Cortland Evening Standard, Monday, March 19, 1894.
Homer Assisted by Cortland Department—Fire on Port Watson-st.
The firemen in Cortland and Homer did gallant work Saturday evening in saving property, and both towns should feel proud of their departments. The Homer companies, although fully equipped with apparatus and constituting a competent corps of firemen, were unable to manage their large fire and telephoned at about 11:30 o'clock for assistance from Cortland. Officer Jackson pulled box 333 and after this had struck off the number a general alarm was given. Main-st. in the vicinity of the engine house was crowded with firemen and citizens who had turned out to see the fire.
It looked as if the whole town of Homer was on fire, and one could have read a newspaper on Homer-ave. The hills were lighted up far and wide and it was plain that Homer needed assistance and needed it quick. Chief Peck ordered the Emerald and Hitchcock companies to Homer. Part of the firemen went in liveries, while others drew the Emerald cart part way, when they were taken in tow by a conveyance. Garrity's omnibus took up a load and the street and railroad track were lined with pedestrians.
The Water Witch, Excelsior and Orris boys, and the Protective police were left to take care of Cortland. They had cause to, as the other companies had scarcely started when an alarm of fire was sent in from box 334 in front of the Emerald building. Miss Emma Niver, who resides on the corner of Church and Port Watson-sts., before retiring, looked out of the window and discovered that a building belonging to Mr. E. B. Thomas of Brooklyn was on fire.
The building is a two-story, frame wooden structure, and is occupied down stairs by H. H. Salisbury as a blacksmith shop and by Mr. A. C. Deusenbury as a wood and repair shop, and up stairs [sic] by Joseph Talmadge as a paint shop and for manufacturing carriages on a small scale. It adjoins Niver's livery stable on Port Watson-st. The fire was in the upper floor, where it was confined by the firemen. It looked very much at one time as if the livery stable would be burned. Part of the horses and vehicles were removed, but the firemen soon had the fire under control and it was speedily extinguished.
Mr. Salisbury was damaged about $50, A. C. Deusenbury about $10. Mr. Talmadge told a STANDARD reporter this morning that his insurance of $1,000 would not cover his loss. The others were not insured.
Mr. Talmadge gives as his view of the origin of the fire that it caught from the chimney, which runs up through the garret to the peak of the roof nearly in the center of the building, He stated that he left the shop at about 6 o'clock, and there was a very low fire in his stove. Other people in the vicinity of the shop give as their opinion that the fire was incendiary. The fact that the companies which did not go to Homer, were ready to respond at the first tap of the bell was all that saved the adjoining buildings, as they had a stream of water on the fire within a very few moments after the flames were discovered.
Gleanings of News From Our Twin Village.
The fire alarm which was rung on Saturday evening at 11:30 aroused the citizens of this village to witness one of the largest conflagrations that has visited Homer in many years. The fire was located in a shed between the shops of the Homer Mfg. company and those owned and formerly occupied by Gage, Hitchcock & Co., manufacturers of cutter and sleigh woods. These buildings occupy almost the entire block bounded by James, Fulton and Grove-sts., and the drive which leads from James-st. to the lumber and coal yards of Maxon & Starin.
The fire department responded immediately and were soon at work rendering sufficient service. Hose company No. 3 was the first to attach hose to a hydrant and get a stream of water on the blaze, which had gained alarming proportions. Had it not been for the south wind which prevailed the plant of the Homer Mfg. Co. would have been destroyed. A stream of water was kept constantly upon it. The flames soon enveloped the first of the three large buildings of the cutter shops and the firemen saw that unless heroic measures were used the adjoining property would also be destroyed. All the available hose at their command was pressed into service and soon there were fifteen streams of water pouring upon the burning structure. A request for assistance was also sent to the Cortland fire department.
From the second building, which was closely connected with the first, volumes of smoke had been issuing which soon gave place to tongues of flame that consumed everything in their way as they shot from under the eaves, through the windows and between the clapboards and ran along the ridgepole. Until the walls of the first building began to fall in, the two were like an open furnace, the southern breeze carrying the flames to the north, filling Grove-st. for one block with a mass of fire so that the very air seemed to be ignited. It was here that the fire reached its height—though its progress was not stayed—and the grandest sight of the conflagration was witnessed.
When the fire gained such headway as to destroy all hope of saving the shops, a part of the men turned their attention to the houses on the opposite side of Fulton-st., only one of which was afterward seriously damaged. Showers of sparks were carried northward from the burning pile and deposited on the roofs of houses and in the open fields where the dry grass took fire and presented a weird sight. From the flames which swept across Grove-st,, the third and last shop building caught fire at the south end, and almost at the same time the north end also broke into flames. Two pillars of fire rose from the extremities of the shop and approached each other, destroying as they advanced, until there was nothing remaining save the beams and rafters. Then, as if gently pushed by an unseen hand, the skeleton structure leaned toward the north and fell, preserving its regularity of form even to the last. Beyond this building was an open field, so that after its fall the fire was fully under control.
