The Chronicles of Cooperstown/Chapter X

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CHAPTER X.
FROM 1861 TO 1871.
————

  This period was perhaps the most important in the history of this country, as it witnessed the rise, progress and close of the great Civil War. Men here, as elsewhere, saw the cloud gathering with feelings of mingled sorrow, apprehension and alarm; they were divided in opinion as to the causes which led to the war; and party feeling, before actual hostilities commenced, very naturally strongly held sway over the minds of men who were active in political life. But all this changed when Fort Sumter was fired upon — our community was united as one man in patriotic feeling for the Union. Few places of its size did more to sustain its cause. In this decade, also, occurred the most decided advance in growth and prosperity ever witnessed by Cooperstown. The coming here, about that period, of such wealthy men as Edward Clark, Henry F. Phinney, George L. Bowne, and Jedediah P. Sill, and the intelligent use they made of ample capital and well-directed enterprise, together with what was done in the same line by some of the older residents of the village, told most favorably on the growth and prosperity of Cooperstown. The Cooperstown railroad was built and opened for travel; a steamer was placed on the lake; the Union School and new Catholic church were built; the Susquehanna at the outlet was spanned by a new iron bridge that cost upwards of $12,000; a "Village Improvement Society" was organized, which did much good work; scores of new, and many of them costly and elegant, dwellings, and stores and public buildings, were erected. We narrate the progress of events more in detail:

[Skip to: 1861, 1862, 1863, 1864, 1865, 1866, 1867, 1868, 1869, 1870.]

1861.[edit]

  • Extensive improvements were made, during the month of February, on the Presbyterian church edifice, and those begun a few months previous on the Universalist church, completed during the same month.
  • Col. John H. Prentiss appeared for the last time in public life in February of this year, when he went to a State Convention held at Albany to consider the state of the nation, as one of the four delegates appointed to represent this Assembly District. His health began to fail in the spring, and he died June 26. Thus passed away another of the men of rank of Cooperstown. He represented this District two terms in Congress, and was for 41 years editor of the Freeman’s Journal. He was President of the Second National Bank at the time of his death. ≈ 77
  • Mr. E. S. Coffin was appointed Postmaster of this village in March. During the spring, many Union Meetings, for the purpose of sustaining the loyal cause, were held throughout the entire county, and were addressed by active Democrats and Republicans, eliciting great interest and enthusiasm.
  • In May there was a subscription circulated for aid in forming a military company, to which there was a generous response.
  • In the latter part of May, the ladies of Cooperstown generously volunteered to furnish 1,000 "Havelocks" for soldiers in service near Washington. This was followed by other similar work on their behalf.
  • The streets of Cooperstown, which had hitherto been illuminated only by the "dim religious light" which a few oil lamps afforded, very gladly welcomed the introduction of gas, for which a petition had been in circulation in June of this year.
  • The benevolence of our citizens was again exhibited in August, by a subscription of $34)0 in aid of sick and wounded soldiers.
  • In the latter part of this month, forty volunteers left Cooperstown to join the van-guard rifle regiment.
  • A great outrage was perpetrated here in September, in the arrest of Mr. George L. Bowne, a native of this town, who resided in Florida at the outbreak of the war, and who had voted against secession in the legislature of that State. Moved by some representations made by an enemy — or by some person seeking to make money out of the affair — the authorities at Washington sent an officer here to arrest Mr. Bowne and convey him to Fort Lafayette. The affair created great excitement and much hard feeling. Mr. Bowne, who was in rather poor health at the time, was released after a confinement of two weeks. He built the "iron-clad" block, in which this book was printed, and put up the building on Lake street now owned by Mr. E. F. Beadle.

1862.[edit]

  • For the first time in a number of years, there was a general celebration of Washington’s birthday, and the Rev. S. T. Livermore read the notable Farewell Address. ≈ 78
  • On the night of the 10th of April occurred a great conflagration, that destroyed at least one-third of the business portion of Cooperstown. The alarm was sounded at half-past 10 o’clock, and the unequal battle with the flames lasted till near daylight. The fire originated in the cabinet shop of E. Edwards, near the Cory store building, and it swept away all the stores and shops on that side of Main street, except the latter, from W. G. Smith’s east to Pioneer street by desperate efforts it was prevented from crossing the latter street, though the buildings on the two opposite corners were several times on fire. It then crossed Main street, destroyed three hotels and other buildings, and extended up the west side of Pioneer street as far as Mr. Phinney’s house. Fortunately there was no strong wind blowing at the time, indeed it was perfectly quiet till 2 o’clock in the morning, or a much greater damage would have been inflicted on the village. We never saw firemen work with more hearty zeal or intelligence than were displayed on this occasion; and men and women aided in passing buckets of water, and in removing and caring for furniture and goods. The following is a list of the number of buildings burned, the number of occupants, value and insurance:
                                Build-   No. of
         Owners.                ings.  occupants. Value.  Insurance.

