|Photo of Main Street, McGrawville, before the 1906 fire, courtesy McGraw Historical Society.|
McGRAWVILLE VISITED BY EXPERT CRACKSMEN.
They Secure a Hundred Dollars Worth of Stamps and About Ninety-Dollars in Money—No Clue.
Every week brings its record of the cracking of some postoffice throughout the country. They all seem to be visited by the same set of men, who so far have been sharp enough to cover their tracks and leave no trail behind them. In every case the operation seems to have been performed by experts who fully understand the business of safe breaking.
The little village of McGrawville is the latest victim, and this morning at 6:45 o'clock when Postmaster M. C. Bean arrived at his office he found that some one had been there before him. The safe was blown open and the books which had been in it were lying upon the floor, while money and stamps were missing.
The postoffice is located upon Main-st. in a room adjoining the Rogers House. The office is twenty-two feet deep. There is a large window in front and about six feet back from it are the distributing boxes with glass fronts. In the rear of these stands the large Marvin safe, which Mr. Bean bought new when he became postmaster in April, 1893. There are no curtains and there is nothing to obstruct a clear view of the safe from the street except the frame work of the distributing boxes, which would not materially effect [sic] the range. Mr. Bean has always kept his stamps and the bulky gold and silver money in the safe, but carries his paper money home with him at night. He followed his custom last night.
The burglars effected an entrance through a rear window, which opens into an alley about eight feet wide, back of the hotel. They pried the window up with chisels and screw drivers stolen from the blacksmith shop of Frank Topping, which is near by and which was also broken into. A hole was drilled in the safe about midway between the handle and the knob of the combination lock. Some explosive material was inserted and the safe door was blown open, the hinges giving way. The lining of the door behind the lock was completely shattered. The explosion could not have been very loud, for M. C. Edwards, a compositor in the Sentinel office, was sleeping in the room over the postoffice, not ten feet in a direct line from the safe, and he was not disturbed.
Inside the safe there was a space for books and a row of drawers containing stamps and money and private papers. The case containing the drawers was pried out of the safe and drawers and contents are missing. Postmaster Bean told a STANDARD man this morning that he had on hand at least one hundred dollars worth of stamps of denominations from one to fifteen cents each. There were also about sixty dollars in silver dollars and gold pieces in one of the drawers. In a cigar box laid in above the books was a quantity of change of all denominations less than a dollar. Pennies, nickels and dimes were rolled up in packages. Mr. Bean thinks there were between twenty and thirty dollars in this box. The box and contents are gone.
A new money order book containing three hundred blank orders had just been received and was in the safe. The thieves took this along with them. The old book, of the same size had been in the safe, but was found on the floor with the account books. The last order filled out from the old book was No. 241 and was drawn last night upon Cortland. The money order stamp, which is essential to a money order, is almost always kept in the safe. In fact, Mr. Bean says it has not been left outside a half dozen times since he came into office. Last night it was overlooked when the safe was locked and was put in a table drawer, where it was found this morning. Had it been in the safe, the burglars would have undoubtedly taken it with them and thus have saved themselves the trouble of making one, so that they can fill out the blank orders and get them cashed.
Among the papers that are missing were Mr. Bean's insurance policies and also some papers belonging to friends of his which had been put into his safe for security. Mr. Bean's bank book is also gone.
Upon a shelf directly over the safe was quite a quantity of stamped envelopes and postal cards, but these were undisturbed. In the till at the stamp window there was a small amount of change left last night, but this was found undisturbed this morning.
The thieves departed at the front door of the office, which was found unlocked this morning. Postmaster Bean at once put Constable Charles Wayle in charge, while he came to Cortland and telegraphed to Washington for advice, and also obtained a temporary lot of supplies from the Cortland postoffice. Upon Mr. Bean's return to McGrawville Mr. Wayle began a search of the surrounding country, hoping to find the lost safe tills which be believed the robbers would drop as soon as they had an opportunity of taking out the contents. He hoped that where they left the tills they might leave also something else which would serve as a clue.
Though there is no clue at present to the robbers, there is one circumstance connected with the affair which may sooner or later furnish a clue, though of course, it would be inexpedient at present to mention what it is. Mr. Bean has been a faithful officer and has taken every precaution to keep the property in his possession in safety. He is, of course, greatly disturbed over this occurrence.
An Unsung Hero.
Forty-seven years ago, the 20th of this September, died in Waiilatpu, Or., Dr. Marcus Whitman, foully massacred by Indians, who had been stirred up against American settlers in the northwest by the British Hudson Bay Trading company. Only for the services of Dr. Whitman the whole tract now comprising Washington state, Oregon, Idaho and part of Montana would this day have been British territory. Yet few persons, even of those well informed in United States history, ever heard the name of Marcus Whitman. There is no monument to him anywhere. It is doubtful indeed if anybody knows where his grave is. A county in Washington state is named for him—Whitman— but that seems all the remembrance there is of him anywhere.
Dr. Whitman went out as physician, explorer and missionary in 1836 to what was then called simply the Oregon country. Its northwest boundary line had not even been defined. Webster, secretary of state in 1842, did not believe the region west of the Rocky mountains would ever be settled. Therefore it was not worth while to settle its boundary line. Daniel was a very great man, but in this matter he was unable to see beyond his nose.
In the northwest there were two trading companies—the British Hudson Bay and the American Fur company, the latter made up of citizens of the United States. It was in this company that the old fur merchant, Astor, made his fortune and founded the American nobility.
