Tuesday, November 15, 2016


The first railroad bridge north of Cortland is located on the far right, mid-photo, on this 1894 Cortland map segment. Use sliding bar at bottom of screen to move across map.

Railroad bridge at center of map. Map date: Nov. 2, 2016
Delaware, Lackawanna and Western steam engine at repair roundhouse.

The Cortland Democrat, Friday, June 9, 1893.


A Tramp Engine Starts up the Track and Meets the Night Express on the Bridge. The Engineer and the Fireman of the Express both Killed.

   The passenger train due here from Syracuse at 11:20 P. M. last Monday met a terrible accident about 3/4 mile north of the station in this village, by colliding with the yard engine. The meeting occurred on the first river bridge. No one now living saw the collision and exactly what happened will never be known, as both the engineer and fireman of the passenger train were killed The yard engine had escaped from the yard and was running north without a single soul on board.
   The express messenger who was in the baggage car next behind the passenger engine says that when the locomotives met, his car reared up in front high in the air and the iron cross pieces on top of the bridge from the centre to the South end were torn from their fastenings and badly bent. The passenger engine reared up and in dropping back, the front of the same did not strike squarely on its tracks, for after running about one hundred and fifty feet it turned bottom side up down the bank, and the forward tracks were left between the tracks. The yard engine was still on the track a few rods away, its boiler being very badly bent and twisted from end to end.
   The whistle for Cortland was plainly heard but was cut shorter than common, the last of it being "down brakes," so the stray yard engine must have been seen by the engineer just before he reached the bridge, where he always whistles. The headlight lamp on the stray engine was not burning and of course the engineer of No. 18 could see only as far as the headlight of his own engine cast the light.
   When the engine was taken out the lever was found reversed and the air brakes closed. Passengers and those living nearby dug the engineer, William Wallace of Syracuse, from under the dome of his engine. He was dead and must have been killed instantly at the first crash, and afterward he was badly scalded. Frank Sherwood of Syracuse was taken from beneath the coal in the overturned tender, alive. His face was badly cut and his arm was broken in three places. His first question was for the engineer. He died about 2 o'clock from internal injuries, while his wounds were being dressed at the hospital by Drs. Dana and Angel, where he had been taken.
   Both were married men, and Wallace leaves one child. His wife was expecting to be confined and he had tried to get a substitute to make the run on that account.
   Engine No. 7, which was going northward alone is kept in the Cortland yard nights. It draws the work train from this place. George H. Chaffee, aged 18 years, a son of Harvey Chaffee of this place, is night watchman, and it is his duty to wipe the engine and keep a small head of steam. Several passengers were waiting to go south on the 11:20 and were standing on the platform of the station, and some of them saw this engine go slowly up the track, but nothing wrong was thought of it until the night watchman from the Hitchcock shops came running down the track, shouting that the stray engine had gone up the south bound track with no one on it. There is a spring switch so it would run to the main track all right. The operator at the depot knew the train had probably left Homer, but a dispatch was sent over the wires. It was too late and the suspense was intense to those about the depot for about two minutes, until the whistle and the crash came.
   Syracuse was immediately wired and the engine used to help freight trains over the Apulia grade came down and drew the coaches back to Homer where they took the other track and went on to Binghamton, as soon as the tracks could be cleared, which was about 3 A. M. The coaches had become detached and did not run below the bridge, being held by the broken rafters of the bridge.
   Mr. E. B. Glen of Albany, formerly of Cortland, was the only passenger injured beyond a shaking up. He was at the water tank in the end of the car and was thrown into the glass of the door.
   The front end of the baggage car was badly stove in. It was a close call for express messenger F. B. Denning who had just stepped to the rear of the car for a package.
   A wrecking train from Syracuse came at about 3 o'clock bringing superintendent A. H. Schwartz, the railroad detective Richard Sevenoaks, and several bosses with their gangs of men.
   When coroner Moore found there had been loss of life he ordered Chaffee arrested. Officer Goldsmith found him at the Whitney wagon works and placed him in the lockup about 2 o'clock. Later he told the detective that he went to the water closet soon after 11 o'clock, and when he returned the engine was gone. He realized what must follow and started to run up the track, but saw that he could not catch the runaway. He said then he could not remember anything until he heard the crash. He went to the wreck, and soon returned and went to see the watchman at the wagon works and told him what had happened. The watchman went to inform Chaffee's parents and while he was gone officer Goldsmith came and found Chaffee.
   As to whether the engine could possibly have started alone or not, opinions vary. Chaffee says it could not. Some nights ago when it was supposed to have backed alone into the back of the house, it was ascertained that it was started by mischievous boys. The charge against Chaffee is manslaughter in the second degree. He has retained J. & T. K. Courtney, as his counsel. A preliminary examination before justice Bull was set for Wednesday at 10 A. M. At that time defendants counsel asked for a stay, which was granted till Saturday, May 10 at 10 A. M., and Chaffee was released upon $2,000 bail, Aaron Sager, J. A. Jayne, Frank Place, A. S. Brown and E. D. Baker signing the bond.