L. J. Walworth,.................  2       3      $3,000     ......
H. Groat,.......................  3       1       2,000     $1,000
D. Peck,........................  3       1       2,000      1,000
Kipp & Grant,...................  2       2       2,500     ......
J. H. Burgess,..................  3       5       4,000      3,000
Wm. Lewis,......................  6       1       7,000      2,000
W Van Booskirk,.................  1       1       1,200     ......
W. C. Keyes,....................  6       3       4,000     ......
Mrs. Carr,......................  2       1       2,000     ......
Z. Willoughby,..................  1      ..         150     ......
A. Robinson,....................  1       2       1,000        800
L. Brown,.......................  3       3       1,200     ......
E. & H. Cory,...................  2       1       1,500     ......
J. F. Scott & Co.,..............  2       1       2,500      1,000
J. J. Short,....................  2       2       1,700     ......
E. & H. Cory,...................  3       1         500     ......
J. Wood,........................  3       1       1,500     ......
Bingham & Jarvis,...............  3       2       4,000      2,000
H. Hollister,...................  2       2       2,200     ......
S. Nelson,......................  3       2       5,000      2,500
H. N. Robinson,.................  1       5       1,800      1,200
McNamee's estate,...............  3      ..         500     ......
Other property, damaged about...  .      ..       1,500     ......
                                 --      --      ------    -------
       Total,................... 57      40     $52,750    $14,500
  • Some of the parties interested, placed their losses somewhat higher than the above. On the other hand, most of those lots made vacant by the fire, were thus largely increased in value. ≈ 79
  • The losses on personal property at this fire were given at the time as follows:
  E. & H. Cory,........ $5,000      A. Robinson,........ $  350
  Edward Edwards,......  2,300      Daniel Peck,........    500
  H. Holister,,........    300      John J. Short,......  1,500
  G. M. Grant & Co,....  1,200      Geo. Jarvis,........    200
  J. G. Cooke,.........  1,200      Mrs. Sherman,.......    150
  W. C. Keyes,.........  1,200      John Wood,..........    500
  Mrs. Carr,...........  1,000      Loomis Brown,.......    300
  Harmon Groat,........    500      W. G. S. Hall,......  1,300
  Lewis Bundy,.........    200      Wm. Lewis,..........  3,000
  Bingham & Jarvis,....  3,500      John Burgess,.......    300
  H. N. Robinson,......    800      B. F. Kipp,.........    800
  C. R. Burch,.........    100      Others, tenants,....  1,300
                                                        -------
         Total,.........................................$27,500
  • Messrs. A. Robinson, H. N. Robinson, Peck, Burch, were fully insured, and Bingham & Jarvis for $1,500.
  • Total direct loss by this conflagration, about $80,250; insurance $17,750. The incidental loss was also considerable.
  • On the Monday night following this conflagration, a fire caught in the barn of the Otsego Hotel, corner of Main and Fair streets, and that entire property, and the dwelling house and barn of Mr. William K. Bingham, were destroyed. The total loss was about $10,000; insurance $4,000. The hotel was owned by H. B. Ernst. For a time this second fire cast an additional gloom over the village. Now, only one hotel, the Empire House, was left standing in Cooperstown.
  • What was at first very naturally regarded as a public calamity, in which individuals suffered considerable loss — though only a few of them were unable easily to bear it — in the end proved of great and lasting benefit to the place. It afforded an opportunity to make Main street of uniform width throughout its entire length — a great and very desirable improvement. The expense was largely met by private subscription. And then followed the erection of the Central Hotel, the "Iron Clad’ and other fine brick and stone buildings on Main street, the Clinton House and Mr. Kipps large brick house on Pioneer street, the Nelson block of stores, corner of Main and Chestnut streets, and other improvements. Cooperstown "arose from her ashes" a new and far more beautiful town — and still the improvements are gradually going on. as store after store follows the Bundy block on the old "Eagle Hotel lot." ≈ 80
  • On the 25th of April, a public meeting was held in the Court House, at which steps were taken to collect funds to aid those few persons who had been impoverished by the recent fires.
  • The buildings burned were located as follows:
  • L. J. Walworth’s dwelling, on a lot now embraced in the grounds of Elihu Phinney;
  • Harmon Groats building, once occupied as a piano factory, on lot now occupied by F. Carroll’s paint shop;
  • Daniel Peck’s hotel, on the present Clinton House grounds;
  • B. F. Kipp’s dwelling, next north;
  • J. H. Burgess, north of alley between him and Kipp, three shops and Hall above, on ground once occupied by Stephen Gregory’s old shoe manufactory and a small residence;
  • the Eagle Hotel on the corner, now occupied, together with a portion of the Burgess lot, by the Bundy block;
  • a wooden building owned by Wm. Van Buskirk, and occupied by W. G. S. Hall as a saloon, next west of the Eagle hotel, now occupied by brick stores;