During the hour which had intervened between the first stroke of the bell and the fall of the third shop, Maxon & Starin's lumber yard at the foot of Grove-st. and the Gage house on Fulton-st. had repeatedly been in immediate danger. In the efforts made to save the latter, there was some of the most heroic work ever done by a volunteer department. Flying sparks several times threatened disaster to the houses of Chas. Pimm and William Smith, as well as the old sawmill, all of which are in the immediate vicinity.
The Emerald and Hitchcock Hose companies from Cortland arrived at the fire after it was under control, and the Hitchcocks attached to a hydrant and played a stream of water on the fire for about half an hour. Both have the thanks of the Homer department for responding to the call for aid and for their eagerness to assist. Homer may be justly proud of her sons who battled against the flames on this occasion.
The burned buildings contained wagons and gears of the Homer Mfg. Co. in the first and third shops, and in the second one was stored partially finished stock of the W. N. Brockway wagon company. A statement of the losses, with amount of insurance, is as follows: Gage, Hitchcock & Co., loss about $20,000, no insurance; W. N. Brockway wagon company, loss $25,000, insurance $16,000; Homer Mfg. company, loss $5,000, no insurance; C. B. Rumsey, loss small, insurance $1,500; Charles Pimm, loss small, insurance $1,350; Hiram Hazard, loss $1,500, insurance, $1,000.
The origin of the fire is thought to have been incendiary.
ITHACA, N. Y., March 19.—The Tompkins county grand jury re-convened at ten o'clock this morning, and is now considering the evidence which the district attorney has against the several students in the Cornell banquet poisoning case. Before the judge's charge it was considered almost certain that they would not hand in an indictment in the matter but this charge and the cartooning and editorials which have followed it have had such an effect upon the grand jury that an indictment against at least one or more suspected students is believed to be inevitable.
GENEVA, N. Y., March 19—Ground was broken this morning for the erection of Smith opera house. It will have a seating capacity of 1,200 and will have modern appliances. A contract will be made this week for Geneva electric railroad to be put in running order within 60 days. The line at first will cover about five miles of street though the franchise covers as many more miles.
An Astounding Paragraph.
The following editorial paragraph appears in the last issue of the Cortland Democrat:
"While the Republican senate is engaged in investigating the alleged frauds in connection with the recent election in Troy they would do well to send a committee to Ithaca to investigate the recent escapade of the Cornell students whereby a colored woman lost her life and several students came near being killed. The killing of Robert Ross in Troy was done under the sadden impulse of the moment and when great excitement prevailed, while the deadly chlorine gas at Ithaca was administered with premeditation, and undoubtedly with a full knowledge of the probable results. The perpetrators of both crimes ought to be punished, but in the sight of the law, the crime at Ithaca is of the gravest nature. The local authorities seem to be entirely helpless in investigating the matter. In fact there seems to be a desire all along the line in that city to hush the matter up for fear that an investigation might injure the university. Failure to bring the guilty parties to justice will probably work a greater injury to that institution. Justice and law should prevail under all circumstances."
Such an illustration of lack of discrimination, mental obliquity or absence of moral sense as is furnished by the above paragraph it has never before been our fortune to meet. In a reputable paper it is simply astounding. No one has yet charged—save the Democrat—that the foolish and fatal practical joke which was undertaken at Ithaca was entered upon with any murderous intention, or with any idea of the possibility of such a result as followed. Had the gas been sent into the large banquet hall into which it was the intention to send it, instead of into the close kitchen of which the sophomores were unaware, the probability is that the freshman banquet would have been broken up but no serious results have followed. Had this been the outcome of the affair, little would have been thought or said of it beyond the college town where it occurred. We do not defend or apologize for the students who caused the death of a worthy woman by their folly, but that they deliberately premeditated murder and manufactured and used the deadly gas "with a full knowledge of the probable results" is something which we do not believe and which no one else does.
The guilty parties are responsible for the fatal results of their criminal carelessness, but not for malice. The case is one to be investigated by a coroner and a grand jury and proper punishment administered, but to ask that the state legislature take cognizance of such an affair is as ridiculous as to ask that it send a committee to inquire into a horning scrape.
The killing of Robert Ross at Troy, on the other hand, was done wilfully, deliberately, in the coldest blood, and in the most brutal manner. The man who committed it was a Murphy Democratic tough and [voting] repeater. Governor Flower had refused to sign the law which sought to give Troy fair elections and Murphy's followers were left free to go from polling place to polling place, voting as often as they pleased, winked at by the Murphy inspectors and backed up by the Murphy police.
Things got to such a state that the Republicans and the Whelan, or Anti-Murphy, Democrats in the 13th ward determined to make a firm stand against the repeaters. Shortly before 1 o'clock in the afternoon of Election day a gang of a dozen or so, headed by "Bat" Shea, John McGough and Jerry Cleary, attacked the polling place in the third election district of this ward. They presented themselves to the inspectors and asked for ballots. The Republican inspector and the Republican watchers objected. This was just what Shea and his gang wanted. It presented an opportunity for creating a "row." The men stepped a few paces back from the rail, and without a word of warning began to fire into the crowd of bystanders and watchers. Robert Ross, one of the leading Republicans of the Thirteenth ward, was seen to fall to the ground. His brother, William Ross, ran to his assistance and stumbled and fell just as he reached him. Robert Ross had been struck over the head by a club in the hands of one of the toughs. As William Ross fell a bullet struck him in the back of the neck. While the two brothers were lying on the floor "Bat" Shea, a thug, repeater and general rowdy, was seen to step into the crowd, place his pistol close to the back of Robert Ross's head, and fire. Within five minutes Ross was dead.
