Compiled by Tom Heitz/SHARON STUART, with resources courtesy of The Fenimore Art Museum Research Library
210 YEARS AGO
Observations on the Culture of Hemp – The soil peculiarly adapted to the cultivation of Hemp should be rich, strong and mellow – low lands, and even cleared swamps, well ditched and drained, exhibiting a deep black, loamy soil, and a sandy bottom, are extremely prolific in the production of Hemp. When the soil is judiciously selected, and properly prepared, the seed must be entered early in the month of May and sowed very thick to prevent its great height, which ought never to exceed five feet. Hemp sown thin on strong ground runs up 7, 8 and 9 feet high is coarse in its texture, and never so good in its quality nor its quantity, as when sown thick. No further attention is necessary until the blossom appears and begins to decay. The Hemp is then pulled by hand in the same manner as flax is pulled, and never to be cut. After pulling the crop it is to remain on the ground 10 or 12 hours; then bound in small, portable bundles and placed under the surface of running or still water to remain 6, 8 or 10 days; when taken from the water, spread to dry as soon as possible on poles, or sticks laid on crotches to admit free circulation or air. The article will command from 300 to 500 dollars per ton. (Ed. Note: Hemp from which rope was made, was at the time a scarce commodity in the United States)
March 16, 1811
160 Years Ago
Gas works are to be erected in this village the present season. Mr. Fred T. Story, of Watertown, who has had considerable experience in such matters, has received sufficient encouragement from our citizens to determine him – associated with four or five gentlemen of this village – to proceed immediately to the erection of the necessary works for generating rosin gas. This is a desideratum long “devoutly wished for” by our citizens, and it is to be presumed that they have only to be convinced of the economy of the thing to determine them upon its immediate adoption. Of the convenience and utility of gas over every other kind of light, there can be no question.
March 22, 1861
135 Years Ago
We shall this week complete 170 pages of The History of Cooperstown – equal to 250 pages of the history published in 1862. A portion of it has been slow and rather tedious work. The first 20 pages under the head of “Village Interests” enumerate the churches, schools past and present, newspapers, fire department, banks, different public works, streets and number of structures thereon, professional and business men, the different trades and occupations, etc., many dates and figures, and the names of about 600 persons. More than a thousand in all will be mentioned in the book. We hope to get it out before the first of May – if we do not go to Florida.
March 20, 1886
110 Years Ago
John Weeks, who died of stomach cancer at his home at Hartwick Seminary on Friday, was one of the best known survivors of the Civil War residing in this locality. He possessed a medal and certificate for valor, presented to him by the War Department. While his Regiment, the 152nd New York infantry was advancing upon the enemy and the Confederates were hustling for cover, Mr. Weeks, a private in the ranks, rushed ahead and captured a stand of colors and a squad of five men, whom he took as prisoners. The strange part of it was that Mr. Weeks’ musket was empty when he rushed upon and held up the squad. For this act, the medal and certificate were presented.
March 15, 1911
85 Years Ago
Every American boy and girl, some time or other in his or her childhood, has played “Indians.” If they have not, Lester G. Bursey, director of physical education at the local school is seeing to it that they have this rare opportunity not only to play Indians, but to make honest-to-goodness war bonnets and headbands. Miss Elizabeth A. Prine, art instructor, is instructing all grades in Indian designs and every child will be wearing a headband they have made themselves. A cast of 400 students will take part in this year’s exhibition pageant on April 3 and 4 in the school’s gym. This
is the seventh annual event conducted by Mr. Bursey.
March 18, 1936
60 YEARS AGO
The finding of dangerous war souvenirs on the village dump on the Fly Creek road Sunday has prompted local police to issue a warning to families against disposing of this type of material at the dump, and also against “junk picking” which is forbidden at the dump. Police officer Gerald Smith reported that a group of young boys found the souvenirs on the dump.They were spotted by an unidentified adult who took them from the youngsters and turned them over to Officer Smith. The find included a loaded practice hand grenade, a Garand rifle clip loaded with nine blank cartridges, two morphine hypo sets, and various other drugs usually contained in armed forces emergency kits.
March 15, 1961
35 YEARS AGO
Democrat Harold Hollis reclaimed the village mayor’s office in last week’s election, defeating Republican Bill Purcell 344 to 212. In the mayoral race of 1984, Purcell defeated Hollis 342 to 289. The new administration faces a projected deficit of $4,719. An amendment to the village charter allowing the mayor to appoint replacements for trustee vacancies carried 237 to 84.
March 19, 1986
20 YEARS AGO
Glenn Hubbell and Stuart Taugher were chosen as village trustees for three-year terms in the annual charter election held on March 13. A total of 415 votes were cast in the village which has a population hovering around 2,000. Hubbell received the most votes with 167, followed by Taugher with 133. Steve Mahlum, who has served as trustee the past three and a half years, received 115 votes. He will not return.
March 16, 2001