Sunday, May 10, 2015


The Cortland Democrat, Friday, February 28, 1890.

President's Report.
   Pursuant to the requirements of Section 1, Title VI of the Charter of the Village of Cortland, I respectfully submit my report as president for the year commencing March 20th, 1889, and ending with the date of this report.
   The disbursements of the village with a few unimportant exceptions hereafter given in detail appear in the report of the trustees of the village and the report of the Board of Education to which reference is respectively made for the items and amounts. The bonded indebtedness of the village incurred for the construction of buildings and the purchase of a site for the Normal School, now outstanding, is as follows:
The amount of principal falling due Oct. 1st, 1890 is, $3,000.
And bears interest at the rate of 3 and 5 percent, and falling due Oct. 1st, 1891, bearing interest at 3 and 5 percent $4,000.00.
Falling due Oct. 1st, 1895, bearing interest at 3 5/8 percent $10,000.
Falling due Oct. 1st. 1896, bearing interest at 3 5/8 percent $10,000.
Total $27,000.
   During my term [one year] of office I have received from P. H. Neill for rent of house $55.00.
For use of steam fire engine, $2.00.
" Use of street scraper, $15.00.
" Licenses, $91.00.
" Sale of scrap iron, $5.70.
" Rent of Fireman's Hall, $40.00.
" Special work done on streets, $94.90.
" Dirt removed from streets and sold, $109.47.
" Fees of police to Nov. 1st, 1889, $247.60.
Deposited by policemen and not passing through my hands, $56.65, $304.25.
Recovered in action against W. U. Telegraph Co., unpaid tax, $26.38.
Total $748.74.
   All of which was deposited with the Treasurer at the date of my report except the sum of $12.20 now in my hands. I am unable to give the total sum realized from the sales of dirt removed from the streets because the Street Commissioner collected and deposited monies received for dirt sold of which I have no items or data. The same is true in respect to monies deposited by members of the police force.
   A better practice than that heretofore pursued would be to pass these monies through the hands of the clerk of the village to the Treasurer requiring the clerk to credit the sums received to the proper fund or account and give his receipts therefore to the persons from whom the same are received. No time should be lost in adopting some rule or practice better adapted to protect the interests of the village against errors and peculations than that now in vogue.
   The assessed valuation of the taxable property in the village, as shown by the last assessment roll is $1,727,685.00, on which was collected the sum of $32,302.81. Reported uncollectable, $118.27. Not collectable on account of errors in the assessment, $429.88. Poll tax collected $495.00.
   The amount of poll tax assessed and not collected was not ascertained at this date.
   Many persons have applied to the board of trustees for relief from taxes which they claimed were erroneous, for various reasons, a majority being firemen and claiming exemptions which had not been allowed, notwithstanding the Assessor was furnished with a list of all the active firemen in the department before taking the assessment. The board could afford no relief in these cases for want of authority. This want will be provided for in the future by the bill amending the charter when it becomes a law. Most of these errors could, and probably would, have been prevented or corrected on the review day had the assessment roll been published so as to advise taxpayers of their existence and enable them to apply to have them corrected on or before the completion of the assessment roll, the publication of which, in a local newspaper, would also tend to produce a more equal and impartial assessment and thereby accomplish a much needed reform in the administration of public affairs.
   The publication of a notice of the completion of the assessment roll and of the place where it may be examined and of the time and place when and where it will be reviewed, revised and corrected as provided by law, gives no practical opportunity for one in ten of the taxpayers to inform themselves of the errors or inequalities of the assessment and results in instances of enormous injustice, which the publication of the assessment roll in a local newspaper would prevent.
   The pressing demands for public improvements have increased many items of the appropriations proposed for next year in spite of the earnest wishes and persistent efforts of the board of trustees to economize in the public expenditures.
   There is a pressing need of a comprehensive and thorough system of public sewers, but it is believed the taxpayers are now contributing more than they can well afford to maintain public improvements without assuming additional burdens in the present paucity of profits from business. This belief has deterred the present board of trustees from any attempt to inaugurate this much needed improvement although convinced that it cannot, with safety, be much longer delayed.
   Economy and cleanliness as well as better facilities for moving, delivering and shipping merchandise, the increased dispatch, ease, comfort and convenience with which business could be transacted with better streets, all unite in favor of better roads and more improved methods and materials for constructing and maintaining them.
   A large percent of the money expended in graveling our heavy traffic streets is wasted. But again economy and good sense require that our sewers should be laid before our streets are paved and our water and gas mains should be tapped and brought to the curb on either side, so that a street once paved may not be torn up for any cause whatever. The importance of good roads to our business interests to render travel and transportation easy, convenient and cheap for ourselves and those we invite to trade with us, cannot be over estimated. Rapid, easy and cheap transit for men and merchandise is the most essential condition for profitable and successful commerce. Nearly everything from ponderous machinery and heavy building material to a paper of pins, is at some time carted over our roads and their good or bad condition varies the time and expense required to move it.
   Experience has repeatedly illustrated how extremely unsatisfactory is the condition of a municipal corporation, dependent upon the caprice or greed of organized capital for its supply of water. Water works companies inherently possess all the essential elements of monopolies, which is an irrefragable [sic] reason why we should own and control the plant from which our supply of water is derived.
   Besides, a municipal corporation can much better afford to own its waterworks when it can borrow the money they would cost at 3 percent, than to pay in water rents the equivalent of six percent, upon the actual and fictitious capital invested and inflated as represented by the capital stock of a corporation. The difference between 3 percent of the actual cost of the plant which supplies us with water and the sum collected for the water service afforded by it would defray running expenses and repairs and create a sinking fund which would pay the first cost of the plant within twenty-five years, at the end of which time the property would not only belong to the village but would be worth four times its first cost.
   The foregoing suggestions, though not necessarily a part of my report, are deemed timely and of prime importance.
   Numerous other subjects worthy of attention calling for discussion and action, await treatment at other hands.
   Dated Feb. 26, 1890.
   IRVING H. PALMER, President.