Cortland wheelmen at the Dexter House on Main Street. Photo from Grip's Historical Souvenir of Cortland.


Routes Laid Out by Consul Wood—Great Events Assured.

   That forty-mile road race to be known hereafter as the "The Big Four road race," says the Syracuse Herald, is the absorbing topic of conversation at all of the clubs. Such a thing as 500 wheelmen racing at the same time for a central point is difficult to contemplate, yet Charles W. Wood has this plan in view and it will be fulfilled on June 15th. Mr. Wood has given the affair in charge of H. Munroe Ford, and all entries will be made to him at No. 134 South Salina street. Gold medals will be given to the first four men finishing and silver medals for the second four. 
   The man who makes the best time will get a diamond medal valued at $100 presented by Reuben Wood's Sons, with the understanding that it must be won four times before a rider can hold it as his own. A bronze medal will be given to each rider who finishes. This special committee will have charge of the race: Charles W. Wood, James H. Johnnot, Harry Snelgrove. Howard Cole and Harry Coleman. 
   From the south the start will be made from Cortland, and Dr. E. M. Santee will fire the pistol to send the 'cyclers off.  C. E. Rowley, J. F. Wilson and Delos Bauder will be the timers. Dio Lewis of the Buffalo wheelmen is the gentleman who will manage the western part of it. The start will be made from Lyons. In the East, Utica has been selected and also Pulaski in the North. The officers in these parts have not yet been decided upon. The entry blanks are out and are being forwarded to the wheelman who intend contesting. Mr. Wood has issued these orders:
   From Cortland— Start at the Cortland House crosswalk on Main street, up Main street to Homer avenue, to Homer, (two and a half miles); straight through Homer to Tully (thirteen and a half miles), leaving Little York and Preble to the left, as you pass up the east road; at Tully T. L. [turn left], at the Hotel Slayton, T. R. at the second turn; go down Christian Hollow hill which is very steep and dangerous to coast without a brake, to Cardiff (six and a half miles) keep straight, road to Onondaga Valley (eight miles), here T. L. to Midland avenue, very short distance, and T. R. to Cortland avenue and take R. T. to South Salina street. To Wood's Sons store, four miles, from the Indian Reservation to Onondaga Valley the side path is very good, and preferable to the road.
   The following entries have already been made from this village: William Jaquet, E. B. Richardson. There will be many other entries from towns in this vicinity.

A Patient Dies in Dr. Elderkin’s Office, and the Physician Kills Himself by Injecting Morphine into His Veins.
   CHAUTAUQUA, June 5.—This village is greatly aroused over a sensation that occurred Saturday evening. Mrs. O. C. Colton, a married woman, thirty-five years old, went to the office of Dr. W. K. Elderkin, which was in the cottage of Mrs. Harwood. It was about 6:30 o'clock.  Mrs. Harwood left the house on an errand. When she returned at about 8 o'clock she heard heavy breathing from the doctor's room. She went to the door and found no light and could get no reply to her inquiries. On going into the room she found the dead body of a woman on the lounge and the doctor was unconscious in a chair. A telephone message was immediately sent to Mayville for medical aid but Elderkin was dead before it arrived. He left a written statement saying that he had performed a criminal operation upon Mrs. Colton, which resulted in death from shock and heart failure. He felt that he could not endure the consequences and had administered a hypodermic dose of mophia [sic].
   This morning's Buffalo Express contains the following concerning the tragedy: "It was learned early yesterday why it was that Mrs. Colton went to Doctor Elderkin's office. She has lived in Chautauqua for some time and is the mother of three children. Her husband was at Garlan, Pa. on Saturday. The family came from that town to this. Mrs. Colton was about to become a mother again. She did not care to assume further maternal responsibilities, and she went to Doctor Elderkin that she might be relieved of her unborn child. She had made an engagement with the Doctor at some previous time and he was evidently expecting her. There was no one in the house when she got there. Doctor Elderkin's landlady had gone out. She went immediately to the office and Doctor Elderkin attempted to pervert the course of nature. Mrs. Colton had overestimated her strength. Her heart was weak and the shock of the operation killed her. She died of heart failure.
   "Left alone in the office with the body of the woman he had as surely killed as if he had administered poison to her or shot her to death with a pistol. Doctor Elderkin saw nothing in the future but disgrace. He evidently argued that it would be folly to try and brazen the affair out. He knew that he was a murderer. Even if he had not killed the woman in a technical sense, he had killed a child. His nerve failed him and he wrote a letter stating the facts as they were. He said that he had attempted a criminal operation and that Mrs. Colton had died from heart failure superinduced by the shock. He directed the disposal of his watch, money, violin, personal property and gave some other little directions. Then he added these remarkable sensations: "No use. Can't save me. No need of autopsy. Must die but hate to leave my friends.
   "Then he bared his arm and after preparing a syringe and filling it with a solution of morphia plunged the needle like point beneath the skin and calmly sent the fluid into his veins. The dose was probably a big one so that he did not have long to endure the tortures of mind that must have been his from the moment the woman died before the fatal sleep forever closed his eyes on the dead form of his victim.
   "Doctor Elderkin was about thirty-eight years old. He was married. His wife and his only child are living in Cleveland. For some reasons unknown to the people of Chautauqua the couple has not lived together for a long time.
   "Nothing can yet be learned of the relations of Doctor Elderkin and Mrs. Colton. He had been her physician for some time but whether there was anything more between them than professional relations cannot be said at this time.''

