News of Otsego County


HOMETOWN HISTORY: March 18, 2021


March 18, 2021

Compiled by Tom Heitz/SHARON STUART, with resources courtesy of The Fenimore Art Museum Research Library

135 Years Ago

Home & Vicinity – A meeting for the purpose of taking steps toward organizing a village law and order league was held at the M.E. Church on Tuesday evening, at which there was a good attendance. Prof. N.N. Bull was chosen chairman and A.L. Kellogg secretary. Short addresses were made by the chairman and by Rev. Mssrs. Allen, Lee, Gleason, Richardson and others, the sentiment of the meeting being that the law governing the sale of intoxicants must hereafter be respected. The license laws were read for the information of those present. The following resolutions were unanimously passed – Resolved: that the pastors of the village churches prepare and distribute 2,000 copies of a circular containing the points of law regulating the sale of intoxicating drink; and Resolved: that the pastors and five committeemen named by them be authorized to organize a law and order league. The committee consists of Geo. Reynolds, N.H. Briggs, George Kirkland, A.A. Whitcomb, and T.W. Stevens.

March 1886

BOUND VOLUMES: March 18, 2021


March 18, 2021

Compiled by Tom Heitz/SHARON STUART, with resources courtesy of The Fenimore Art Museum Research Library


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

ELLSWORTH: Hugh’s Legacy Linked To Famed Novelist

Hugh’s Legacy Linked To Famed Novelist

Editor’s Note: On hearing of Hugh MacDougall’s March 6 passing, former columnist Cathe Ellsworth, now retired from Cooperstown to Mount Vernon, Ohio, resubmitted this column from Feb. 15, 2018, as a tribute to the James Fenimore Cooper expert.

Catherine Lake Ellsworth

We have recently learned that at the 21st International Cooper Conference, held in Oneonta last September, Cooperstonian Hugh MacDougall was recognized as founder of the Cooper Society and longtime Cooper Conference participant.

At the conference, a handout entitled “A Tribute to Hugh MacDougall” was distributed to the attendees. And while we have not had the opportunity to read all of the tributes to Hugh, we would like to share part of the one written by Steven Harthorn, the Cooper Society’s executive director for publications.

Harthorn wrote: “Hugh MacDougall is an extraordinary person in many ways, and when spending time with him, it doesn’t take long to recognize his vigorous energy or his
encyclopedic knowledge.

“One quality that has stood out for me as I have tried to carry on Hugh’s legacy in editing the Cooper Society’s publications is Hugh’s passion for outreach. Hugh’s vision for the

Cooper Society has made it distinctive in the world of author societies.

BERKSON:  Lady With Horse


Lady With Horse

Terry Berkson, who has an MFA in creative writing from Brooklyn College, lives on a farm outside Richfield Springs. His articles have appeared in New York magazine, the New York Daily News Sunday Magazine, Automobile and other publications.

I heard about Lady Ostapeck about 20 years ago at my friend Buddy Crist’s house on Angel Hill outside of Schuyler Lake.

There was a picture hanging on his living room wall. It was of a man dressed in a Tolstoy-like shirt standing in the doorway of a weathered cabin.

When I took a closer look I realized it was Buddy, appearing very authentic in clothes I never saw him wear before. “Who took the picture?” I asked.

“Her name is Lady Ostapeck,” Buddy answered. “I was gassing up in Richfield Springs. She was filling her tank on the other side of the pump and kept looking at me. I mean really looking – for a long time. Finally she comes around the pump and says, ‘Are you finish?’”

“I’m still pumping,” I answered.

“No, are you Finnish – from Scandinavia?” she asked.

“I don’t think so.”

“That may be, but I’d like to take your picture.”

It turned out that the woman who was then in her seventies was a famous photographer of Finnish descent. She wanted Buddy, who had the “right look,” to pose for pictures she planned to use for Independence Day in Finland.

They made an appointment, and a week later my friend spent an entire day trying on clothes in a costume – and prop-cluttered house while talking with Lady Ostapeck as she tried to bring to the surface a certain spirit she saw in him.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Crime A Worry, But ‘Quality Of Life’ Of Greater Concern


Crime A Worry,
But ‘Quality Of Life’
Of Greater Concern

I revisited (social scientists James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling’s 1982 article, “Broken Windows,” in the Atlantic) because I was trying to solve a mystery. On a recent reporting trip to New York City to ask bankers, policy analysts and real estate brokers about the city’s economic future, I kept hearing that crime was a major risk.

…When I probed, I found that they talked less about violent crime than disorder. Homeless encampments were flourishing, panhandling had become more aggressive, and minor crimes like public urination or open drug use were not just more visible, but making the papers.

The summer had brought looting and riots close to home as well. Moreover, many of them saw this as a result of the city’s deliberate decision to ignore the “quality of life” offenses that broken windows had emphasized.

