Saturday, February 13, 2016


The Cortland Democrat, Friday, August 21, 1891.

It was Greatly Exaggerated by a Discharged Keeper.
   PALATINE, Aug. 18.—Major W. N. Johnson, clerk at Dannemora, arrived home yesterday for a week's rest. Speaking of the charges made against the management of Clinton prison he said:
   "They all emanated from spite. A man named Brophy of Troy, a keeper at the prison, was discharged and he started the stories. He based his statements on specific cases which he greatly exaggerated. The fact is that Keeper Moon, whom he charges with being the author of alleged outrages, is a man who, while strict in discipline, is thoroughly reliable and sympathetic in nature. He is a man whom I never saw take a drink—a man of strictly temperate habits. The case referred to by this man Brophy is a gang of transports from Elmira. They sent up to us a number of incorrigibles from the reformatory. They refused to obey the rules of the prison and were handcuffed a part of a day to a pipe running through one of the corridors of the prison. They were not lifted off their feet. One hand was raised to the pipe overhead and handcuffed there. The arm was not stretched and the men were allowed to stand heel and toe on the floor. It is the same sort of punishment I have seen inflicted on scholars in school, except that in the latter case no handcuffs are used, the scholars being simply required to hold a hand outstretched with a hook in it.

   The United States has 177,818 miles of railway.
   According to the very latest census reports there are 12,500,000 families in the United States.
   The steamer Teutonic has beaten all records across the Atlantic ocean. She made the trip in 5 days, 16 hours and 31 minutes.
   The White Star steamer, "Majestic," made the ocean trip from Queenstown in five days, eighteen hours and ten minutes. August 1st. and 3rd she made five hundred and one miles.
   The estimate of the United States wheat crop this year is 540,000,000 bushels. The crop already assured in Kansas is 70,000,000; Minnesota 60,000,000 and Wisconsin 10,000,000. Who is going hungry this winter?
   The trial of Benj. Gibbs of Cazenovia for catching trout in the vicinity of Perryville less than six inches long, tried at Fenner last week before Esq. Nichols, resulted disastrously to the young man in a verdict of $50 and costs.
   John Purcell, jr., a former resident of Herkimer, was quite seriously injured at Richfield Springs, Friday. He was shoeing a horse, when he was in some way knocked down and the animal stepped on his face and chest. He was badly mangled by the horse's hoofs.
   Henry C. Barber, a shoemaker residing at Sherburne, was found lying dead about half a mile west of Sherburne on the farm of Alfred Balcome, Saturday afternoon. Barber had a handkerchief fastened tightly around his neck. His face was swollen and it is thought he had died from strangulation.
   Vergennes, Vermont, is the third oldest city in the United States, having been chartered in 1788. Hartford and New Haven, Connecticut, were chartered in 1784. Vergennes is probably the smallest and most quiet city in the country, having a population of 1,773 and covering only 1,200 acres of land.
   At 5:45 yesterday morning George Kelly, a young man 22 years of age and employed as a brakeman on the New York, Ontario & Western railroad, while letting off a brake on his train at North Bay, Oneida county, fell between the freight car and the caboose and the wheels of the caboose passed over him, killing him instantly.
   The wagon and sleigh factory in Binghamton will be known hereafter as the Sturtevant-Larabee Company, and the company enlarged by the introduction of new partners. Mr. J. Kingman retires from active management but retains his interest in the concern. Mr. Orsen Britton of the Standard Wagon Company of Cincinnati comes to the new company.
   Walker Davis, an inmate of the county house situated four miles north of Oxford, attempted suicide the other night. He endeavored to cut his throat with a very dull knife, and after making a jagged wound nearly three inches in length and stabbing himself in the arm and several times in the breast near the heart, he aroused a fellow inmate and requested him to sharpen the knife.
   Considerable of a sensation was created in Auburn early Monday evening by a suicide in the business centre of the city. William J. Price, a well-to-do farmer, hung himself in the law office of his brother, Herbert Price, in Genesee street. He went to the closet to accomplish his purpose while the office was vacant. He took a small rope with him, stood on a box and threw the end of the rope over a crossbeam and swung himself into eternity. He was not discovered until life was extinct. He was 40 years old and leaves a family. Ill health and mental derangement are given as the causes of the act.
Rise and Fall of a Famous City.
   No city in America, and few in the world have had so wonderful a history as Pithole, which lies in a little valley some five hours' journey from Pittsburg, and about as distant from Buffalo. Early in December, 1864, the site of this town was occupied by two farms, and its inhabitants could be numbered on one's fingers.
   At that time the oil regions were in the most terrific throes of the initial petroleum excitement. Fortunes were flying by on the wings of the wind, in the Titusville field, and those who were quick enough reached out and grasped them.
