Saturday, April 30, 2016

In Memoriam

In Memoriam.

     Charles Gridley, 66, b. May 28, 1949—d. April 26, 2016. He died of natural causes at his residence in Albany, N. Y. His passing will be a deep loss to family and friends. In 1980 he organized opposition to proposed fluoridation of water in Cortland. Mr. Gridley was a major contributor to the 1987 Cortland County Historical Society presentation “Of Time and the River—A History of Cortland;” he also created a satirical email exchange between $enator $ham and Constituent Paine. The history of Cortland and the satire appeared in this blog several years ago. 
     A full obituary is posted at the Wright-Beard Funeral Home link:


Friday, April 29, 2016


The Cortland Democrat, Friday, February 26, 1892.


Alfred Seaman, an Inmate of the County Jail, Cuts His Throat and Hangs Himself.

   Alfred Seaman, an inmate of the county jail, committed suicide last Friday morning by cutting his throat with a razor and afterward hanging himself. He occupied a cell on the upper tier with Hiram Baker, whose name is not unfamiliar to readers of the DEMOCRAT. At about 6:30 in the morning Baker awoke and seeing nothing of Seaman he went into the hall and began a search for him. Opening the door of the cell in the northwest corner of the jail, he was horrified to see the body of Seaman dangling from an improvised rope which was attached to the steam pipes overhead. He at once notified Deputy Sheriff Angel, who happened to be within hearing.  
   Sheriff Miller was called and the body was cut down. Seaman had twisted one leg of his pantaloons into a rope and winding a stout cord about it had fastened one end to the steam pipes. His handkerchief had been made into a noose for his neck and was securely fastened to the lower end of his pantaloon. He had evidently stood upon an empty cheese box and after cutting his throat from ear to ear and severing the windpipe, had kicked the box aside. The handkerchief pressed into the wound and somewhat retarded the flow of blood.
   A scrap of paper was found pinned on his vest directed to Deputy Angel and asking that his body be turned over to his family for burial. A package of letters addressed to each of the publishers in this place and to several citizens and members of his family were found in a pocket in his vest. The one addressed to the DEMOCRAT, reads as follows:
To the Editor Democrat:
   SIR:I thought as I sit here grieving over my unfortunate position and the cause that brought me here, it seems that I would go wild. I can never endure the trouble that I see. Mr. Editor, if I was guilty of committing rape on that girl or made an attempt to commit rape I should say hanging or shooting was too good for me, but I call on God to witness the truth of what I say, it has all been conspiracy. Those that should have been my friends proved on the start to be my worst enemies and now they see what they have done and may God forgive them as freely as I do.
   I love my wife and children, they are all of my life to me and to be separated from all that is dear to me without committing the crime that is laid to me it is hard to bear. Mr. Editor, do not think me insane for I am not, but my heart aches that I must suffer for a crime that I have not committed. I die to-day by my own hand but I rather do the deed than go to States prison and I think my family would rather bury me than to have me go there. Mr. Editor, you can print this or not, just as you think best, and if you don't, spare my family from any harsh words in your paper.
   Good bye,
   The letters were all much like the above.
   Seaman was arrested October 24th last, charged with committing a criminal assault on his step-daughter, Myrtle Pennoyer and was held to await the action of the grand jury. He gave bail and was at liberty for a few days when his bondsmen surrendered him to the sheriff, since which time, he has been in jail. He was indicted by the last grand jury and his trial was to have taken place at the Court of Sessions to be held March 7th next.
   Coroner W. J. Moore impanelled a jury Friday morning and after viewing the remains, the inquest was adjourned to 7 P. M., when the investigation proceeded. The following citizens composed the jury: Geo. J. Mager, foreman; E. F. Jennings, I. W. Brown, Henry Bates, E. D. Mallery, T. F. Grady, and C. F. Thompson.
   After hearing the evidence the jury rendered a verdict whereby they found that the deceased's death was caused from strangulation and by his own hand.