  • W. C. Keyes’ hotel, once known as the Isaac Fitch hotel, on which the Central hotel now stands;
  • Carr’s hotel, once called the Widow Fitch hotel, now partly occupied by the Bowen block and the vacant lot east;
  • the present Carr’s hotel stands partly on the Esek Bradford card factory lot, and partly on the Judge Foote lot, whose residence forms a part of that house.
  • On the north side of Main street, A. Robinson’s "town pump grocery," rebuilt;
  • Loomis Brown’s building, occupied as a bakery, and residence above, not rebuilt;
  • E. & H. Corys shop, occupied by. E. Edwards, part of lot vacant, partly occupied by W. E. Cory’s store;
  • J. F. Scott & Co., store, stood next east;
  • John J. Short, store and residence, next east;
  • E. & H. Cory’s shop, barns and sheds, in rear of stone building now owned by A. J. Wikoff;
  • John Wood, market and dwelling stood on same ground now occupied by him;
  • Bingham & Jarvis and H. Hollister, two stores, now occupied by "iron clad" building;
  • S. Nelson, two stores, occupied by Grant & Co. and Joseph G. Cooke, next adjoining on the east;
  • H. N. Robinson, stores occupied by self and C. R. Burch, corner Main and Pioneer streets. ≈ 81
  • The buildings which were erected on the burnt district within about a year after the fire, were as follows:
  • Double brick building, corner of Main and Pioneer streets, by H. N. Robinson, afterwards purchased by J. H. Story, now owned by his sister Mrs. Wm. K Taylor of Binghamton;
  • two brick buildings adjoining on the west, by the late Judge Nelson, and still owned by his estate;
  • the large and elegant brick building, with iron front, two stores, offices and public Hall, with brick bakery in rear, by George L. Bowne, now owned by Asahel A. Jarvis;
  • a handsome stone building, dwelling and market, by John Wood, and still occupied by him;
  • a double frame building, with brick front, for two stores and dwelling, by John J. Short,who still occupies the dwelling part;
  • a brick building by John F. Scott, who still occupies the upper stories in his hop and wool business;
  • a brick store by E. & H. Cory, who were succeeded by the present occupant, Wm. E. Cory;
  • a frame building, called the "town pump grocery," by A. Robinson, which has several times changed hands, and was recently purchased and remodeled by the present occupant, Harmon Groat.
  • On the south side of Main street, the Central Hotel and Carr’s Hotel — the former wholly new, the latter in part a dwelling owned by Mrs. Carr which escaped the flames. The "Bowen block," two stores and offices, was put up by the law firm of Countryman & Bowen, in 1875-76. In 1880 the Bundy Brothers put up their double brick building, bank, store and postoffice, on a part of the old Eagle Hotel lot; G. M. Grant & Co. put up their building adjoining, the year following; then in ‘82 J. Warren Lamb & Co. put up a similar building adjoining; followed by George L. White by his brick furniture store the next year. Two additional similar buildings adjoining on the west, are to be erected in the spring of 1886 — one by Charles B. Moore as a grocery store, and one by Wm. H. Michacis as a market and dwelling. South of the postoffice, on Pioneer street, Benj. F. Kipp put up a large brick dwelling in 1862, and Daniel Peck built the Clinton House, hotel, in 1867, and it was opened for business in the fall.
  • On the 16th of May, a small dwelling house on Bay street owned by Winchester Childs was destroyed by fire. His loss was partly made up by the donations of a few liberal-hearted citizens.
  • In the month of July the Catholic Society of this village purchased ground for a cemetery on the hill west of the village, now owned by them. The consecration of the same, took place with imposing ceremonies on the first of August.
  • On the 28th of July, a large war meeting was held at the Court House, over which Judge Campbell of Cherry Valley presided. Addresses were made by Hezekiah Sturges, Esq., and Judge Graves of Herkimer.
  • In this year the government was making calls for large numbers of troops. The first meeting held for the purpose of voting a town bounty to Volunteers was held in the Court House, on the 8th of August, and $25 was voted. On the 29th of the same month the bounty was increased to $100.
  • On the 12th of September, Carr’s Hotel was reopened for business, having in a large degree been rebuilt since the fire.
  • Silver change had become so scarce at this time, that the Worthington bank issued a large amount of small fractional notes. These were counterfeited at a later day, and the genuine were called in. Soon after this the government issued fractional notes, as low as three cents. So many persons had engaged in this business that the government wholly interdicted it. ≈ 82
  • Dr Lathrop and E. M. Harris, Esq., were appointed commissioners for examining the men subject to draft into the military service of the government. They were kept very busy at this work through the month of October.
  • In November, Edwin M. Harris, Esq., was appointed County Judge, to fill the vacancy occasioned by the resignation of Hon. Levi. C. Turner, who had accepted a position at Washington, under Judge Advocate-General Holt. Mr. Turner died in Washington, while holding this office, March 14, 1867, aged.61 years.

