May 13, 2021

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

135 Years Ago

The first locomotive explosion that ever occurred on the Albany & Susquehanna railroad occurred on Tuesday afternoon about one-half mile east of Schenevus, a few rods east of what is known as DeLong’s swamp. The result was disastrous, the engine being blown to pieces and completely wrecked, killing the engineer and badly injuring the fireman, beside tearing up the track and doing other damage. The train was a wildcat of some 12 or 15 gondolas, Shepard Edick, conductor, James Gleason, engineer, and Abisha E. Loucks, fireman. The engine was No. 159 – one of the huge moguls, the cab of which rests over the boiler. The train was moving at a speed not to exceed 12 miles an hour. Those nearest the scene describe the report as terrific. Houses in Schenevus village, half a mile away, were shaken as if by an earthquake.

May 1886

110 Years Ago

Of late, an Italian bootblack has been camping out under the big elm tree in front of the Herald office. He does pretty good work and the principal fault, if fault it be, is that he doesn’t understand a single word of colloquial English. It was one day last week that a sturdy man, after borrowing a copy of the Morris Chronicle from the pile of exchange papers in the Herald office, sat down to have an extra polish put upon his shoes. “It’s a fine day,” he said to Francisco, “I dread to get up these frosty mornings and drive across country four or five miles before sunrise, but I have to do it though; they expect it, and if one knows his job he must be on hand.” Si, Signor,” said the shiner. “It’s hard for a man of my years,” continued the shinee, “and sometimes I think I ought to get out of it – day in and day out, twelve months of the year. It pays, of course, after a fashion, but I am giving the best years of life to it. The health of the public depends upon my work and the work of others who do the same thing. And, if we do not get much credit for it in this world, the balance will be on the right side of the ledger in the world to come.” “Five-a cents,” said Francisco.

May 1911

70 Years Ago

Members of grade five at the East End Elementary School presented a Mother’s Day program yesterday afternoon for 22 parents and friends, under the direction of Mrs. Virginia Petchtle, teacher. A Mexican theme was carried out, and corsages and wooden bracelets made by the children were given to the mothers. Children participating in the program were Martin Barker, Dennie Ackley, Carol Lester, Betty Jane Whitney, Donna Newell, Mabel Cope, Sally Patton, Diane Bennett, Jack Bordinger, Charla Easley, Irene Northrup and Evelyn Baker.

May 1951

50 Years Ago

A Sixth Ward boy wandering through the woods near the Plains Cemetery on Monday afternoon found three beagle dogs wrapped tightly around a tree by a chain attached to their collars. He managed to free the animals, but two of the canines escaped. After freeing the dogs, they growled at the boy who became fearful of handling them. The third dog, described as nice and gentle, is currently housed at the residence of John Warner, Martinez Trailer Court, where the owner may pick him up. Warner said that the boy, who is the son of a neighbor, can take the owner to a place in the woods where the dogs were found.

May 1971

40 Years Ago

Fox hospital administrator Frank M. Isbell said the hospital intends to acquire a coveted and sophisticated whole body scanner. The estimated cost may add up to more than $600,000. The scanner will aid Fox physicians in diagnosing cancers and their location in the patient. Also, the hospital is in the final planning stages for a $2.4 million expansion of the nursing home. “We would like it to begin in June,” Isbell said. The construction which is expected to take up to 15 months, awaits final approval from the New York State Department of Health. The expansion would add 45 skilled nursing care beds to the home and help to accommodate patients that remain on the home’s waiting list. Fox will change the facility’s name to “The Geriatric Care Center.”

May 1981

30 Years Ago

Otsego County, the county’s sheriff and sheriff’s deputy Sean Ralph, are the victors in a federal civil rights lawsuit that alleged police brutality in a 1988 arrest of Charles J. Fraser for driving while intoxicated. Fraser, who was then 26 and a resident of Mt. Vision, was arrested in the Town of Oneonta in the wee hours of December 23, 1988 by Otsego County Sheriff’s deputies Sean Ralph and William Ballin. Deputy Ballin has since deceased.

May 1991

20 Years Ago

Thanks to the Alliance of New York State Arts Organizations’ Rurals Program, the Upper Catskill Community Council of the Arts is a stop on the Rural Arts Workshops 2001 Empowering the Board around-the-state tour. An information-packed workshop for all area board members and executive directors of organizations will be held at Wilber Mansion on Saturday, May 19, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. “Board Orientation, Development and Transition” will be presented by Dyan Wylie. Before becoming an independent arts consultant, she worked for many years for the Arts Extension Service, a division of continuing education at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. The workshop will cover securing effective board members, board job descriptions, evaluation, education, and board transition.

May 2001

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