   Notes: 1885 History of Cortland County, The Bench and Bar, H. P. Smith: “Admitted in the same year as Mr. Mantanye, at the November General Term, was Irving H. Palmer. He was born in Virgil in 1841, and was graduated at the Cortland Academy. His law studies were pursued in the office of Duell & Benedict, after which he began practice in Cortland. In 1882 he was elected district attorney, which office he still retains.”

   Grip’s 1889 Historical Souvenir of Cortland, Practicing Attorneys: “Irving H. Palmer, attorney for the Erie & Central N. Y. railway, and at one time elected district attorney on the Democratic ticket.” 
   [I. H. Palmer was elected to the office of village president in 1881 and 1889--CC editor.]


Village Election.
   Notice is hereby given that the annual election of officers of the Village of Cortland will be held on the 11th day of March, 1890.
   The polls will be open from 9 o'clock A. M. to 4 o'clock P. M. of that day.
   The polling places fixed and provided by the Board of Trustees in the respective wards of the village are as follows:
First Ward—The shop of St. Peters & West, Squires Block, Main street.
Second Ward—Firemen's Hall, Main street.
Third Ward—The office of Harrison Wells, Clinton avenue.
Fourth Ward—Nottingham's shop, Main street.
   The officers to be elected at said election are:
   A President in place of Irving H. Palmer.
   A Trustee in the second ward in place of David C. Beers (to be elected by the electors of the second ward only).
   A Trustee in the fourth ward in place of Henry Kennedy (to be elected by the electors of the fourth ward only)
   Three Assessors in place of Samuel Freeman.
   A Collector in place of George T. Latimer.
   A Treasurer in place of Fitz Boynton.
   Three Commissioners of Union Free School, District No. 1, for the term of three years each, in place of D. F. Wallace, George L.Warren and F. W. Kingsbury.
   The Commissioner of Union Free School, District No. 1, for the term of one year, in place of Charles E. Selover, resigned.
   A Police Justice for the term of three years.
   Three Inspectors of Election for the 1st ward (who shall be elected by the electors of the first ward only).
   Three Inspectors of Election for the 2d Ward (who shall be elected by the electors of the second ward only).
   Three Inspectors of Election for the 3d ward (who shall be elected by the electors of the third ward only).
   Three Inspectors of Election for the 4th ward (who shall be elected by the electors of the fourth ward only).
   I. H. PALMER, President.
   CHARLES T. PECK, Trustees.