1863.[edit]

  • A new firm announced this spring, that of Cockett & Murdock — Mr. Harvey Marvin, late with the former, having died.
  • On the 1st of April, Judge Nelson started the "up-street" movement, then so much discussed among business men, by breaking ground for his brick block of two stores, corner of Main and Chestnut streets.
  • A great laugh was raised in the village one day in April, when it was made known that a couple of desperate fellows in the old county jail had made their escape, after locking in the Sheriff and Dr. Thos. B. Smith, physician to the jail!
  • The residence on Chestnut street, occupied by Rev. G. T. Wright, was destroyed by fire on the night of April 27 — Mr. Wright losing considerable personal property.
  • Here, as elsewhere, the 30th of April was a gloomy day, being generally observed as a day of National Fasting and Prayer.
  • On the 1st of May, after the passage of the Albany and Susquehanna Railroad bill, which was finally approved by the Governor, (Horatio Seymour,) a public meeting was held in this village to consider the matter of building a branch road, to connect with it. On this occasion L. J. Walworth presided, and W. H. Bunn was secretary. The meeting was addressed by Engineer Edgerton, S. M. Shaw, and L. J. Walworth; a committee was appointed, with L. I. Burditt as chairman, to take further action. In February, 1865, another meeting organized a company, which elected the following gentlemen as first Board of Directors:
  • L. I. Burditt,
  • Wm. M. Clinton,
  • Rufus Steere,
  • J. P. Sill,
  • G. W. Ernst,
  • J. F. Scott,
  • Calvin Graves,
  • J. W. Shipman,
  • Geo. L. Bowne,
  • Wm. Brooks,
  • J. H. Story,
  • Ellery Cory, and
  • Dorr Russell;
$250,000 was subscribed and ten per cent. of that amount paid in. In May of the same year the following officers were chosen at a meeting of the Directors:
  • Luther I. Burditt, president;
  • Joshua H. Story, vice president;
  • George A. Starkweather, secretary;
  • John F. Scott, treasurer.
Surveying was commenced in November. ≈ 83
  • The 50th anniversary of the Otsego County Bible Society, of which Mr. F. A. Lee was then president, was held in the Presbyterian church, on the 16th of June.
  • On the 21st of August, Cooperstown was visited by a distinguished party of gentlemen, led by Secretary Seward, and including the following Foreign Ministers:
  • Lord Lyons of England,
  • Baron Gerolt of Prussia,
  • M. Molina of Nicaragua,
  • M. Tassara of Spain,
  • Baron Strceckel of Russia,
  • M. Mercier of France,
together with the representatives of Italy, Sweden and Chili, and several Secretaries and attaches of the different legations. They were handsomely entertained by different prominent citizens of the place, and they were entertained together at one of the Points on the Lake. On leaving they expressed themselves as very favorably impressed.
  • In August of this year there was great excitement, here and elsewhere, over the draft for this District, which took place in Norwich. Otsego county was called upon to furnish 985 men for the army. And then, too, there was an "income tax" to pay, for the first time, in the fall.
  • E. & H. Cory were among those who built new stores this year, and they changed from the old stone store, which had escaped the flames, and which they had occupied for 34 years.
  • To help the unfortunate ones "out of the draft," the bounty offered by the town of Otsego, for Volunteers, was increased to $600 in December — when notice was given that the quota of the county, under the next draft, would be 693 men.