   CHENANGO.—Preston's Democratic supervisor had 1 majority.
   The Norwich Furniture Co. has declared a five per cent dividend.
   Oxford is now lighted by electricity. James Guile has charge of the plant.
   O. B. Curtis, of Preston, received $1,205 from his dairy of 24 cows, last season, sent to the Lewis creamery.
   Assemblyman Stanton has introduced in the Assembly a bill to create a police justice in Norwich, with an annual salary of $1,000.
   A dispatch from Washington says that S. B. Pope was, on Tuesday, appointed postmaster at Columbus, in this county. The office is fourth class.
   Postmaster Ed. Daniels of Sherburne was in Norwich yesterday to get hold of the reins over a spanking pair of horses he had purchased from parties in Mt. Upton, and which were brought to Norwich for delivery. The genial postmaster is proud of his purchase, as well he may be.
   Nathan Eldridge, of Smyrna, has challenged C. C. Wilber, of the same place, to a stallion race for a purse of $250, and has deposited $100 forfeit with the Chenango Telegraph.
   "Ed" Jones of Afton, being despondent over domestic troubles, attempted to end his life by shooting himself with a revolver the other day. The ball struck a rib just over his heart and glanced off, thus doubtless saving his life. Dr. Hayes was summoned and extracted the bullet. He was arrested and charged with an attempt at self destruction and held to await the action of the Grand Jury.
   MADISON.—DeRuyter will be a no license town after May 1st.
   There were six funerals in Hamilton in one day last week.
   Bennett Bros, have leased the Morrisville stove foundry for a term of five years.
   The Oneida Daily News has discontinued publication, owing to lack of patronage.
   Crumb's cheese factory, at Poolville, was sold last week to a Mr. Crandall of Brookfield. Capt. Hatch runs it this year.
   W. W. Lull, of Earlville, has a remarkable Jersey heifer. She will be two years old in March, and now gives fifteen pounds of milk per day.
   Norwich parties caught a 7 3/4 pound pike in Oneida lake last week, in which was a half pound perch and inside the perch was a small minnow, which later was used as bait on one of the hooks.
   A correspondent of the Oneida [Times] says: The cave at Chittenango Falls has been opened and visitors can explore it. The cave has been made inhabitable 150 feet below the surface and then the opening extends southwest, how far is not known. After going 150 feet the lights go out, and it is not considered safe to go farther in the darkness. In the distance which has been explored five rooms or caves are found, from 12x14 to 30x50 feet in diameter. The cave is a wonderful discovery.
   TOMPKINS.—Ithaca has a new industry. It is a soup factory.
   It is said that the Ithaca Kindergarten is in need of more funds.
   New [finishing] machinery is soon to be put into the Dryden Woolen Mills.
   Dr. Wells, of New York, paid a fine of $200 in Ithaca, last Friday, for shooting quail out of season.
   The Dryden Cornet Band have purchased new uniforms. The color is bottle green trimmed with black.
   The amount of the Literary Fund apportioned to the Groton Union School is $303.90, much larger than usual.
   It seems that the first report given in regard to the excise vote in Ithaca was incorrect. The town went license by 160 majority.
   At an early hour last Thursday morning, the Academy building in Trumansburg was discovered on fire. The only engine in the village was disabled and there being no way of fighting the flames, the structure and its contents were entirely destroyed. The building was insured for $2,500.

In Memoriam.