   Wild-caters were prospecting in every direction for new territory, and, early in the last month of 1864, a well was begun here. Work was continued until January 7, when oil was struck. No pumps were needed. The well, No. 4 U. S., proved to be a gusher. Great streams of fluid gold burst from the bowels of the earth and rose high in the air, overrunning all the surrounding land. Oil was then selling at $5 per barrel, and this well was making 1,500 barrels per day.
   Those were the days of "Coal Oil Johnny," and other famous characters; days when all were on the alert for news from the field, ready to move at an hour's warning. So when a horseman dashed over the wild road from Pithole to Titusville with word that No. 4 U. S. had proved a gusher, excitement knew no bounds. Hundreds started at once for the new field, on horses, in wagons, on foot, with baggage and without.
   In six weeks from the time the first well was struck the population of Pithole reached 6,000. By midsummer this had trebled. By October the magic city had reached the most astounding stage of development. At that time two theatres were in full blast, one which cost $20.000.
   In the town were a dozen hotels, some of which had been built at a cost of $40,000 each. A Roman Catholic and a Methodist church were completed, and a Presbyterian church, "built just for fun," was under way. Two railroads were finished and others were being surveyed.
   The postoffice handled more mail matter than any other in the State of Pennsylvania, except those at Philadelphia and Pittsburg. Residences, bar-rooms, dance houses, brokers offices, banks, drug stores, law offices and other buildings covered what a few months previous had been tilled fields.
   At this time, October, 1865, Pithole was a seat of trade employing millions of dollars in money, a city with the third largest postofflce in the State, a city with water works, efficient fire and police departments, magnificent hotels and theatres, teeming with a busy, industrious enterprising general population, and with artisans, merchants, speculators, agents and professional men, a city with railroads, express and telegraph offices, and the ordinary accessories to populous municipalities.
   When the Press correspondent came to Pithole, a short time since [1891], he had to let down bars of a fence to get in. Not a soul lives there. A farmer in the valley four years ago purchased the entire city buildings and all for $1,200, which was paid to the tax collector tor taxes. Your correspondent drove to the renowned post-office. Two calves thrust their heads through an empty window frame and gazed at him. Three or four sheep scampered out of what was once the $60,000 Danforth House. Graded embankments of the railroads remain, but the rails and ties are gone.
   To-day Pithole is a scene of the most object desolation. Upon the hill overlooking the ruins stands the Presbyterian church. Its bell still hangs, its pews remain, and on the pulpit rests the clergyman's Bible. One of the builders of this edifice was a Scotchman who amassed great wealth, and left Pithole to go to his home across the water. A few years since [ago] he died, leaving a large sum to the church away out there in Pennsylvania. But the society had long before disbanded, and the money could not be disposed as directed.
   The decline of the Magic City commenced within a year of its wonderful rise. Oil gave out in 1867, and a terrible fire swept the town. All the old-timers moved away. All? No; but a score [sic]. These quietly sleep among the briars and bushes that run riot over the little graveyard where they were laid away when the now dead city was a boiling, seething caldron of business.—Philadelphia Press.

   Miss Kittie Heady of Cortland spent Sunday the guest of Miss Rexa M. Perkins.
   Alvin Gay started Monday for the peach region to procure a supply of that delicious fruit.
   Mrs. Adeline Hotchkiss of Allegany Co., is visiting her relatives and friends in Cold Brook and this place.
   "Ye" editor and estimable wife spent a portion of last week at the Raymond House. He returned just in time to save our talking him to death.
   Charles Gillett is giving his house a thorough overhauling and enlarging. This is evidence of a successful season with the sawmill.
   The Soldier and Sailor boys have secured the Raymond grounds for Saturday when they hold their annual picnic. They have our best wishes for a pleasant day while we shall have an eye to renew some of our old acquaintances.
   Mrs. Fannie Knapp (nee Brock) of Weedsport is calling upon her old time friends in this county. She is also a visiting delegate from Cayuga county to the Grand Lodge of this county which meets at this place on Wednesday. The meeting takes the general form of a picnic.
   We see that the Standard's correspondents are to picnic at the Trout Park on the 28th inst. When we take our Johnny cake and jug of buttermilk and eat in public for any man's advertisement we hope to be kicked by a jackass. No sir, we shan't be there! It is a square meal with us or nothing.
   Last Friday Mrs. S. C. Lyons of Ohio, Mrs. Catharine Sessions and Mrs. Kate Chamberlain of Cortland visited Mr. and Mrs. S. D. Perkins. These were attended by Mr. and Mrs. Will Perkins of Cortland, Mr. and Mrs. A. D. Perkins of Syracuse, and Miss Grace Lyon of Ohio. It was a meeting of cousins, some of whom had not met in 42 years.
   Last Friday at 11 P. M., Will Foster left the Raymond House in a surrey with three ladies, going east. At the same time George Lawson of Scott in a democrat wagon with his wife and baby was coming west. A few rods east of the store they collided. Foster had both tugs broken and was jerked over the dash board and considerably bruised—while Lawson had a spring broken and almost tipped over. The "rebel yell" never beat that of those ladies.
   ULI SLICK. [pen name of local correspondent.]