And this is the brutal and damnable murder which the partisan zeal and blindness of The Democrat leads it to rank as not so grave a crime as a student's practical joke—which unfortunately and unexpectedly had a fatal result! "Sudden impulse," "great excitement," was it, when a brute went to the polls armed for the purpose of shooting down any one who dared resist his attempts at fraudulent voting and stepped up to a prostrate man, and like a coward as well as a brute, put a revolver to the helpless man's head and sent the bullet through his brain!
"Bat" Shea's crime, under the circumstances, was one of the gravest that can be committed against the public welfare. It was the bright, consummate flower of McKaneism, Sheehanism and Murphyism. But it only went a step farther than the bossism of the man from Gravesend who is now wearing prison stripes at Sing Sing. McKane made use of fraud and violence to defeat the expression of the will of the people at the ballot box. Shea attempted fraud and when he was balked committed murder!
The Democratic law officials at Troy are so in sympathy with this murderer that the people will not trust them to manage his prosecution, and Governor Flower is compelled to assent to the employment of attorneys who will see that justice is done. What better subject for investigation by a legislative committee could there be than such a murder and the frauds and violence which led up to it and are interwoven with it? If government of the people by the people and for the people is not to perish from the earth, the crimes against the elective franchise which have disgraced this state under the rule of David B. Hill's machine must be stopped, and such punishment, sure, speedy and terrible, inflicted upon his guilty tools as will guarantee to the people henceforth a free and fair ballot, a just count and an honest declaration of the same.
The Democrat cannot wash the skirts of its party of the stains of Gravesend and Troy. If it were wise, instead of defending or apologizing for them, it would protest against them and denounce them. It cannot claim that one party is no worse than the other in this respect. Where can it point to Republican toughs, armed with revolvers, going from one polling place to another and voting at all of them on fictitious names or the names of other men? Where can it find a Republican Gravesend, or a Republican "Bat" Shea? Its attempts to apologize for or belittle the offenses committed against the common welfare by leaders of its party and their tools during the past six months will only bring discredit upon itself and help intensify the public indignation which is already swelling like the sea.
|Restored 1894 Lilienthal hang glider at the National Air and Space Museum.|
After many experiments Lilienthal had confidence enough in his machine to build a tower upon a bluff 340 feet high. He leaped from this boldly. At first he sank 50 feet, but was presently able to rise till he reached a height of 1,000 feet. He says great muscular strength is not required to fly like a bird, but only a knowledge of how to utilize the air resistance and currents exactly. Mr. Lilienthal is already able to fly in great circles and come back to his starting point.
—A full and graphic account of the Homer fire will be found in the Homer letter.
—The extended obituary notice of the late M. M. Waters, which we expected to publish to-day, is delayed for the purpose of making it fuller and more accurate.
—While at Syracuse Saturday the City band stopped at the Kingsley House, which is now being conducted by Mr. A. H. Hoxie, who was formerly a resident of Cortland.
—The season for shooting ducks closed March 1. The season formerly closed May 1, but the law was changed by an act of the last legislature, which went into effect this year. There is a heavy penalty for violations of this game law.
—While Fred Terpening was running up the railroad track to the Homer fire Saturday evening he had a fit and fell, striking the back of his head on the track, cutting a gash about three inches long. He was taken by his brother in a carriage to his home on Halbert-st., where Dr. Jerome Angel dressed the wound.
—The sacred concert given at St. Mary's church last evening was a treat to those fortunate enough to attend. It opened with a very brief address on St. Patrick by Rev. J. J. McLoghlin. The program consisted of sacred and patriotic music by the choir, assisted by the full orchestra. A great deal of the credit for the success of the concert is due Mr. and Mrs. C. N. Hardy. The proceeds go to the treasury of the organ fund.
—The entertainment given by the intermediate department in Normal hall Saturday evening was a success in every respect. The program consisted of an an international flag drill, a recitation by Hiley Bostwick, a cornet solo by Martin McDonald, a song by Nina Seeber, a recitation by Robert Carpenter and a fairy revel and rainbow drill. The entire program was rendered in a most creditable manner, the drills making a specially enjoyable feature. Sixty dollars were netted for the library fund.
—At a meeting of the Cortland County Bar held at the surrogate's office last Saturday evening, to take action on the death of M. M. Waters, Esq. Hon. J. E. Eggleston was chosen chairman and B. T. Wright, secretary. Resolutions were passed, and it was determined that the Bar attend the funeral, which is to be held at Mr. Waters' late residence, Tuesday at 2 P. M. Members of the bar are requested to meet at the surrogate's office on Tuesday, promptly at 1:30 P. M. Full proceedings of the meeting will be furnished later.