   TOMPKINS—The Taughannock Falls hotel is open for the season.
   Nine druggist's licenses have been granted in Ithaca.
   There are 198 soldiers' graves in the Ithaca cemetery.
   Cholera is making havoc, it is said, with poultry near Etna.
   It is reported that the Dryden Woolen Mills will close soon.
   Money is being raised to build an Episcopal church at Slaterville.
   The Freeville Dramatic Club will soon present ''The Hidden Hand. ''
   It is expected that work will begin soon on Dryden's new opera house.
   Ithaca is said to have more colored residents than any place of its size in the North.
   It is said that Dryden lake is the best for its size for pickerel fishing in Central New York.

The President has appointed Chas. W. Dayton, a prominent member of Tammany Hall, to be postmaster of New York. This doesn't look much as if the President intended to sit down hard on Tammany and the Hill people in this state. Mr. Dayton is a prominent lawyer of New York and the appointment is looked upon as first-class on all sides.
Edwin Booth, the greatest of American actors, died at his rooms in the Players club in New York, Wednesday morning. In Shakespearian parts, he was without doubt the greatest tragedian in the world. In his death the stage looses one of its brightest ornaments. He was a son of the great actor, Junius Brutus Booth, and was born in Bel Air, Md., Nov. 18, 1833.
Charles A. McKevitte, Esq., a former resident of Syracuse has been appointed Chief Clerk of the Bureau of Pensions in Washington. Mr. McKevitte was born in Truxton where he lived until the war broke out, when with four older brothers he enlisted and went to war, although he was then a mere boy. The four older brothers died on the field of battle. After the war was over he returned home and not long afterward accepted a situation with Milton S. Price, with whom he remained for many years. Mr. McKevitte is a genial gentleman and a thoroughgoing Democrat and will prove to be the right man in the right place.
There would seem to be only one way of settling the question of Sunday opening at the fair satisfactorily. Let the poor people, the mechanics, the trades people, the laboring men and those whose duties and occupations prevent them from attending on week days go on Sunday if their consciences will permit, while those who can spend the time and the money necessary to view the wonders there exhibited and whose conscientious scruples will not suffer them to attend on Sunday, should be allowed to have their own way about it and be permitted to have the glorious privilege of attending on week days. Let each man, woman and child be the keeper of his or her own conscience. When churchmen and laymen undertake to attend, each to his own affairs, without meddling with those of his neighbor, things will work smoothly and the world and its inhabitants will be the better for it.
The General Assembly which was in session last week in Washington decided against Prof. Chas. A. Briggs and suspended him from the Presbyterian ministry. Dr. Briggs will still continue to perform his duties as a professor in Union Theological college, entirely to the satisfaction of the students in that institution, while a great majority of the people of the land will support and encourage him by word and deed, for the benefit his researches and investigations have conferred upon mankind. The ripe scholarship displayed by Dr. Briggs seems to have been so far in advance of that of the rock-ribbed and [mess-backed] doctors of divinity, as to amaze and alarm the good old souls, who have been content to take their facts us the ancients handed them down, without one thought of questioning the accuracy of the traditions. Dr. Briggs was not content with this, consequently he investigated for himself and became satisfied that there were errors in the good book and he had the courage of his convictions and dared to say so. The better way for the old fogys to have done would have been to have demonstrated, if they could, that he was wrong. The church we opine will not be injured by the unseemly transactions in Washington last week, but will be stranger for the new light which Dr. Briggs has thrown upon the history of the Bible. The light of truth is made to shine by investigation and the world becomes better as the minds of the people expand and broaden.

No comments:

Post a Comment