   Floyd Barnes Hitchcock was born in Cincinnatus, N. Y. July 22, 1864. When but a lad his father removed to Cortland Village from Cincinnatus, where he resided up to the time of his death which occurred on February 10, 1892. His early education was obtained in the common schools at Cincinnatus, and afterwards at the Cincinnatus Academy, and subsequently at the Cortland Normal school.
   When his father first came to this village, before he had developed his mammoth industry which now bears his name, and while Floyd was but a lad he displayed a very apt talent for business, working with his father, side by side in the shop, taking an equal interest with him in the success of the work while the institution was but in its infancy.
   As the manufacturing interest began to extend with which he was so closely identified in boyhood, he soon gave up his entire attention to school duties and gave the very best energies of his life and thought toward helping his father extend the business.
   Step by step he occupied one place after another until he became familiar with every branch of the business and under the skillful tutorage [sic] of his father became an expert and successful manager of the various branches of business until finally when the Hitchcock Manufacturing Company was organized he was made one of the Directors and subsequently vice president and superintendent.
   It is an old saying that goods well bought are half sold, and as he had charge of that branch of the business very few were considered more skillful in that direction than he.
   Perhaps the secret of his short life was due to the fact that he never allowed himself to have a divided thought upon any enterprise which he undertook. Having once resolved to carry out a certain line of business he bent every energy to its accomplishment. His energies and determination in this respect were very marked.
   In his life he was always quiet, courteous, but positive, and those who knew him best and who had dealt with him always found him living strictly to the promise which he had made.
   In 1884, on the 1st of May, he was united in marriage to Cora M. Brown, a young lady of remarkably pleasing temperament with whom he lived until her death which occurred about five months before his own.
   One beautiful daughter of some five years of age is left fatherless and motherless by this peculiar stroke of Providence, within a less period than five months.
   In early life Floyd gave evidence of his love for Christ while his mother was still living. On his removal to Cortland he united with the First M. E. Church where he has ever been an acceptable member. The loss of his wife a few months ago was a severe blow to him and had it not been for the hope that he would sometime meet her in a better world it would have been apparently unbearable. Little did he think that in five short months they would be again united.
   His sudden but sad death in the community in which he resided and in which he was so active a citizen cast a marked shadow upon all who knew him.
   The funeral, which occurred on the 21st inst, was one of the largest ever witnessed in our village. The cortege which marched from the house to the church, and from the church to the cemetery was preceded by the Hitchcock Mfg. Company's band, playing a funeral dirge, followed by the Fire Department and by the Hitchcock Hose Co. as a special guard. About 300 of the employes of the Hitchcock Manufacturing Company also marched in the procession. The decorations of flowers, testimonials of the esteem in which he was held were numerous, and were the voluntary gift of those who knew him best, and were, as follows, viz.: A broken wheel, from Penn & Lee of Syracuse; cross and crown from Drake and Rooks; a broken wreath with "Our Superintendent," and open Bible by the office force of the Hitchcock Mfg. Company; a broken wheel by wood department; crescent and anchor by the trimming department; a beautiful wreath by the shipping department; gates ajar by the paint department; tablet on which was inscribed "His Record was clear" by the blacksmith department; a pillow inscribed "Have Rest" by the foundry department; a ladder, star and trumpet by the Hose company; a floral wreath by L. S. Hayes & Co.; a beautiful wreath of white Immortals from the Cortland Fire Department; a wreath of flowers with the word "Band' in the centre from the Hitchcock Manufacturing Company's Band.
   The bearers were chosen one from each of the six Fire Companies, and the pall bearers were the six representatives from said companies on the Board of Engineers.
   Life is not measured in this instance by the length of years but by the accomplished results. His has been a success in that he had won friends and had been a stimulant to others to make theirs as active and as earnest as his has been while life lasted.

Thursday, April 28, 2016


The Cortland Democrat, Friday, February 19, 1892.

   Squire Hunt went to Freetown on business last week.
   George J. Green has hired to Joseph Pickett for the season.
   We hear that Mr. Fred F. Burdick has gone down near Ithaca drilling wells.
   Mrs. Adelia Hathaway and her two children started for Minnesota last week, perhaps their future home.
   The worst storm of the season last Friday and Saturday. No mail from Thursday noon till Saturday night.
   Miss Eliza Barber had the misfortune to fall down stairs last week and hurt her quite severely, but not seriously.
   Rev. W. H. Robertson of East Homer was called to town recently, to officiate at the funeral of Miss Mary Anthony.
   Mr. Byron Townsend and family of Moravia have been visiting relatives here for several days. Miss Alice Babcock returned with them.
   Mr. Jeremiah Whiting of Seneca Co. was the guest of his sister, Mrs. W. E. Barber, recently. He expects to return and try and organize a lodge of Grangers in the near future.
   The donation which was voted to be held for the benefit of Rev. B. F. Rogers, last Wednesday evening, was advertised to be held Thursday instead by the order of 2 or 3 individuals, but very unfortunately, Thursday evening was a very tedious one and those who did come adjourned to the 17th, Wednesday, when oysters will be served.
   A turkey barbecue was held in Scott the night after town meeting. It could hardly be called a Republican doings or a Democratic affair, for members of both parties were in it. As near as we can gather the facts about half a dozen young hopefuls, between the ages of 21 and 30, laid hold of a valuable bronze turkey of the male persuasion, belonging to George S. Green, and took it down across the river into "Brooklyn" and killed it at the river bank and let the feathers waft down the stream into the lake below. The old saying is "blood will tell," so in this case the drops of blood upon the snow, from the place of slaughter to the eating house of John Maxson, let the cat out of the bag. The proprietor of the house was called upon for an explanation the next day and he told what he knew about the barbecue. He said they told him they had purchased it and they had brought it there for cooking. They also brought along, as we understand for the dressing, 2 quarts of whisky and 2 quarts of oysters; this was mixed and salt added to suit the taste. As they entered the restaurant all who were able joined in a war dance for the opening exercises. We can hardly recommend such proceedings. We don't believe in late suppers, especially when consisting of stolen meat and whisky gravy. We learn that the unfortunate bird is not yet settled for.