1864.[edit]

  • In the latter part of January the Catholic society added about $400 to their church fund, the net proceeds of a successful festival held at that time.
  • The three Banks of the village decided in the early part of the year to adopt the "National" system.
  • Washington’s Birthday was the occasion of a benevolent action on the part of some of our farmers, in generously donating wood to certain poor widows of this place.
  • The announcement of a new telegraph line to Herkimer, via Richfield, was made on the 1st of March. It has lately passed under the control of the great Western Union.
  • The patriotic And enterprising ladies of Cooperstown netted $557 from a fair held under their auspices, for the benefit of the soldiers, in July. ≈ 84
  • On the 4th of August, a National Fast was observed by a Union Service, the Rev. W. N. Newell of the Presbyterian church preaching the sermon.
  • In September the army quota of the town of Otsego was filled, and no drafted men were sent. The bounty had been raised to $1,025, for the war; and in December the town bounty was increased to $800 for "three years' men."
  • Gov. Seymour, who was the Democratic Presidential candidate this year, addressed a political mass-meeting in this village, in Oct.

1865.[edit]

  • Lieut. Morris Foote returned to his home in Cooperstown, in January, having happily made his escape from a rebel prison. His brother, Frank Foote lost a leg in the battle of the Wilderness, and was for a long time thought to have been killed.
  • In February, G. A. Starkweather, Esq., after a residence of about nine years in Milwaukee, returned to Cooperstown, his former residence, and resumed the practice of the law.
  • Cooperstown Seminary was purchased in February by Wm. M. Clinton, who repaired the building with a large outlay, and in the month following, Mr. R. C. Flack retired from his management of the institution, of about five years’ duration, Prof. George Kerr, a most successful instructor, assuming charge as principal on the opening of the spring term in April, with a greatly improved and newly furnished building, and a large attendance of scholars. Mr. Clinton sunk a large sum of money in this venture.
  • In April occurred an impromptu celebration of the "Capture of Richmond," the program consisting simply of the usual demonstrations of victory — ringing of bells, firing of guns, and blazing bonfires. A little later in the month, the rejoicing at the surrender of Gen. Lee was manifested by a similar celebration. There was great joy manifested.
  • In the latter part of the month, Cooperstown was shrouded in gloom at the melancholy death of President Lincoln. Appropriate religious services were held on the 21st, in Bowne Hall, and a funeral oration delivered by Rev. C. K. McHarg.
  • The first day of June was observed as an occasion of humiliation and mourning on account of the assassination of the President. A union service was held in the Presbyterian church.
  • The patriotism of our citizens was evinced by quite an elaborate celebration of the 89th anniversary of American Independence, there being a procession, oration, etc., during the day, and a fine display of fireworks in the evening.
    • Wm. H. Averell, Esq., was President of the Day;
    • Geo. W. Ernst, Marshal;
    • Hon. Geo. H. Andrews, Orator;
    • Rev. C. K.. McHarg, Reader;
    • Rev. E. R. Sawyer, Chaplain. ≈ 85
  • A building in the rear of the Seminary, used as laundry and washhouse, was burned in the latter part of September; the loss was about $3,500.
  • The "Pioneer Boat Club," organized in September, comprised about twenty-five such "young fellows" as
    • Dr. Lathrop,
    • D. A. Avery,
    • B. F. Murdock,
    • Rev. C. K. Mdllarg,
    • S. G. Browning,
    • Rev. E. R. Sawyer,
    • F. G. Lee,
    • S. M. Shaw,
    • Dr. Blodgett,
    • S. A. Bowen,
    • Capt. P. P. Cooper,
    • W. H. Ruggles,
    • G. P. Keese,
    • B. Phinney,
    • John Worthington,
and others. Most of them became very expert, the following summer, in "catching crabs" in their costly and elegant six-oared cedar boat — which was not put into water after the second season, and was finally sold for about what the oars cost!