The British were quietly using every means in their power to fill up the region named with English subjects. Then, they argued, the territory would become British, for these colonists would have much to say in the determining of the boundary question. One day, at the British fort of Walla Walla, Dr. Whitman heard shouts of exultation among some men who had just received letters from England. They cried: "Hurrah! The country is ours!" They shouted a little too loud. Their letters contained information that a large colony of British subjects would settle in Oregon in the spring. Without saying a word, Whitman started immediately to Washington on horseback. He traveled thus 3,000 miles. On the way he roused people he met to the danger and planned to take back with him a great colony of Americans to fill up the Oregon country.
He interested President Tyler, though Webster would not listen. Tyler assured him that American settlers in the Oregon country should be protected. Then, in May, 1843, Dr. Whitman led a thousand colonists to the Willametto valley. There they settled, and there they raised the stars and stripes, and there it has waved ever since, and will wave. Finally it was fixed by treaty that the northwest boundary between the United States and British America should be the forty-ninth parallel of latitude.
For revenge on Dr. Whitman the Hudson Bay company spread among the Indians the story that he and the colonists from the United States would deprive them of their lands. The savages attacked him and those with him one night and murdered them, 14 persons in all.
At 10 o'clock yesterday morning Charles F. Wilson, convicted of murder in the first degree in effecting the death of Detective James Harvey in Syracuse on July 31, 1893, was brought before Justice Williams for sentence. The prisoner was wholly unmoved. His face was of a leaden hue and he glared at the reporters, but beyond that gave no sign of feeling. In reply to questions he said that his age was twenty-three years, his occupation was that of a lather and that he was born in Brownsville, Neb.
Judge Williams then sentenced him to be electrocuted at Auburn prison during the week beginning Tuesday, Nov. 6. Wilson was then removed to his cell and at 2 o'clock was taken to Auburn, where he was received by Warden Stout and a guard of officers.
Attorney Harrison Hoyt for the defense made a motion yesterday morning for a new trial, which was denied. It is expected that he will appeal to a higher court and that the appeal will cause a stay of proceedings, but it is not thought that when the hearing comes off the appeal will be granted. Wilson may have to be resentenced, but the final outcome will hardly be changed.
Social Gathering of Teachers.
One of the most enjoyable social events of the past week was the meeting on Saturday afternoon at the home of Mrs. M. A. Rice, of several of the public school teachers, who had for a number of years been associated with her as co-workers, and who will miss the word of advice and encouragement to which they had become accustomed. Mrs. Rice, who will in a short time leave Cortland to spend the winter with her son in Brooklyn, has been for many years one of Cortland's most efficient and painstaking teachers, one whose place it will be hard to fill. Her unselfishness and readiness to help others have made for her many friends, who will be sorry to see her go from our midst, and very happy to hear of her return.
— Four Dagoes left yesterday for New York.
—There will be a special meeting of the C. M. B. A. this evening.
—P. H. Whiting has changed his residence from 15 Blodgett-st. to 138 Groton-ave.
—A special meeting of the Royal Arcanum has been called for to-morrow evening.
—Mr. George E. Butler this morning shipped quite a number of photographs to the Dryden fair.
—The Ladies' Literary club will met with Mrs. J. W. Hughes, at 2 Carpentar Place, Wednesday, Sept. 26.
—Mr. Andrew J. Seymour, the celebrated mind reader, will be the attraction at an early date at the Opera House.
—Mr. John G. Smith of Virgil has just received a n increase of his pension to $50 per month. Maggie Peak of Cortland was his attorney.
—A ten-cent supper will be served at the Baptist chapel on Tompkins-st. on Wednesday, Sept. 26, from 6 to 9 o'clock. All are solicited to come.
—In police court this morning Theodore Lyman was sent to the county jail for ten days for public intoxication. Charles Robin, who was up on the same charge, was discharged.
—The Hitchcock cycle drill team hold a special meeting in Hitchcock Hose parlors this evening. They expect to attend Dryden fair to-morrow in a uniformed body. They will give their exhibition drill on the track. The Hitchcock Manufacturing Co. have an exhibit of wagons and bicycles at the fair.
—German analysts say that the apple contains a larger percentage of phosphorus than any other fruit or vegetable, and this phosphorus is admirably adapted for renewing the essential nervous matter of the brain and the spinal cord. A writer in Harper's Bazaar says also that the phosphorus and the acids in apples are singularly useful to persons of sedentary habits whose livers are sluggish, and thus prevent rheumatism, jaundice and kindred troubles. These acids also neutralize the effects of eating too much meat.
"Alabama" Coming Again.
The celebrated Southern play "Alabama'' which so delighted a large audience in Cortland last season will be presented here again next Monday night, Oct. 1. No American author now before the country has directed his sole intention toward American subjects so much as Augustus Thomas, the author of "Alabama." Mr. Thomas has in a space of five years given the theatre-goers of the country food for thought in the production of his plays. He has not drawn upon the other nationalities for his comedies, but has taken it from home life. Mr. Thomas' successes have proven that the American public want [sic] plays dealing with American subjects, American characters and American comedy. He has demonstrated that this country affords as good an opportunity for the selection of competent material as does either England or France. "Alabama," which is undoubtedly the masterpiece of this young red-white-and-blue playwright, will be a favorite play long after Mr. Thomas has been gathered to his fathers.