   Mr. Conklin is moving his family into the lake side house of B. J. Salisbury.
   A. B. Raymond is again the police officer of Little York. It is his sixteenth term.
   Sylvanus Gillett is calling on relatives and friends. He is in very poor health.
   Some of our dairymen, who prefer to deliver milk but once a day, are putting in a stock of ice.
   The snow in the woods is nearly three feet deep and hard and crusty, making it difficult to get out logs or wood.
   Frank Alvord and Grant Selover done a fine job plowing the road from the foot of Kinney's hill to the main road. That is the only way to have a good track.
   The farmers, who erected silos last summer, are now comparing quantities of milk with those who are feeding hay. The result is very much in favor of the silos, with a smaller ration of grain.
   The Ice Company were to have finished filling their house here and at Cortland Wednesday, but found the foot of snow from the last storm full of water and had to postpone work indefinitely.
   Last spring Frank Pickens opened a blacksmith shop and by superior workmanship obtained all the shoeing that he could do. Old grip grabbed him and he was advised that he must quit blacksmithing. Obtaining employment in a hardware store in Homer, he sold his stock to a Mr. Conklin of Preble, who opened shop Monday.
   Joel Gates died Sunday evening at the residence of his son, John, of pneumonia, superinduced by the grip— aged 75 years. In 1862 he moved from Truxton on the farm purchased of Alanson Hobert where he has since resided. He leaves a wife, three sons and one daughter to mourn his death. He was a consistent member of the Baptist church at Homer and a very constant attendant. He was an ironclad Democrat and his three stalwart sons voted with him. He was a member for a time of the Little York grange, but its exclusiveness hardly met his expectations. His quiet, unostentatious ways had endeared him to the whole community. The whole family being sick his body will be placed in the vault, and at some future day a funeral sermon will be preached and his remains buried.
   Mrs. Martha Allen has been visiting friends in Groton.
   Ed. Fitzgerald has gone to Indiana to visit his uncle.
   Mrs. Katharine Hoot of Lisle is in East Homer caring for her sister, Mrs. Ezra Haight, who is quite sick.
   Ed. and James Smith of Freetown will work for Mr. Watrous, on the Fitzgerald farm, the coming year.
   Mr. and Mrs. Edwin Smith of Freetown have been visiting among friends in East Homer the past week.
   Born, on Saturday of last week, to Mr. and Mrs. Martin Dwyer, a baby boy which weighed 10 1/2 pounds.
   Mrs. F. L. Harris of Skaneateles is visiting with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. J. Mynard, in East Homer.
   Rev. W. H. Robertson was called on Wednesday evening of this week to officiate at a wedding in Kenney Settlement.
   The salesmen of the East Homer Creamery sold 160 firkins of their summer butter to Harrison Wells of Cortland for 22 cents per pound.
   The large Republican majority in this town shows very plainly which party favored the license commissioners, which was elected by 35 majority.
   On account of the bad storm last week Rev. C. E. Hoag did not exchange pulpits last Sunday with Rev. W. H. Robertson of this place. Mr. Hoag is expected on Wednesday of this week to assist in revival meetings.