Megan McArdle
Washington Post, March15, 2021

BOUND VOLUMES: March 11, 2021


March 11, 2021


In our notice last week, of the result of town elections in this county, we did injustice to the Town of Decatur, by stating that she had elected an opposition man for supervisor, and now make amends by correcting the error and asserting the fact, that Col. Robert C. Lansing, a firm democrat is elected – thus, of the 22 towns, placing Richfield alone in the opposition ranks, and in her case we learn that the majority was only 5! Another year will redeem Richfield from her political fatuity.

March 14, 1836

STERNBERG: Neighbors Helping Neighbors Get Shots

Neighbors Helping
Neighbors Get Shots

Richard Sternberg, retired Bassett Hospital orthopedic surgeon, is providing his professional perspective weekly during the COVID-19
threat. A village trustee,
he resides in Cooperstown.

This past weekend Bassett performed an amazing feat of vaccinating a large group of people, more than 1,100 over two days. The confirmation of vaccine availability only came though on Wednesday, March 3, leaving but two full days to prepare. Nevertheless, I visited on Sunday and it had the appearance of a military operation (which in a sense it was).

The Bassett community, from Dr. Tommy Ibrahim on down should be proud, as should the staff of the Clark Sports Center, which hosted the event.

I want to especially commend the Bassett Director of Network Pharmacy, Kelly Rudd, Pharm.D., who was in command of the clinic from planning through implementation.

She worked from the list of patients from the state, a list of patients from Bassett’s own scheduling system, and an ad hoc group of volunteers who worked to contact and track down people qualified to be vaccinated, but for whom the computer-driven scheduling system was difficult or even impossible to use.

Also, many thanks are due to the Bassett staff who took the time to make hundreds of calls to help schedule seniors 65+.

There are many reports of computer-savvy individuals signing up friends, family members, and neighbors for vaccine appointments. To see this community spirit and kindness is a great thing.

The clinic was also able to smoothly access the waiting list to make sure no dose went unused. The volunteer group – which went out and identified about 175 people who had difficulty finding appointments on their own – included church members, other faith-based organizations, philanthropic NGOs (non-government organizations) including the Community Foundation of Otsego County, and additional individuals.

Many had been working on an individual basis, but recognized the synergy of working together.

THE DOG CHARMER: Griff Must Learn To ‘Drop-It’

Griff Must Learn To ‘Drop-It’

Dear Dog Charmer:
We are hoping that you might settle a family dispute. We have a 6-month-old pup who loves to play tug-of-war. Some books advise that tug-of-war is a good game for dogs to play, helping dogs burn energy and gain confidence; this is the side my husband takes. I’ve found that the more our puppy plays tug-of-war, the more she tends to bite; she is very gentle, but uses her teeth more on us, which I find disagreeable, and which causes considerable stress when we have visitors with young children or who are less comfortable with dogs. Any advice?

Curious in Cooperstown

Dear Curious in Coop,


The easiest part of being a dog trainer, is training the dog. The hardest part of being a dog trainer is what I call the “leash transfer”, getting the owners to do what I tell them to do, to get their dog cooperating. Having had over 800 training appointments a year I quickly realized that in addition to training the dog and training the owners, a third skill was needed, that being the tactful expertise of a mediator. The first line of the question above is asking me to settle a family dispute. I’ve lost count of all the “how to” quarrels and disagreements I stepped into the middle of when it came to parenting the dog. As for the tug-of-war dispute, you are all correct, or will be with a little bit of training.

With repetitive consistency your dog (based on the picture I’ll call her Grif) can easily attain a large vocabulary. Tug-of-war is a great game, as long as you initiate, and control the game. She needs to be taught, “drop it!”. (The “Drop It” command can save her life if she picks up gum with xylitol in it). Offer her the tug toy saying, “Grif, wanna play tug?” as you hold it out for her to grab. In your other hand is a treat, and after a bit of happy growling tug play put the treat under her nose as you say
“drop it!”.

In the great majority of cases the treat will be more attractive than the toy and she’ll immediately drop the toy for the treat.

BOUND VOLUMES: March 4, 2021


March 4, 2021


The revenues of the state school fund may for the present be estimated at $36,427.64, arising from the following sources: $20,160.64 interest on bonds and mortgages; $10,665.00 dividends on bank stock; $1,600.00 collections from quarters used for dormitories; $4,000.00 net proceeds of the clerk’s offices of the Supreme Court. (Ed. Note: A portion of clerk’s fees for legal proceedings retained in excess of expenses was diverted to education)

March 2, 1811

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Dr. Seuss Joins Mr. Potato Head

Dr. Seuss Joins Mr. Potato Head

If you haven’t heard, Dr. Seuss is being canceled.

The same boneheads who claim that the “mister” in Mr. Potato Head is overly “exclusive,” that Aunt Jemima syrup encouraged racial stereotyping, that math is a vestige of White supremacy and that gender reveal parties are “transphobic,” want you to find racism in the pages of “Hop on Pop.”