1866.[edit]

  • The purchase of the Phoenix Factory by Mr. John F. Scott was announced in January. He expended about $75,000 in improvements on this property, which he fitted up as a woolen manufactory; but the venture proved unfortunate.
  • Another free lecture course was in progress during the winter months of this year.
  • Several deaths from that terrible disease "spotted fever," occurred here during the spring.
  • Principally through the efforts of Miss Susan F. Cooper, a "Thanksgiving Hospital" was established, or rather efforts were begun for its establishment, by the people of the village, among whom a subscription list was circulated, in July. A brief history of this institution occurs elsewhere.
  • On the last day of July, a sad accident was recorded, the drowning in Otsego lake of a young son of the Rev. Dr. Alfred B. Beach of New York, then a visitor here.
  • St. Mary’s Catholic society of Cooperstown broke ground for their new brick edifice in October.
  • The report of the Supervisor of the town of Otsego, in November, showed that this town had paid for bounties, during the late war, $184,068.75 — about one-half of which fell upon this village.
  • The "Young Men’s Association of Cooperstown" organized, with B. Phinney president. One thousand dollars were subscribed and expended; a fine room rented and handsomely furnished; a library established. magazines and newspapers obtained. But the "young men," as a body, took very little interest in the society, we are compelled to record, and it languished and finally died, at the end of a few years.

1867.[edit]

  • The reading rooms of the Young Men’s Christian Association was opened on the first of February. ≈ 86
  • Rev. Dr. Kerr, after a successful principalship of two years, retired from his connection with the Seminary, and Mr. Clinton leased the building to his brother-in-law, Rev. Orren Perkins, who opened the spring term, in March, and continued it as a school for about two years, when its career as such closed. Dr. Kerr died here on the 13th of that month.
  • Quite a notable tea-party was that held at the residence of Capt. Cooper in March of this year, on which occasion the united ages of the ten ladies present were 703 years — the eldest, 82, the youngest, 60; and their descendents numbered 182 persons. The following were the ladies present:
    • Mrs. Pope,
    • Mrs. Wm. Wilson,
    • Mrs. Calvin Graves,
    • Mrs. Field,
    • Mrs. Luther Blodgett,
    • Mrs. Levi H. Pierce,
    • Mrs. Martha Murdock,
    • Mrs. S. Van Sice,
    • Mrs. Richard Cooley,
    • Mrs. Sam’l W. Bingham.
  • On the last day of May, a meeting was held to discuss the condition of the bridge over the Susquehanna, and the desirability of building a new and substantial one, the cost of which was estimated at about $12,000. The project was carried to a successful result.
  • The corner stone of St. Mary’s Catholic church, ground for which had been broken about nine months previous, was laid with imposing ceremonies in June. Its dedication occurred in December, Bishop Conroy preaching the sermon.
  • Carelessness with fire-arms was then not so common a cause of serious accident, it seems, as at the present time, but one instance is recorded in August of this year, when a young German man-servant employed in one of the families of the village, with great recklessness, pointed a gun, not supposing it loaded, at a female servant, and discharging it, killed her instantly. The fellow got off without the punishment which many thought he deserved.
  • A fair was held in August, for the benefit of the proposed "Thanksgiving Hospital,’ the gross receipts of which were $940. This successful venture led to the dedication of the Hospital in November of the same year.
  • Three Mile Point was the scene of a merry-making on the 30th of August, when an old-fashioned lake party assembled there, attended by several of the "Old Guard," such as Messrs. Nichols, Averell, Crippen and Starkweather, and on this as on all similar occasions, the veteran "Joe Tom" was general caterer. Very few such parties have been held there since that time.
  • The "Clinton House" was completed and opened for business by Daniel Peck, in September. In this he had been aided by J. H. Story and Calvin Graves. ≈ 87
  • The 15th of October was observed as "General Training Day" at Cooperstown, Cols. Dunbar and Hubbard being in command, and the two regiments were reviewed by Major General Burnside of the State militia and staff. That ended the "training days" in Cooperstown. In the ranks were a large number of men who had participated in the Civil War.
  • Several attempts at burglary were made in October of this year, one successful raid being made on the dwelling of I. K. Williams, whose house was entered on the night of Oct. 26th, robbed of $54, a silver watch, and several other articles.
  • Ex-Gov. Seymour visited Cooperstown in October, and after a serenade by the Boston Brass Band, he made an address from the piazza of the Empire House. A large number of the villagers called on him to pay their respects.
  • At a district school meeting held in November, it was resolved that legal steps should be taken for disposing of the two little old wooden buildings and sites then belonging to School District No. 1, town of Otsego, and the proceeds devoted toward the erection of a new brick school building; and that the sum of $6,000 additional should be raised for the same purpose.
  • A slight shock of earthquake was experienced in Cooperstown and vicinity, on the 18th of December. It was very sensibly felt by a number of people in the village.

