Compiled by Tom Heitz/SHARON STUART, with resources
courtesy of The Fenimore Art Museum Research Library
135 Years Ago
Home & Vicinity – On Tuesday evening, George Ingalls of this village displayed a collection of gold coins, consisting of twenty-six one-dollar pieces, four five-dollar pieces, and one twenty-dollar piece, all bright and new.
What was particularly interesting was that the money was paid Mr. Ingalls for his services during the first year of the rebellion and which he has retained ever since.
The committee appointed to arrange a law-and-order league hope at an early day to make public their plan of operation. Since the movement was inaugurated, drunkenness has entirely disappeared from our streets on Sundays, and the dealers evince a disposition to observe the letter of the law – the bars being all closed on the Sabbath. It will be much better for all concerned if no further step is necessary.
110 Years Ago
Thursday afternoon of last week, Mr. and Mrs. Rasselas R. Irish died at the home of their granddaughter, Mrs. Frank H. Bresee, at 8 Maple Street. Their deaths, occurring within a little more than an hour of each other, terminated a married life of 67 years. Death was caused in each instance by pneumonia. Each had been heard to express the hope not to survive the other, and this wish was almost literally fulfilled. Mr. Irish was a native of Middlefield and was nearly 92 years of age. His wife, who was Martha Lewis, was a native of Vermont and had reached the age of 85 years. They were married at Fly Creek in the Town of Otsego, which until 1908 was their home, before they came to Oneonta. Though advanced in years Mr. and Mrs. Irish retained a surprising degree of physical strength and mental alertness. They were both great readers, keeping in touch with the progress of the age. They entered into the sports and mirth of younger people with genuine zest. Five of their seven children survive them. Brief funeral services were held at the Bresee residence on Saturday morning.
90 Years Ago
Discovery of gas in two large fields during the past year has started one of the greatest booms southern New York and northern Pennsylvania have ever known. Today more than a score of wells are producing a vast supply of gas and hundreds of thousands of dollars have been spent in the development of the two fields. Thousands of acres of farmland, much of which could have been bought for taxes a year ago have been placed under lease. On dozens of locations drills are being hammered into the earth and small towns near the wells are growing. Hotels are jammed and money is being spent with lavish hands. Schuyler County had the first gasser in the boom. Rigs shot up on a dozen locations and the months that followed have witnessed strikes on a score of sites. Approximately 100,000,000 cubic feet of gas can be produced every 24 hours from the Schuyler field.
70 Years Ago
Salaries paid Methodist ministers are “embarrassingly low,” according to Dr. H. Claude Hardy, Oneonta District lay leader, speaking at the session of the Wyoming Conference Layman’s Association at Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Dr. Hardy is a retired educator and now the director of public relations at Hartwick College. He expressed the hope that Methodist ministers will get adequate compensation and salaries as generous as those paid by other denominations. “It is a challenge to Christian people to see that the preachers are well paid,” Hardy said. “As long as I am a lay leader I’m going to talk about it and do something about it.”
50 Years Ago
The canoe season opened with a big splash for the Knu Knuts, an area canoeing club. Monte Smith of Richfield Springs and Dr. Leon Wiggins of Oneonta were at Westfield River, Massachusetts last Sunday for the annual open boat 12-mile White Water Race. They placed first in the event. Will Siegfried, also of Oneonta, competing in his first downriver wild water race placed second in the novice kayak race. Siegfried and his father have been on several cruising trips with Dr. Wiggins and Monte Smith.
30 Years Ago
Mediation Services, Inc., of Oneonta, has received a grant of $10,000. The funds come from interest earned by lawyers’ accounts in New York State. Mediation Services, Inc. mediates civil disputes in Otsego County and is an independent, not-for-profit organization. The mediation services provided are neutral and confidential and offer parties a convenient problem-solving alternative to remedies within the justice system. Other services include conflict management and mediator training. The present officers are Fred Ermlich, president; Richard McVinney, vice-president; Nettie Jean Scarzafava, secretary; and David Ashe, treasurer. Newly appointed board members are Dr. Art Dauria, Lucy H. Pantaleoni, and Detective Sergeant Carl Shedlock. Mediation Services, Inc. receives partial funding from the United Court System of New York State and must raise a substantial amount through local contributions.
20 Years Ago
Oneonta’s downtown developer Jeff House is working to fill unused building spaces and clean-up alleys and side streets in the business sector. In December, House reported a “large increase” within the last year and a half of office spaces being used on second and third floors in downtown buildings.
He has been working with City Clerk James R. Koury to post vacancies on the city’s website. House also developed a brochure that lists available business support services in Oneonta. The city’s recent initiative to clean up Water Street is moving forward with the creation of a garbage collection area under the ramp of the parking garage. House said that Water Street is now clear of the assorted dumpsters that once crowded the area.