Friday, June 12, 2015


The Cortland Democrat, Friday, April 25, 1890.

Fatal Accident.
   At about 1 o'clock last Saturday afternoon an accident happened at Wickwire's wire mill on South Main street, that resulted fatally to one of the persons injured. Mr. Frank Hotchkiss, who has been in the employ of the Wickwire Bros. for nearly twenty years past in various positions, and whose duty it was to gather up the rolls of wire cloth in the weaving rooms, and take the same to the basement on the main elevator, had loaded the elevator with a heavy load and started the same from the second floor. James Conway and Fred Seamans were with him, the latter stepping on the elevator after it started. The crossbar of the elevator broke almost immediately after the start and the whole fell to the bottom a distance of about twenty feet.
   Seaman was cut and bruised some but not seriously. Conway had a severe cut in the back of the head but is not seriously hurt and will be out in a few days. Hotchkiss received some very severe cuts and bruises about the head and shoulders and was so badly injured that he died from the effects at 3 o'clock on Sunday. Dr. Hughes had charge of the case and everything was done for him that medical skill could devise.
   He resided on Groton Ave., and was a faithful employe and good citizen. The funeral services were held from the Congregational church of which he was a member at 2 o'clock P. M. on Tuesday, a large delegation of Grover Post and the entire force of the employes of Wickwire Brothers' wire mills acting as an escort to the cortege from the family residence to the church—the latter being filled to its utmost.
   The Rev. Dr. Taylor based his remarks upon the signs of Christ's coming as found in Matthew xxiv: 42-44, a theme appropriate to the sudden termination of a faithful and active life. Burial was made in Glenwood cemetery at Homer, where the sadness of the occasion was increased by the earth giving way, precipitating a headstone into the grave as the casket was being lowered to its resting place, Comrades J. F. Wheeler and Patrick Dunn narrowly escaping injury. The end of the box containing the casket was broken a little. Mr. Hotchkiss leaves a widow and three children to mourn his loss.
   It is supposed that the elevator started to run away and that the brake being suddenly applied, caused a sudden strain on the crossbar and snapped the same in two. It would seem hardly possible to break the strong and thoroughly braced crossbar with a steady strain, no matter how heavy the weight. Hotchkiss had been repeatedly warned not to load the elevator so heavy, but he seemed to think that the crossbar was strong enough to hold any weight that could be piled on the elevator and he is said to have paid little heed to these frequent warnings.
   Coroner Moore empanelled the following jury on Monday: E. A. Fish, foreman, J. F. Wheeler, J. E. Briggs, E. F. Jennings, E. E. Spaulding, Frank Place and S. H. Webster. After viewing the remains and looking over the elevator, an adjournment was had until Wednesday at 2 o clock.
   The Jury met at the Court House and heard the testimony of three witnesses of the accident as to how it occurred and the subsequent removing of the injured man. Mr. O. W. Lund testified to the condition of the elevator, both before and after the accident, and Mr. T. H. Wickwire gave evidence touching the quality of the elevator purchased by the firm for use in the wire mills. Dr. Hughes described the injuries as examined before death and the result of the post-mortem examination.
   The Jury found: "That Frank Hotchkiss came to his death April 20, 1890, from injuries received by an accident which occurred on the 19th day of April, at about 1 P. M., at the wire mills of Wickwire Bros., in Cortland, N. Y., caused by said Frank Hotchkiss overloading an elevator and suddenly jumping upon the same, causing the cross beam to give away and precipitating the elevator and its load to the bottom of the shaft. We, the Jurors, further say that we find no cause for censuring the proprietors of the wire mills." Signed by Jury and Coroner.

Wickwire Brothers, Grip’s Historical Souvenir (page 203):

Fifteen Buildings Burned—Loss Estimated at $50,000.
   The village of DeRuyter, twenty miles [northeast] of this place, was visited by a disastrous fire early Thursday morning, the loss being estimated at fully $50,000. The fire was discovered at 2:30 A. M., in Smith & Fisk's store in the old Merchant block on the south side of the Main street. Notwithstanding the efforts of the firemen and citizens the flames spread from that building to H. C. Miner's office, burning that and every building between. It also extended to the south, up the hill burning three dwellings, Stillman's livery and York's dry goods store and several barns were burned. Fifteen buildings in all were burned and eight families are homeless.
   Smith & Fisk and C. J. York are the heaviest losers.
   At 4:15 train dispatcher F. E. McCoy, of the E. C. & N. R. R., who resides at 73 Tompkins street, in this place, and who has a telegraph instrument in his house connecting with the main line was aroused by a call from DeRuyter. He at once attended to the same and when he learned the cause, dressed himself and started for president D. E. Smith's residence to get permission to take the fire steamer to DeRuyter in answer to their call for assistance. Mr. Smith was out of town. He then went to Mr. Fred. Hatch's boarding place but he was not at home. He then aroused Superintendent Allen and the two went to the engine house, but did not succeed in finding the engineer or a police man. After arousing Mr. Kennedy only to find that his term of office had expired, and failing to find the residence of Trustee Peck, they learned from some one that chief engineer Phelps resided on Clinton avenue, whither they went and Mr. Phelps hurried to the engine house and gave the alarm.
   It was now nearly 6 o'clock and just about this time a message was received by telephone saying that the fire was subdued. It seems that the DeRuyter people undertook to reach this place by telephone before using the telegraph. Of course Mr. Allen could not take the steamer without permission from the proper authorities and the persons who had authority could not be found until it was too late to be of any avail.
   Superintendent Allen had his train ready to start for DeRuyter at a moment's notice and he and Mr. McCoy did everything possible to obtain permission to take the steamer out of town. As neither of these gentlemen have been residents of this place very long, they were not well acquainted here and did not know all of the officials. It would be interesting to know where the village police were all this time.

Burglar's About.
   Sometime during Saturday night, burglars entered the store of Burgess & Bingham, the clothiers, corner of Railroad and Main streets, Cortland. They gained entrance by prying up a rear window, which was found open when the proprietors opened the store on Monday morning. A quantity of clothing was found on the floor by the window, which the rascals evidently intended to take with them, but it is thought that they become frightened and dropped the goods where they were found.
   The firm miss some gents furnishing goods, but just how much they are unable to tell. Neither can they tell whether any clothing was taken or not, and there is no clue to the parties up to this date.
   Last fall burglars entered the store in the same manner and carried off $75 to $100 worth of clothing from the forms standing about the store. The burglars were probably frightened away on Sunday night last by the police in making their rounds, although the latter were not aware that they were at any time in proximity to criminals of any sort.

Joshua L. Chamberlain
Annual Reunion of the 185th Regt., N. Y. V.
   Twenty-five years ago, come the 11th day of next June, the 185th Regiment was disbanded, after nearly a year of gallant service during the closing months of the rebellion, and the organized band of soldiers quietly dissolved and became again peaceful citizens.
   On the coming June 11th the regiment will hold its twenty-sixth annual reunion at Homer. Gen. Joshua L. Chamberlain, of Maine, its old brigade commander, will be there, and Gen. Horatio G. Sickel, of Philadelphia, who temporarily commanded the brigade while Gen. Chamberlain was absent wounded, and Gen. H. L. Pierson, of Pittsburg, who commanded the brigade after Gen. Chamberlain's promotion, are also expected. The Homer people are quite wide awake in the matter, and are preparing to give the veterans a warm reception.—Syracuse Standard.  

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