Death of Jacob M. Schermerhorn.
   Jacob M. Schermerhorn, an old and highly respected citizen of Homer, died at the residence of his son, J. Maus Schermerhorn, Jr., No. 801 James St., Syracuse, last Sunday morning, aged eighty-five years. For some years past he had spent the winters with his son in Syracuse and the summers were spent at his handsome home in Homer.
   Mr. Schermerhorn was a direct descendant from the original Schermerhorn family which came to this country in 1638, and was born at Schenectady on November 12th, 1804. He was graduated from Union college in the class of 1824 and in 1828 began the practice of law at Rochester. He was president of the Monroe county bank for four years. In 1831 he married Miss Louisa A. Barber, daughter of the late Jedediah Barber of Homer, where be made his home in 1842.
   Mr. Schermerhorn was president of the Syracuse, Binghamton & New York Railroad company for about ten years and his personal efforts went a long way toward making that corporation a success. He was a corporate member of the A. B. C. F. M., and during his life was prominently identified with many public movements in Cortland county.
   He retired from active business many years since, because of his impaired health which had never been of the best. He was a man of large means, much of which he had accumulated in his earlier years by judicious investments. While he mingled little in society, he was a well informed man and most excellent conversationalist. Besides his widow, two sons, George J. of New York, and J. Maus Schermerhorn, and two daughters, Mrs. John M. Fisher, of Philadelphia, and Mrs. Louis B. Henry of East Orange, N. J., survive him.
   The funeral services were held in Syracuse, on Tuesday at 8 P. M. , and the burial was made in the family lot in Mount Hope cemetery in Rochester on Wednesday.

Miss Ormsby's School.
   This is the fifth year of Miss Ormsby's select school, and she has met with such excellent success that she is forced to seek more roomy quarters. Consequently she has leased the premises at No. 18 Court street, and at the beginning of the half term, April 23, she will take possession of the same, where she will have ample room. There will be three departments, Kindergarten, Primary and Intermediate, each is in charge of competent and experienced teachers, the whole to be under Miss Ormsby's supervision. Arrangements have been made with the Normal, whereby graduates from her school will be received in the C. class of that institution without further examinations. Scholars will be prepared to enter the normal department and will be received on her examinations, and the same course will be pursued with reference to the Primary and Intermediate departments. The school term, text books, line of work and examinations will be the same as those of the Normal School.
   There is great need of such a school in this village and Miss Ormsby's splendid success in the past five years is a sufficient guarantee that the school will be conducted in the best manner possible. The building is to be thoroughly overhauled and fitted up for her use.

Miss Olof Krarer.
   Miss Olof Krarer, the native esquimaux lady will deliver her lecture on "Greenland," or "Life in the Frozen North," at the Cortland Opera House, Friday evening, March 7th. Miss Krarer, is the only representative of her race in this country, and is creating a decided sensation wherever she appears. Here is what Rev. Dr. John Hemphill, of Philadelphia, says of her:
   Having heard of Miss Olof Krarer's wonderful gifts, we engaged her to deliver her lecture in the West Arch Street Presbyterian Church, not without some scruples on the part of some. Before the little lady had spoken five minutes, the scruples were all scattered. Her lecture was a most decided success. Her voice is strong, yet musical; her manner dignified, yet easy and natural, and her way of putting things pointed and pungent, always interesting and often amusing. Any church can afford to have her. There is no cheap sensationalism about her lecture. It is high-class throughout. I was delighted with it. So were my people.
   Reserved seats for sale at Wallace's, where parties having general admission tickets can exchange for reserved seats by paying the difference.

Cortland County Agricultural Society.
   At the annual meeting of the society held at the Cortland House last Monday, the following officers were chosen for the ensuing year:
   President—C. F. Wickwire.
   Vice President—J. J. Murray.
   Treasurer—W. J. Greenman.
   Secretary—F. N. Harrington.
   The following Board of Directors for the ensuing year was elected: T. H. Wickwire, O. U. Kellogg, A. P. Rowley, F. N. Harrington, H. Wells, J. J. Murray, D. N. Hitchcock, James H. Tripp, D. K. Cutler, and Seth Hobart.
   The society will expend several hundred dollars in repairing the [county fair] grounds and track. The new officers are energetic business men and they propose to do everything needful to make the society a paying institution.

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