This is absurd, of course, and makes Democrats who applaud such virtue signaling look stupid. But the urge to condemn people who challenge the woke mob and cancel every icon of American life – the founders of our nation, the historical monuments that adorn our cities, the books we grew up reading – has reached a tipping point.

Even the famously left-wing Bill Maher is calling for an end to the excess, telling his TV audience, “Cancel culture is real, it’s insane and it’s growing exponentially.”

Fox News



March 4, 2021

100 Years Ago

Oneonta & Vicinity – General Manager C.S. Sims of the Delaware & Hudson Railroad, said today that the purpose of removal of the headquarters of the Susquehanna Division, now located at the Delaware & Hudson building at Steuben and Pearl streets in Albany, to Oneonta, is to bring the superintendent of the division and his men in closer touch with the work. It will necessitate the relocation of about 15 men, including the superintendent, J.C. Rosenstalk, who recently succeeded F.H. Wait, along with several clerks, train dispatchers and time keepers. The Susquehanna Division is devoted mostly to the freight business. Between 35 and 40 trains pass over the road each way every day, including the freight trains from the coal fields and those carrying merchandise, which connect with the Boston & Maine railroad at Mechanicville for New England. Most of the freight trains are made up at the freight yards in Oneonta.

March 1911

STERNBERG: If Offered J&J Vaccine, Take It, Stop 3rd Wave

If Offered J&J Vaccine,
Take It, Stop 3rd Wave

Richard Sternberg, retired Bassett Hospital orthopedic surgeon, is providing his professional perspective weekly during the COVID-19
threat. A village trustee,
he resides in Cooperstown.

This past Sunday the Director of the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) approved the use of the COVID-vaccine produced by Janssen/Johnson & Johnson. The day before the FDA determined that the vaccine was safe and effective for the prevention of COVID-19 and gave it an EUA (emergency use authorization).

On Monday, the state Task Force unanimously recommended its use.

The entire current inventory of 3.9 million doses is scheduled to ship this week. J&J says it plans to manufacture enough additional doses to ship 16 million by the end of March. New York State is supposed to receive somewhere between 93,000 doses and 160,000 this week depending on whether you believe the Feds or the state. In any event, this is very good news.

There have been some concerns from some people; two called me today. They are concerned that this vaccine is not as effective as those already approved. They want to know if they should get the J&J vaccine now if available, or wait to get either the Moderna or Pfizer one.

The answer to that is a bit nuanced.

HOMETOWN HISTORY: February 25, 2021


February 25, 2021

150 Years Ago

Editorial: The Temperance Question – We are ever ready to do all in our power for the advancement of that noble virtue – Temperance. A virtue, without which, man is not certain of a foothold to life. There is no evil that drags such countless thousands to poverty, unhappiness and early graves, as drinking intoxicating liquors. We have good laws – which provide that no liquors can be sold. What we need is MEN. The recent action of certain “Good Templars” in this place, met with our disapproval – and we believe very justly. In the first place, if societies desire to elect strict men, let them hold a caucus in the ordinary manner, and make temperance an issue – it is a commendable one. The instigators of the “third party” did not do this, but instead put out a ticket which had no advantage over the Republican ticket. It was not one whit better, although it was very good.

February, 1871

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Don’t Scare, Bankrupt Voters, Or Undermine U.S. Economy

Don’t Scare, Bankrupt Voters,

Or Undermine U.S. Economy

During the past few days, President Biden has signaled flexibility on the size of a minimum-wage increase, skepticism about $50,000 in student-loan forgiveness and openness to negotiation on his immigration reform plan.

Progressive moans of protest have been muted but audible. Some young activists questioned Biden’s “courage.” Criticism from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) was less personal but still pointed: “Our job is to deliver for the American people. Period.”

It is that “period” that more moderate Democrats such as Sens. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) dispute. In essence, they are saying: Our job is to deliver for the American people in ways that don’t unduly frighten moderate voters, break the bank, undermine the economy or come back to bite us.

Washington Post

BOUND VOLUMES: February 25, 2021


February 25, 2021


At a meeting of the inhabitants of the Town of Otsego, held at Captain Stephen North’s, William Sprague, Chairman and Isaac Williams, Secretary, the following nominations were made: William Sprague, Supervisor, George Pomeroy, Town Clerk; Ambrose Clark, Buckingham Fitch, Israel Loomis, Assessors; Buckingham Fitch, Israel Loomis, Postmasters; Hezekiah Loomis, Abraham Van Horne, William McCrombie, Commissioners of Highways; John H. Prentiss, Abraham Van Horne, Issac Williams, Commissioners of Schools; Stephen Williams, Constable and Captain, Ira Janner, Constant Sherman, John LaRow, Elijah Gardner, Constables.

February 26, 1821

Posts navigation

21 Railroad Ave. Cooperstown, New York 13326 • (607) 547-6103