1868.[edit]

  • The 1st of January, the Freeman’s Journal appeared enlarged to a nine-column paper. The Republican enlarged to the same size soon after. Neither of these papers has ever adopted the practice, now so common among country newspapers, of using stereotype plates got up for their use in the cities — giving cheaper and poorer reading.
  • On the 14th of February, a second school meeting was held, at which it was determined to purchase a lot of ground on Susquehanna avenue, and proceed with the erection of a new District School House, in the spring. It was resolved, also, that a tax levy of $5,000 should be made and the old lots sold at auction. On the 4th of July, work had so far progressed that the corner stone was laid, on which occasion Rev. C. K. McHarg male an appropriate address. The building was finished and the school opened in October of the following year, with an attendance of over 200 pupils. The cost of building and lot was about $14,000. It was an improvement that was not accomplished without strong opposition; but from the start the school was such a success, that very few indeed regretted its cost. Mr. H. Howe was the the first principal; Miss Gaylord. preceptress; Miss Ball, assistant. Thomas Clark was chairman of the building committee under whose supervision the school house was erected. ≈ 88
  • Work was actually begun, in February, 1868, the contract for building the Cooperstown R. R. having been let to James Keenholtz. In February of the next year, the depot was located, and Mr. J. F. Scott succeeded Mr. Burditt as president of the company, and in July the road was opened for business, the event being celebrated by the usual demonstrations of joy, firing of cannon and ringing of bells. The old "Colliersyille stage" retired from service, making its farewell trip the day of the opening of the railroad. The town of Otsego bonded in the sum of $150,000, the town of Middlefield in the sum of $50,000, and individuals subscribed $58,405, to aid in the construction of this railroad.
  • The entrance of March this year was in the traditional lion-like manner, the mercury standing at 22° below zero on the 1st.
  • The opening to patients of the Thanksgiving Hospital, occurred on the 1st of June.
  • The summer season of this year was the warmest in more than twenty years, the thermometer ranging for four consecutive days from 91° to 96° such weather as prompted Sidney Smith to long "to take off his flesh, and sit in his bones."
  • The long-talked-of hotel on the "Otsego hotel lot," was announced in August as soon to be built, causing much discussion in the newspapers as to the pros and cons of the project. This building, which financially swamped all the capital expended on it, now standing in its unfinished and slowly decaying state, is known as the "Skeleton Hotel," a very appropriate name. Its cost was about $57,000, and it was sold at auction to Mr. George Clarke for $9,000, on the collapse of the unfortunate enterprise. For several years past it has been used for storing hops. The "Otsego Lake Building Association," which constructed it, went into the hands of H. Sturges, Esq., as receiver, in May, 1872.
  • Our genial legal friend, Counselor George Brooks, paid a rather novel bet, lost on Horatio Seymour, by wheeling a barrel of flour from the Court House to the bridge over the Susquehanna, when, instead of making a hasty retreat, nothing abashed, he mounted the barrel and made a speech. It is thought that this experience cured him of his Democracy, as he has not since then acted with the party in which he was nurtured.
  • Simon Van Sice was a veteran and pensioner of the war of 1812, having served under Gen. Scott in two or three engagements. On the "golden wedding" anniversary of himself and wife, which occurred in November, they were kindly remembered by their many friends, one from Poughkeepsie sending a substantial gift of $50. Mrs. Van Sice is now the only person on this corporation drawing a pension for the services of her husband in "the second war of American independence." ≈ 89

1869.[edit]