   Dr. Snyder of Middleburg, N. Y., is visiting his daughter, Mrs. J. C. Nelson.
   Peter D. Muller and family have gone to the Thousand Islands to spend a few weeks.
   Dwight Call and wife and Jonathan Bosworth of Cortland and Mrs. Nora Stevens of Union Valley were in town Saturday.
   Steven Tourtellot of Syracuse, Ralph McCallister of Apulia and Miss Emma Lansing of Herkimer visited friends here Sunday, and Mrs. H. J. Lansing and son of Syracuse, Tuesday.

   Mr. F. D. Allen has raised his house for repairs.
   Deacon Potter, wife and grand-daughter are visiting in New York city.
   Mrs. C. L. Jones, of Homer, has been visiting friends in town for a few days.
   The Y. P. S. C. E. hold an ice cream social upon the lawn at the S. D. B. church on Wednesday evening of this week.
   Quite a number of the friends of Miss Neva Clarke gathered at her home last Sunday evening to commemorate her 19th birthday anniversary.
   Rev. J. A. Plaits, late pastor of the Scott S. D. B. church, has accepted a call from the Leonardsville church, to commence Oct. 1st. At present he is at his father's, in Alfred Centre.
   If you want to make a picnic a success, go to Raymond's Landing, which has every accommodation for your comfort.
   The meetings held in Dist. No. 4 school house are well attended. These meetings are conducted by the Young People's Society of Christian Endeavor.
   The annual Hill picnic was held last Friday at Little York. One hundred persons old and young were served at the dinner tables under the willows. This is the fourth one of these gatherings, and we have never had a bit of rain, or too much wind, or an accident happen upon our picnic days. No other one of these picnics has been so largely attended. The greatest excitement of the day was the base ball game of the married men against the unmarried men, resulting in the defeat of the unmarried men.
   X. Y. Z.

   Rainy weather these times.
   Milk is two cents a quart now.
   The hay crop was better than expected in Preble.
   Misses Kate and Agnes Kelly of Troy are visiting in town.
   F. M. Beardsley of Marathon was in town Tuesday of this week.
   George Barker is moving to Syracuse, where he has obtained work.
   DuBois's shop is completed and he has a competent blacksmith employed.
   Mr. Green's new store is completed and filled with goods and it looks quite attractive.
   The Morgan shop owned by Mr. Gillette, with Mr. Mack at the forge, is doing a thriving business.
   Calvin Shepherd has put a new coat of paint on the Presbyterian church and made other needed improvements about the edifice.
   Andrew Van Sisco met with a bad accident last week. He was standing up in a wagon, when the horse started and he lost his balance, falling to the ground and sustained quite severe injuries, breaking one of his ribs. Pudding and milk is the proper internal application in such cases.
   Dr. Pollard, who came here about five or six months ago and has since been practicing here, has returned to his home and is going to locate in Madison county. Dr. Pollard is a young man of quiet and unassuming manners, and has made many friends in town. He had good success as a physician and he will be missed from our town. The Dr.'s father died a short time ago, and his family wanted him to locate near home. His many friends in Preble wish him success in life.
   Republican caucus held Monday evening, at the hall, had the appearance of a love feast until they worked up Ryan, who laid down the law and after starting in as a Peck man from top to bottom, when defeated for delegate to Senatorial convention discovered that Mr. White was a good man, and he would be in the convention and vote for him in spite of the caucus. Mr. Green's opinion of the delegates elected would make quite a book if written in full. Ryan is an American cyclone when aroused.

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