saloons and hotels. The convention will not dare to make a nomination either for or against license. It will simply dodge the question.

   The billiard parlors in the Cortland House have been redecorated and repainted.
   The Cortland Daily Message was a year old last week Tuesday. "May it live long and prosper."
   Miss Lizzie Boyd, the evangelist, opened a series of meetings in the Methodist church last Wednesday evening.
   A new seventy-foot smokestack was put up at the Hitchcock Manufacturing Company's foundry on Wednesday.
   The Eden Musee, which has been open in the Van Bergen block for the past six weeks, closed for good last Saturday night.
   Some Florida friends of Lewis Morton, residing on Maple avenue, have sent him a young alligator which measures one foot in length.
   A. E. Alvord, of Syracuse, has sold his trotting mare, Lady Kitefoot, to Beerman Bros. of Germany, for $6,000. She has a record of 2:18 1/4.
   A meeting of the Loyal Circle of King's Daughters will be held at Mrs. Jasper Kellogg's, Port Watson-st., Saturday, February 15th, at 2:30 P. M.
   The ways and means committee of the Assembly have submitted the appropriation bill. Among other appropriations we notice one for the Cortland Normal school of $20,000.
   A mothers' meeting will be held at Mrs. W. H. Hatfield's, 143 Tompkins street, on Friday. Feb. 14th at 3 P. M. Subject for consideration, "Obedience." All ladies interested in the care and training of children, especially mothers, are cordially invited.
   Dr. Taylor will resume his sermons upon eschatology in the Congregational church, next Sunday evening. Subject: "The Resurrection." At the Chenango Co. S. S. Institute in Greene last week, he gave an address upon "Luke and his Gospel," and drilled the assembly in the study of the lesson for the following Sunday.
   Mr. A. J. Lyman has exchanged his farm just south of this village for the handsome residence built by Judge Havens, in Marathon, and for some time past owned by T. L. Corwin of that village. Mr. Lyman receives $9,500 for his farm, and pays $6,000 for the house. Mr. Corwin's son will move on the farm and continue the milk business.
   The King's Daughters will give an entertainment in the Methodist church, Saturday evening, Feb. 15th, for the benefit of the Hospital Fund of Cortland. Miss Austiana E. Taylor, of Brooklyn, the talented elocutionist, has been engaged for the evening. This is the first entertainment held for the purpose of procuring funds to establish a hospital in Cortland, and as the object is a most worthy one, it should be well patronized. Admission, 20 cents.
   Last Sunday morning, at about 1 o'clock, officers Goldsmith and Parker detected the smell of smoke in the vicinity of Orchard street, and after a long search, fire was discovered in a bale of hay in Thomas McCarthy's barn in rear of his hotel. The chief rapped for assistance and officers Jackson and Sager came to the rescue and the flames were extinguished. Had the blaze not been discovered in time, the fire would undoubtedly have proved a serious one. It is believed to have been of incendiary origin.
   Last Tuesday Mr. L. Fish, an employee of Gillett’s novelty shop on South Main street, had his left hand badly cut by a buzz saw.
   On Saturday Feb'y 22, commencing at10 o'clock A. M., Mr. A. B. Gates will sell at auction on the Martin Gates' farm, two miles east of East Homer, five cows, one yearling heifer, one pair heavy work horses, one double harness, one mare with foal, one heavy lumber wagon, one platform wagon, one mowing machine one Tiger hay rake, horse fork and tackle, one Wiard chilled plow, harrow, set Cooley creamers, nine Fairlambs coolers and tank, etc. Nine months credit on approved notes on sums of $10, and over. G. L. Williams, auctioneer.

   Handsome offices in the second story of the new DEMOCRAT building, to let on reasonable terms. Also, hall on third floor, suitable for meeting rooms of societies. Enquire at this office.

The History of Binnewater, N. Y. (scroll for Tragedy on Third Lake):


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