  • Mr. Henry F. Phinney had returned to Cooperstown with a handsome fortune, with an increased love for his native village, and with great confidence in its future growth and prosperity, toward which he resolved to devote his time and money. He was a liberal subscriber to every good object and true charity. The Seminary property had passed into the possession of the Second National Bank, by which it was sold to Mr. Phinney in January, and in it he sunk not far from $65,000. The interior of the building was changed and improved, to fit it for the purposes of a summer hotel; the exterior and the grounds were greatly improved; new outbuildings were erected, and new furniture added. When completed, the building was named the "Cooper House," and it was leased to Charles A. Watkins of Albany, who continued its landlord for two years. He was a popular young man, but he lacked capital, and mainly on that account was not successful in the business.
  • In January, S. M. Ballard sold the Empire House to J. H. McDonald, of Delaware county, who sold it to Edward Clark and J. H. Story in the spring of 1871; they spent about $4,000 on it, named it the "St. James," leased it to D. L. Keyes, and it burned down in November, 1872. Loss on building about $14,000; on furniture, about $2.500.
  • This was a year of great activity among builders and others in Cooperstown. During most of the summer and fall about one hundred carpenters, masons and painters were employed here. Mr. Edward Clark’s stone mansion was erected, the first sash and blind factory — the capital for which was furnished by Mr. H. F. Phinney — the school house completed, the Seminary changed to a hotel, and a number of dwellings erected.
  • In April, there was an unusually heavy fall of rain (2½ inches in one night) causing the creek running through the village to overflow, carrying away a part of the culvert under Main street and doing a damage of about $1,000. Other localities were also damaged.
  • This was a year of great activity among builders and others in Cooperstown. During most of the summer and fall about one hundred carpenters, masons and painters were employed here. Mr. Edward Clark’s stone mansion was erected, the first sash and blind factory — the capital for which was furnished by Mr. H. F. Phinney — the school house completed, the Seminary changed to a hotel, and a number of dwellings erected.
  • In September, Capt. D B. Boden brought here by railroad a small steamboat, which it was stated had been used as a gunboat in southern waters during the war, carrying a single gun. it attracted no small attention as it was conveyed through Main street on trucks to the dock. It was enlarged and improved, named the "Mary Boden," and placed upon the lake the following summer. The "toot" of its whistle was not very loud, and one day Mr. J. P. Sill — who had been very active in aid of the Cooperstown railroad — joked the Captain on that fact, who replied: "You wait till I obtain the consent of this village to bond for about $50,000 for a steamer, and I will show you a steam whistle that will drown the sound of both the locomotive whistles.
  • In September, the County Agricultural Society purchased of Spafard & Hooker the 26 acres of land now owned and occupied by the same near the corporation limits. ≈ 90

1870.[edit]

  • An old lady, named Bice, living in an old house opposite the Court House, called "Bull’s Head," supposed to be very poor and needy, who had been aided many years by the town, died in January, and $300 in coin were found among her effects.
  • A fair, for the benefit of the Cemetery Gateway Fund, held in March, netted $250.
  • In March, the old jail was again "presented" by the Grand Jury, and the same month a bill was introduced in the legislature "to facilitate the construction of new county buildings at Cooperstown."
  • At the opening of the spring term of Union School, Mr. John G. Wight was given the position of Principal — a place so long filled by. him, with satisfaction to those most deeply interested in the welfare of the school.
  • In July, the village Trustees decided on extending Fair street through the "Cooper grounds," and Counselor Brooks was most active in the work. The way extended directly over the foundation walls of the "Hall."
  • This summer witnessed the presence of a large number of city visitors in Cooperstown — one of the best seasons the village has ever experiericed.
  • A concert and sale for the benefit of the Thanksgiving Hospital, netted about $400.
  • Early in September, a "Village Improvement Society" was organized in Cooperstown, for the general purpose of caring for the various points of interest, etc., in the vicinity. It did considerable good work.
  • The Baptist church of Cooperstown reopened for worship the 1st of September, after having been enlarged and greatly improved at a cost of about $4,000.
  • Mr. Keenholtz, the late contractor for building the C. and S. V. P. P., obtained a verdict against the company for $41,303 — the full amount claimed by him as the balance due him. The case was appealed and a new trial granted.
  • During this year, there were 22 dwellings erected on the corporation, a number of which were put up by Mr. H. F. Phinney. ≈ 91