   Charles Clement and family have moved to Syracuse.
   Dennis Lazell started out Monday, over the snow drifts, to take the census.
   W. N. Jones bought a number of cows at the George Miller auction, Tuesday.
   Wm. Graham returned Monday from N. J. His daughter, Mrs. Alice Gainer, died while he was there, and was buried last Saturday.
   An uncommonly large number of people came together at the auction of Mrs. Frank Stebbins, last week, because of the fine dairy of cows she had advertised to sell. The 39 cows sold at the remarkable average of $28.
   It required a good deal of perseverance on the part of some of the invited friends of Amos L. Kenney, to face the icy blasts and force their way through the deep snow to his birthday party, last Friday night. But we presume they all got there and had an enjoyable time.
   The weather, last Friday, was so inclement that the M. E. society thought best to postpone the donation to be given for the benefit of Rev W. H. Robertson, and it will be held at Woodward's hall, Wednesday night, Feb 24th. All are cordially invited to attend.

A Notable Challenge Between Syracuse and Cortland Cyclists.
   A well known Syracuse bicycle rider startled his acquaintances on Saturday evening by issuing a special challenge to a Cortland wheelman for a 200 mile bicycle race. The local man was George Harris and the Cortlandite G. W. Houck. The match was the outcome of a heated discussion over long distance riding. According to the terms the race must be held between April [20] and May 1. The finest stretch of road in America has been chosen as the course, a 100 mile straight away from Coburg to Kingston and return. The loser will forfeit his bicycle to the winner or if the latter chooses he may select any high grade wheel in the market at the lower expense. There were three witnesses to the agreement and the men shook hands.
   The result of the race is already being speculated upon, and many local wheelmen will accompany the contestants on portions of their rapid Canadian tour. Mr. Harris’ ability as a stayer is well known. With John Wilkinson he holds the record to Utica and return. He is a member of the Syracuse Cycling Club and will be well supported by his fellow members. Mr. Houck has made quite a reputation on the track, and is said to be a good long distance man. He may train as much as he likes, but it is safe to predict that he will get very weary if he defeats Mr. Harris. This is the longest race ever arranged in Central New York.—Syracuse Evening Herald, Feb. 15.

Hopkins block, Main Street, Cortland, N. Y.
Warren, Tanner & Co.'s New Store.
   Messrs. Warren, Tanner & Co., the well known dry goods dealers, have become comfortably settled in their new quarters in the Hopkins block, and are ready for business. Readers of the DEMOCRAT, who have not yet visited the handsome store are advised to take the first opportunity presented to do so.
   For the benefit of those of our readers who have not yet had an opportunity to look through the place, we give a brief description of this modern palace.
   The firm occupies the entire first floor and basement, which is 48x92 feet inside measure. Through the center of the store and facing the front doors is a double row of oak counters meeting in a half circle and extending back nearly to the business office in rear of the building. These counters, with the shelves behind, contain a large stock of ladies’ fancy and staple goods, and are in charge of lady clerks. On the south side of the store are counters and shelves running the entire length. These shelves contain the ladies’ dress goods. In the rear of the store you will find a large stock of furs and ladies’ and children’s cloaks. On the north side of the store are similar counters and shelves, the latter filled with gents’ furnishings, sheetings, and in the east end may be found endless rolls of carpets of the latest styles and patterns, rugs, curtains and curtain fixtures.
   There are three large rooms in the basement where are kept such goods as cannot find a place on the shelves on the first floor and their surplus stock. The basement is well lighted and the rooms are handsomely done off. The entire plant is heated with steam and lighted with gas and electric lights. They have in use the Starr system of cash carriers and the swing counter stools have also been put in. There are several elegant show cases in the store filled with novelties and specialties.
   The show windows are very large and present the appearance of handsome parlors as they have been tastefully fitted up and arranged to please the eye.
   The store is a mammoth one in size but it was well filled when the firm moved their goods into it. Mr. Warren returned from New York on Monday where he has been purchasing a very large stock of goods for the spring trade. The goods have nearly all arrived and are being marked and placed on the shelves. Readers of the DEMOCRAT will, of course, take time by the forelock and call while the stock is complete.